Joe Theismann has certain characteristics he looks for when evaluating any quarterback. Size. Arm strength. Accuracy. The ability to throw on the run. There are others.

To Theismann, Maryland's Class of 2015 quarterback commit, Gage Shaffer from Ridgeley (W.Va.), has a lot of those characteristics.

"He’s one of most impressive young men I've seen,” said Theismann, who played quarterback for the Washington Redskins from 1974-85 and has been an NFL analyst 29 years since retiring.

Granted, Theismann has never seen Shaffer play in person. The extent of Theismann’s scouting is two videos on YouTube.

But one of the clips is of Shaffer at a camp that shows both good and bad throws. The other was a highlight video, which Theismann understands. “But it’s not like it was just two minutes long,” Theismann said.

"It was impressive,” Theismann said. “He really is. I looked at both videos twice because it was just down right fun watching him throw the football.”

Rivals.com rates Shaffer as just a two-star recruit. ESPN ranks him as just a three-star, although ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill did say during a phone interview that Shaffer is a prospect he likes a lot.

However, Theismann thinks Shaffer, who is listed at 6 feet 7, 210 pounds, is a better prospect than either ranking suggests.

"He’s not going to run 4.4 [in the 40-yard dash], and he’s not going to run the right option,” Theismann said. “But if you want a kid who can stand in the pocket, move when he needs to, make all the throws going left and going right, understanding what it’s like to throw a deep ball and get it out of your hands in time as well as with a nice arc, then what’s the highest ranking you can give somebody, five-star? He’s a five-star to me. He’s a five-star quarterback.”

Maryland missed out on four-star Gilman quarterback Kai Locksley, who orally committed to Florida State last week. But the Terps’ 2015 recruiting class may produce the team’s future at quarterback anyway.

“I think he can be a top-flight quarterback in college football,” Theismann said. “If a program wants someone who can throw the ball from all different places and understands, like I said, how to throw a ball and how to throw a touch ball, which a lot of kids don’t … he has a nice touch on the football.

“And when he sets in the pocket, like on the quick slants, and has to throw them, it comes out quickly. The delivery is very, very solid. It’s not labored. It’s not long. His movement is very fluid when it comes to throwing the ball.”

mzenitz@tribune.com

 

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