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2016 Texas Longhorns Football Recruiting Class Evaluation: QB

Quarterback (1)

Strong is always content to let the player development stew simmer in the pot before dipping in the ladle, but QB is one position where he's comfortable making an early commitment to his meal.  Shane Buechele earned his place in the 2016 class before his junior season when he outperformed his same age peers and the 2015 QB prospects at the Longhorn Under The Lights event, showing accuracy, a coachable nature, excellent feet and top notch leadership skills.  These same traits drew him raves at the Elite 11 camp where Trent Dilfer attempted to legally adopt him after he showed the ability to digest a playbook in an evening of study.  Coaches like mature, smart QBs with a feel for the game, even when they're not 6-5, 230.

Even if they're from Arlington.

Shane Buechele- 6-1, 185

Buechele's strengths are his ability to process on-field action and instruction quickly, good mobility, natural mechanics that allow him to release the ball accurately on the move and an ability to make the consistent throws and pre-snap reads that move the chains.  Shane is very athletic if one defines it as the ability to acquire and deploy new physical skills quickly, rather than just explosive display.  Physical intelligence. He's the irritating guy who can pick up a new sport in a day and a half while the rest of us look like Belgians trying to throw a baseball.

His limitations are fairly obvious: a slight frame and average arm strength.  Buechele didn't play in a Playstation high school offense (he threw for just over 2,000 yards in 13 games) but that may have developed his ability to get the offense into the correct play rather than just have him run around every down rocking an empty set.  Buechele isn't going to throw a 15 yard out route dart outside the far hash, but he can make the basic throws required of a spread QB.  There may be an extra half second of air on his sideline deep ball, but it'll hit the receiver instead of the water cooler.  I'd also wager that he can throw a WR screen to an upfield shoulder instead of six feet over and behind the WR's head.  I'm not talking about any QBs specifically there.  Just throwing those out.

This is where we all begin the obligatory Colt McCoy comparisons where at least three commenters will suggest he's "just a gutty winner" who has the "it factor."  Then you'll wonder whether he can be the Day 1 starter since he's an early enrollee...let's not.

McCoy is actually not a bad comparison, but it assumes McCoy's freakish accuracy, +20 pounds, a NFL OL in his redshirt freshman season and a Vulcan mind meld with his receiving corps.  Like McCoy, Buechele can use his mobility to buy time for a throw downfield, but he's quick and athletic enough to hurt the defense running for the sticks on 3rd and 8 or keep the ball on zone read when the defensive end crashes.  Many QB coaches believe that accuracy can't be improved after a certain age - you're either accurate or you're not - and while it's tempting to believe you can make the Connor Woods of the world into QBs, if the requisite touch and feel for the passing game isn't there, it'll never be there.  Buechele has the touch.

Buechele committed early and had little interest in "I'm-taking-my-talents-to" hat drama so his recruitment never quite reached the fever pitch of anticipation one might expect, but you can make a pretty solid argument that the Longhorns landed the best QB in the state who possesses every intangible that coaches want in their on-field leader.