The timing may not have been conducive to drawing a great deal of attention, as 2014 Jacksonville (FL) Eagle's View Academy quarterback DJ Gillins revealed his commitment to the Texas Tech Red Raiders on a rather busy evening -- right in the midst of the presidential election.
Gillins announced his decision via Twitter:
The 6-3, 185-pounder with reported 4.51 speed in the 40 had offers from West Virginia, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, and several others prior to this commitment to the Red Raiders. A consensus four-star prospect early in the process, Gillins is ranked by 247Sports as the top dual-threat quarterback in the country in his class and the no. 40 player overall.
Gillins is the second commit in the 2014 class for Texas Tech, joining Princeton (TX) wide receiver Jakari Dillard, who pledged back in August.
A torn ACL ended Gillins' junior season after only one game, but it didn't stop the Red Raiders from continuing to recruit him, which helped separate them from West Virginia after Gillins said just more than a week ago that the schools were "dead even" ($) in the competition for his services.
The timetable for a decision had originally been after the high school season, but a message from his school's chaplain on Tuesday resonated with him so much ($) that he made his decision and put in the call to Tommy Tuberville and his staff:
Today, it clicked when I was in chapel. The guy was talking about how everybody loves you when you're at the top, but when you're at the bottom it's the ones that stay with you the most, those are the ones you have more respect for. When I tore my ACL, Texas Tech wanted me even more and the other schools kind of stopped talking to me a little. When I heard that, it just clicked in my head, I wanted to be a Red Raider.
In the end, it was the communication from the Red Raider coaching staff that helped make the difference:
I guess it was communication. I haven’t talked to (West Virginia much lately), it was one of my favorite schools growing up. I’ve watched Texas Tech since I was in eight grade or a freshman. Texas Tech has been with me through my rehab.
Probably the most talented quarterback to commit to Texas Tech in the last decade, Gillins is a monumental pick up for a program that has often turned lightly-regarded high school quarterbacks into productive system passers. With his ability to run the ball in addition to his exceptional skills as a pocket passer, the Florida product will provide a dynamic element to the Red Raider offense that has not been present in the last 10 years with the brief exception of Steven Sheffield, who was nowhere near as strong of an athlete as Gillins.
A starter since his freshman season, the athletic quarterback describes himself as a pure pocket passer who can run, which he backs up on film. Despite his obvious athleticism, Gillins is willing to stand in the pocket and deliver passes, showing clean mechanics, solid footwork, and the ability to change speeds, throwing darts aided by his above-average arm strength and exhibiting touch to throw intermediate passes over linebackers or other defenders when necessary.
There's even some evidence of advanced control of the offense by holding or moving defenders with his eyes and then quickly coming back to his intended target.
For a player classified as a dual-threat quarterback, Gillins doesn't appear to have a great deal of designed runs called for him, but he can make some off-schedule plays with his feet, even though he prefers to keep his eyes downfield while scrambling to hit bigger gains. As evidence of that, he ran for only 173 yards as a junior. And despite his good 40 time, he doesn't have the best shuttle time (4.66), though he is a fluid athlete.
Overall, Gillins looks a lot like another Florida product -- current West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith.
If Gillins does live up to that billing, he'll have a chance to put up some huge numbers in the Texas Tech offense.
Daniel "D.J." Gillins QB Class of 2014 (via evafootball1)