All incoming Syracuse Orange recruits are important to us. But, you know, one in particular might have caught our attention a little bit more than the rest. That's QB Zach Allen, who has the potential to be a game-changer for the Orange. Thankfully, we've got some SU folks on the ground near Temple TX that can check in on Zach from time to time to see how he's doing. LeftyTG was kind enough to do some scouting a couple week ago and now, Orange fan Bob Kalka is doin' work (Long time readers may remember Bob as the once-owner of the Russian matryoshka dolls that doomed our 2008 squad). Here are his thoughts on Zach after watching him over the weekend:
The Panthers from Pitt lost Friday night to our Syracuse Orange.
Unfortunately, during those same few hours, the Panthers from Midway (5-0) High School didn’t fall to the Temple (Texas) Wildcats (3-2) – and their Syracuse-bound star QB Zach Allen.
Under the Friday night lights at impressive Panther Stadium a few minutes south of Waco, Temple saw a close 21-20 halftime deficit collapse into a 63-20 rout, based on an inexplicably uninspired team effort in the second half.
However, Orange fans, you are in for a serious treat when Zach suits up for us in 2013.
After getting a ‘hall pass’ from my wife to skip our kids’ band event, and somehow convincing myself that this opportunity was also more important than watching the Pitt game live, I drove up from the burnt orange country of Austin, Texas (actually a town called Georgetown - really…and sorry! - about 25 miles north) to the land of Baylor’s green and gold to see how our protégé would stand up to the undefeated Panthers, themselves led by QB (and LSU baseball commit) Kramer Robertson, son of Baylor women hoops coach Kim Mulkey.
A few observations…Zach is tall and is built like a pro. He has an innate sense of the pocket and knows what to do when it breaks down. He runs well…and actually slides! On every handoff, he continues to sell ‘pass’ afterwards to confuse the defensive backs. And he has the smoothest (no overpowering missiles!), most fluid and accurate throw I’ve seen in a high school quarterback, from short flare-outs to 30-yard downfield routes.
Zach accounted for 303 total yards – 251 in the air with 2 touchdowns, and 52 running. And most of that was in the first half, when the rest of his team also showed up to play.
On the first play from scrimmage, Zach looked off the coverage and sent a clean swing pass to Keith Buhl (being recruited by Oklahoma State, New Mexico and Eastern Illinois) for a quick 15-yard gain.
Several plays later, on a 3rd and 7, he pulled a Houdini when the pocket closed around him, and he stepped up and shoveled ahead a pass that must have traveled 15 yards – first down.
On Temple’s second possession, he threw a beautiful 70-yard TD pass over the defensive backfield.
In the second quarter, he threw another tight TD pass, this one 35 yards – check out the video!
On their next drive, Allen threw a perfect 35-yard pass, and one play later Buhl ran into the end zone.
Unfortunately that would be Temple’s last points of the game. In a foreshadowing of the entire second half, Temple ended up with the ball with 2:00 to go in the first half, and gave up, in order, a sack, a throw-away, and two short scrambles after their line was blown out by Waco Midway.
I’ll take the advice that Zach’s Dad gave me after the game, and pretend that I left at halftime. There’s really no need to discuss the second half, other than a great 40-yard keeper from Zach, because Temple came out flat. Each drive was the same – Temple’s receivers couldn’t get open, the pocket would break down, and there would either be a sack or a throw-away. One promising spot in the fourth quarter saw Zach delivering a 30-yard pass to his receiver, following by 10 yards of running…and a lost fumble. And there was so much pressure on Zach to carry the team that he ended up missing an underneath linebacker and threw his first pick of the year.
Speaking of Zach’s Dad, his family – and really, all of the Temple fans that I talked to – were good people. Two minutes after arriving at the game, as the sole beacon of Orange in a sea of blue and white, Zach’s young brother and two of his friends came over and asked if I was from Syracuse, and noted how excited they were that he’s going there. I had a couple of nice conversations with his Dad, including having the honor of explaining to him the history behind the TNIAAM name, and giving an honest answer when his family asked what the best Syracuse blog is.