The other day I did an Arizona Wildcats football Q&A which resulted in discussions of Noel Mazzone’s utilization of running backs, the massive size on the defensive line and the abuandance of safeties that could convert to linebackers to provide depth.
There was one question I felt deserved its own section, and it’s involving the depth at quarterback.
I touched on this briefly in my spring football storylines article, but now want to expand on the certain roles.
k'hari lane looks to have a thick solid frame in much better shape I know he has a cannon for an arm am I crazy to think that down the line he could be a solid player for us? Everyone seems to skip him and go right to Joiner and Doyle— Tj w (@Twarmy22) March 21, 2018
So this is a fair point. It’s almost as if we view K’Hari Lane as a walk-on.
He had no Division I offers prior to his Bleacher Report feature, only holding one Grambling State offer.
Rich Rodriguez had an extra scholarship in the spring and desperately needed talent at quarterback, so here we are.
Before Lane entered the program last summer, I expected him to be the third quarterback, behind Brandon Dawkins and Khalil Tate, but ahead of Rhett Rodriguez and Donavan Tate.
Rhett is a brilliant mind to have in the quarterback room, but I’m not quite sure he comes with the Pac-12 skillset.
Donavan Tate was hard to get excited about, considering he had an extensive injury history and hadn’t played football in nearly a decade.
Lane put up ridiculous numbers in high school with 56 passing touchdowns and just two interceptions — albeit in a lower division of Georgia high school football, but seemed to be further along than Rodriguez and Donavan Tate.
Lane has a sturdy build, correct. He came into the program at six-feet, 245 pounds. He’s a big dude. He played high school at about 225 pounds. But a lot looked like bad weight.
He wasn’t gassing defenses for 20-plus yard runs in high school, but had a rocket arm to fling the ball and some mobility, similar to that of a Jamies Winston.
Now he looks to have slimmed down quite a bit, and appears to be on track physically. I’d expect him to take reps behind Tate this spring over Rodriguez.
But when it comes to the future depth, it falls on 2018 signees Kevin Doyle and Jamarye Joiner.
Doyle, a 6-foot-4, 210 pound prospect ranked No. 520 in the nation and No. 24 among pro-style quarterbacks, decommitted from Michigan a few days before National Signing Day and was the Washington D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year.
Joiner, a local Tucson product, stands at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds and ranked No. 585 overall, No. 18 among dual-threat quarterbacks. He started picking up late interest from Alabama, Nebraska and UCF.
I like Doyle a lot more than Joiner as a prospect, and that’s just saying how much I like Doyle. Right now, he seems to be the complete package you want in a quarterback.
Joiner is a phenomenal athlete, and I like him coming out of high school more than I did Khalil Tate. Little did I know that Tate would compete for a Heisman in his second year.
So back to the guy currently on campus. I think Lane can be a strong backup quarterback, and it’s hard to say much more because we’ve never seen him throw in a game before, and he didn’t have much exposure coming out of high school.
At least with Doyle and Joiner, you know have a better idea of what to expect, and their skill set gives them a much higher ceiling.
All in all, I believe Doyle is the No. 2 guy, and Kevin Sumlin’s future starting quarterback for the time being until he snags a more highly-rated and talented quarterback.
Joiner is a close second. But consider the fact that Doyle was purely recruited by Kevin Sumlin’s staff, even though they had already inherited the commitment of Joiner.
Lane was an absolute flier of a scholarship that Rich Rodriguez needed to add for depth at quarterback last season. And for now, we haven’t seen enough of Lane. But he gives you an extra layer of depth, and could end up being a pleasant surprise with some coaching.
What will be interesting this fall is how fast Doyle and Joiner can transition to try to sneak into that No. 2 spot.
The way it stands now, I’m not 100 percent confident in Doyle, Joiner or Lane to step in and win ball games if Tate goes down to injury. But someone has to be ready to take over when the time comes, making this offseason crucial for the young stable of quarterbacks.