Who is WSU QB Emmett Brown?

WSU Emmett Brown
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Emmett Brown is a true freshman quarterback on the WSU roster. Currently, he is in a battle with Victor Gabalis (and now it seems like to a lesser extent Xavier Ward) for the backup spot behind expected day one starter Cameron Ward. It is a name you may not have heard much. But WSU fans will know the name soon enough.

Who is WSU QB Emmett Brown?

During his career at San Marcos High School in California, the quarterback threw for 3,567 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. He averaged over 178 passing yards per game. He also tacked on 11 rushing touchdowns, while fumbling just three times. Brown was rated as a three-star prospect and the No. 105 quarterback in his class by 247Sports. The composite ranking had him unranked. Watching him play, both are unreasonably low ratings, but if you dig a little bit you can see why he was rated that way and came to the Cougs as such a steal.

The Good

Let’s start with the positive, though. His touch is incredible. Better than many unrated quarterbacks. He has an uncanny ability to fit the ball into small pockets and give his guy the best chance of coming down with the ball.

Going hand-in-hand with the touch is his ball placement. He can seemingly throw receivers open at any time. Brown makes life extremely hard on a secondary with his ability to place a football where only his guy really has a chance at catching it. In high school, he did throw his fair share of interceptions, which we will get back to, but a 2-to-1 ratio of touchdowns-to-interceptions is still really solid.

Brown excels when he is able to get the ball out quickly, something we have seen in spring ball a lot. That does not mean he can not get the ball downfield because he certainly can. However, his best throws come when he snaps, takes his steps, and throws. That is something we saw a lot of in Eric Morris’ Incarnate Ward offense and will likely see again at WSU. Brown’s knack for getting the ball out quickly makes him a great fit for the Cougs.

Finally, his ability to move his feet is well above average. He has above-average speed, great agility, and a good ability to throw the ball on the run. His agility is easily the best of these three, with his speed coming second. His throws on the run are good, but occasionally you see the ball veer off course, which could be an issue at the next level.

The Bad

Now, we have to move on to why he was rated so low given all the positives that he displays. The first and most obvious thing that scouts and recruiters probably saw, unfortunately, is his stature. He was listed as five-foot-11-inches as a recruit. WSU lists him as five-foot-10-inches on the official spring roster. Both seem generous. We have seen plenty of smaller-sized quarterbacks have great collegiate careers, so he could certainly overcome this and be successful.

Next, we come to a couple of real issues. Firstly, he has a tendency to throw off his front foot. This makes it hard for him to really load up and get air under a ball and generally leads to less accurate passes than throwing off the back foot. You see it a lot even in his highlight reel where he will load the weight onto that front foot before firing away.

Secondly, Brown does not seem to go through progressions a lot. This could honestly be a side effect of the offense they ran in high school. If you are looking for lightning-quick releases, you don’t have time to go through the whole skeleton. However, even on some longer developing plays, you can see him stare down one receiver before throwing it. Safeties will eat that up in college.

Overall, there are a couple of negatives that can be cleaned up and a lot of positives that should excite WSU fans. The Cougs legitimately got a steal when WSU signed Brown as such a low-ranked prospect. His ranking is not really indicative of his ceiling. It is more of a floor. A three-star floor is not at all bad, but his ceiling is easily a high-four-star ceiling. 

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