Dream ’14: Quarterback Stephen Collier

Make no mistake about it, the return of senior quarterback Braxton Miller was the biggest recruiting news the Ohio State Buckeyes coaching staff received all off-season. Miller’s return not only provided the Buckeyes with national title hopes going in to the 2014 season, but also allowed for less experienced backup quarterbacks, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, to prepare further more for their opportunity to start in the upcoming years. Joining that quarterback competition in January is a signal caller from deep in the heart of Georgia, Stephen Collier. Collier was not the most glamorous quarterback recruit in the 2014 class, but in my opinion the Buckeyes received a very good quarterback. Let’s take a look at his skill set and the impact he’ll have in the future.

Background
Stephen Collier
3 Star QB, Lee County High (Leesburg, GA)stephen_collier
6-4, 205 pounds

Senior Stats:
24 Pass TDs
2,300 Pass Yards
20 Rush TDs
1,021 Rush Yards

Arm
Collier has good arm strength. He does not have the arm of Braxton Miller, but he also has a much better arm than Kenny Guiton. You will not see him fit too many balls in to tight windows, but Collier has proven that he can most certainly throw a fifteen yard out on the money without worrying about him lofting the ball and the corner jumping the route. The majority of his throws across the middle of the field and deep down the field are in stride. He very rarely hangs a ball up for his receiver.

Collier’s accuracy may be the most concerning part of his game, but that’s not really saying much. The majority of Collier’s inaccuracy problems come from inconsistent footwork. He should clean that up very quickly with the help of Coach Herman. That is prevalent in young quarterbacks so calling it an area of “concern” is probably over reacting a little bit.

Collier’s release is very traditional. He has a compact, quick release which provides the ball with some snap and zip when it comes out of his hand.

Feet
As previously stated, Collier’s footwork in the pocket needs to become more consistent. He at times throws off of his back foot, and in high school he is able to get away with that. However, when the speed of the game increases Collier will need to have his feet and eyes in unison on a more consistent basis.

Collier is a very good runner. He is not Braxton Miller, or even J.T. Barrett, but Collier is a powerful runner. He is not afraid to lower his shoulder at the right time to pick up a first down or a touchdown. Collier is not very shifty, but he is able to maneuver throughout the pocket, while keeping his eyes downfield, and either deliver a strike outside of the pocket, or create some yards on the ground. Collier ran a similar system to the Buckeyes offense in high school, so he should be comfortable with the read option game, and also be productive on designed quarterback keepers. Do not expect to see Collier rush for more than 8-10 times in a game. If he does, the Buckeye offense will be in trouble.

Mind/Intangibles
This is my favorite aspect of this kid. He has impeccable character and comes from a phenomenal family. Collier will be a leader from day one. He is a grinder, who learns extremely quickly, and despite his 3 star status, earned a right to compete at the Elite 11 quarterback competition in Eugene, OR with some of the best quarterback prospects in the nation. He is a very composed player in the pocket, and does very well in chaotic situations. Listen to what the director of that Elite 11 camp, and quarterback guru, Trent Dilfer had to say about Collier below. Also make sure to check this interview with Collier done last summer.

Overall
I love Collier’s upside and how high his ceiling is. He already possesses the mindset of an elite college quarterback, which is generally half the battle with a lot of talented players like Braxton Miller coming out of high school. Collier loves to work on mastering his craft and I think it will lead to a very intense and tough quarterback competition next season with him and J.T. Barrett. A lot of fans were disappointed to not snag a Brandon Harris who has a very talented arm, but I think Collier is a better quarterback now and going forward than Harris. Collier is a great, great addition to the quarterbacks meeting room and in my opinion could help this team tremendously behind the scenes his freshman year, and will have the opportunity to compete for a starting job going in to his second season.

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