The University of Washington has a history of producing great quarterbacks, so when Steve Sarkisian inked two of the best quarterback recruits in the country, it came as no surprise.
Cyler Miles of Mullen High in Denver, CO., and Jeff Lindquist of Mercer Island High school will join a Washington roster that already has it’s starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.
Keith Price is going into his redshirt junior season, and in his first year as the starter he broke a handful of Washington passing records. Barring injury he will be the starting quarterback, and there will be little to no competition for that spot.
Though Price has his spot on lockdown, the role as the backup to Price is wide open, with three different quarterbacks vying for the role. Miles and Lindquist will join second year quarterback, Derrick Brown from Winchester California.
Right now, Brown has to be given the edge based on his extra year in the Washington system, but talent-wise, both Miles and Lindquist rate higher than Brown did coming out of high school.
According to Scout.com Brown was a three star and the number 46 quarterback in 2011; Lindquist is a four star and the number 8 quarterback in 2012; and Miles is a four star and the number 13 quarterback in 2012.
Often times those ratings can prove to be wrong though, Price was just a three star and the 50th ranked quarterback in 2009, but in just his first year as the starter was one of the best quarterbacks in the conference.
Brown, Miles and Lindquist are all athletic quarterbacks, but each in a different way.
The biggest of the group is Brown, at 6-3, 236 pounds he has a big strong arm and uses his athleticism to run, not just to escape defenders. He is not a very accurate passer at this point, but neither was Price in 2010 when he was practicing alongside Jake Locker, so if he’s taken big strides that could become less of an issue.
Miles is a very similar player to Price, but he’s bigger than Price is at 6-4 220 pounds. He uses his speed as a scrambler to make plays downfield, but has the ability to run as well. The biggest knock on Miles is his arm strength and accuracy, two things that can be learned over time. He has some very interesting physical tools that make him a great player to watch in the coming years.
Lindquist is the local kid who clearly bleeds purple. He committed early, as did Miles, and was at just about every home game in 2011 rooting on the Huskies. Scout.com’s Jake Worthen has compared Lindquist to Stanford star Andrew Luck in that he is looked at as a pocket passer, but has great athleticism as well.
Playing for Mercer Island, Lindquist didn’t always have the best team, but he was an incredible teammate. Following a game his junior year, Brandon Huffman of Scout.com wanted to interview him about the win; Lindquist didn’t want to do it alone. He grabbed teammates so they could enjoy the glory of winning, he knew it was a team effort and the entire team should be interviewed.
If I were choosing who I think the best quarterback of these three will be to begin the 2012 season, Lindquist would top the list, with Miles second.
But will Sarkisian burn a valuable year of eligibility to have one of them as the backup? Doubtful, I see Derrick Brown proving himself to be a competent backup and winning the role to allow both freshmen to redshirt.
It will be similar to 2006, when the Huskies had Isaiah Stanback as their starter and they redshirted Jake Locker who would’ve likely been a better backup than Carl Bonnell. Even when Stanback went down, Locker stayed on the bench to redshirt.
2012 will begin the same way with two talented redshirting quarterbacks and a somewhat fragile Price as the starter. If he goes down with a season ending injury early in the year, problems could develop, but after Brown, Miles and Lindquist the Huskies have decent emergency options.
Shaq Thompson played quarterback in high school and would be available in emergency situations. The Huskies also have Thomas Vincent who Sarkisian has talked about before, saying he’s improved and could play if the Huskies were desperate.
It wouldn’t be a great scenario, but if a starting quarterback’s season is cut short, it’s rarely results in a positive season, just take a look at the Indianapolis Colts.
No matter who does end up as the Huskies backup quarterback, the health of Price is the most important piece of the equation. Sarkisian has three very capable backups to choose from, the veteran in Brown, the project in Miles, and the hometown kid in Lindquist.
Look for Brown to win the role based on circumstance, but long-term, Lindquist is the leader to take over for Price when that role is empty.
Follow Lawrence on Twitter @AMitchellReport