6’2” – 205 lbs.
California native who appeared in four games as a true freshman before redshirting, backing up Jordan Ta’amu. Essentially shared the position with John Rhys Plumlee the following year, finishing with 1,362 yards (59.0%, 7.7 YPA), six touchdowns, and three interceptions. Became the full-time quarterback in 2020 under incoming head coach Lane Kiffin, putting together a season of 3,337 yards (70.9%, 10.2 YPA), 29 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions while adding 112-506-4 on the ground. This past year, went 3,343 (67.7%, 8.7 YPA) with 20 touchdowns and five interceptions, rushing for 152-614-11 before being carted off with a leg injury in the team’s bowl game. Offense is influenced by but not identical to Baylor’s spread, with a fast tempo, heavy use of play action, and lots of quick, one-read throws; however, features tighter spacing/splits and often reduces the number of receivers on the field.
Highly productive over the past two seasons in college football’s premier conference, with a winning record over the course of his career; was able to limit turnovers much more as a junior, showing progression in Lane Kiffin’s system. Footwork looks pretty clean when dropping back from the shotgun. Gets set quickly and can be an effective rhythm thrower when well-protected and operating the short passing game. Compact three-quarters throwing motion/quick release. Nice ball placement when throwing over the middle of the field. Gets good zip on his throws but is also capable of adjusting and using touch. Dual-threat who makes good decisions on read-options and shows impressive competitiveness/toughness. Very elusive player who can make the first defender miss when facing pressure, or pick up first downs when a lane opens up. Will reestablish his base when on the move and given the opportunity.
On the smaller side for a pro quarterback, and, when combined with his style of play, durability may be a concern; injured both ankles this past season before sustaining the leg injury in the bowl game. Wasn’t really asked to take snaps from under center. Struggles to consistently replicate his throwing mechanics, leading to placement issues, whether incomplete passes or poor throws which force his receivers to adjust, limiting yards after the catch. Would like to see him generate more of his velocity from his base. Doesn’t always handle pressure well; can make some bad plays into disasters by trying to do too much, or by letting his mechanics deteriorate, dropping his arm angles or attempting throws without a sound foundation. Needs to learn when to take a sack or throw the ball away. Takes too many chances into tight coverage. Many throws either sail on him or are placed too high. Gets some passes batted at the line.
Comes with two years of high-end production and showed that he was capable of running a high-tempo offense based around short rhythm throws, particularly slant patterns; can also threaten defenses on read-options and extend the play when the protection breaks down. However, highly inconsistent mechanics, issues with composure, and some poor decision-making suggest that he is a risky pick even before factoring in potential durability/medical concerns. Might end up being a first-round pick given this year’s relatively weak quarterback class, but would probably be waiting until the second day in a typical draft.