Nebraska finally landed its quarterback target for 2017, as Calabasas, Calif. native Tristan Gebbia joined the Husker class Monday afternoon. Nebraska had been after Gebbia since last August and finally reeled in the talented signal caller following his unofficial visit on March 30th. Gebbia is Nebraska’s fourth commit of the 2017 class and the second Calabasas Coyote to pledge to NU, joining wide receiver commit Keyshawn Johnson Jr.
Gebbia is considered a consensus 4-star prospect and top-250 recruit by Rivals, Scout and 247sports. Rivals lists Gebbia as the No. 4 pro-style quarterback prospect in the nation and the No. 11 overall prospect in the state of California. All three recruiting services list Gebbia as the top quarterback prospect in the state of California.
Who Else Was Interested?
Gebbia committed with 14 FBS offers, including offers from recruiting heavyweights such as Alabama, Miami (FL) and Ole Miss. On Feb. 2nd, Gebbia named a top five of Nebraska, Ole Miss, Washington, Washington State and West Virginia. Despite having a top five, it became very clear as February progressed that it was a two-team race between the Huskers and the Rebels for Gebbia’s commitment. Despite Gebbia’s father being an Ole Miss alum, Danny Langsdorf and Keyshawn Johnson Jr. succeeded in getting Gebbia to pick the Huskers.
Gebbia measures in at 6-3 and 180 pounds. He has a very good frame for a pro-style quarterback as he has long arms and legs and reasonably broad shoulders that give him some room to fill out and add weight. That being said, Gebbia is extremely skinny at this point in his development and will need a redshirt season to hit the weight room and add some muscle to his frame. Gebbia will never be a huge quarterback like 2016 signee Patrick O’Brien, but after he is finished filling out I could see him measuring in at 6-3 and in the 205-210 pound range. Gebbia reminds me a bit of a young Jared Goff in terms of body type at this point.
1. His arm strength. There is no other way to put it, Gebbia can flat out chuck it. Gebbia has an effortless throwing motion that allows him to throw the ball 40 yards downfield on a rope with just a flick of his wrist. There isn’t a throw that Gebbia can’t make on the football field and he demonstrated that last season to the tune of 4,435 passing yards and 45 touchdowns. An added bonus, Gebbia’s arm strength will only get better as he continues to fill out and add muscle to his frame.
2. His mobility in the pocket. Gebbia isn’t a big threat as a runner, as he ran the ball only 39 times as a junior. What Gebbia is good at is the subtle movements in the pocket that allow him to avoid pressure and find open throwing windows against opposing defenses. Gebbia shows a good feel for pressure and doesn’t panic and take his eyes off the secondary; instead he does a solid job of keeping his eyes downfield and finding a safety valve.
3. His ability to read coverage. Usually the first thing college coaches have to teach young quarterbacks is how to read defenses and progress through reads. Luckily for Langsdorf, Gebbia already has a pretty good feel for that area of his game. While he isn’t perfect, Gebbia does a solid job of working through his progressions during the play and not locking on to his initial primary target. This strength will help Gebbia compete for early playing time when he arrives in Lincoln.
1. His touch on intermediate passes. Gebbia throws a gorgeous deep ball, but in the intermediate passing game he has a tendency to overthrow passes and sail the ball high. This is an issue in Langsdorf’s offense, which relies heavily on short and intermediate passes. This weakness in Gebbia’s game is mainly due to him having more arm strength than he knows what to do with at this point, and it should improve as he continues to mature and develop under coach Langsdorf.
2. His tendency to force the ball deep. Remember how I said Gebbia wasn’t perfect at working through his progressions? As I’ve stated several times before, Gebbia has fantastic natural arm strength. While this is certainly a nice trait, it also has led to Gebbia taking some unnecessary risks with the football and forcing the ball into coverage in search of a big play. This is another weakness that will improve as Gebbia continues to mature and develop under Langsdorf and Coach Riley.
3. Cleaning up his footwork. The majority of the time, Gebbia has solid footwork and keeps himself balanced throughout his throwing motion, allowing him to throw the ball with conviction. At times though, Gebbia gets a bit sloppy with his footwork and releases the ball while off balance. This leads to him sailing the ball high and missing open receivers. Once again this is an easily correctable flaw that will improve as he continues to develop and mature.
Keith Williams gets a ton of love for his work on the recruiting trail and deservedly so, but let’s take a moment to commend Danny Langsdorf for his work as well. For the second straight year, Langsdorf strolled into California and walked out with arguably the top signal-caller in the state. Gebbia is the highest rated Husker commit in almost a decade, and he deserves the hype. Gebbia has NFL-caliber arm strength, is comfortable moving in the pocket and has already shown an ability to read coverage and work through his progressions. Really the only question mark about Gebbia is if he can add some weight to his frame. Big time get for the Cornhuskers.
College Comparison: Less-mobile version of Ole Miss Quarterback Chad Kelly
Pro Comparison: Miami Dolphins Quarterback Ryan Tannehill