Wednesday marks another update to the Top247 for the 2022 cycle and – spoiler alert – quarterback Quinn Ewers of Southlake (Texas) Carroll remains near the top of the ranking.
Some recruiting fans may encounter a feeling of deja vu upon perusing Ewers’ profile for the first time and find themselves thinking, “wait, another top quarterback with long hair?” The answer is yes. While former No. 1 prospect and current Clemson star Trevor Lawrence has seemed destined for a shampoo endorsement from the jump, Ewers’ bleached blond mullet is like something straight out of the Minnesota State High School All Hockey Hair Team.
The comparison goes beyond the hair. Ewers, who enters the update as the No. 2 overall rising junior, is the highest-ranked quarterback at this stage since Lawrence was tabbed as the initial No. 1 prospect in the 2018 cycle. We did not see a quarterback prospect ranked within the top five overall prospects this early in the 2019 or 2020 class.
Like Lawrence, Ewers’ early status as a top prospect is due to projectable physical ability and skills paired with dominant on-field play early in his high school career. Both possessed advanced arm talent, accuracy, and feel for the game as high school underclassmen.
To say Ewers burst on the scene last fall might be putting it lightly. In 14 games as a sophomore he completed 72.4 percent of his passes for 4,003 yards, 45 touchdowns and three interceptions while rushing for 568 yards and nine more scores. Not bad for his first season as a varsity starting quarterback, while leading the Dragons to a 13-1 record in Texas High School Football’s largest classification. By the time the dust settled, Ewers looked like arguably the top quarterback prospect in the state of Texas, regardless of class.
It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that Ewers has seen his recruitment take off. He currently holds offers from the likes of Oklahoma, Texas, USC, Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State and about every other top program in the country. The Sooners currently account for both picks in his Crystal Ball.
To put Ewers’ production in perspective, his sophomore numbers not only edge Lawrences’ at Cartersville (Ga.) (64%, 3,655 yards, 43 TD, 4 INT), but would stack up at or near the top with the best 2019 seasons of any top quarterback in the 2021 cycle, as well.
Similar to Lawrence’s early high school career, Ewers proved to be on top of his game in big spots as a sophomore. One of his breakout performances came in an early-season showdown against Denton (Texas) Guyer and Texas A&M’s 2021 quarterback commit Eli Stowers. Ewers accounted for 450 total yards and six touchdowns in a 46-34 win.
Ewers continued to hit his stride in the playoffs, elevating his play in accord with the competition, completing over 70 percent of his passes for 1,419 yards and 17 touchdowns. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder averaged nearly five total touchdowns per game during Southlake Carroll’s run to the quarterfinals.
How Ewers was doing it makes the feat that much more impressive. Southlake Carroll faced a few nasty defensive fronts from perennial powers like DeSoto and Duncanville.
Against DeSoto and a defensive line that features Power Five prospects like Shemar Turner and Byron Murphy II, Ewers showed a willingness to stick in the pocket and take hits while delivering strike after strike – like this perfectly placed touchdown pass.
This continued two weeks later against nationally-ranked Duncanville with Ewers putting on a show against one of the toughest defenses in high school football. With Southlake Carroll down multiple scores, much of the offense was put on the sophomore quarterback’s arm and legs.
Duncanville’s overall talent and the playmaking ability of Texas quarterback signee Ja’Quinden Jackson ultimately proved too much for Southlake Carroll, but Ewers’ showing under duress cemented his status as one of high school football’s most promising young quarterbacks. Southlake Carroll’s 35 points were the most scored against Duncanville all season.
Ewers made a number of plays against Duncanville that belie his experience. He delivered the first of three touchdown passes by hitting a deep seam off his back foot as a free-running blitzer burst into the backfield.
If there’s one play that best illustrates the sophomore’s calm under pressure it may be this one from the game’s third quarter. As he dropped back, Ewers was hit with a flying dislodged helmet. Unfazed, he quickly rolled to his left after being flushed from the pocket and delivered a 55-yard bomb into the endzone.
This is something right out of the Trevor Lawrence playbook. Everyone’s probably seen Lawrence make this type of difficult inside-out throw at Clemson on several occasions, but he was also doing this as a sophomore in high school, including in the state title game.
It doesn’t take very long to notice Ewers’ superb timing, pocket feel and ability to layer and locate the football to multiple levels. He shows a live arm and consistently drives the ball into compressed windows. Similar to Lawrence, Ewers also possesses well above average mobility and rushing ability particularly given his passing skills from the pocket.
Attempting to compare any high school quarterback prospect to Trevor Lawrence is heady stuff. Not only was Lawrence’s body of work as a four-year starter unimpeachable, he was a prodigious arm talent. In going back and rewatching Lawrence’s high school highlights, I’m not sure I can recall a prospect with that kind of quick-twitch ability in both his arm and feet as a 10th grader.
Quarterback is a developmental position. Forty percent of the current starting signal callers in the NFL did not start at behind center until their junior or senior year of high school. For as good as he was as an underclassman, Trevor Lawrence showed steady improvement all the way through his senior season at Cartersville.
The majority of Quinn Ewers’ story is yet to be written. He’s sure to see continued attention and high pressure situations while playing for one of Texas’ most tradition-rich high school programs in addition to everything that comes with being a top quarterback recruit. There’s obviously a ways to go to reach Lawrence’s level, but if Ewers’ sophomore season is any indication, he’s off to a fantastic start.