The addition of a talented up-and-coming quarterback is always exciting, especially when he hails from in-state. With his commitment to Cal coming in June, three-star recruit JT Shrout out of Newhall (CA) Hart looks to compete for the 2018 starting job with South Carolina transfer Brandon McIlwain. Shrout is a talent that has already gained some attention from NFL scouts and could be a key piece of the puzzle in the Bears’ offensive reconstruction. To understand his potential contributions in Berkeley, let’s take a look at JT’s profile.
High School: Hart (Newhall, CA)
Height/Weight: 6’3” / 190
Hand Size: It doesn’t really matter...right, Jared?
What is it about that Southern California sunshine that creates such a deep pool of talented high school quarterbacks? In his junior season at Hart, JT played backup to an excellent Eastern Washington (and Beau Baldwin) recruit Nick Moore, brother of Dolphins QB Matt Moore. Yet that feels like almost an injustice to Shrout, whose abilities would place him in the starting position at most other schools.
Even with such talent, a lack of starts often raises concerns regarding a young quarterback’s leadership abilities. However, JT’s opportunity to captain his squad in his senior year will better prepare him for the role of D-1 QB.
The next possible issue to address is Shrout’s size. Standing tall at 6’3”, JT should be able to avoid the pesky hands of defensive linemen looking for a blocked pass. But weighing in at 190, Shrout will definitely need to put on some weight if he wants to survive the punishing Pac-12 pocket. As an interesting tidbit of information, Jared Goff was listed as 6’4”, 190 during his senior year at Marin Catholic.
Although it seems Wilcox and company may have taken a chance offering a scholarship to an undersized *backup quarterback, it is clear that JT Shrout is a sleeping giant.
*Though technically not the starter in his 2016 junior season, his strong performances and offseason improvements warrant an asterisk beside the label “backup”
Quarterback success is rooted in quick and accurate decision-making...and also a cannon for an arm. Shrout has given glimpses both in his junior year highlights video below.
JT seems quite comfortable in mid-range passing situations of 20 to 30 yards. This is promising, given that high school passers often tend to play the passing game more conservatively, in the 5-15 yard range. Several highlights show Shrout can heave the ball 40 yards with relative ease if needed.
However, Shrout’s accuracy can be a little iffy when it comes to quick-release situations. With some solid preps wideouts, these small misfires can be masked, but they have the potential to be greater exploited with more athletic and skilled defenses at the collegiate level. For a high school junior, minor judgement errors are bound to happen, so it is much too early to make any sweeping assessments of his true accuracy abilities.
Finally, I would like to note Shrout’s ability to make quality reads and not be afraid to scramble. There are several moments in his films that most other preps quarterbacks would be tempted to take a sack or throw it away. Shrout, however, identifies and takes advantage of gaping defensive holes for rushing gains of 20-30 yards. Though he is more of a pro-style quarterback and will most likely not have to wildcat often, it will be comforting to know that his athleticism allows him at least the viable option of running.
California Golden Bears fans, what do you think? Will Shrout be able to compete with McIlwain for the starting position in 2018? Do we possibly have the next great Cal quarterback on his way?