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Pitt FB Recruiting

Pitt Future Watch: QB Nate Yarnell is Extremely Toolsy



Future watch is a continuing a series of stories breaking down film from the members of Pitt football’s recruiting Class of 2021 by Pittsburgh Sports Now analyst Nick Farabaugh.

Pitt picked up a quarterback commitment out of Texas of all places. That quarterback was Nate Yarnell, who comes from Lake Travis High School, the same school that produced Baker Mayfield. Yarnell stepped in after an injury to starter Hudson Card, who now plays at Texas, and went 6-0 in those games.

What type of signal-caller is Pitt getting Yarnell?

Notes From the Tape

• Yarnell has a rocket launcher for an arm. The natural ability to push the ball down the field is just there. It is to be expected of a guy that is as big as Yarnell is, but watching him sling it on tape is a lot of fun.

• Speaking of that size, Yarnell has not just college size, but NFL size. At 6-foot-6 Yarnell checks the box of being able to see over the offensive line with ease.

• Yarnell has a somewhat awkward release. Now, it works for him, but it does take him some considerable time to wind up and that could cause needless fumbles at the next level in the ACC.

• His elbow velocity and torque are impressive. Part of why he can push the ball as effectively and accurately as he does is because of great upper body throwing mechanics in his arm and core.

• Yarnell has an even base and crisp, clean footwork with working in the pocket. He is extremely comfortable working there.

• This is a guy who has multiple speeds. In other words, he can fire a frozen rope, but if he needs to, he can something off his passes.

• Yarnell has some great ball placement. It is not just general ball placement, it is precise ball placement. A lot of that goes back to his superb mechanics. However, the fact that has multiple speeds that he throws at is another boost to that.

• When he moves out of structure outside the pocket, he does a nice job of keeping his eyes downfield instead of dropping them.

• He is branded as a pocket passer, but Yarnell does have some wheels on him. They are not top-notch or anything, but he certainly can extend plays.

• Yarnell needs to manage the pocket better under pressure. He sometimes either panics on tape or unnecessarily slides into pressure.

• It was clear his team had superior talent at receiver. As such, it was very much a one-read style of play for Yarnell. So, there is not much to take away from his mental game other than he showed off good decision-making and made the correct reads.

• Yarnell did seem to be a bit guilty of holding his eyes onto his first read a bit too long at times, however, instead of working off that read.

• He has good anticipation and hits guys before they are even out of their breaks at times to throw them more open than they otherwise would be.

Future Watch Outlook

The tools for Yarnell are there. He has the base made for him to be a legitimate ACC level quarterback. It is not just the size or the rocket arm, the fact that he knows how to switch up his speeds is huge. In addition, it is refreshing to see such polished mechanics.

Listen, he certainly has his work to do. Yarnell struggles under pressure and there are unanswered questions about his mental game. Still, for any quarterback making the jump, the transition will be much easier if they have the tools in place. Yarnell has that framework already there. He must continue to diligently work at his flaws. If he fixes them, Yarnell could be Pitt’s starter in the future.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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