SOUTHLAKE, Texas — Quinn Ewers wants the spotlight on the program, and he takes the mission statement to protect Southlake Carroll’s tradition seriously.
But the first thing anybody strolling into a spring practice for the Dragons hears is one of his favorite Texas-Country singers Koe Wetzel pumping through the speakers. A handful of elementary-aged kids in the end zone have copied his blonde-mullet hairstyle. And then at the other end of the field, the real-deal spills out of his helmet as he delivers bullet after bullet during a rainy May afternoon workout.
Southlake Carroll has a deep, talented cast or it wouldn’t be annually contending for state championships in one of the toughest divisions in Texas. But there’s also no question about the star of the show, and that would be true with or without noticing the unique fashion sense or the deeply-personal Bible-verse tattooed on his right arm.
“I’m not trying to put the spotlight on me,” Ewers told Lettermen Row on Monday night. “I just have my own style. I’m just trying to be me.”
On the field, that means giving the football a quick spin after taking almost every snap, delivering deep strikes from almost every conceivable arm angle and continuing to solidify his reputation as the best quarterback recruit in the nation. Away from it, Ewers is still carving out as much time as possible to hop in his truck to head to the lake, going hunting and fishing with his dad and shutting out as many conversations as he can about his high-profile recruitment.
The first stop on the Texas Tour for Lettermen Row was to see the Ohio State commit and Southlake Carroll in person. There will be much more coverage of Ewers and others with ties to the Buckeyes coming, but let’s start with Three Observations from an open spring practice with the Dragons.
Quinn Ewers arm talent lives up to hype
Even if Quinn Ewers is being evaluated as a potential generational talent, it’s certainly premature and unfair to compare any high-school quarterback to the best passer at the NFL level. And yet watching Ewers work through off-platform throws or deliver on-the-money deep balls from unusual arm angles, it’s hard not to project at least a little bit of Patrick Mahomes onto the Buckeyes commit. It also doesn’t help that his receivers drop the name when recounting insane throws from scrimmages or when Ewers mentions that he works out with some of the same trainers as Mahomes. Purely based on an ability to maintain both accuracy and velocity seemingly regardless of how the football comes out of his hand, Ewers has a unique gift. Watching him roll to his right and casually drop a 30-yard corner route into the hands of Landon Samson for a scrimmage touchdown is jaw-dropping regardless of the competition level or stakes on the practice field.
Spring practice key for developing young talent
There is a reason Ohio State coach Ryan Day continues to mention how much losing spring camp last year hurt the development his team and how much value there is in those practice reps. And if those workouts mean that much at the college level, imagine how meaningful they can be for high-schoolers — and the way they could pay off both for kids chasing a state title and preparing to play at the next level. At some point Ohio is going to need to figure out a solution for spring practice, because otherwise it’s only letting players in the state fall behind young talent in places like Texas who are getting spirited, full-contact work that puts them on a different learning curve. The Dragons were able to get plenty of fundamentals reps individually, learn concepts on both sides of the ball and then closed out the afternoon practice with a highly-competitive scrimmage that looked like it was in midseason form. Clearly sessions like that add up over time when it comes to preparing teams to play fall — and players for the college ranks.
Landon Samson could be intriguing Ohio State option
The Buckeyes already have a lengthy line of the nation’s top-ranked recruits waiting for a chance to play for wide receivers coach Brian Hartline, so they don’t really have much need to unearth hidden gems or potential projects that might require a year or two of patience. But if there’s an exception to be made, Landon Samson might just fit the bill for the Buckeyes. The three-star has speed to burn, caught everything thrown his way on Monday and then showed off even more athleticism after a touchdown catch with an impressive celebration that showed off his reported 40-inch vertical. Samson is planning to visit the Buckeyes in June, and it’s probably a long shot that he can sneak into the class. But a strong workout and his previous experience with Ewers might make for an interesting conversation.