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JW Ketchum recruit scouting report: Dual-threat quarterback or athlete?

Will the Fort Bend Marshall product stick at quarterback in college?

JW Ketchum at Dallas Elite 11 in 2013
JW Ketchum at Dallas Elite 11 in 2013
Wescott Eberts (SB Nation)

He may not have a position for college yet, but 2015 athlete J.W. Ketchum III will have his pick of schools to sign with in February 2015.

J.W. Ketchum III is an athlete with a tobacco tycoon's name who currently plays quarterback (dual threat, obviously) for Missouri City (Tex.) Fort Bend Marshall High School. He stands at 5'11.5 — just say you're six feet tall, dude — and 201 pounds.

He has a listed 4.56 40 time and is a composite 4-star prospect. He is extraordinarily highly rated by 247Sports, coming in at No. 56 overall in the Top247, though he is not that highly rated by any other service. He boasts offers from Texas, Baylor, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Wisconsin. And, if you were curious, UT-San Antonio.

The most pressing question surrounding Ketchum's recruiting is probably not even where he ends up in college, it's where he ends up playing in college.

The left-hander plays quarterback for Marshall, but it's easy to imagine him as a slot receiver at the next level when he jets down the sideline and blows up opponent angles with his 4.56 speed. And the fact that he is just a hair under six feet tall only helps that perception, as he has less than ideal size to remain at the quarterback position.

So does Allen's Kyler Murray, though, and he's set to play quarterback in college. The difference is that Ketchum is much more raw as a passer and doesn't quite have the same natural arm talent of Murray, who has above average to elite arm strength for his size.

The lack of pure zip on the football for Ketchum is partly a result of his mechanics -- he throws with a narrow base, often doesn't get ideal weight transfer from his back foot to this front foot on his throws, and lets his front shoulder drift wide of his target, which keeps him from getting any pop out of his torso rotation.

Touch is the one area where Ketchum is above average in his quarterbacking skills, as he can throw the fade route and drop passes over linebackers in coverage. He can also scramble to make plays with his arm and is comfortable throwing on the run when moving to his left.

As a runner, he does a nice job of getting behind his pads prior to contact, can step through tackles around his legs, and even flashes a stiff arm at times. His speed allows him to get outside often, so he doesn't often have to show much shake to avoid defenders. Can he make defenders miss in a phone booth in college?

The depth chart at Ketchum's school of choice and desire for early playing time could impact what position he ends up playing -- though he will surely need several years of development to play quarterback, an open depth chart at wide receiver could end up being an enticing way to get on the field quickly.