Finding Oregon's Top Gun
Widing and Jones are the champs! (Scout.com)
Widing and Jones are the champs! (Scout.com)
Northwest Recruiting Analyst
Posted Jul 14, 2008


CLACKAMAS, Ore. - Jared Allen came a long way to find someone with the right stuff. As part of Howard Schnellenberger's first recruiting class at Florida Atlantic, Allen knew all about building from the ground up. So the Oklahoma native was pretty impressed by the quality of signal callers he saw this past weekend at Clackamas High School during Oregon's inaugural Top Gun QB1 Challenge.

"The future looks very promising," Allen said. "For what I saw this first year in Oregon, it's very encouraging for the future. I thought there were a lot of great athletes here. I saw some great 40 times and mentally they were up to speed. Coverage-wise they knew what they were talking about. We got to see their arms a little bit, and as a whole I thought that Oregon had a lot to offer."

Twenty-three quarterbacks from the state, as well as from the Vancouver, Wash. area, were invited to compete in a day-long series of tests, culminating in four on-the-field competitions open to the public - a challenge Allen termed 'a likeable event' due to the fact that the quarterbacks aren't just representing their high schools.

"They are representing their commmunities," Allen said.

The Top Gun QB 1 Challenge started in Arkansas, founded by Allen's brother Jason - who played at Arkansas - and Gus Malzahn, who is currently the Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator for the University of Tulsa. Oregon is one of nine states this year that hosted such an event.
Invited quarterbacks (in alphabetical order):
Sean Berglund - Sam Barlow (Gresham)
Derek Bowen - Central Catholic (Portland)
Cameron Bratcher - Clackamas
Justin Chavarria - Henley (Klamath Falls)
Tevin Cheever - Marist (Eugene)
Kasey Clemens - Lakeview
Michael DeHaan - Beaverton
MacIan Epley - Franklin (Portland)
Kyle Gustafson - Tigard
Josh Hill - Westview (Portland)
Kyle Johnson - Lakeview
Jake Jones - Wilsonville
Tom McCorquodale - Skyview (Vancouver, Wash.)
Jacob Mitchell - Siuslaw (Florence)
Mark Moore - Newport
Tym Pearson - Thurston (Springfield)
Jordan Perry - Central Catholic (Portland)
Spencer Phillips - Willamette (Eugene)
Jordan Poyer - Astoria
Blake Rudolph - Lincoln (Portland)
David Sowards - Clackamas
Brian Widing - Canby
Josh Yoder - Canby

In the morning, the quarterbacks were given a mental test. To no one surprise, Westview's Hill broke out his 3.92 GPA to take an early lead.

Mental Test
1. Josh Hill
2. Jordan Perry
3. Jacob Mitchell

Next was the 'Coverage Call'. This gave the quarterbacks a chance to show how quickly the could read defenses and react in live situations. Lincoln's Blake Rudolph won this part of the Challenge.

Coverage Call
1. Blake Rudolph
2. Josh Hill

Buoyed by a wind-aided, hand-timed 4.31 40, Thurston QB Tym Pearson held off Astoria's Jordan Poyer to take top marks in the Physical Testing portion of the Challenge. Each quarterback was tested in the 40, 20-yard shuttle, standing broad jump, vertical jump and weighted ball throw. Poyer had a 10-foot standing broad jump, and Willamette's Spencer Phillips used a 4.22 2-yard shuttle time to take third.

Physical Testing
1. Tym Pearson
2. Jordan Poyer
3. Spencer Phillips 4.22 shuttle

After those three phases of the challenge, it was time to throw the ball around. During the Speed and Mobility test - where each quarterback worked through an obstacle course before making a throw on the run at stationary target - it was clear that the on-the-field events would ultimately determine who would be Oregon's 'Top Gun'. And Wilsonville's Jake Jones, who was eleventh before the on-the-field events, rose to the challenge of moving up the big board by putting together the camp's top time.

"I was just hoping to get in the final 10 to do the accuracy (event)," Jones said with a laugh. "That was the fun one."

Speed and Mobility
1. Jake Jones - 18.4 seconds
2. Justin Chavarria - 18.9 seconds
3. Kasey Clemens - 19.12

For the Stationary Accuracy event, targets were strategically placed around the field for the quarterback to take his best shot at hitting each one. There was a total of five throws to make in 30 seconds. Once again, Phillips showed the he has all-around game by putting up the camp's top mark with Canby's Brian Widing. As the eventual results would show, Oregon's top guns would only start to show themselves when the heat was turned up a few notches.

"Coming from a school like Canby - where you don't get a lot of passing exposure - it was nice to come out here and show people that I can throw the ball and that Canby can put out someone that can throw it around a little bit," Widing said.

Stationary Accuracy
(Tie) 1. Spencer Phillips - 50 points
1. Brian Widing - 50 points
3. MacIan Epley - 40 points

For the Deep Ball challenge, the name said it all; throw it the farthest, and you win. And when the ball left Jordan Poyer's hand, it had some jump to it.

Deep Ball
1. Jordan Poyer - 58 yards
2. Brian Widing - 56 yards
(Tie) 3. Jake Jones - 54 yards
3. Tevin Cheever - 54 yards

The results for each event were tabulated, and the final 10 moved on to the last challenge of the evening.

Top 10 (in order of finish):
10. Josh Hill
9. Tym Pearson
8. Kasey Clemens
7. Michael DeHaan
6. MacIan Epley
5. Tom McCorquodale
4. Jordan Poyer
3. Spencer Phillips
2. Jake Jones
1. Brian Widing


It was up to the rest of the group to beat out Widing and Jones as the top-2 quarterbacks would move on to represent Oregon in the National Top Gun QB1 Challenge, which takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma July 25-26.

No one could. Or so we thought.

Widing's performance in the final event just proved to everyone watching that he was by far the most accurate passer of those invited to participate. Multiple bullseyes while on the move punched Widing's ticket to Tulsa.

Accuracy on the Move
1. Brian Widing
2. Kasey Clemens
3. Tom McCorquodale

And while Poyer and Phillips put in strong efforts to supplant Jones, the man from Wilsonville kept his cool and will be moving on with Widing to represent the Beaver State later this month.

"I'm excited to represent Oregon," said Jones. "It's a great opportunity."

"As a competitor you have to come in expecting to win," widing added. "I've seen a lot of these guys before and knew I could hold my own. I'm really happy with the results."

But in a strange quirk of fate, it was determined well after the event that a scoring error had taken place earlier in the day. When the numbers were re-crunched, Poyer ended up in a tie with Jones for second place. So in the end, Oregon will be taking three quarterbacks to Tulsa.

Congratulations again to Brian Widing, Jake Jones and Jordan Poyer!


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