The three college-bound QBs sat down with Times reporter Jayson Jenks to talk about the recruiting process, playing their position and more.
High-school quarterbacks no longer live in the shadows. They are subject to a steady flow of scrutiny and questions as recruiting experts try to project the Next Big Thing.
This is the world in which quarterbacks Max Browne (Skyline), Billy Green (King’s) and Isaac Dotson (Newport) live. With all three college-bound — Browne to USC, Green to BYU and Dotson to Nevada — the Times got the trio in the same room to talk about the recruiting process, the position and their worst sport.
Quick impression: All three are thoughtful and good guys. After the interview and photo shoot, all three said thanks for putting it together.
Q: Has the focus and attention on recruiting from the media gotten out of control?
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Green: “I haven’t received too much of that lately, but after I committed I was getting three or four or five calls from reporters a day, and it was getting a little overwhelming.”
Browne: “It was really tough during the season. My junior year, I had to manage football and school and all that stuff. But it only gets out of hand if you let it. You always hear the guys complaining that they have too many calls, but the fact is they probably put it on themselves by saying they’re interested in 25 schools when they’re really not.”
Q: What are the one or two things you’d look for from a quarterback if you were a college recruiter?
Browne: “I’d probably say accuracy, and then feet in the pocket.”
Dotson: “Mobility, for sure.”
Browne: “Guys will get stronger and stuff, but I think the biggest thing is how they go through the progressions and how they use their feet. I think that separates the average quarterbacks from the D-I guys.”
Green: “You have to take a look at all those things, but then you also have to take a look at his leadership ability and his ability to win. Some of those things you can’t really measure that easily.”
Dotson: “I’d say composure on the field and the way the quarterback interacts with his team. You have to be able to interact with them in a way so they don’t turn away from you.”
Q: What’s more important, accuracy or arm strength?
Browne: “Accuracy and then timing, but I think those go hand in hand. I think you see a lot of guys who don’t make it who have arm strength. And then you see guys that don’t have arm strength but have accuracy. You always hear the example of Drew Brees. It’s great to have both, but I think accuracy trumps arm strength.”
Green: “If you throw a ball late, it doesn’t matter how strong your arm is, it’s going to be picked off. Having the accuracy to put the ball where it’s needed — and on time — is the most important thing.”
Q: How often do you watch football?
Green: “I watch it all the time. I always hate having to turn the TV off and go do homework.”
Dotson: “I’m with you on that.”
Browne: “One thing that’s great about committing is you always have a team to support. I mean, I never really had a team, so now it’s always fun to root for someone. And then on Sunday, I’m a big fantasy football guy so I’m always following that.”
Q: Who’s your fantasy quarterback?
Browne: “I’ve got RGIII (Robert Griffin III). A late-round guy.”
Green: “I’ve got Aaron Rodgers.”
Dotson: “I’m not in fantasy.”
Q: How do you watch games and what do you look for?
Dotson: “College football is closer to us so we can relate to it more, especially when you have a team to watch and can take mental notes on. That’s definitely when you take notes of little things and start to actually look at it from an analyzing standpoint.”
Browne: “For me, at least, you’re kind of thinking, ‘Oh, what would you have done on that play?’ But then going to the camps the last couple of years, you’re actually starting to know some of the guys playing in the game, so yesterday watching the BYU-Notre Dame game, Kei’Varae Russell is a guy that I got to know. It’s kind of cool to hear the announcers say, ‘BYU is trying to pick on Kei’Varae Russell.’ “
Q: If you had to scout yourself, what would you come up with?
Green: “I’d say, bring a lot of pressure. Don’t let me sit back in the pocket and pick defenses apart. Try to get to me and flush me out of the pocket.”
Browne: “My height is probably my advantage. I feel like I have the frame to put on some more weight, too. I feel like I have better feet than I’m sometimes given credit for. But I think weaknesses, I’d like to be more consistent on the run and moving around.”
Dotson: “For me, my strength is my mobility and athleticism. My pocket presence in the passing game is something I can work on. I’m used to having to extend plays and make plays. Sometimes when I do have time, I’ll still try to do something that’s unnecessary and try to make plays when I could just stand in there and finish my progressions.”
Q: What’s the thing you hear the most from your coach?
Green: “What my coach talks to me about is just my reads. Sometimes I may not make the best read and miss an open guy somewhere. It’s maybe locking in on one guy too much, based on a pre-snap read.”
Dotson: “For me, it’s locking onto a receiver. The pre-snap read, you can get kind of antsy and like Max said, you just want to get it out. But being able to recognize how a defense is moving right after the snap is what separates levels of quarterbacks.”
Q: What’s the best advice you have ever gotten?
Browne: “When I was replacing (Jake) Heaps, the best advice was, it’s just the same game, no matter what game it is. I get just as nervous now as I did playing Isaac back in sixth, seventh and eighth grade.”
Dotson: “My dad told me going into my first start my freshman year, ‘The guys are a little faster and they’re a little bit bigger and the tempo is a little bit quicker. But it’s still football.’ “
Green: “I replaced Thomas Vincent my junior year, and he had had 100 touchdowns in two years and he’s playing at the UW now. But just knowing to go out and play your game and not worry about what someone did in the past.”
Q: Do you remember the first time a big-time coach called you, or your first offer?
Dotson: “I remember getting my first letter. It was from Duke, which was kind of weird. One of my buddies came up to me in the hall and said, ‘Hey, there’s a letter for you!'”
Browne: (Laughs) “I’m pretty sure that was my first letter, too.”
Dotson: “I never heard from them again after that.” (Laughs)
Browne: “Last year’s signing day, I was sitting in my first period class. I got pulled out of my art class and was sitting at this random table in the commons, and I was talking to coach (Alabama’s Nick) Saban. You hear the voice on TV or in the ‘Blind Side’ movie, and then he’s actually talking to you. I was freaking out. That’s probably something I’ll always remember. But like Isaac said, the first offer you’ll always remember. Mine was UW. When I got mine, I was never really thinking college at that point, so it was a cool surprise.”
Q: What’s the sport you’re worst at?
Green: “Soccer, hands down.”
Browne: “I can’t even get on a skateboard.”
Dotson: “For me, I tried wakeboarding the first time this summer, and I couldn’t even get up. Water sports probably aren’t my thing.”
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org