ORLANDO — The Under Armour All-American game is a chance for prospects to shine against the best players in the country, but for quarterbacks it’s a chance to show how you can adjust to a new system and speed of the game in a short period of time.
Maryland quarterback commit Dwayne Haskins (6-2, 188, Potomac, MD Bullis School) doesn’t find the speed of the game to be a problem, but he does notice a big difference this week.
“The speed is the same but the difference is the defensive linemen are so much faster here,” Haskins said. “In high school I was able to get away with standing in the pocket and then scrambling at the last second but now when you take a three step drop and someone is in your face, you have to get out of the pocket or you will get hit.”
Haskins is very happy for the opportunity to play this week, as he believes this will help him out as a freshman in college.
“It helps me and the other quarterbacks out a lot,” Haskins said of playing in the all-star games. “In college the defensive linemen are fast and way better, so this is preparing me for next year by going up against these guys.”
This week Under Armour has Haskins listed as a pocket passer but the Maryland commit doesn’t like being labeled that.
“I’m not no pocket passer or a dual threat passer really,” Haskins said of being labeled as just pocket passer. “I’m not going to sit back there and killed but I’m going to do my due diligence in the pocket first before I try to run the ball.”
Not only is Haskins adjusting to football on the field but also off the field he has his recruitment to worry about and Florida Gators cornerback commit Chauncey Gardner is working him hard.
“Chauncey, man, he’s so crazy out here,” Haskins said of Gardner recruiting him. “He’s still in my ear about coming to Florida, he goes to school after this so he’s just trying to get that last bit of recruiting in before he’s officially a Gator. I plan to talk to him once he enrolls at Florida to see how he functions on campus and too see how he adjust to college there.”
Haskins who visited the Florida Gators in November isn’t sure that what he needs to hear from the Gators but he does want to sit with head coach Jim McElwain to talk to him.
“I don’t think there is a message I need to here but I just want to talk to all of the head coaches before I make a decision just because the quarterback and head coach get the most blame for everything,” Haskins said. “I just want to make sure we’re on the same page that if I were to go to Florida that we would have a good relationship with each other.”
McElwain is an offensive minded head coach, while Maryland coach D.J. Durkin is a defensive minded head coach. Haskins doesn’t believe that it will be a deciding factor for either school.
“It helps because it’s definitely good to have an offensive minded head coach,” Haskins said of whether he likes McElwain being an offense-minded guy or not. “He understands the struggles of being a quarterback but I wouldn’t say it’s a huge thing, but I think it’s a good factor.”
Haskins, who committed to Maryland in May, was very comfortable with the old Terrapins staff but that isn’t exactly the case with the new staff.
“I’ve been talking to Coach Bell and Coach Durkin and they’re preaching the same thing the old staff did and that’s stay home and help us here,” he said of Maryland’s pitch. “It sounds really good but I have to be comfortable because this is a whole new staff so it’s basically like starting over from scratch. Before I make a final decision I want to be comfortable.”
Maryland’s not only is fighting the defensive minded head coach thing but they’re also fighting the fact that new offensive coordinator Walt Bell is more of a spread guy and that doesn’t necessarily fit Haskins game.
“Their offense is more air raid and quarterback run, I don’t do that necessarily but I can do that,” Haskins said of Maryland’s offense. “I hope that they change it to fit me but I have to talk to them and see what they say.”
Haskins is a quarterback and playing for the right coach or the right scheme is something that could make or break whether or not Haskins succeeds and that’s leading Haskins to make a business decision.
“I guess that it’s my mind set right now,” Haskins said on whether not he has to make a business decision or not. “I made a business decision to go to Maryland but I’m not going to do anything that isn’t in the best interest of myself or my family so right now we’re just weighing everything out on what’s best for me.”
Haskins will be very busy over the next month, but he says it will ultimately come down to visits with each school.
“The head coaches visits are going to be very important in my decision,” Haskins said. “That’s going to the final factor by what they head coach has to say about everything.”