Assessing a high school quarterback is not an easy thing to do. Division I prospects that don't come from powerhouses like Mater Dei and De La Salle are surrounded by inferior talent, average to weak offensive lines, and need to adapt a lot on their own to make sure they get their game up to a collegiate-ready level. Thus, they often spend most of their time in high school running for their lives. Pro-style quarterbacks stuck in this rut are not given enough of an opportunity to showcase their worth.
This is the problem with trying to come up with any sort of concrete opinions on Kyle Boehm. Boehm only threw 145 passes last season (barely 13 passes a game) and ran the ball 129 times. There just weren't enough chances to showcase what he's made of as a quarterback.
Trying to evaluate Boehm is an adventure, and not something I would pass along to even the boldest of souls. I'll do my best given about 200 seconds of tape on him (talk about snap reactions).
What are your thoughts on Boehm? When do you think he'll be our starting quarterback? Sound off in the comments!
Intangibles: Archbishop Mitty was 1-9 in 2008. The next season, when Boehm was the starter, Mitty went 9-1-1 and were crowned WCAL co-champions, the largest turnaround ever in WCAL history. Gotta love that.
Game tape. Sweet, 100 seconds of Kyle as a senior. So much value to draw from this sample size (NOT).
Cal Football: Kyle Boehm (via calathletics)
Arm strength: I'd have to say Boehm will walk into fall camp with a good shot at having the best pure arm on the team. His velocity on his deep balls is pure DeLorean; it doesn't hang and it gets to the receiver in express time. There isn't much arc on the throws, so the defenders have less of an opportunity to make a play on the ball and instead have to focus on catching the receiver. All in all, it's one of the prettiest deep balls I've ever seen from any Tedford quarterback.
Now I wouldn't say his technique is the greatest. He tends to plant his front foot and not use his back foot consistently, and when he booms it out deep, his whole body tends to do a tilted turn like he just threw a discus. It'll look pretty when it works (like it does at those throws at :36 and 1:08), but if that technique holds, he's going to lose deep ball accuracy and it'll sail past his receiver. Hopefully that tendency will be coached out at the next level without losing any of the zip he's shown on his deep ball.
Delivery: Boehm tends to release the ball a bit above the throwing side of his head, and his quick release allows him to get the ball out quickly, so he won't have too much trouble getting the ball out in tight avenues and facing deep pressure. He shows good footwork in his drops (here's some video of him practicing footwork--clip 1 and clip 2) and has gotten sharper each year.
Durability: No injuries in high school as far as I know.
Pocket presence: That throw at :57 is pure wow. Scrambling away from your strong hand and forced to make a throw away from pressure at the same time, and putting it in a place where only his receiver can make a play? That takes some gusto.
It's hard to tell how he deals with pressure from this small sample. Most of his highlights came off of his straight drops. It's very difficult to get too much of a grasp on Boehm's pocket presence from these vids, since they'll never showcase his incompletions (throwing the ball away when it needs to be thrown away).
Scrambling: Plenty of running here from Boehm. Sometimes he takes designed runs and picks up huge yardage (like the option keeper). On other occasions he takes the ball, rolls out, can't find anything, and takes off, overpowering defenders to pick up yardage. Tape is deceptive that way though; Boehm won't be bowling over Pac-12 linebackers. But at least he shows an inherent ability to scramble for yards.
Statistics: Despite not throwing many passes, Boehm does impress in the two categories that always seem to translate to good things--completion percentage and yards per attempt. He completed 65.5% of his passes last year, including a perfect 13 for 13 game against Sacred Heart. His only weak showings last season came against Palo Alto (although they generally shut down everyone last year), where he went 8 for 22 in his two games. He averaged a healthy 9.5 yards per attempt and showcased the deep ball on a number of occasions.
Overall thoughts: There's a lot to like with Boehm. Based on his earlier tapes (which you can view here), he's probably the most solid all-around Cal quarterback prospect the Bears have recruited since Nate Longshore. He's practiced in a pro-style offense and should adapt to the playbook quickly, his mechanics are generally in place, he has a meteor of a deep throw, he can move outside the pocket, he has enough strength to snap those balls inside, and he can escape pressure and he can take off and run with the ball when needed. He made a lot of plays and throws even if the technique was peculiar, which is always a fun skill to have.
To an imp like me, the big question (just like with Longshore) is can he get the right touch on his throws to hit the sidelines? Longshore was exceptionally good at hitting the inside of the field, but when he aimed outside, he ended up taking TOO MUCH off, and the balls floated and were picked. Boehm has shown that he can get to the ball to the outside, although he seems to have better depth going to his right than to his left (just like Longshore). His arm is so strong that he might have difficulty adjusting to throwing to the left side of the field.
Of course, I see him practicing throws like these and it might all be a moot point.
There are plenty of question marks mechanically, but all of the issues Boehm might have are easily fixable (on the flip side, Austin Hinder's size and strength are not easily fixable); his physical talent should give him a huge advantage on many of the other Cal quarterbacks once his technique catches up to the best of them. He'll be redshirted to work all those kinks out like Longshore was, then should be right in the mix of a highly exciting and competitive 2012 race.
(To see more of Boehm's training, check out these YouTube vids.)