Pitt fans will have the chance to see their future (potentially) star quarterback tonight when his Cleveland (TN) HS team hosts big rival Bradley Central. Cleveland was supposed to have a big year this season, but stand at 4-4, mostly because the team around Voytik are not at his same level. Both his offensive line and wide receivers have not been great (sound familiar?). In fact, Voytik lost 75% of his receivers from the previous season and the leading returning receiver had eight catches last year. It will be a tough test tonight as Bradley is the No. 10 team in the state.
The game will be on ESPNU at 8 PM EST. But for those who aren't used to watching high school football that's not played by teams loaded with high major prospects, prospects don't usually stand out as future superstars. It's rare that, like in the case of Rushel Shell against Robert Foster locally last week, do prospects look like they could play in college right away. Usually, all a coach sees, and what a viewer should look for, is if the prospect has the raw material. The coaching and instruction in college is light years ahead of high school, and that's no offense to high school coaches. But it is what it is. A kid learns more in his first week of college practice than he does in his entire football career up until that point. I just don't want any fans to be disappointed if Voytik doesn't throw for 300 yards and 5 touchdowns because he probably won't.
With that in mind, here are things to look for when it comes to finding a quality quarterback prospect, and how Voytik matches up:
Size: Voytik is about 6'0" and 200 pounds. He's solid and well built. His height is good enough. Many great college quarterbacks have been the same size, if not smaller, especially in a spread. Just two examples who Pitt fans will recognize are former West Virginia greats Major Harris and Pat White, and former Ohio State national championship quarterback Troy Smith. And not to compare him to a future Hall of Famer, but Drew Brees is also 6'0" tall.
Arm strength: Voytik's arm strength is considered in the elite category. He can make all the throws needed not only in college, but also the NFL. At the Elite 11, ESPN's No. 2 QB prospect Gunner Kiel (nephew of former Notre Dame QB Blair Kiel) said, "Voytik's got a gun. He can really throw it."
Release: ESPN: "We would argue you will not find a quicker release on QB in the 2012 class than the one Voytik has. The ball absolutely jumps out of his hand with pop and velocity."
Accuracy: Sports Illustrated at the Elite 11 camp: "Showed tremendous poise and accuracy. When receivers were coming out of their breaks, the college quarterbacks were on a different level in terms of their timing and ball placement. But Voytik was the exception. He was one of the few high school prospects that was able to successfully control his timing, velocity, and ball placement."
Athleticism: Leads team in rushing and has had two 100 yards game this season. Dramatically hurdled an opponent on the way to a rushing touchdown earlier this season. Has been unofficially timed at 4.59 in the 40.
Head: From ESPN at Elite 11, "He is a competitive and focused kid who seemed to perform at a high level regardless of the drill."
Has a 4.0 GPA and got a 29 on his ACT.
Star Sand Diego State quarterback Ryan Lindley at the Elite 11, where Voytik was named by the counselors (including Troy Dilfer), the best leader of the group: "He's a general out there on the field".
Cleveland head coach E.K. Slaughter: "There are quite a few kids who can throw a football, but not a lot of guys who are the caliber of person he is."