Listening to Matt Miller and Connor Rogers’ Stick to Football Podcast, they were asked the question, “If you were a 5-star QB, where would you go to college?”
Bear in mind that this podcast typically deals with the NFL draft analysis. So how they answered really had more to do with where would you suggest a 5-star QB go to best be prepared for the NFL both in terms of exposure, opportunity and coaching.
Connor Rogers offhandedly suggested USC and then had this to say...
"Here is my underrated one that I think is going to, could become a hotbed. Not for a 5-star quarterback but for more high end quarterbacks than we've seen go there in the recent past is Minnesota with PJ Fleck. Because with PJ Fleck, and they're already off to a great start recruiting under him. with PJ Fleck you know he is going to maximize offensive talents. He's always done that. You look at the way he got Corey Davis targets, you look at what they've done. He's not always scheme specific whether they're going to go spread, whether they're going to go pro-style. They're going to work with the player. And I think if he's recruiting you and you're a 5-star quarterback, and you're also going to get the chance to start at Minnesota, he's going to work to your strengths and just maximize the player you are on the field. And I think that's all you can ask for in a coach. I feel like young coaches do are way more like that."
Miller certainly agreed, said he really liked that pick and then proceeded to go with Texas and Louisville for similar reasons as why Rogers chose Fleck. Coaches who will adjust their system for their best players.
Which leads to the following conclusions...
Current Fleck recruited offensive skill players should be very pleased
Not because they have received some sort of grand anointing to be so fortunate that the all-rowing PJ Fleck deemed them worthy of a scholarship on his boat. No. But because of his philosophy of putting players in position to succeed.
Fleck’s offensive philosophy is to find ways to get the ball in the hands of his best players. Not finding players to fit his specific system, but allowing the players he has to succeed. Five Western Michigan players drafted over the previous two drafts is a pretty impressive accomplishment for a MAC school.
Current verbal commit Brennan Armstrong (QB) should be very excited about what he can expect while at Minnesota. But also the likes of Jornell Manns (WR), Rashod Bateman (WR), Erik Gibson (WR) and Bryce Williams (RB) should all be looking forward to their four years here. Will they all be a huge success, racking up massive numbers and all being drafted in the early rounds of the NFL? No, but they’ll be given the right instruction and those who begin to separate themselves from the rest will be given ample opportunities to make plays with the ball in their hands.
What will this mean for the 2017 Gophers?
It will be very interesting to see what Fleck and Offensive Coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca do this year with their skill position players. Crafting ways for Demry Croft to succeed at quarterback is going to be very different than Connor Rhoda. Both will primarily be handing the ball off to our best offensive weapons, but both will also need to keep defenses honest with their different strengths. Should be very interesting.
I also think that the current crop of athletic receivers (Rashad Still, Tyler Johnson, Hunter Register, Melvin Holland Jr) are all going to benefit from the likes of Fleck and Matt Simon coaching them.
All in all this was a pretty exciting nugget to find. When the question was posed I assumed the hosts would go with blue-blood programs that already tend to bring in 5-star quarterbacks. But it was a quick and thought-out response to call out PJ Fleck.