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January 4, 2008
Combine displays quarterbacks of the future
SAN ANTONIO - After yesterday's check-in it was clear that there would be a ton of elite quarterback prospects to be evaluated, and with Rivals100 members like Moses Alipate, Tate Forcier, Kevin Newsome, and Tom Savage among others the U.S. Army National Combine lived up to it's hype. The problem with such a deep field is distinguishing one talented signal caller from another.
While many big names came into the camp it may have been little known Ryan Mossakowski who made the biggest waves on the day. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound signal caller from Frisco (Texas) Centennial certainly didn't have to make the long trip of many of his fellow campers, but he did take a huge leap in the eyes of many recruiting analysts.
"I felt like I threw the ball really well today, I felt good about everything I did," Mossakowski said. "It was something of an adjustment to get used to throwing to these receivers who are all such fast guys. Then you look at how quick the defensive backs can close space and it makes me realize I have things to work on."
The big right-hander from the Dallas metroplex showed good velocity and a surprisingly quick release for such a long-armed quarterback. While recruiting fans around the country may not be familiar with his name, numerous schools from around the country already are.
"I'm getting mail from Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Florida, Uconn, Arkansas," he said. "I'd like to hear from Auburn and USC if I could."
Stars Shine Bright
While Mossakowski enhanced a reputation that had little standing, Rivals100 stars like Alipate, Savage, and Forcier furthered their national standing.
Forcier has been a fixture at the Stanford NIKE Camp for several years and did nothing to hurt his standing as a national top 75 prospect. Though he did struggle early on with throwing the ball, apparently it was something of an equipment malfunction due to a lack of familiarity with the type of balls used at the combine.
"I thought I threw the ball decent, I felt like I could have done better. I was getting use to the receivers and they did a pretty good job catching my ball. Overall I thought it went pretty well," Foricer said. "All quarterbacks like to have a certain kind of ball, some like the soft ones, some like the hard ones, and these were pretty hard. So you know we tried to adjust to them the best that we can.
"I have an advantage over some guys though, I've got big hands."
The most highly rated quarterback in attendance was Matt Barkley, but since he chose to watch rather than workout that honor fell to Chesapeake (Va.) Western Branch dual-threat signal caller Kevin Newsome. While Newsome was solid throwing the ball, it was his ability as a pure athlete that had some jaws on the floor. He jumped in the range of 35-inches on the vertical and was in the 4.6-second range in the 40-yard dash on a slow surface. Not to mention Newsome's physique had several onlookers convinced he was a linebacker or even a defensive end prospect.
Savage, much like Forcier struggled with the hardened ball and had a little trouble getting going due to the over-inflated pigskin.
"I thought I did real good, I wasn't really used to the balls, they were hard, they were rocks," Savage said. "I thought the combine was awesome though. I saw some of the best quarterbacks in the country."
Perhaps the most surprising performance came from a place that shouldn't have been such a shock. Alipate, the nation's No. 59 junior, had a solid reputation, but watching him throughout the combine, it was clear why he already has an offer from the in-state Golden Gophers.
Alipate not only has good zip on his passes but a release that is quick. He also threw perhaps the prettiest ball of any quarterback in attendance.
Outside of Athens
Several of the quarterbacks in attendance had prior knowledge of one another but two that known each other for quite some time are Watkinsville (Ga.) Oconee County star Zach Mettenberger and Jordan Luallen. They both became well acquainted with each other through the Georgia football program due to numerous trips to the UGA summer camp.
The two felt they came away from the Army combine with a positive experience.
"I didn't do as well as I would have liked on the 40, but I did real well on the pro agility," Luallen said. "I thought I did pretty well. I've been throwing the ball. We didn't get to do a lot of reps but for the reps I got I felt I did pretty well."
Mettenberger shared similar sentiments.
"I thought I did real well. Most of my bad throws were due to footwork," he said. "I had good velocity on the ball and I felt really good about things."
The two are comfortable with their roles as friends, and competitors. While Luallen played down the idea of competing against one another, Mettenberger admitted he felt like the friendship helped push each of them to new levels.
"I think we just compliment each other. He runs a lot better than I do, and I throw better than he does," Mettenberger said.
"I'd agree," Luallen added. "I'm a mobile quarterback, but sitting back there and throwing all day is Zach's deal."
Mettenberger said he would definitely be attending the Georgia NIKE Camp as well as his regional Elite 11 combine.
Other Notable Attendants
• Combine Photos | More Army All-American Bowl Coverage | Army All-American Bowl Rosters