Football purists from the high school to pro levels point to line play when assessing the key elements to any game's outcome. However, when two five-star quarterbacks as talented as Brock Vandagriff
and Gunner Stockton
go head-to-head, the big fellas likely will be largely ignored.
At least by the general public.
You can bet all eyes of a national ESPNU audience will be riveted on the arms, legs and skills of two of the national's top dual-threat, signal callers at 8 p.m. Friday when Vandagriff's Prince Avenue Christian (Athens)
Wolverines (1-0) travel to Stockton's Rabun County (Tiger)
Wildcats (1-0) in a peach of a Georgia showdown.
Stockton, a fleet and stocky 6-foot-1, 220-pound junior, is rated the No. 24 player overall and top dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2022 by 247Sports composite. He's thrown for 6,543 prep career yards, rushed for 1,916 more and accounted for 117 touchdowns while leading the Wildcats to a 24-3 record since 2018.
The 2018 MaxPreps national Freshman of the Year has already committed to South Carolina.
"Gunner has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country since his freshman year," MaxPreps National Football Editor Zack Poff said. "He's a very special player and is on pace to account for more than 16,000 yards of total offense by the time his high school career is over."
Vandagriff, a more angular 6-3, 205-pound senior, is rated the No. 13 player overall and No. 2 dual-threat QB in the Class of 2021. He's thrown for 6,174 yards and 65 touchdowns in his prep career, rushed for 1,486 more yards and 34 scores, and led the Wolverines to a 42-7 record since 2017.
He's committed to stay home and play at Georgia next season.
"Brock is one of the toughest and grittiest quarterbacks in high school football," Poff said. "He is the complete package and does it at a high level with his arm and legs. Georgia is in good hands at the quarterback position."
Barton Simmons, the director of scouting for 247Sports, agrees.
He compares Vandagriff to current Auburn quarterback Bo Nix, who led the Tigers to a 9-4 record his freshman season including a 48-45 Iron Bowl win over Alabama in 2019. In an April evaluation
, Simmons called Vandagriff a "muscled, physically mature quarterback prospect.
"Plus athleticism supported by strong combine testing numbers. Has sudden body movements in the pocket. Delivers quickly and on time in the (pass-run-option) game. Intermediate and short game velocity and accuracy are strengths. Has the ability to make plays with his legs as a scrambler or as a function of the run game."
None of it is by accident, said Vandargriff's father Greg, also Prince Avenue Christian's head coach.
just work on little things in the offseason and continue to allow his
mind to grow with schemes and coverages and just his understanding," the coach told 247Sports
. "It's been a slow and methodical improvement."
Stockton hit the ground running in high school, putting up huge numbers as 14 year old. Simmons compared him to North Carolina sophomore Sam Howell, noting his athleticism, active feet in the pocket and ability to extend plays.
"(He) is capable of making some
advanced throws and shows touch and ball placement downfield," Simmons wrote of Stockton in August of 2019
creativity and competency delivering on screens and PRO throws on the move. Comfortable making tight-window throws with
Rabun County coach Jaybo Shaw told 247Sports that Stockton has always had a fearless quality and unyielding work ethic.
"Obviously he's an
unbelievable talent with a ton of God-given ability, but he works his
tail off in trying to improve his game every day," he said. "He's continued to
mature and continued to grow. There is not a throw Gunner Stockton
cannot make on the football field."
They both started successfully last week in lopsided season-opening wins.
Vandagriff completed 17-of-26 passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns, and ran 10 times for 93 yards and two more scores in a 42-7 win over Calvary Day. Stockton was 10-for-15 for 153 yards and three touchdowns and ran 12 times for 81 yards and another score in a 35-0 win over Ridgeland.
The team matchup is also intriguing: Prince Avenue Christian is No. 30 in the state according to the MaxPreps computer rankings and Rabun County is No. 33. Everything about this game is tight.
"There's a lot of reasons to watch this game," Poff said. "But the guys taking the snaps are reasons No. 1 and No. 2."
Or 1A and 1B.