Bluegrass QB Challenge…

It’s the sexiest position in football. He gets too much credit when things go right, but he gets too much blame when fortunes turn south. College rosters don’t carry more than three or so of this position on scholarship. It is the hardest position to play, has the most responsibility for the team’s fortunes, and possesses the most luster. Coach Stefan LeFlors from CAL has invited 10, and only 10, QBs to be in his 2nd inaugural Bluegrass QB Challenge this Saturday. We are breaking down the ten and telling you why they were selected…

Beau Buchanan, 2019, 6-3, 205; Bowling Green High School, @BeauB100…

Beau, over the course of his junior campaign completed 162 of his 251 passing attempts for a very efficient completion percentage of .6454. Buchanan threw 25 TD passes and only was intercepted 3 times, throwing for 2,287 yards through the air. Buchanan captained the Purples to an overall 10-3 record and narrowly lost to South Warren 28-21 in the Regional Finals (State Quarters), in Kentucky’s 5A Classification. Buchanan is a pro-style QB prospect who lost 26 yards last year rushing in 55 attempts but still managed to score three rushing TDs notwithstanding. Though a drop-back guy, he has a registered 4.8 second forty time and bench presses 235 pounds, very good for his position.

Buchanan’s highlights

Reed Lanter, 2020, 6-1, 170; Boyle County High School, @reedlanter…

No surprise here as Reed made this publication’s Sophomore All-State Football team. Lanter completed 181 of his 263 passing attempts for 2,597 yards passing and 28 passing TDs versus only 4 interceptions. That comes out to a completion percentage of .6882. As one of the main objectives of anyone playing the position is to lead the team to victory, it can be fairly argued no one did that any better than Lanter who led Boyle County to a 14-1 finish and the Class 3A State Championship. Now on the biggest stage, when it matter the very most, Lanter threw for 223 yards and five TD passes in Boyle’s 40-21 beat down administered to Corbin for all the marbles. Lanter is a guy who has already showed a penchant for coming through when most needed.

Lanter’s highlights

Times Leader

Joby Jaggers, 2019, 6-0, 180; Caldwell County High School, @JobyJaggers…

Joby, who has both a reported 280 pound bench press and a 31.5 inch vertical is a QB whose skill set fits in perfectly with what his head coach, David Barnes, is looking for at the position to run his Spread Attack. Jaggers is lightning quick (4.6 shuttle) who consistently is timed around the high 4.7’s to 4.8 in the forty yard dash and, as a first year starter a year ago, completed 204 of his 297 attempts for a completion percentage of .6869. Jaggers threw for 2,422 yards passing and 28 passing TDs while leading the 10-3 Tigers from Princeton, Kentucky to a Regional Finals’ appearance. Jaggers oozes composure and headiness and his just a winner. I have before described him as, perhaps, the one guy you, as a fan, would want to trot out to lead a final drive with the game on the line and his team one-score behind. In the end, can’t ask more from a QB than that.

Jaggers’ highlights

Joey Cambron, 2019, 6-0, 175; Davies County High School, @3_jcam…

Cambron, last season, completed 236 of his 421 passing attempts for 4,078 yards, for a completion percentage of .561 with 49 aerial scores against only 11 interceptions. The Panthers, with Cambron at the helm, went 7-6 overall, losing to Central Hardin in the Regional Finals 27-20. The Panthers did beat McCracken County for the first time in program history in round two of the KHSAA football playoffs. The Panthers return both Cambron and Marquel Tinsley, whom, together, comprise the most potent aerial combination in western-Kentucky (474 points scored last season over 13 games for 36.46 points per game). The only thing I have ever heard the least bit critical of Cambron, who has compiled numbers last year which rivals or exceeds any QB on this or any other list of KY QBs, is why did it take him so long to find the field. First of all, the guy he was behind, Adam Bouchard (6-2, 170), wasn’t exactly a dog. He threw for 2,038 yards and 23 TD passes with only 6 interception in 2016. Secondly, who cares when you get the opportunity, what matters is what you do with it. Cambron has done as much with his opportunity as anyone.

Cambron Highlights

Ryan Mathis, 2019, 6-1, 180; Graves County High School, @RyanRyanmathi

Ryan is a guy whom the literature about the QBs selected indicated he was 5-8, 130 pounds. Well, that is either a misprint or Graves County has another Ryan Mathis playing QB for the Eagles. Ryan Keith Mathis is 6-1 and weighs 180 or so pounds. Now last season, Mathis completed 121 of 244 passing attempts for 1,693 yards and 17 TDs passing but we would be remiss in not pointing out those statistics were accomplished over only 8 ballgames. He was intercepted 10 times for the Class 5A team which finished the season 6-5, losing in the first round to State Semi-finalist South Warren. Trevor Grant for the Eagles caught 65  passes by himself for 1,272 and 17 TDs. That tells me Mathis, who is a very good athlete with plenty of mobility and a very lithe arm, probably needs more than one reliable, downfield, target and more than an 8 game sampling for his season statistics to tell us very much about him.  We believe he will have a break-out season in 2019.

Mathis Highlights

Photo Source: Marty Conley

Eli Sammons, 2020, 6-5.5, 195; Greenup County High School, @eli_sammons…

Sammons has the proto-typical stature and frame college coaches desire in QBs. He played much of last season at 6-5.5 and a slightly built 180 pounds but he has added 15 pounds of muscle since his sophomore season expired and now weighs around 195. As a sophomore, Sammons completed 184 of his 316 pass attempts for a completion percentage of .5822 playing for a very average team, with average talent around him. All of that means to KPGFootball that his passes were particularly on target, as it is unlikely his completion percentage resulted from a receiving corp which just made him look good. This upcoming season, which will be Sammons’ junior year, he will have his leading receiver return in Class of 2019 prospect Kelly Patrick. Last season, Patrick caught 55 passes for Sammons for 726 yards receiving with 7 TD receptions. Eli threw for 2,432 yards over his team’s 11 games, and contributed 27 passing TDs against only 10 interceptions. Sammons is not noted for his mobility and is considered by recruiting services, like 247Sports, as a pro-style QB prospect.

Sammons’ highlights

Javier Jay Bland, 2020, 6-0.5, 170; Hopkinsville High School, @Svn_teen…

They call him simply…Jay, as no one ever calls him Javier, but college coaches are dang sure calling him. He just officially went on the KPGFootball’s Official Offer Clock. We really expect him to get offered anytime. There won’t be a better athlete at this Challenge than the 6-0.5, 170 pound, QB with the 77 inch reach, 4.55 second 40 (turf, UTMartin), 4.7 flat (grass, TSU), 31 inch vertical (Rivals, addizero) and 115 inch broad jumping (TSU). Bland who also shuttles at 4.3 seconds (TSU). None of these combine accomplishments were measured by a parent in the back yard either. Bland, along with Lanter, made our Sophomore All-State Football Team. Bland threw for nearly 2,200 yards passing with 22 passing TDs and led his team to the Regional Finals and was a half away from outing the team which went on to win it all in Class 4A (Franklin-Simpson). Jay did all of this in spite of having an offensive line in front of him without a single man having played even one varsity snap a year before and losing the preseason district player of the year in RBJaTorion Dillard in a preseason scrimmage, leaving the Tigers without a credible ground game throughout the year. Bland deadlifts 500 pounds, squats 400, power-cleans 255, and hang-cleans 250.

Bland highlights

Rae’Von Vaden, 2020, 5-10, 200; Marion C. Moore High School (Louisville), @ky_vonnn…

If there is a guy you are a little hesitant to square up and try to tackle, it is Rae’Von Vaden from Marion C. Moore High School in Louisville. People trying to tackle him have actually lost height, well, not actually, but you know what we mean. Vaden, like Mathis, only played in 9 of Moore’s games, and the Class 4A, district 3 Mustangs went 6-5 last season, losing to Rockcastle County in the first round. In 9 games, Vaden completed 94 of his 186 attempts for a completion percentage of .5054 but his 1,386 passing yards in only 94 completions works out to 14.74 yards per completion, so he wasn’t just throwing an array of screens. Vaden had 17 TDs passing and only 4 interceptions so his efficiency, last year, is unquestioned. Vaden also contributed 4 rushing TDs in his 9 appearances making him an option down around the goal line for a keeper. Vaden, as a freshman, lead Marion C. Moore, to its first winning season in 15 years. As a freshman, Vaden completed 127 of 243 passing attempts for 2,064 yards passing and 20 passing TDs against only 9 interceptions in leading Moore to a 7-4 record that year. Looking at his complete body of work over his first two years in high school, Moore has to be one of the top performers in the 2020 class at the position.

Vaden’s highlights

Drew Hatz, 2019, 6-3, 180; Owensboro Catholic High School, @Drewhartz12…

For at least part of last year’s 8-5 campaign which saw Catholic get to the Regional Championship game in Class 2A, the Aces weren’t sure which direction they wanted to go at the QB position. Will Warren, whose season was cut short due to injury, played in 4 games completing 63 or his 101 passing attempts for 581 passing yards and 4 TDs with no interceptions. Warren couldn’t get back into the competition, largely owing to Hartz’s play, when he came back from injury and is now transferred over to Owensboro Senior. Hartz completed 117 of his 198 attempts for a completion percentage of .591 and threw for 26 TDs against 13 picks and 1,805 yards passing on the year. Hartz has a good frame, and most importantly, tends to make good decisions with the football and put his team in position to win ball games, something the Aces are, likewise, accustomed. Hartz is a guy who has shown the ability to be elusive and able to move around until someone breaks free. If you want to compare him to a Kentucky High School Quarterback, his play reminds me a lot of Gavin Spurrier from South Warren. Heady, poised, makes good decisions with the football, the ball comes out well and from the right position, high release point, and able to work through his progressions both well and quickly.

Hatz’s highlights

Luke Duby, 2020, 6-2, 195; Tates Creek High School (Lexington), @lukeduby4…

Duby, as a sophomore a year ago, got the least amount of experience at the varsity level of any QB on the list. He played behind a senior in Cameron Workman who led the Class 6A, district 8 Commodores to a 9-3 overall record and a second round exit at the hands of Frederick Douglass 34-21. Duby only completed 30 of his 60 attempted passes and had 5 TD passes against 4 interceptions. Duby’s stats from a season ago, or the lack thereof, don’t really tell the whole tale here. Duby has a registered 40 time of 4.84 seconds and a bench press maximum lift of 235, repping the high school rep weight of 185, 8 times. Duby squats 325 pounds and deadlifts (pulls) 370. Next to Jay Bland, Duby may well be the most athletic QB at the Challenge. In any event, with Workman departed and Duby set to get the first team reps in both practice and on Friday night, watch this young man explode onto the scene.

Duby’s highlights

This is Fletcher Long, reporting for KPGFootball reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!

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About Fletcher Long 1414 Articles
Two-time winner of Kentucky Press Association awards for excellence in writing and reporting news stories while Managing Editor of the Jackson (KY) Times-Voice

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