Physically, it would be hard to find a more prototypical pocket-passer than Max Staver.
The quarterback from Nashville (Tenn.) Brentwood Academy is close to 6-foot-6, weighs 235 pounds with nine percent body fat.
“A big frame helps me because I can spread my legs out a little more in my pre-pass position,” said Staver, who is set to visit Alabama this weekend. “I can get an enormous amount of drive and a lot of power from my legs. It's kind of like a rifle effect with my long arm. Rather than a machine gun (with smaller quarterback). I think a big frame helps.”
Even without seeing Staver on the field in person, first-year Brentwood head coach Cody White agrees with Staver.
“He's a monster. I'll tell you that,” said White, who was hired from Texas following last season. “I really like his work ethic. He's a sharp kid that wants to learn. He's a good student. He has all those intangibles that you like. I haven't seen him on the field personally but that's going to be exciting to work with.”
Now, Staver just has to continue to prove he can throw well enough to be a top-flight college quarterback. He's well on his way.
Staver has scholarship offers from Louisville, Mississippi State and Tennessee State. Auburn, where he visited last month, has also shown strong interest.
More should come calling, especially since Staver is willing to take his show on the road – a lot.
“This summer, I plan to do a ton,” Staver said. “I'm going to target about nine or 10 schools and just get out there and try to earn some more scholarships.”
Staver plans to travel to Stanford, Duke, Auburn, Alabama, Purdue, Nebraska, Florida, Florida State and possibly South Carolina this summer. The trips can produce two results. First, college coaches can see how big Staver is in person. Second, with a good passing day, they could become more interested.
“That's why I'm going to camp so much this summer, because I've been told they will offer if you perform,” Staver said. “That's how I got my first two offers.”
Staver said the travel can be kind of a hassle, but he makes the most out of it. He said there's also pressure to play his best at every camp, but that's nothing like Friday nights in the fall.
“I wouldn't say as much (pressure) because you have the defense coming after you and your coach coming after you,” Staver said with a smile. “Not as much, but people expect so much out of athletes nowadays. If you don't perform at one camp or one combine, sometimes you're put under the gun. There's always pressure there. You just have to work hard and perform. That's part of it.”
Staver knows the drill. He has been to approximately 20 combines since his eighth grade year. He's also been to camps at Louisville, Memphis and Tennessee and visited other colleges as well. One, Mississippi State, seems to be a good match for now. It offered Staver a scholarship two weeks ago. A strong relationship with his recruiter, receivers coach Angelo Mirando, is also helping the Bulldogs.
“The dorms are good,” Staver said. “Obviously, great SEC football. Starkville is a cool little town.”
Staver's other BCS offer is intriguing. Louisville already has a commitment from Kyle Bolin, a smaller, yet likely more mobile quarterback from Lexington (Ky.) Catholic. So are the Cardinals keeping their options open with Staver or are they interested in taking two quarterbacks in the 2013 class?
“I don't really care if another quarterback commits there,” Staver said. “I'm still going to go there and look.”
Auburn is scheduled to come take a look at Staver during spring practice in May. Staver was wowed by his experience during his visit to see the Tigers last month.
“I loved it,” he said. “Great campus. Great facilities. Great education. The football is great obviously. What really brought me there was coach Loeffler, the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. He's an awesome guy. We sat down and talked for a long time.”
As he does with every coach, Staver asked Loeffler if he would be willing to adapt his offense around a particular quarterback's skill set. Staver was impressed with the answer.
“Coach Loeffler told me, 'If we got a guy like you, a big guy, we would move to more of a pro-style (offense). We'd probably still be in the shotgun but it would be more of a passing spread...rather than a spread run.'” Staver said. “I'm not going to look at a place like Navy where you do the triple option. I think that's a little extreme.”
Staver, who has also been in contact with Tennessee, said he shouldn't be considered a quarterback who can only sit in the pocket. He maintains he can run well despite his size. Comparisons seem to contradict as much. Some say Staver reminds them of the very mobile Andrew Luck. Some say he reminds them of the more statuesque Joe Flacco. Likely, it's somewhere in between.
“It's gotten a lot better,” Staver said of his mobility. “Last year I surprised a couple of people with a couple of long runs. I was talking to a guy on spring break who I played last year and he said 'We watched your game film and the coach said don't worry about him running the ball'. Then I busted one for 35 yards. People are going to underestimate me because I'm so big but I have confidence in my legs to run.”
Add in that mobility and Staver may be more than just a prototypical passer.