Gig Harbor High School quarterback Davis Alexander isn’t 6 feet tall, and Tahoma’s Amandre Williams has more NCAA Division I scholarship offers to play defensive end than he does quarterback.
But those details only matter on paper, and that’s why quarterback guru Taylor Barton helped establish the Northwest 9. He said the Pacific Northwest’s nine best high school quarterbacks will be determined by far more than measurements.
“One thing we will not do — base it on height and weight,” said Barton, a former University of Washington quarterback who is now the director of the Barton Football Academy . “The Seattle Seahawks had a quarterback (Russell Wilson) take them to two Super Bowls who, on paper, wouldn’t make a lot of high school rosters.”
The four-day, invite-only camp begins Wednesday at Northwest University in Kirkland and brings the Pacific Northwest up to speed with a showcase event similar to what other regions have been holding for years. It will resemble the Elite 11 — a national event that decides the top 11 quarterback recruits and this year included Lake Stevens’ Jacob Eason, a University of Georgia commit.
The Northwest 9 will start with 25 quarterbacks — including Alexander and Williams — and put them through drills and tests to examine their footwork, arm strength, accuracy, escapability, leadership and ability to read coverages, and end with the release of an inaugural Northwest 9.
Former Washington State University quarterback Alex Brink will help Barton run the camp and is in charge of creating playbooks for seven-on-seven drills that each of the players will be given one day to memorize.
Barton said he hopes the camp will also shine some light on what he sees as unrecognized talent in the Pacific Northwest.
Eason is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 2 quarterback recruit in the nation in the 2016 class, and that comes after Skyline produced No. 1 ranked Jake Heaps in 2010 and again with Max Browne in 2013, both from Skyline High in Sammamish.
Eason won’t be attending the camp, and neither will Beaverton’s Sam Noyer, a University of Colorado commit. But Auburn Mountainview’s Gresch Jensen, who recently committed to Montana, will, as is four-star incoming sophomore Jacob Sirmon of Bothell and incoming Graham-Kapowsin freshman Dylan Morris.
Alexander, who threw for 2,160 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior for Gig Harbor last season, said he is most looking forward to living in a dorm setting and learning and competing with 24 other quarterbacks from Washington and Oregon.
“You always want to go out there and make a name for yourself, but I don’t think that’s totally what it is about,” said Alexander, who has offers from Montana Tech and the College of Idaho. “You also just want to get better as a player and have fun and play the game.”
Williams’ 579 passing yards in Tahoma’s 48-41 win over Rogers last year were the second most in a game in state history, but most of his scholarship offers, including from Oregon and UW, are as a defensive end.
“I’m just excited to get there and see what the deal is about,” Williams said. “There’s going to be some good talent and some good guys I’ve played against. So it should be cool.”
Barton said he also plans to incorporate Northwest University’s disc golf course, a Slip’N Slide, obstacle course, water balloon fights and Knockerball (where people smash into each other from inside bubble-like, inflatable chambers) into the camp.
Williams should have just as good a chance of being named to the inaugural Northwest 9 as he does decimating his Knockerball opponents.
“We are going to mix in a lot of fun with this thing,” Barton said.
“I fully expect the kids who come this year are going to have a great experience, learn a lot, get a lot better and then over the future years it will be something that becomes a can’t-miss.”
Twenty-five high school quarterbacks from Washington and Oregon will be at the four-day camp begins Wednesday at Northwest University in Kirkland. Former UW quarterback Taylor Barton and former WSU quarterback Alex Brink will on Friday determine the inaugural Northwest 9 — the camp’s nine best quarterbacks. Four under-the-radar QBs Barton said he believes will turn the most heads at the camp: Redmond’s Nick Swanson, Gig Harbor’s Davis Alexander, Graham-Kapowsin’s Dylan Morris and Bothell’s Jacob Sirmon.
Lakeside of Seattle