As per tradition, I’m spending the offseason working my way through the upcoming recruiting class. I’ll be taking a look at the tape of our current Class of 2024 commitments, getting a feel for their skills and talent, and assessing where they might fit on our roster. You can my find other 2024 UW recruiting profiles here.
Dermaricus Davis (QB, 6’4” 190, Etiwanda HS, CA)
DeBoer & Co. wasted little time securing their QB for the 2024 class once the spot went up for grabs, and Dermaricus Davis will keep the QB room well-stocked with talent for the foreseeable future. Much like some of the other QBs that Coach DeBoer and Coach Grubb have gone after in their time at UW, Davis is a P5-caliber talent whose recruiting is just starting to pick up, and we’ve gotten in on the ground floor. We had to beat out Oregon State, Arizona, BYU, and Minnesota, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he receives offers through his senior year if he can maintain or improve on his junior season performance where he threw for 3,190 yards and 22 TDs.
Davis, the #45 QB in the 2024 class, can definitely play above his ranking with big arm talent, sound mechanics, and the type of natural athleticism that Coach Grubb looks for in his QBs. Just look at his junior tape.
When I watch Davis’ junior hudl film, the first thing that I notice is his “effortless” power in his passes. Pure arm strength is a fairly overrated trait in QB scouting at all levels, particularly at the HS level, but that’s because there’s nuance. Davis’ throwing motion, and overall body mechanics when passing, is efficient. That lets him maximize his pure arm talent in all situations.
On the first play of the hudl film above, Davis uncorks a ~60 yard bomb after moving off of his initial read. Plenty of P5-caliber HS QBs can throw 60 yards in practice, but few can connect on that far of a second read pass because of the velocity required to throw a WR open that far down field while resetting their base. Davis didn’t need to exaggerate his step into the pass, and he relied on his body rotation/torque to get the necessary power behind the throw. That’s replicable mechanics that are key to consistent deep passing, as well as passing on the move (which he also looked really good on).
Later, at ~0:50 second mark, Davis makes a double clutch pass on a backside dig route over the middle with impressive velocity, and we get another chance to see his compact throwing mechanics at work. After hesitating on his initial read, he quickly resets both his arm and his feet to be able to step into his throw to accurately deliver the fast ball into the window over the middle. He kept his feet in sync with his eyes better than a lot of QBs I’ve seen at the HS level. The WR wasn’t able to haul in the pass, but it was the type of zip on breaking routes that separates QBs that need to rely on perfect anticipation from those that can make a play out of a missed initial read.
Don’t think Davis is just a pure power passer either. I was also pretty impressed with how he was able to throttle his passes. He took heat off of a lot of his passes down the sideline to “drop it in the basket” with good accuracy and just enough air underneath to clear underneath/trailing defenders.
Beyond his passing ability, Davis is also a smooth natural athlete. Grubb and DeBoer have been pretty consistent in their messaging. They’re looking for passers first, but their QBs need to be able to move. Grubb’s offense utilizes a lot of half rolls off of play action, and at times we’ll dial up QB runs or option plays. As I mentioned earlier, Davis already has film of him executing those types of plays. He’s an accurate passer on the run, and he has pretty good speed in the open field. He isn’t going to out run DBs, but he’s certainly capable of executing everything that we’ve seen out of Grubb’s offense to date.
If I were to summarize Davis’ play style with a comparison, I’d say he has shades of Keith Price with a dash of (HS/Pre-Duck) Marcus Mariota. He’s a pass-first QB with plus mobility that could bail him out of bad situations and be used in selective QB run calls, somewhat in the style of Price. His throwing mechanics and deceptive speed are what made me think of Mariota, who I was able to see in person when he was at the HS level. Both have very good, but not elite arm talent. However, both maximize their talents with consistently quick and compact mechanics that allow quick trigger passing. Also, much like Mariota,
I’ll hold off on a Davis4Heisman campaign since there’s a bunch of unknown factors (like pocket presence and making consistent reads) that are tough to evaluate off of limited tape, but I’m very excited to see what he could do in this offense.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.