Top of the year and I’ve had the pleasure of featuring some of the best Youth Football Quarterbacks from Preseason to Postseason. Starting with my Field General feature Preseason leading to my Hottest Quarterbacks in Youth Football Midseason. With the entire year fresh in my head, I saw it being fitting that I feature the Quarterbacks with thee most juice 2018.
Now when I say “juice”. I mean that Quarterback you had to game plan for. That Quarterback that once he get’s in the zone you can hang it up. That Quarterback you just don’t have a answer for. That Quarterback that lead his team to a championship. That Quarterback with all the intangibles to excel on the next level. Now it’s time to get to the meat & potatoes on why were here, which is the introduction to these phenoms.
Quarterback Juice introduction
PP= Pocket Passer
Measurables: 6’0”-164 lbs
Position : QB/PP
Team : I.E Ducks (CA)
Class : 2023
You can’t do nothing but respect or speak of Pierce Clarkson in high regards. Simply because the gauntlet of a schedule he help lead his team thru. I for one had my doubts about the Middle school to youth football transition for Clarkson. But without a shadow of doubt Clarkson silence any doubts by defeating two Nationally ranked top 5 teams. None being more impressive than leading his team on a 70-yard game winning drive, where the phenom threw the game winning touchdown with 16 seconds left on the clock. That game winning drive earned Clarkson and his team the I.E Ducks a 14u AYF National Title in a thrilling win over the 4th ranked Vegas Strong (Blue).
When you have a Quarterback like Clarkson who is quite simply a deadly signal-caller. He has a quick but strong delivery on his throws and possesses superb accuracy on short and mid-range throws with nice touch on the deep ball. Clarkson threw for over 40 touchdown passes on the year to 6 different receivers, now that’s what you call spreading the wealth. When you’re putting up numbers like that why not compete for a Battle YNC Championship. Which is where Clarkson was at his best facing the Maryland Heat for the 2nd time on the year for all the marbles. Clarkson had a rough go in the first meeting but came away victorious. The 2nd meeting to add a 2nd National Championship in one year to his resume, the kid was in rare form. Clarkson wouldn’t be denied on the ground or thru the air, accounting for a touchdown by way of the ground & air. Clarkson performance earned him Battle YNC MVP honors. Clarkson is the epitome of having the “JUICE” all 2018.
Measurables: 5’10”-161 lbs
Position : QB/PP
Team : Washington Park Bucs (FL)
Class : 2023
Some guys have it and some guys don’t. But in the case of Taron “Tyger”Dickens this phenom just happens to be a born winner. Original Swag Boy as a youngster on the Gwen Cherry Bulls mighty mites’ team a star was born. Tyger’s rise as one of the top Quarterbacks in the state of Florida came under the tutelage of Louisville Cardinal great & current Nfl QB Teddy Bridgewater. Tyger was never the strongest or the fastest, but with the help of Bridgewater he was the smartest and most advanced kid his age. A director on the field how he led his troops into battle winning 6 Super Bowls in his youth football career. Far from a game manager this kid is a gamer who you don’t want to get in a shootout against. With nerves of steel Tyger doesn’t buckle under pressure in fact he welcomes the challenge. And if you were reading up you should know he is a winner, so he always seems to come out on top.
With over 100 touchdown passes in his illustrious youth career with an over the top delivery Dickens can push the ball downfield, with precise touch on his deep ball it drops perfectly towards the end of its flight. He’s quick footed in the pocket and does a great job re setting when protection breaks down and keeping his eyes upfield. His instinct is to pass first, run second. Even in instances where protection breaks down, he stays composed and makes the most prudent decision whether it be to run or look to pass. As a pure passer Dickens best attribute might be his ball placement. He does a great job "throwing receivers open". He understands how to make throws that counter a defensive backs leverage and essentially ‘create’ a passing window even if his receiver is tightly covered upon release of the ball. Playing with his age group this year Tyger seem to be in the Matrix the way he swiss cheese opposing teams defense collecting his 6th Super Bowl Championship. Tyger has the “Juice” not only in 11 on 11 but also 7 on 7 he earned the right to brag different.
Measurables: 6’2”-170 lbs
Position : QB/DT
Team : South Bay Gauchos
Class : 2023
Physical specimen & freak of nature at the Quarterback position is what Isreal Carter is. Week in and week out Carter presented a big task for opposing Defensive Coordinators. Yet and still Carter got the job done. I mean how do you stop a kid that runs like thoroughbred on zone reads or QB draws? A kid that has the arm to light you up. Now, don’t get it twisted the South Bay Gauchos 14u had one of the premier 1,2 punches in the backfield. But with a talent like Carter you had to pick your poison get beat deep or stack the box. Big reason the Gauchos won the Snoop Bowl in one of the most competitive 14u divisions in the country. Is because they were a well-balanced team with a plethora of weapons, Carter being the most dangerous as a Dual-threat.
Carter has a classic over the top delivery. He has very good throwing mechanics as he transfers his weight efficiently. He utilizes his core strength and gets his lower body into his throws. In the pocket Carter has very quick feet. Although they can get a bit antsy as he goes through his progressions, but for the most part this kid has a cannon capable of making all the throws. When disrupted at the top of his drop, he can quickly shuffle to find an alternate launch point, re-set, and release the ball. Facing a rush, Carter does a nice job adjusting his arm angle to get the ball through and around defenders at the line of scrimmage. He has pretty good velocity on intermediate throws and his deep ball. Carter didn’t put-up eye-popping numbers, but he visited the endzone frequently rather it was on the ground or in the air. This kid has the “Juice” though he is still a little raw, he has all the physical attributes to make him a highly sought-after recruit on the next level.
Measurables: 5’10”-153 lbs
Position : QB/DT
Team : North Texas Cowboys (TX)
Class : 2023
This humble beast Keldric Luster is a soft-spoken vocal leader that puts forth maximum effort in all facets of his game. The clear-cut number 1# rated player in the class of 2023 in the state of Texas. Hasn’t lost a game in in the state the last 2 years. So smooth and shifty when he tucks the ball and takes off, so much so Luster has accounted for more than 50 combined touchdowns leading his team to a Battle YNC spot. Luster put his team on his back in that National Championship game, giving every ounce of effort even intercepting a pass from his safety position. Even in a lose Luster provided to be the best player on the field doing whatever his team needed to win the game, which is a trait only great players possess.
So, while it might still be tempting to talk about Luster’s running ability first because he looks like a high-level slot receiver prospect with his blend of short-area quickness and top-end speed, it's his passing ability that deserves first mention. Luster has the polished mechanics of a pocket passer, using his entire body to uncork throws that consistently have the zip of a taller player with much better leverage on the football. As a result, there are few throws that he can't make. What’s scary is how gifted of an athlete Luster is he returns punts plays a little DB all at a high level. I made the mistake of thinking Demetrius Davis would be a athlete in High School, now he is a highly ranked Dual-threat and fellow Texan. So, with that being said Luster reminds me of him and can also follow that same path that’s just how talented this kid is. It’s no secret why he got the “Juice” jack of all trades with an unlimited ceiling.
Measurables: 6’0”-161 lbs
Position : QB/PP
Team : Palm Beach Gardens Gators (FL)
Class : 2024
How could you not have the “Juice” when you’re a back to back Pop Warner National Champion with a 30-0 record the last 2 years. Tyler Aronson has been quietly built a resume kids his age would dream about, all while shredding defenses in the process. Aronson saved his best play for Disney where he was in the zone throwing 11 touchdown passes versus Deer Valley (AZ) & Lenape Valley (PA), leading his team to a consecutive National Championship. There’s something to be said about this talented phenom spreading the love to the tune of 5 different receivers catching touchdown passes. Scary part this kid has one more year, and not only does he look the part he has all the intangibles of future 5-star Quarterback if he keeps growing.
Aronson has a big arm and can sling the ball all over the field. He has a beautiful compact delivery that is textbook training from his Quarterback Coach Former Florida Gator Eric Kresser. He also shows the ability to take velocity off the football on touch throws and can float balls over defenders at the second level. Aronson isn't immobile and has the ability to extend plays with his feet, but any damage he does is going to be with his arm. Aronson is a smart player both on and off the field, making quick, sound decisions, and carrying a 4.0 GPA. He stands tall and is poised in the pocket showing great footwork and balance when he is unleashing that cannon of an arm. The more I see of this kid the more I’m convinced were looking at arguably one of the top Quarterbacks in the class of 2024. So, you know he got the “Juice”!
Measurables: 6’0”-167 lbs
Team: LA Rams (CA)
A local phenom in the state of California Darius Curry seems to have the “Juice” every year that he has suited up. Blessed with the athleticism to play any skill position on the field. Yet the high football Iq & leadership qualities make him one of the top Quarterbacks in the class of 2023. Curry lead his LA Rams team to the SYFL National Championship, behind his knack for taking over the game when his team needs him the most with clutch throws & runs. The National Championship game Curry had his whole arsenal on display with an MVP performance. All 2018 Curry showed why he should be considered as one of top Dual Threat Quarterback in his class. I mean numbers don’t lie when you factor in Curry combining to score more than 35 total touchdowns.
Curry has a frame with room to grow he is plenty athletic. He displays a good arm and gets the ball out of his hand quickly. Curry makes a ton of plays on the run. He is able to throw the ball with good velocity even when off-balance or falling out of bounds. I think Curry could be very good on play-action passes and on bootlegs. Curry’s ability to read a defense and quickly distribute the football is above average for a kid his age. Almost all of his highlight plays are of him scrambling and then throwing downfield. Curry has the potential to be a good spread QB because he knows how to quickly take advantage of automatic reads and checks, and has some experience reading coverages. Curry is very adept at getting upfield on designed QB runs and scrambles. He throws caution to the wind and manages to pick up yards. The reverse of this, however, is that Curry does open himself up to some potentially big shots but he also dishes out his own punishment as well. This kid has the “Juice” because every year he steps his game up to another level lookout 2019.
Measurables: 5’11”-151 lbs
Team: Miami Gardens Ravens (FL)
AYF & Battle YNC National Champion 4 victories versus the top 5 ranked 12u teams in the country. Victories over 5 top 20 ranked teams, 30 straight wins in row back to back Youth National Championships. C.J Bailey resume speaks for itself, but the thing that sticks out the most about this Field General is his ability to overcome adversity. C.j is as cool as the other side of the pillow, most Quarterbacks cave under pressure. But that’s not the case with the young Bailey who seems to become laser focus after turning the ball over. Versus the Jaguars, Pilots & Panthers all top ranked teams, Bailey threw pick 6’s but never hung his head he in fact came back with a vengeance. With 38 touchdowns on the season and the freedom to audible where this phenom saw fit, it’s easy to see why it wasn’t a defense this kid didn’t shred.
Bailey has enough mobility that the Ravens calls some quarterback runs for him and zone reads and he's capable of throwing some beautiful passes on the run, though he seems to be more comfortable escaping the pocket to his right. He does flash the ability to clear his hips and make throws while moving to his left, however. Throwing while moving isn't an issue for him in large part because of his remarkable arm strength. Simply put, Bailey has a cannon attached to his right shoulder. Even throwing into a stiff wind at the Nationals, the phenom didn't have any issues cutting it because his wrist lost and wrist snap are incredible -- the ball jumps out of his hand as it does for the hardest-throwing pitches in baseball, almost always with tight spin. At times, it appeared as if the fingers of his receivers were in danger because of the pure velocity. In that regard. Of course, being a top-flight quarterback is about more than just arm strength, it's about being able to throw catchable passes, as well as loft the ball over linebackers or other defenders in underneath coverage. Bailey knows when he take something off his throws in the flats and was strong in the section during his National run. Bailey has the “Juice” of all juice with his two-year run and no one can take that from him or discredit facts.
Measurable: 6’2”-170 lbs
Position : QB/PP
Team : Garden Grove Bulldogs (CA)
Class : 2023
I’m a big fan of playing the game the right way which is the maximum effort on being technically & fundamentally sound. All those things come to mind watching Malachi Nelson execute and go ham on the opposing teams defense. The total package in terms of being a future big-time prospect at the Quarterback position. Even though Nelson’s Garden Grove Bulldogs came up short at Disney for the Natty, one thing for sure it wasn’t for lack of effort from Nelson’s part. Disney seemed to be Nelson’s coming out party, because this kid unleashed his full repertoire showing why I feel he has the highest ceiling of any kid in his class. Add the fact I’m sure he has some crazy PlayStation type numbers on the year to stack up against the best of them.
Nelson has a classic "over the top" delivery that's conducive to further growth. Due to this, look for him to develop additional arm strength as he progresses during his High School career. Nelson stands tall and carries a quick release. He has excellent vision and the ability to both fit the ball in small windows against zones, or "throw his receivers open" versus man coverage, due to his uncanny ball placement. On tape, Nelson is consistently able to complete passes in tight areas despite his receivers being tightly covered. As a passer, Nelson is legitimately gifted. He's multi-dimensional in the respect that he's a pocket passer who is able to deliver the ball from different platforms. He shows excellent touch on fade routes and bucket throws into the deep quadrants of the field, as his fastball is best utilized when asked to make stick throws into the short to intermediate areas. By and large, Nelson doesn't face an inordinate amount of pressure on tape. However, in the instances in which protection breaks down, he shows the ability to slide laterally to create throwing lanes. I can go on and on about the unlimited amount potential this kid has, but you get the picture he got the ”Juice”!
Measurables: 5’11”-163 lbs
Team: St.Louis High School (HI)
Competition brings out the best in Elite prospects, that’s why Kekahi Graham is considered one of the best. There isn’t a place that Kekahi has showed up that there aren’t whispers of him being the top signal caller in his class. Hawaii is slowly becoming the top place at developing Quarterbacks, just check their track record the past 6 years. Sure you've heard about Marcus Mariota (Tennessee Titans) & Tua Tagovailoa (University of Alabama), but on the youth level you're starting to see kids far ahead of the curve than their peers. Kekahi Graham is the perfect example of Hawaii Quarterback development on the youth level kid is advanced from a cerebal perspective. But the island isn't stingy they make it a habit of bringing their kids to the mainland to compete. With that being said the lefty Graham has made a habit of visiting the states and making a lasting impression on all the right people.
Graham operates out of the spread, and consistently delivers a catchable ball, hitting his receivers in stride. Accuracy is the most important physical attribute for a quarterback to meet, provided he meets a certain baseline of arm strength (which Graham does, though he does not have a cannon.) I also like Graham's ability to throw when he doesn't have a perfect pocket or is off balance. Some evaluators refer to this as throwing "off platform." Graham’s motion looks good. He has a free and easy delivery when he decides to throw and generate extra RPMs. Graham is an excellent quarterback prospect, with a lot of polish and the ability to play early should the opportunity present itself on the High School level. You can say this kid has the “Juice” because he not ducking no wreck when it comes to proving who’s best.
Measurables: 5’7”-157 lbs
Team: Pearl City (HI)
Effort shows no matter what the outcome of the game is. In the case of Gabriel Wansart that reign supreme in a lopsided lost in SYFL Nationals to the high- powered San Antonio Outlaws. Wansart showed glimpses of why he threw 28 touchdown passes on the year. This kid showed the mental toughness needed to excel at the Quarterback position.
Wansart has the raw tools that make him deserving of being on the Quarterback Juice list. The natural arm strength and ability of Wansart showed through at the SYFL Nationals, where he displayed one of the strongest arms in attendance, a result of his wrist load and wrist snap upon release. Because of that arm strength, he can fit the football into small windows. His footwork is impeccable for a kid his age, both in his drop and in consistently transferring his weight properly allowing him to step into his throws and throw those crisp spirals. All said and done, Wansart has tremendous natural ability, including arm talent, big hands to allow him to execute pump fakes that would result in other quarterbacks losing the football, ball-handling ability, and athleticism to make off-schedule plays in the run game, as well as execute the traditional plays in the quarterback run game. Effort and a fighters spirit is why Gabe has the “JUICE”, keep an eye on this kid effort can take you places.