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July 18, 2004

QBs shine at 7-on-7 state championship

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - To this point, the discussion for top quarterback honors in the Lone Star State centered around Texas pledge Colt McCoy and Missouri commitment Chase Daniel.

But it's time to make room for a few more names to consider for the top of the list after impressive performances at the FoxSportsNet Texas 7-on-7 state championship presented by adidas.

Donovan Porterie of Port Arthur Memorial was simply dazzling Friday during pool play with his quick release, amazing arm strength and great leadership ability. The 6-foot-3 1/2, 205-pound pro-style quarterback has offers from Tulsa, Syracuse, Iowa State and Houston with the Orangemen leading at this point.

"I am more of a drop-back passer," Porterie said. "But I can when given the chance."

He didn't need to in the tournament, showing that he is likely to be ranked as one of the state's top 100 prospects when Rivals.com releases the Texas top 100 next week.

Another signal-caller made a strong case for top honors.

Allen quarterback Casey Dick was also impressive. The 6-1, 196-pound quarterback showed great arm strength and had great command of a fast-break seven-on-seven offense in all three games of pool play. Allen advanced to the second-round of the championship bracket but we knocked out by eventual champion Tyler Lee.

Dick, who is committed already to Arkansas, hoped he impressed onlookers.

"There are a lot of good quarterbacks in the state," Dick said. "But I'm hoping to show everybody that I'm not too bad either. I wanted to go out there and do all that I can to help my team win, and if I impress some people along the way, then that is not a bad thing either."

Houston Westside quarterback Marcus Jackson also had his moments throughout the tournament. He wasn't able to do a lot of the things that he can normally do - which is tuck it and run the football like a true dual-threat quarterback - but he did posses a solid arm, decent decision making and great physical tools.

The best way to describe Jackson is that he's pretty raw at this point, but with proper fundamental education and a coach that's willing to let him use his pure athletic ability, he might just be one of the bigger steals in the Lone Star State.

Two quarterbacks that haven't had a chance to show their stuff too much on the varsity football field so far are Austin Westland quarterback Turner Wimberly and The Woodlands quarterback Greg Meinzer.

Meinzer was listed at 6-6 and 200 pounds, and he was all of that.

He displayed very good arm strength (also a star pitcher for the baseball team) and did put the ball into the right spot time after time for his receivers.

The biggest question mark is what type of athlete he is? It's hard to see what a player's mobility is like in a seven-on-seven setting. Plus, he's not been tested at the varsity level yet, but he'll be thrown into the fire this year for one of the top teams in the state. If he succeeds, watch for college recruiters to jump all over him.

Wimberly, who is 6-0 and 182 pounds, started for the Chaps as a sophomore, but played safety last year and is moving back to the spot again this fall. He has impressed at several summer camps and did the same in spring practices for the Austin power.

He did the same this weekend, showing he has all the tools to be a sleeper Division I quarterback prospect. Unfortunately, Westlake was bounced from the first-round of the consolation championship on Saturday.

Tournament most valuable player, Josh Hill of Tyler Lee, deserves a special mention. Hill has a rocket for an arm, a great command of a passing offense and would be a perfect fit for any Division I program - if the coaches can overlook his height. Hill measured only 5-8 and 174 pounds at the Baton Rouge NIKE Training Camp.

There were several of the state's top junior quarterbacks on hand and from early glance it looks like 2006 will be a much stronger class for the signal-caller position. Without even mentioning Highland Park future five-star pick Matt Stafford, several underclassmen blew up at the tournament, proving that they're going to be elite prospects next season.

You have to start with the quarterback that took his team farthest and that was Colleyville Heritage signal-caller Christian Ponder.

Heritage beat Alief Taylor 32-26 in the consolation championship game behind the rocket right arm of Ponder. Ponder, who is 6-3 and 195 pounds, came through in the clutch every time throughout the tournament, and he's a prospect that should be heavily recruited because he's got the complete package - even though he didn't throw a varsity pass last season.

Spring Westfield quarterback Pierre Beasley, who 6-4 and 195 pounds, didn't get to run the ball like he would to since he's a true dual-threat quarterback, but he showed that he's one of the state's top prospects for next season.

Beasley has so many weapons around him that it's just flat out not fair. With talented running backs and receivers surrounding him, it was easy for him to look good throughout the tournament.

What Beasley has in athletic ability, he lacks in experience. He only made one start last year for coach Corby Meekins, throwing for 121 yards and two scores. Beasley will also be a highly-recruited guard in basketball.


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