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December 14, 2005When is it you know you're a top-notch quarterback? Is it when you get your first official offer in writing? Is it when you get your fifth star on Rivals.com or make Parade All-American? All of those are certainly clues, but the real sign that you're a top-notch quarterback is when many things are affected by everything you do. Every move you make sends a small ripple across the recruiting pond. That's the case with new Gator commitment Tim Tebow as he's affected at least four different BCS programs with his decision.
Tebow has had an effect on the following schools directly -- Florida, Alabama and Texas. He will also have an effect on a fourth school as soon as Florida freshman QB Josh Portis decides on a school. That's the sign of being a big-time quarterback and also one of the unfortunate side effects. Tebow would prefer to simply have a positive influence on his new team, but that's just not possible.
First, let's talk about what this does for Florida. The Gators now have the quarterback of the future and a player that fits Meyer's offense perfectly. Tebow is big, strong, mobile and makes good, quick decisions. He was an absolute must because of the potential transfer of Portis and the de-commitment from Snead. Think of Tebow as a left-handed Alex Smith except much further along physically at the same stage. The big question is whether he can handle the mental aspects of the offense and take the punishment of the SEC. Remember, Smith was taking hits from WAC guys or whatever conference Utah is in. This is the SEC folks, so nothing is a given. That being said, this kid has tons of potential.
On the flip side, this is a tough blow to Alabama. The Tide didn't have a backup plan at quarterback (or at least they don't seem to have one) since they aren't high on Chris Smelley and put all their efforts towards Tebow. This leaves them with three quarterbacks on their roster, none of them proven. Someone will have to step up next year, but that would have had to happen even if Tebow chose 'Bama. However, the future is the question. This puts quite a bit of pressure on Alabama to land a top quarterback (and two overall) in 2007 to compliment their other recruiting success this year. Alabama is having a great recruiting year, but without a quarterback -- a huge need -- it lacks a key area. On the bright side, Alabama will have one of the top offensive line classes in recent history this year, something they can easily sell to a stud QB next year. And playing time will be available for sure.
Texas has benefitted greatly from the Tebow situation as well. Tim might be saying publically that he decided on Florida just hours before he announced his decision, but quarterbacks weren't scurrying out of Gainesville a month ago for no reason. Jevan Snead, a big-time quarterback, was the one thing Texas was lacking in this, their best recruiting class on paper since 2002 when Vince Young led the way. Now they have an Elite 11 quarterback with good mobility who can learn a year under Young and be ready to start as a redshirt freshman. Snead gets to go home and Texas gets the last piece of the puzzle.
Finally, some team out there will benefit from the transfer of Portis -- maybe. A PAC 10 school or Maryland will get the talented yet enigmatic signal-caller and their offense will be that much better immediately. The big question is, how will Portis respond if he's not the starter right away after sitting out a year? He is bolting Florida after a year where he saw some playing time but felt he should be starting over Leak. If he's upset about losing a job to a two-year starter, how will he react if he loses out to someone with similar or even less experience. Sometimes a player can have all the skill in the world, but the mental part of the game gets him. So far it seems to have gotten Portis.
You'll notice that Brent Schaeffer wasn't mentioned (until now). That's because I don't believe he was ever in Florida's plans. However, if he was and isn't now because of Tebow, you can add him to the mix. However, it remains to be seen whether NC State or Ole Miss or whoever will benefit from signing Schaeffer. Like Portis, he's a bit impatient and won't react well to sitting on the bench if he's forced to. With both guys teams will be better if they play and stay happy, but worse off it they don't.