Pac-12 Quarterback Freshman Evaluation: Austin Apodaca, Washington State

Commitment: Washington State

Measurables: 6'3", 185 pounds

High school: Silver Creek, Longmont, CA

Jack Follman: In terms of mechanics, Apodaca appears to throw off his back foot a bit and doesn't look to have the arm strength to pull it off on a lot of throws. As Kyle said though, he has incredible touch, especially on fade routes, throws a ball that is very easy to catch. He's also an excellent runner in traffic, knows how to find the seam in defenders and take off.

Kyle Rancourt, CougCenter: Above all else, Apodaca is accurate. If you go back and look at Leach's QBs at Tech, one things stands out: accuracy. Above all else, they must be accurate. They don't have to be big (BJ Symons was only 6'1), they don't have to have a rocket arm (Graham Harrell had an average arm), and they don't have to be mobile (Harrell wasn't mobile), but they do need to be able to put the ball in a tight window. That's what Apodaca does. He's way more mobile than he should be for a guy his size, he just so happens to have a cannon for an arm, and he's a really smart kid on the field. However, his best asset is probably his accuracy. He understands where to put the ball in order for the receiver to gain the most possible yards.

When I originally analyzed the kid, I was very meh on him because he had a big arm and knew it. In HS, that usually means the Rex Grossman-esq, "fuck it, I'm throwin' deep" into quadruple coverage plays. He fixed a lot of that, and his Sr year tape is some of the most impressive I've seen. Pretty excited for this kid.

Avinash: Apodaca also seems to have an offense similar to the Airraid, with a lot of short crossing routes and horizontal stretches. Lot of quick drops and quick releases.

What were Apodaca's stats like in college? How difficult was the competition?

Kyle: Apodaca was 1st Team QB on the All 3A team in Colorado, passing for nearly 4000 yards and 44 TDs. He did play in a spread type offense, so he understands how to get the ball out quickly. I wouldn't say his competition was as tough as it is in California, but he's not playing 1A in Maine or something. So while I think HS stats are basically irrelevant, I still think they're a positive sign.

More on Apodaca after the jump, including his highlight reel.

Avinash: It's nice to see that Apodaca is also putting up great numbers. It seems like his offense is pass-heavy, which favors his development in Leach's offense to be quick and decisive. It should allow him to climb up the depth chart in due time.

I do notice a little bit of a sidearm motion. That's a little interesting and probably needs to be corrected. However, in terms of system QB, I don't think you can do much better in having an Airraid-friendly QB like Apodaca.

Kyle: Yeah I mentioned that in my evaluation of him. I think it's something that can be corrected fairly easily, though. All in all, pretty impressive kid.

Rancourt's CougCenter recruiting profile:

What I loved about this video is how, when he was being pressured, Apodaca keeps his eyes down field the entire time. He realizes he can tuck it and run for a few yards, but he is patient and waits for a receiver to get open. Another thing I loved that is pretty rare to see: during scrambling, he stops to plant before throwing. Now, this didn't happen on every play. There's simply not time to do this on every play. He possesses enough arm strength to make a throw from an awkward angle on the run and still get it there with plenty of zip. I really loved how he realized he needed a little more on it, though, stopped, set his feet, and chucked it down field.

I still think there are a few things he needs to work on, but it's a huge improvement from what I saw in his junior tape. His throwing motion is a little wonky at times, and it comes out at three quarters or even sidearm. It's not necessarily a problem -- look at Philip Rivers -- but the ball is more prone to getting batted down at the line if it's coming out at a lower angle. He doesn't do it all the time, though.

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