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July 2, 2002
For many years now the Golden State has been the promise land for college recruiters on the lookout for prime-time college quarterbacks.
Just last year national champion Miami was led by a Californian quarterback. Florida State and Tennessee also had signal-callers who played their high school football in California.
The state of Washington has also done a fine job of developing field-generals that make it to the NFL and the quarterbacks from western Pennsylvania are legendary. For sheer numbers over the past 30 years, California can't be beat when it comes to starting D-I quarterbacks across the nation.
Some attribute the success to the coaching they receive on the high school level and others to tutors such as Steve Clarkson of Air 7 and Roger Theder the former Cal Bear coach who now is a private quarterback in northern California. Both Clarkson and Theder have had tremendous success sending their prize students onto the D-I level.
Where better to go than to Clarkson and Theder to discuss the success of the golden armed quarterbacks from California. Both agree that the genesis started with California's passing leagues.
"I think it started back the late 1960's," said Theder. "The first passing leagues were held at Long Beach State, and I believe that's when the quarterbacks of California really started to take off."
Theder may have a point - California passing leagues are the seven-on-seven drills that are common across the nation these days.
"One of the reasons other states lag behind is they don't do the seven-on-seven drills," Theder said.
"Many states across the nation don't have passing leagues or any private tutoring," he said. "Passing leagues have done a nice job getting quarterbacks ready.
"Private tutoring without question is a major reason why quarterbacks are developing at a rapid pace in California. California also has the weather and you can work on your skills all year long."
If you take a look at the recent signal-callers that Clarkson and Theder have trained lately, the roll call alone is a great testimony for private quarterback coaching.
Clarkson has coached privately coached Kevin Feterik one of the all-time great BYU quarterbacks. Brett Engemann the projected BYU Cougar is also a student of Steve Clarkson's.
Casey Clausen (Tennessee), Chris Rix (Florida State), Matt Leinart (USC), J.P. LosmanMatt Berry (BYU) have all been coached by Steve Clarkson.
Some feel that BYU's incoming freshman, Ben Olson will be the best incoming freshman this season. Olson was a Clarkson pupil.
Clarkson has also coached former Cal great, Pat Barnes, Arizona's Keith Smith, Miami's Scott Covington, Craig Erickson and former Heisman Trophy winner Gino Toretta.
Former BYU quarterback Steve Sarkissian and now USC quarterbacks coach was also mentored by Steve Clarkson.
Theder's roster of stars is also very impressive. Ken Dorsey the quarterback that led Miami to a national championship is one that Theder gave private lessons to. Adam Smith (Duke), Marc Gullion (Miami), Chris Hurd (Washington State) and Matt Silva (Army) have also been coached by Theder.
Trent Edwards (Stanford) and Drew Olsen (UCLA) two of the Golden State's best incoming freshmen are also had private attention from Theder.
Theder's group for the class of 2003 is a virtual who's who of quarterbacks this season.
Included in Theder's class of 2003 are Kyle Wright, Sam Keller, Dennis Dixon, T.C. Ostrander, J.C. Lewis and Brandon Ting.
Not a bad group, is it?
Both Clarkson and Theder both emphasized that being a quarterback encompasses a lot more that dropping back, finding a receiver and throwing the ball.
Clarkson and Theder have done a great job helping their students with intangibles of playing the position.
We may conclude that with the beginning of passing leagues and now private quarterback coaching that takes in more than just throwing the ball are the reasons that Golden State quarterbacks are doing a great job lining up under center from coast-to-coast.
Clarkson's latest prot? Richard Irvin came back from two camps in Dixie and he impressed. Irvin came home from the Georgia as the camps quarterback MVP. He was also a standout at the Florida camp where he was co-MVP quarterback of the Gator camp.
Hard work, private coaching, the high school coaches and the players themselves are the reasons that if your team needs a quarterback they will more than likely are heading to the Golden State.