July 16, 2009

Rams still have plenty of options with QB targets

There is no question that the recruiting front for Colorado State has taken a little bit of a "hit" the past couple of weeks, not getting commitments from some of their key targets. Whether it's quarterbacks or wide receivers, the past few weeks have felt painful for dedicated fans who pay close attention to every prospect, but it's important to remember that there are plenty of worthy high school players who can and will become CSU Rams when they sign their Letters of Intent come February.

I might as well start with the area that is fresh on people's minds, the quarterback position. The first hit came last month when 4-star Pete Thomas seemed to heavily favor both the Rams and Colorado Buffs, but ended up committing to Arizona State. While there was a lot of discussion on multiple message boards asking whether or not Thomas was worthy of his ranking as the 13th best pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2010, no one could argue that he was a very talented QB. Only time in Tempe will tell how he fares out.

Then obviously came the nail-biting decision of St. Louis signal caller Stephen Kaiser this week. The two-day ordeal had both CSU and SMU fans on the edge of their seats, just hoping the quite Kaiser would announce their school. Some hints seemed to favor the Rams, others the Mustangs, but ultimately Kaiser chose SMU in Dallas, Tex.

Despite the Mustangs from C-USA only winning one game during the 2008 season, that is not something Ram fans should be discouraged with when losing this recruiting battle. SMU is coached by none other than June Jones, the man who truly put Hawaii on the map. He knows what he's doing, SMU is in a great location, smack in the middle of a hot bed for high school football. I have no doubt that SMU will soon be on the map once again; maybe not in the same way they were during the 1980's, but they'll be back.

And now we come to the quarterbacks who have not yet made their decision, guys like Tallahassee's Clint Trickett. The 3-star pro-style quarterback had the Rams in his top five with the good company of Arkansas, South Florida, Louisville and Central Michigan, but on Tuesday fans learned that was no longer the case.

In an interview with HawgSports.com's Trey Biddy, Trickett said that Western Kentucky has now moved into his top five, replacing Colorado State.

"I've still got a top five, but my top five right now would be Arkansas, South Florida, Louisville, Western Kentucky actually moved up there because they've got a bunch of good things going on for them, and Central Michigan," Trickett said.

Out of all the quarterback recruits from the class of 2010 that have committed elsewhere, the news of Trickett replacing CSU with WKU in his top five is the one thing that has really got to me. Blake Bell, Austin Hinder, Thomas and Kaiser, that's just the way things go, but for some reason this has me on edge.

Don't get me wrong, this is no disrespect to football in Bowling Green, Kent., the Hilltopers have some nice looking facilities and they're a relatively new program in the football world who have been making some noise. I guess it's just a MWC vs. Sun Belt Conference thing to me. Yes, I know there are other factors, such as proximity, but sometimes I'm just scratching my head.

The good news is there's a lot of time left until February for Fairchild and company to make another move at Trickett. There's also good news that there are a lot of other quarterbacks out there for CSU to potentially sign, even guys right here in the Centennial State. What I'm going to do now is list my next three favorite QB targets for the Rams to take a look at.

1. Jake Johnson (Longmont, Colo.) - No real surprise here. A lot of people are stuck wondering why this guy hasn't been offered by CSU, but the fact is we're not the ones getting paid the big bucks to coach college football. I know dual-threat QB's in a pro-style offense aren't always appealing, but I've been told unofficially that Nico looks pretty good so far. Johnson has good size, decent speed, and he's a Colorado kid. From what I've seen on film, I like this kid. Great accuracy, especially on the run. Expect CSU to offer soon.

2. Blake Bortles (Ovideo, Fla.) - Bortles currently holds an offer from CSU, but he's not a guy we've had a chance to talk to yet. His four offers are Colorado State, Purdue, Tulane and Central Florida. He has great size at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds and is obviously an great athlete as Tulane wants him to play for the Green Wave as a tight end. If the Rams don't get back in the picture with Trickett, I would expect Bortles to gain some more attention.

3. Zach Thenell (Lakewood, Colo.) - The Bear Creek quarterback put up amazing numbers as a junior in 2008 with over 3,000 yards passing, 33 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He doesn't have any offers yet, but has interest from CSU, CU, Louisville, Stanford and Texas Tech. The main drawback with Thenell is his size as he is listed at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds-not your prototypical pro-style quarterback. All I have to say to that is look at Todd Reesing of Kansas. Listed at 5-foot-8, most who know him say he's barely 5-foot-7. Why not give Thennel a shot?

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