ESPN issued a press release previewing its lineup for the 2013 installment of the popular Jon Gruden QB Camp. The usual cast of characters are to be featured on the program that showcases former Super Bowl winning head coach, current Monday Night Football analyst and Clay Travis object-of-obsession Gruden and his extensive playbook vocabulary.
That cast includes the corps of likely drafted quarterbacks headed to the NFL. This year’s class should make for fascinating television, in part because the quarterback class is such a question mark. Consider some of the interviewees:
Geno Smith, West Virginia: The likely first quarterback taken was once a Heisman shoo-in. But the Mountaineers’ trying finish served as reminder that award’s aren’t given the first week of October. Geno Smith put up wildly impressive numbers, but his frustrations were apparent down the stretch. He also comes to the NFL from a spread offensive system, something the pros are integrating with more regularity but still a topic of skepticism for prospects trying to prove themselves.
Matt Barkley, USC: Mentioned in the same breath as Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III a year ago and widely considered the presumptive favorite to go No. 1 this year, Matt Barkley struggled through a luke warm senior season.
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas: Captained the Razorback offense through one of the most bizarre and tumultuous seasons in college football history.
Landry Jones, Oklahoma: One of the most criticized and doubted quarterbacks in recent memory, a four-year starter at powerhouse Oklahoma, whose career legacy is one of disappointment.
The QB Camp will also included non-quarterbacks this year. Among them is Notre Dame linebacker and 2012 Heisman runner-up Manti Te’o, whose odd off-field story revealed in January generated headlines beyond the sports page.
Te’o's ability as a professional linebacker was criticized heavily following a lackluster BCS championship performance, but the topic most will want to see broached is his online relationship and what effect it has on his stock.
Texas A&M offensive lineman Luke Joeckel will also be featured, an intriguing choice as viewers will get some insight into the overlooked aspect of building an explosive offense. Johnny Manziel won the Heisman, but Joeckel’s role in facilitating Manziel’s meteoric is sure to be discussed.
South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore is the third non-quarterback slated to appear with Gruden. The Gamecock junior suffered two catastrophic injuries, which greatly hurt his draft stock from where it may have been two years ago. His decision to go pro this year came as something of a surprise; getting a more clear sense of Lattimore’s motivation, and what a proven NFL mind like Gruden thinks of the running back’s chances, pique this blogger’s interest.