Scout hit the road this month to make several stops up and down the state of Alabama. One of the themes of the spring tour became hard to ignore along the way, the quarterback position may be back.
The debate as to whether it left or not, following names like national champion arms A.J. McCarron, Jacob Coker and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, is a story for another day.
But the depth of the state’s top passers in the class of 2019 and even 2020 appears to be strong this far out.
The conversation begins with the rising junior most coveted at this point, Bo Nix (spring clips above). The Pinson (Ala.) Pinson Valley standout has offers from coast to coast though many expect him to stay in the region considering his father and prep coach Patrick Nix, played at Auburn while Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and others compete to get him on campus. A consistent arm with a compact delivery and timely accuracy, Nix is also athletic enough to make plays with his legs come Friday nights. He is in no rush to make a verbal commitment.
The most popular name among 2019 QBs in the state has to be Taulia Tagovailoa, who is new to the state following a breakout sophomore season at Kapolei (Hawaii) High where he threw for more yards than top five class of 2017 passer and Alabama freshman Tua Tagovailoa. Taking the reigns at Alabaster (Ala.) Thompson High alongside state champion coach Mark Freeman, the right-hander has a familiarly quick release with good arm strength and ability to push the ball down the field at will. Alabama, Oregon, Utah, Syracuse and Hawaii have already offered Tagovailoa.
Another 2019 name to know began because of his lineage, being the great-grandson of Bear Bryant, but Paul Tyson‘s game has done just as much for his recruitment. A classic, tall-in-the-pocket power passer, he has turned heads all spring long following the move to Trussville (Ala.) Hewitt-Trussville High School. Kentucky is his lone SEC offer at this time while Connecticut, Army and Jacksonville State have done the same. Camp season will be critical for Tyson, who has enough arm strength to push the football down the field and outside the numbers. He also has good pocket presence and touch despite a lack of mobility, more of what he showcased against Cordova (Tenn.) during his spring game (video below).
The newest SEC-level prospect in the class is Peter Parrish, a Miami native now at Phenix City (Ala.) Central competing for the starting quarterback job. Mississippi State has already offered the dual-threat standout, who has a fluid passing motion and well above-average arm strength. When he’s not passing the football, he’s just as dangerous on the move. Parrish ran sub 50 seconds in the 400-meter dash at the state tack meet, finishing fourth in the 200-meter dash at 23.21 seconds while helping Central snag the state championship in the 4×400-meter relay. With the top football prospect in Alabama, Justyn Ross, among the weapons at his disposal, Parrish will have every chance to be seen through the 2017 season.
Hoover (Ala.) High School is no stranger to top prospects at any position and the class of 2020 conversation begins with Robby Ashford. Still yet to start a varsity game, he already has scholarship offers from Missouri and Jacksonville State becase of his 6-foot-3 frame, athleticism and precision as a passer as well as baseball player. The Bucs have several talented quarterbacks who seem poised to play a role in their class 7A title defense, but many around the program envision a tough task for anyone attempting to hold off Ashford going forward. The rising sophomore flashed some ability late in Hoover’s spring game against Montgomery (Ala.) Park Crossing (video below).
Ashford isn’t alone in 2020 even at this early juncture, and like Ashford Tucker Melton will have to compete to be ‘the guy’ in 2017. The balanced young arm, also 6-foot-3, is competing with a dual-threat mentioned above in Peter Parrish at Central-Phenix City. Each split reps during an intersquad scrimmage Scout took in (video below) and each made plays in the process. “We have a battle!” Central coach Jamey DuBose said before the pace picked up that day. It is very possible both Parrish and Melton see considerable time during the 2017 season, one where few offenses in the 7A classification will be as talented as the Red Devils.
The above are samples of some of the quarterbacks seen this spring, but other head-turners in the state represent the underclassmen crop as well. Tripp Carr was an All-State AISA selection who led Prattville (Ala.) Autauge Academy to a state championship while fellow class of 2019 prospect Peyton Wilson, the younger brother of former Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson, is a two-sport standout at Hoover. Wilson, who is committed to big bro’s alma mater as a catcher and middle infielder, led Hoover baseball to a state title earlier this month.