Quarterback Zeke Pike from Dixie Heights High School is one of the top quarterbacks in the class of 2012. Although he has prototypical size, Pike flashes deceptive athleticism at times. With a verbal commitment to Auburn, Pike will be in a quarterback-friendly offensive scheme to start his collegiate career.
Here are some of the pros and cons to recruiting Zeke Pike.
#1. Arm Strength
Pike has significant arm strength. He’s easily able to attack all areas of the field. Receivers risk being overthrown if they run their route at half-speed. Pike can make a deep throw even if he can’t set his feet or move up in the pocket.
Despite his size, Pike can move around the pocket and roll out. He can handle a designed run and pick up a few yards. Pike shows a little shiftiness in the open field. He knows how to make himself small enough to fit through a hole in the offensive line. Pike isn’t a blazer but he is faster than his size might suggest.
Pike has prototypical size at a young age. He’s listed at 6’5″ or 6’6″ and 225 pounds. He appears solid with pads on. Pike may even be able to add more muscle to his frame in college without affecting his athleticism.
He uses his size well when running and leans forward just before making contact with a defender. With a full head of steam, Pike can break through arm tackles and pick up tough yards.
Pike started as a junior and senior in high school. He also played basketball. His development as purely a football player is a bit behind some of the other notable quarterbacks in the class of 2012.
Pike runs with the ball hung loosely and swings his arms. He’ll need to learn to cradle the ball high and tight to prevent strips from defenders.
Pike doesn’t see the entire field well. He’s slow to go through his progressions which leads to inaccurate and late throws. His internal clock needs to speed up and force him to make his decisions quicker. Pike also doesn’t appear to feel pressure in the pocket unless it’s in his face.
#2. Throwing Mechanics
Like the other facets of his game, Pike needs to become a more consistent thrower. In high school, he frequently threw without setting his feet and relied on sheer arm strength. His throws come out wobbly instead of having a tight spiral.
Pike has to learn to take some power off of his throws at times. His lack of touch leads to deflections off of the receivers’ hands and dropped balls.
Pike recently gave a verbal commitment to the Auburn Tigers. He’ll be playing for a creative offensive coordinator in Gus Malzahn. The scheme fits some of Pike’s talents and he should be able to put up solid numbers if he becomes the starter.
However, Pike should take a redshirt in his freshman year. He needs time to develop and refine his throwing motion. His accuracy needs work but it should improve as Pike becomes comfortable with the offensive scheme.
Pike’s flaws are all correctable with good coaching and hard work. I expect Pike to improve dramatically after Malzahn works with him and he concentrates only on football.