Sam Huard draft introduction

A Shot Huard Around the World

This very likely will be the single most important fanpost in the entire series I've done on potential 2024 NFL draft quarterback prospects.

Sam Huard has jaw dropping talent. His combination of arm talent, accuracy, football IQ and athleticism is outstanding. His high school highlight tape is very impressive. Huard was a "can't miss" high school recruit. The only thing he lacked was prototypical size and strength. Huard was basically a taller version of Bryce Young.

On ESPN's recruiting rankings, Huard was the 2nd best QB, behind only the super highly touted Quinn Ewers. Huard was the 16th overall recruit in the nation, one spot immediately ahead of Caleb Williams.

Why Huard isn't currently projected as a top 5 pick in the 2024 NFL draft is a very confusing mystery. Huard essentially "flopped" and "failed" at Washington, a 5 star recruit "bust", but I don't understand how that happened.

It is next to impossible to evaluate Huard off of college tape, because he has almost never gotten onto the field. Unable to win the starting job at Washington in either 2021 or 2022, he was a backup and only had meaningful action in a single game in his career. In the only start of his career, he had 4 INTs. In 2022, Huard was effectively UW's 3rd string QB. He has transferred to an FCS school, Cal Poly, for the 2023 season.

Huard isn't even listed on most 2024 draft boards. He would be an early entrant and since he's never been a starter in college, it would make perfect sense for him to remain in school in 2024. Maybe he could transfer back to UW, Stetson Bennett style and make a triumphant return.

The alternative scenario, which I don't feel is at all farfetched, is that Huard could have a strong 2023 season playing for Cal Poly (JJ Koski's college team), come out of nowhere and vault himself all the way to the top of the 1st round of the 2024 NFL draft.

I am 100% serious when I say that Sam Huard has the potential to be just as good an NFL prospect as Caleb Williams.

There is a deja vu aspect to this story. Sam Huard is the son of Damon Huard, who had a long career in the NFL. Damon built a strong reputation as a backup for the Miami Dolphins when he filled in for an injured Dan Marino. This led to him being signed by a new team in free agency in 2001, where he was expected to be the veteran 2nd string QB and help mentor the team's developmental younger QBs. Instead, Damon was narrowly beaten out for the 2nd string job by a 2nd year player, largely because Damon wasn't as familiar with the team's offensive system. That fateful decision resulted in Tom Brady and not Damon Huard stepping in for the injured Drew Bledsoe. Hence the Tuck Rule fumble game, the Super Bowl upset of the Rams, Spygate and the very beginning of the long Patriots dynasty. If history repeats itself, Sam Huard won't be playing the role of his father, he's going to be the next Tom Brady.

When Brady was a freshman at Michigan, he was the 4th string QB. His 2nd season at UM, he was the 3rd string QB. Brady considered transferring to Cal, but decided to remain at Michigan. His 3rd season, Brady "lost" a close QB competition with Brian Griese.

Brady did not become the starting QB at UM until his redshirt junior season, his 4th year in college. Even then, it was somewhat of a surprise that he beat out highly touted freshman Drew Henson. As I've told the story previously, the only reason I was so familiar with Brady was because Henson was supposed to be "the next big thing" in college football and I was eager to see him play. I watched Michigan games, fully expecting the team to bench "this Brady guy" and elevate Henson to the starting position. It never happened. For 2 seasons, Henson was unable to dislodge Brady from the starting spot.

Currently, Sam Huard is barely a faint blip on the 2024 draft radar.

Shane Hallam not ranked among 99 QBs (I'm assuming this is because Hallam doesn't anticipate Huard being in the 2024 draft.)

PFN draft simulator not ranked among 38 QBs

Jake Rigdon (Fanspeak) not ranked among 406 prospects

Steve Shoup (Fanspeak) not ranked among 376 prospects

BuffaloFAMBase big board not ranked among 500 prospects

NFLMDD consensus big board 29th QB, 366th overall (UDFA)

Ryan Fowler (TDN) 17th QB, 180th overall (6th round)

NFLDB 21st QB, 273rd overall (UDFA): Good, but not elite arm strength, natural athlete. Sees field very well. Vision, balance, elusiveness and deceptive speed as runner. Undersized, slight frame. Average arm.


Name: Sam Huard. Currently 19 years old. Turns 21 years old in June of 2024. Redshirt sophomore in 2023.

School: Cal Poly, transferred from Washington.

Size: Listed by UW at 6'2'' tall and 193 pounds in 2022. NFLDB 4.85 second 40 time. Listed at 180 pounds as a recruit.

5 star recruit from WA. Left handed. Played basketball in HS. Played in Air Raid system in HS. Covid disrupted his final season in HS, team played an abbreviated schedule in the spring of 2021, he only played in 3 games, then enrolled at UW. He was practicing for his college team days after playing his final HS game (played on Friday, moved into dorms on Sunday, then was at practice on Monday.) As junior in HS, had 4,172 passing yards and 56 passing TDs. His HS team didn't have any snaps under center and didn't huddle. Set state record for prep career passing yards, breaking the mark held by Brett Rypien, a QB currently with the Rams.

2nd string backup QB in 2021 behind Dylan Morris, who was a redshirt sophomore. Morris had 14 passing TDs and 12 INTs in 2021 and became a QB that UW fans love to hate. Morris is still at UW. Huard remained glued to the bench in 2022 with Michael Penix Jr. starting.

Only started one game in 2 seasons at UW.

Transferred to Cal Poly to play for his former HS coach, Sheldon Cross, who is now the OC at Cal Poly. Penix deciding to return to UW instead of entering the 2023 NFL draft effectively forced Huard to transfer. Leaving UW was tough for him, because it was his dream school. Both Damon Huard and Brock Huard were star QBs at UW, and his grandfather also played at UW. Huard had interest from power conference schools, but he would have faced stiffer competition at those schools to earn the starting spot.

Career stats at UW: 24 for 44 (54.5% completions), 265 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs, 4 for -45 yards rushing, 1 fumble, 2 sacks.


A better NFL prospect than either Damon Huard (UDFA in 1996) or Brock Huard (3rd round pick in 1999)

Good athlete. Quick twitch, fast and nimble feet. Smooth short area burst to get away from pressure.

Clean, textbook throwing mechanics. Compact motion. Balanced on follow through. Can throw on the run with both accuracy and ball velocity. Ball has a good spiral on most throws. Detailed footwork to properly align his feet towards target even if he has to quickly adjust from opposite side of field.

Son and nephew of former NFL QBs. Had another uncle who played college football. His grandfather was a football coach. Mature and intelligent in interviews. Natural born leader, he's talked and carried himself like an NFL starting QB since he was in high school. High character individual.

Very good accuracy. Outstanding touch on ball. Phenomenal 30 yard backshoulder on sideline fade. Pinpoint 25 yard backshoulder. Pro level 30 yard backshoulder. Fantastic ball placement 20 yards on sideline fade. Accurate throwing to both left and right side of the field. Dropped 30 yard dime to sideline from opposite hash. Nice ball placements to throw the WR open in scramble drill situations. Surgical precision to thread needle and fit the ball into tiny windows in coverage.

Effective arm strength. Plenty of zip to put it on the WR on inside slants and get ball to them in a hurry. Can drive comeback route with velocity, but still catchable ball. Very good deep ball passer. Nice high trajectory and pinpoint accuracy on 40 yard pass. Good trajectory on 35 yard deep ball. Smoke to drive 15 yard pass to sideline. Can rip ball into zone voids on smash concept route combination. "You've got to be kidding me" 40 yard dime dropped in at steep angle over tight coverage by CB to hit WR for TD. Throwing on move, 35 yards hits WR between the jersey numbers. Deep post 35 yards, hits WR perfectly in stride. Beat 2 defenders on 35 yard deep post to create long TD. Makes it rain, dropping in 45 yard bombs from the heavens at steep angles, dropping them in over CBs and into the arms of the WR.

Processes coverage quickly, sees field well. Ability to go through progression lightning quick and hit his 3rd read was beyond his years, much more advanced than you'd expect from a true freshman starting his first game. Knows the answers pre-snap if defense doesn't disguise coverage, understands where to attack before he gets the ball from the center. Impressive manipulation of zone CB by subtle eye movement, making it look like QB is going down the progression, where the whole time QB is just creating more space so that he can hit the TE underneath that CB's area of the zone, that is NFL level execution. Decisive, does not hesitate or hold ball too long, unsure of what he's seeing on field. Located safety, immediately decided his primary wasn't going to be open and checked it down. Throws with precise timing and anticipation, hitting the target on schedule, helping YAC and not creating unnecessary contested catch situations. Begins to throw sometimes before receiver is out of break. Knows when to throw pass into 2nd window. Manipulates single high deep safety with his eyes, faking to opposite side of field prior to unleashing deep ball to WR down sideline.

Not prone to making poor decisions or failing to see open receivers. High degree of mental aptitude, information processing and field awareness.

Calm under pressure, excellent pocket awareness and presence. Doesn't overreact to the pass rush. Keeps eyes downfield and has measured, disciplined footwork so that he can move around inside and outside of the pocket while maintaining base and shoulders properly aligned to be ready to throw a pass. Twist in middle of DL, very subtle one step slide to left by QB to find better passing window and use available space in pocket to throw deep ball. A 6th sense to feel the rush, then sudden movements to escape. Does "early work" with pocket movement instead of waiting for the rush to get on top of him and panicking. Uncanny composure, blitz does not rush him, his mechanics stay the same, he stands tall and delivers, knowing that he must get ball out, but still understands how to throw accurately in the middle of pocket chaos.

Confident in his own abilities. Not afraid to fit the ball into tight windows.

The poor stats in his only start at UW are very misleading. Receivers dropped numerous passes, fell down or didn't run the route properly. In my opinion, the plays where he throws INTs vs WSU reveal the QB's high ceiling, they aren't red flags that point to an NFL bust.

Potentially fell victim to football politics. Kalen DeBoer, the new UW head coach in 2022, was Indiana's OC in 2019. So, when he brought in Michael Penix, Jr., there was already an existing relationship between the two.

Stating the obvious, since he's never been a starter in college, he isn't close to his maximum potential. Development should accelerate with regular playing time.

Very young, still 19 years old. I'm not aware of any serious injuries with this player.


Difficult to evaluate him, because he has only had extremely limited playing experience in college.

Undersized. Getting off the bus, he doesn't look like he should be a great player, because he isn't tall and has a slight build.

Has almost zero playing experience in college. Played in Air Raid system in HS and presumably will be in same offense at Cal Poly, giving him limited experience in a pro style scheme and with snaps under center.

Seems to have a habit of missing a few passes high, ball slightly sails on him, happening more often when targeting the right side of field. Accuracy goes down when throwing on move to his right, just the mirror image of a right handed QB struggling to throw when on the move to the left.

Staring down WR making double move, QB loses track of underneath LB, takes defender to route with eyes, then throws INT directly to the LB cutting in front of the WR.

Does not have a rocket arm. More than enough arm strength to make nearly all NFL throws, but he doesn't have an elite arm. Ball sometimes wobbles in air and doesn't have a tight spiral.

From his high school tape, appears to me to be questionable whether he has effective deep ball range beyond 45 yards from LOS. Had to load up and take exaggerated launch step to drive 45 yard bomb down middle of the field.

Doesn't always keep 2 hands on ball in pocket, opening door for potential sack fumbles.

You'd have to go out on a limb to project a QB who was a 3rd string QB in 2022 to be a future NFL starting QB.

2023 Outlook

Cal Poly is an FCS level program. Their "big" regular season game, if you want to call it that, is probably against San Jose State. Cal Poly has very limited historical success. They were 2-9 last year. They were a terrible team when JJ Koski was there. If I'm not mistaken, in the entire history of their football program, they only have 3 seasons where they've won at least 10 games. The last time they accomplished that feat was all the way back in 1997.

I think Sam Huard has a very high ceiling and that someday he could be a high 1st round NFL draft pick. He checks so many boxes, he has the necessary tools to be a franchise QB. I have no explanation to offer as to why he "flopped" at Washington and why he isn't going to be a starting QB at a powerhouse FBS school in 2023. It doesn't make any sense.

Huard is a potential enormous wild card in the 2024 NFL draft. The experts are sleeping on him. Can Huard put football minnow Cal Poly on the map and shock the world?