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2013 Virginia Football Roster Profile: David Watford

Watford must prove that he's far advanced from where he was in 2011.
Watford must prove that he's far advanced from where he was in 2011.

Position: QB
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 200
Hometown: Hampton, Va
High School: Hampton HS
Year: RS Sophomore
Twitter: @DWatford5

Coming out of HS, Watford was a dual-threat QB who was seen as a potential WR candidate if QB didn't pan out. He was so raw as a QB that a redshirt year seemed inevitable. But the Hoos decided not to redshirt him. They stuck into the proverbial fire as a true freshman, and he struggled. He completed barely 40% of his passes, rushed for just 2 ypc and threw 4 INTs versus 3 TDs. He did show signs of his potential. A 60 yard bomb to Tim Smith was his biggest highlight.

He was a 3 star prospect, ranked the #29 dual threat QB in the nation by Rivals. ESPN ranked him the 58th best QB and Scout ranked him 77thth among QBs (neither differentiates pocket passers versus dual threat QBs). His offer list included WVU, VT and UVA as well as some non BCS offers. He chose to stay close to home, and the chance to play QB was likely a factor in his decision, as other schools may not have given him that chance.

Watford is big, fast, and smooth. He glides, so it often looks like he's barely trying even though he's running by people. He's a good 4.5-4.6 guy, so he's got enough speed to pick up big chunks of yardage as a runner. He's also elusive and can be tough to bring down in the open field. This is the quality teams often look for in a read-option QB. In the read-option, the QB is often going to find himself one-on-one with an OLB or DB and must be able to avoid that man and get into the defensive secondary.

As a freshman, Watford didn't run the read-option much, but was asked to run on several occasions. When he ran, he looked hurried, and often just ran right into the defense, without looking for a hole. This was simply because he wasn't ready. The game was happening so fast, he couldn't read things quick enough. He looks much more comfortable this year, and as he showed in the spring game, he's certainly capable of picking out the holes now.

As a passer, Watford is still raw. When his feet are set, and he keeps his delivery consistent, he is a good passer. He's got a very strong arm, and can fit the ball into tight spaces. His problem is, he gets lazy with his mechanics and can be behind on some throws. In fall camp, he's show the ability to throw some deep balls with tremendous zip and accuracy, but then he'll throw a quick out 2 yards behind his target. Those are the types of passes that turn into pick-sixes. Watford can't have that.

An easy wrinkle off the read option is to run play action out of the same set. The QB can fake the inside handoff to the RB, and then drop back to pass. The pass rushers are forced to pause for a beat in case the ball is handed off, and that gives the QB an extra beat to get rid of the ball. He can also fake that hand off and head the opposite direction, running parallel to the line of scrimmage. This gives him a good view of half of the field, and he can hit a WR coming across the formation. The problem is this requires the QB to be able to throw accurately on the move, something Watford still has yet to prove.

Watford has a great deal of weapons at his disposal. From Kevin Parks and Taquan Mizzell to Tim Smith and Darius Jennings, there is as much skill position talent on this team as there has been in 15 years. The Offensive Line is the big question mark heading into the season. If they can keep Watford upright, and give him and the RBs some rushing lanes, this offense could be decent. If they can do that, and Watford can prove that he's capable of both running the ball and throwing it accurately, this offense could be very good and very explosive.