Gamecocks set sights on top quarterbacks

May 1, 2012 

South Carolina is strongly in the mix in the recruitment of two high-profile quarterbacks for the class of 2013.

Both top targets – Kevin Olsen of Wayne, N.J., and Connor Mitch of Raleigh, N.C. – are expected to make their college choices as early as this month.

Below are details on each quarterback, the latest on their recruitment and comments from national recruiting analysts.

Kevin Olsen

... Height/Weight: 6-3, 195
... School: Wayne Hills, Wayne Hills, N.J.
... Junior-year stats: 1,686 yards, 20 touchdowns

... Rivals: 4 stars, 7th-best pro-style quarterback
... 247Sports: 4 stars, 4th-best pro-style quarterback
... Scout: 4 stars, 8th-best overall quarterback
... ESPN: 4 stars, 7th-best pro-style quarterback

... Favorites: South Carolina, Miami, Wisconsin and Auburn

... The latest: USC quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus will travel to the Northeast this week to visit with Olsen. He was named the top prospect last weekend at the Elite 11 regional competition in New York. Mangus will watch Olsen throw and then visit with him and his father.

Miami was in last week and Auburn will be in next week. Miami appears to be the team to beat with Olsen at this point. One of his brothers played for the Hurricanes.

Connor Mitch

... Height/Weight: 6-3, 210
... School: Wakefield High, Raleigh, N.C.
... Junior-year stats: 3,832 yards, 48 touchdowns

... Rivals: 4 stars, 15th-best pro-style quarterback
... 247Sports: 3 stars, 15th-best pro-style quarterback
... Scout: 3 stars, 39th-best overall quarterback
... ESPN: 4 stars, 13th-best pro-style quarterback

... Favorites: South Carolina, LSU, Alabama, North Carolina

... The latest: Mitch also performed well last weekend at the Elite 11 regional competition in New York.

He has the Gamecocks in his top four along with LSU, North Carolina and Alabama. Mitch also attended a USC junior day and the spring game.

North Carolina is making a strong push. One of his teammates has already committed to the Tar Heels, and his girlfriend will be going to Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels appear to making the strongest pressure pitch for Mitch at this point.

Mitch also has developed a strong relationship with LSU coach Les Miles and the Tigers quarterbacks coach. And Alabama coach Nick Saban has made a strong move on Mitch after losing quarterback Phillip Sims to a transfer.

The analysts’ take: Kevin Olsen

Mike Farrell, national recruiting analyst

“Kevin Olsen isn’t as good right now as Connor Mitch as far as games and game film are concerned, but he has a higher upside. We know he’s going to grow. I’ve seen his brothers go through this process. I’ve seen the way their growth spurts go. We know he’s going to probably be a 6-5, maybe a 6-6 quarterback. He’s a coach’s son. He’s very, very smart. He’ll be a kid who’ll get better and better.”

Barton Simmons, 247Sports national recruiting analyst

“He’s a coach’s son. Obviously Greg Olsen’s his brother. Great bloodlines. Really a student of the game. He hasn’t thrown it a lot at the high school level, with a balanced offense. The more you look into him, the more you like him. He’s a lot more than what you see on tape. He’s not quite as developed physically yet but he’s got size and a lot of intangibles. You look at his stats and they’re not overwhelming numbers. When you look at the throws he’s making, it impresses you. He’s a kid who’s really been coached up and is ready for the next level and presents a lot of intangibles that maybe a lot of other guys in this class lack.”

The analysts’ take: Connor Mitch

Mike Farrell, national recruiting analyst

“Mitch puts up great numbers. He’s got a lot of talent. He’s a system quarterback, and by that I mean the reason he puts up crazy numbers is because of the system he’s in. You can still be a really good quarterback in that situation. Chris Leak was a system quarterback and he was really good. Justin Worley was a system quarterback and I’m not sold on him. Connor Mitch, I like. I’m not enamored with him as one of the top five quarterbacks in the country, but he’s a really good prospect and a guy that definitely those schools in the South should covet. He’s probably closer to the polished product that he’s going to be.”

Barton Simmons, 247Sports national recruiting analyst

“He’s one of the real talented arms in this class nationally. He’s a kid who’s really impressed in every setting he’s gone to. He’s got a big arm. He can make all the throws. He’s well put together. When he goes out there and throws it around in a camp setting, he’s going to be one of the guys that stands out every time. He’s got all the physical tools that you want out of a quarterback. He’s a strong kid with a strong arm. He’s one of those guys from a ‘making the throws standpoint,’ he really has everything you need from a physical standpoint to pass the football.”

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