This is good news for San Diego State; the Aztecs' passing game has struggled to produce behind senior quarterback Quinn Kaehler in 2014, and the position will be a fairly large question mark heading into spring. Oregon-transfer Jake Rodrigues figures to be the favorite to win the starting job, but he's hardly a proven commodity.
For now, let's focus on Ryan Agnew, and what exactly the Aztecs are getting in their newest quarterback.
Agnew isn't a physical specimen at 6-foot-1 and 180 lbs, but he more than makes up for it with his athleticism. Hudl has Agnew's 40-time listed at 4.5 and his mobility really jumps out at you when you watch him play.
He comes from Southlake Carroll (Southlake, Texas), the same program that produced Chase Daniel, Greg McElroy, Scott Chandler, Garrett Hartley, Kris Brown, and Kenny Hill. This season, Agnew led the Dragons to the Texas High School Football 6A Division 2 Quarterfinals, where they were eliminated by the Cedar Hill Longhorns. He finished his career with a total of 6,967 passing yards, 2,286 rushing yards, and 96 total touchdowns.
Grabbing a commitment from the three-star prospect wasn't easy, either. He held offers from several FBS programs, including Houston, UConn, UNLV, and Arkansas State.
There's also this quote from his head coach, for whatever it's worth to you:
Carroll High (Texas) coach Hal Wasson on SDSU QB verbal commit Ryan Agnew: "impeccable character ... makes plays with feet, arm and mind."— Tod Leonard (@sdutleonard) December 13, 2014
Ryan Agnew: Quarterback
Like most three-star players, Agnew comes with a fair share of pros and cons.
I'm a big fan of his touch on deep balls and his willingness to allow the receiver to go up and make a play. If you head to the 2:43 mark in the video below, you'll see him throw a pretty spectacular deep ball to the outside shoulder. It's very promising to see him find ways to get balls to deep receivers despite limited arm strength.
He also doesn't allow himself to give up on plays. A lot of this is due to his mobility (which we'll get to later), but he constantly keeps his eyes downfield and makes a habit out of creating something out of nothing. When watching him, you'll get a serious Johnny Manziel vibe from him on a lot of plays. He's obviously nowhere near the same level as Manziel, but they are similar types of players.
As for the cons, I'm not in love with his arm at the moment. As I previously mentioned, he doesn't have a ton of arm strength, which would limit him on longer throws and tighter-windows at the next level. I can't see him receiving much playing time until it improves (and I fully expect it to).
I'm also not sold on his pocket presence. There were a few instances during his film where he creates his own havoc or leaves the pocket long before it collapses. He's shifty and mobile enough to make it work, but it's something to keep an eye on.
Still, he's a very accurate passer who has the skill set necessary to succeed at the next level. In terms of a pocket passer, SDSU could do a lot worse.
Ryan Agnew: Scrambler
Agnew's biggest strength, at this very moment, is his ability as a scrambler. If he does find playing time immediately, it could be as an option QB used sparingly in short-yardage situations.
He possesses terrific vision in the pocket and open field, and he isn't afraid to immediately pull the ball down and take off if an opportunity presents itself. He doesn't seem to fear contact at all; in fact, coaches will probably prefer he pull it back a little at SDSU. If you watched that highlight reel above, I'm sure you noticed he took numerous big hits on scrambles.
Agnew boasts a pretty entertaining arsenal of moves, as well. He frequently resorts to spin moves and jukes in the open field, often managing to squeeze another yard or ten out of seemingly finished-carries.
And don't worry about how his speed will translate to the next level. His 4.5-speed, along with a quick acceleration, should set Agnew up very nicely as a potential offensive weapon in the Mountain West.
The Big Picture
There's plenty to like with Agnew–you could certainly make the argument that his ceiling is Johnny Manziel-lite–but he'll be a bit of a project for Rocky Long and his staff, and I suspect they'll bring him along very slowly. He'll likely redshirt next season, allowing him plenty of time to develop and learn the offense.
Regardless, good for SDSU for going into Texas and grabbing themselves a quarterback.