Colorado State coach Mike Bobo had the opportunity to sign a 2018 high school quarterback at the December deadline. He held off. A former passer knows best.
“That position is too valuable,” Bobo said.
CSU once believed Matthew Baldwin, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound prospect from Lake Travis High School (Texas), would fill that slot when he committed to the Rams in July — before Baldwin was even a prep starter. But after throwing for 3,842 yards and 44 touchdowns as a senior, the scholarship offers rolled in from Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio State. The Buckeyes ultimately landed Baldwin’s services.
About three weeks passed between his decommitment and the early signing period. The Rams evaluated several quarterbacks in that time, but none in person. A key distinction.
“I want to see a guy throw live,” Bobo said. “I want to see how tall he is, I want to see how big his hands (are) and I want to see the ball come off his hand. Because sometimes that quarterback (highlight) tape can be a little bit misleading.”
The Rams return confidence at quarterback in 2018 with projected starter Collin Hill, who redshirted last fall after throwing for 1,096 yards and eight touchdowns over five games as a true freshman. Depth remains a concern, though, prompting CSU to add another high school prospect to develop. The Rams’ pool to choose from has also shrunk with a high volume of recruits signing in December.
On the flip-side: Bobo sees an opportunity to discover a dynamic late-bloomer.
“A lot of times the way this (recruiting) cycle goes, there are people who have great senior years that get left out,” Bobo said. “I think this is going to help some of those guys.”
National Signing Day is Feb. 7. Here is a closer look at three unsigned 2018 quarterbacks who might fit in at CSU:
Jalen Mergerson (Eaglecrest HS): Totaled 3,615 passing yards and 33 touchdowns last fall. He holds several D-II scholarship offers as a defensive back. Mergerson tweeted on Saturday that the Colorado Buffaloes offered him a spot as a preferred walk-on.
Teldrick Ross (Jones County HS / Gray, Ga.): Selected offensive player of the year in Georgia Class 4-AAAA by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as a first-year starting quarterback. Ross has reported scholarship offers from CSU, Georgia Southern, Coastal Carolina, Mercer and others.
Tyler McMahon (Servite HS / Anaheim, Calif.): Threw for 1,981 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2017, per the Orange County Register. McMahon, listed at 5-foot-11 and 178 pounds, was a dual-threat quarterback who operated a high-tempo offense. He is followed on Twitter by CSU quarterbacks coach Ronnie Letson.
Two CSU hires made official
The Rams’ coaching staff gained more clarity Thursday with the announcement of two new assistant football coaches: Eric Lewis and George Helow.
Lewis, a former Tennessee defensive quality control assistant, will coach cornerbacks. Helow, a CSU defensive quality coach last fall, will coach safeties. Both moves were first previously reported by FootballScoop.com.