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Rivals Recap: Top signal callers shine at Clarkson QB Retreat

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Alabama pledge Tua Tagovailoa was impressive on Saturday.

CORONADO, Calif. – The Steve Clarkson QB Retreat is being held this weekend and many of the nation’s top quarterbacks were in attendance. Here is a breakdown of who impressed and surprised during Saturday’s workout.

I WAS IMPRESSED BY...

Hunter Johnson


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Five-star Hunter Johnson proved why he’s the top-rated pro-style quarterback as he did everything well, looked so smooth and is incredibly accurate. The Clemson commit is effortless in his drops, so compact in his delivery, spins it well and the ball gets exactly where it should be on almost every throw. Johnson has a calmness and a coolness while being tested in drills and makes everything look so easy. The five-star is still lean but that shouldn’t be an issue once he gets into a college weight program. He has a surgeon’s precision on the field.

Tua Tagovailoa

Alabama commit Tua Tagovailoa has been flying back and forth from the mainland to Hawaii the last few weeks, but he still looks sharp in everything he does. The Honolulu St. Louis four-star dual-threat quarterback gets the ball off his hand so quickly and has never struggled with accuracy. Tagovailoa has great footwork and what really stands out most is just how fast he can deliver pinpoint passes. The four-star continues to develop physically, he has a thick build, but he can move in the pocket, throw on the run and run when necessary.

Tate Martell

Tate Martell is a veteran of these events and still looked the part in many ways as the top-rated dual-threat QB in this class. The Las Vegas Bishop Gorman four-star is so, so fast in his drops (giving him time to scan the field to find open receivers), and he’s phenomenal throwing on the run, both to his left and right. Martell showed great touch on his deep ball, threw the back-shoulder pass well and had no problems with accuracy during some rapid-fire drills. Height will always be an issue for some programs, but Martell can play with the best of them.

I WAS SURPRISED BY...

Chase Garbers

Chase Garbers had an excellent day – he was maybe the most consistent quarterback other than Johnson throughout all the drills – and he proved why he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the West. The three-star has great size and he has no problem getting the ball out fast and hitting receivers in stride. The Newport Beach Corona Del Mar standout spins it so well, has great pace on his passes, is solid throwing to his right and left on the run and after a whole lot of throws he didn’t look fatigued at all. It was a very strong performance by Garbers all day.

Sam Ehlinger

This was my first time seeing Sam Ehlinger throw in person, and he was impressive. The four-star Texas commit has a compact delivery, no wasted motion, zips the ball to receivers and gets it out fast as well. The Austin (Texas) Westlake prospect isn’t going to blow anyone away physically, but he has all the tools to be a special quarterback. The four-star also moves quickly in the pocket and throws well on the run, putting a lot of pace on his passes.

OTHER NOTES...

Four-star Jake Allen needs to work on his footwork. That is an issue that needs to be addressed for the Florida pledge. But everything else seems to be there for the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas standout, who threw an exceptional deep ball and had a lot of zip on his passes throwing on the run. He was also good in rapid-fire drills where he had to accurately throw five straight passes as quick as possible.

Cameron Rising has a compact delivery. The ball comes out quickly because he’s so precise in his motions, and he has an impressively strong arm. The 2018 four-star quarterback from Newbury Park, Calif. does rely too much on his arm when throwing and needs to use more of his body to get the ball out, but he zips it and he has great accuracy on his throws. He throws the deep ball well and hits receivers in rhythm. If he needs to work on something it’s using his whole body in his throws, but other than that Rising is really an impressive recruit.

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