Jacoby Brissett was thrown into the fire as a freshman. Will Skyler Mornhinweg be able to do the same?
We're beginning our review of Florida football's Class of 2012 recruiting class today, and we'll be going through the recruits that committed to Florida on a position-by-position basis for the next two weeks. From there, we'll have some other, longer pieces on how Will Muschamp recruits and what to expect going forward.
Florida didn't really need a quarterback in the 2012 recruiting cycle. With Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett on campus and seemingly fully committed to remaining Gators, there's a lot of talent at the position waiting for refinement, and there's an athletic backup in Tyler Murphy left behind them even if Trey Burton moves to running back. But Driskel and Brissett both profile as starting quarterbacks, and it would be surprising if, should one win the job outright, the other one doesn't at least explore the option of transferring.
That would leave Florida with less depth than the Gators would want, and without one of the most important luxuries a college football team can have: A good second-string quarterback. Enter Pennsylvania quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg.
Mornhinweg committed in late January, after Brent Pease was hired as Florida's offensive coordinator, and Pease was likely instrumental in his recruitment. If that's the case, then Pease likely knows he'll have a much better chance of molding Mornhinweg, who comes with the offensive savvy one gets as the son of an NFL offensive coordinator (Marty Mornhinweg has been with the Philadelphia Eagles for much of Michael Vick's renaissance) and few of the athletic tools that either Driskel or Brissett possess. Check out his junior highlight film.
In the first two minutes of the highlights, you'll see Mornhinweg play quarterback, and drop floated pass after floated pass into coverage where only his receivers can get to them. That's impressive accuracy, but none of the throws he makes are beyond the realm of what, say, John Brantley could do, with the exception of a nice throw on the move around the 30-second mark. If Mornhinweg can refine that accuracy and add arm strength to his decent mobility and develop a level of comfort in a pro-style offense, he could be a valuable backup.
SB Nation recruiting editor Bud Elliott, who's only observed him on highlights, thinks Mornhinweg could be an ideal second-stringer, too.
Mornhinweg looks to have a solid frame and is probably a true 6'3". He definitely has room to get stronger, and may already have, as all we have on him is tape from his junior season. I like that he gets the ball out quickly and, at least in his highlight tape, he seems to be an accurate passer. He does push the ball some, however, and that could hurt him on some of the more difficult throws. I'd really like to see tape from his senior year before saying that the Gators would need to mess with his motion.
I'm a fan of guys who have grown up around the game, because the college game isn't as much of "a whole new world" to them. In many ways, he reminds of me 2010 FSU commitment Clint Trickett. Both are sub-6'4", both are quite lanky, both accurate without big arms, both are surprisingly mobile, and both are sons of a coach.
Is Mornhinweg starter material in Gainesville? Again, without his senior film, I can't be sure. However, having the son of a coach who assuredly can grasp the offense can be very useful in a backup role. Backups don't need to come in and win the game, the just need to avoid losing it.
Will Muschamp will likely always have excellent defenses, and he doesn't ask his quarterbacks to chuck the ball all over the yard. I suspect Mornhinweg could be a very capable backup in 2013, and could eventually become a starter in the SEC.
The only thing I would add to that assessment, which I agree with almost wholly, is that the segment of his highlights that shows Mornhinweg lighting up receivers as a safety/defensive back shows that he's got athleticism and a better understanding of football than just playing quarterback alone can grant.
Mornhinweg likely won't asked to be do much in 2012, and could very well redshirt if Driskel, Brissett, and Murphy all remain on the roster. But if he can be a capable backup in 2013 and a starter at some point down the road, his scholarship will have been well worth it.