Nathan Enderle may be flying under the radar right now, but he won’t be for long. He is already getting some attention before his senior season has even begun, and there is good reason for that. Right now I have Enderle as my #3 senior QB without hesitation behind only Locker and Ponder. I have watched at least two games of each of them, but Enderle’s tape was the most surprising to me. He really did impress me, and as a result I decided to put a write-up together after I finished watching him lead Idaho against Bowling Green. Here it is, hopefully you enjoy it!

Enderle really impressed me in this game. He had an up and down first half, but that was partially due to dropped passes from his receivers. However he clearly settled down after a while and he showed me a lot of NFL ability. First, he has NFL size and definitely has NFL arm strength. He showed good accuracy but I wouldn’t say it’s very good, or at least it wasn’t in this game. It was good, but there were some throws that were not put on the numbers or his receivers had to make a bit of a tough adjustment to bring the pass in. He has impressive arm strength and he can put zip on his passes without stepping into his throws, which he did a couple times in this game. His mechanics are solid and he has a good, quick throwing motion. Once or twice in this game I noticed him dip the ball closer to his waist, so even though he has come a long way with his mechanics and footwork he still has room to improve in this area.

Enderle has the size, arm strength and intangibles to be a successful NFL QB.

He shows good poise in the pocket, but he is still developing a bit in this area also. Two or three times I saw him not trust what he saw or he didn’t like what he saw so he left the pocket prematurely (at least in my estimation) when he could have stepped up or bought time inside the pocket and found someone to throw to. However for the most part he showed a lot of poise in the pocket and I was impressed with how he felt the pressure by stepping up and buying more time in the pocket. I don’t know how tough he is, but he took a couple of hits after he delivered a pass and he popped right back up, and he didn’t seem to shy away from contact very much. He doesn’t have much in the way of mobility, so he won’t be scrambling for a lot of yards in the NFL. He does have at least some ability to extend plays outside of the pocket, but he doesn’t offer much more than that.

Enderle did a good job of adjusting in this game though, which is about as impressive as anything he did in this game. His best receiver, Max Komar, had at least three or four drops in this game and Enderle realized that he was not having his best game, so he started to rely more on other receivers who were making plays for him. He would still go to Komar every once in a while, but it was just not his day. He showed confidence in his other receivers by throwing them the ball with good zip on his throws and expecting them to make the play and often they did make the catch for him. He delivered his passes on time and he really trusts what he sees when he is reading a defense. Like everyone he will make mistakes every once in a while when reading defenses (like when he saw the safeties down closer to the line of scrimmage when the linebackers were showing blitz, so he found his hot read and threw him the ball quickly but everyone had backed off and dropped into a zone so it was knocked down and incomplete), however he does a good job of reading defenses pre-snap, he seems to make a lot of checks and audibles at the line of scrimmage, and he spends an almost unbelievable amount of time under center given the current landscape of college football. So many teams run spreads with their QB’s in shotgun, and the teams that run pro-styles seem to work in a lot of snaps in the shotgun. Enderle spent the vast majority of this game under center, which was really nice to see.

I also really liked what Enderle did with his eyes all game. He did a great job of using his eyes to get the defense to key on the wrong side of the field or on the wrong receiver before he would go to his left or his right to the guy he wanted to deliver the ball to. He kept the defense off balance all game with this and I truly believe the way he used his eyes was the key to Idaho winning the game. Even when he did key on a receiver on a quick throw the defense couldn’t bite hard on it because if they did he could easily go to his second progression and make them pay for it. Unlike most QB’s in college or in spread offenses you can’t just key on their first read and jump his routes, you need to be patient and react when the ball is thrown, not before. Otherwise he will make you pay. That is the mark of a smart and experienced QB, and that is very encouraging for Enderle’s NFL prospects. I didn’t see a QB use his eyes as well as Enderle did in this game the entire year I was scouting last year, so that should give you some context for how rare and impressive this particular skill is for a junior quarterback to possess.

Enderle uses his eyes better than most of the QB's I have ever scouted on the college leve. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

When I watched this game I did not know how it ended which made it fun because I was emotionally invested rooting for Idaho and Enderle and hoping that he would have a good game, and he did just that. But Idaho was losing by a touchdown with 32 seconds left and they were in their own territory. Enderle snapped the ball and got flushed out of the pocket and he hurled a deep ball down the left sideline just before he got hit and his receiver made a nice adjustment to get under it and make the catch. I couldn’t believe that the throw was completed. They called a quick play and it was incomplete over the middle, so with eight seconds left they called a timeout to draw up a play. Enderle came under center, snapped the ball and threw a laser down the seam to his go-to man Matt Komar between two defenders for a touchdown, and I honestly yelled I was so excited. I couldn’t believe Enderle had pulled off this come-back drive, and then the unthinkable happened: Idaho went for two. I was hoping for overtime to see more of Enderle under pressure, but this was a huge play for Idaho. This would be their first bowl win in years, and it would cap off a great year when the previous two years they had a combined three wins. Now, winning this game was all on Enderle’s shoulders. He snapped the ball, patiently waited in the pocket after his drop, and found his WR Preston Davis in the back of the end zone for the winning completion. I absolutely couldn’t believe it. It was a terrific game and it was a terrific comeback drive capped off with a two point conversion. Enderle threw four touchdowns in this game, but no throws in his entire career were more pressure-packed and critical than his last two passes of this game, and he made two good ones to win the game for Idaho.

I truly believe that how a QB reacts under pressure, when he is being blitzed, or when the game is on the line says a lot about him. And that was what impressed me so much about Enderle in this game. He routinely made big throws on 2nd and long, 3rd and long, for touchdowns in the red zone, and ultimately he won the game with two huge throws with almost no time left on the game clock to win. There aren’t a lot of QB’s in college or the NFL who can do that, but Enderle looks to be one of them. I am truly excited to see him play next season, and I have very high hopes for him. Honestly, his game is not very different from Matt Stafford, the #1 pick in the draft from two years ago. That is not to say that I think Enderle will go #1, but he has comparable size, arm strength, poise and talent to Stafford, which is pretty high praise for a QB that not many of you know anything about yet. But believe me and you, if he plays like he did in this game regularly next year he will go in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft. If he isn’t well known enough yet Enderle will without a doubt be my sleeper at QB for 2011.

Thanks for reading, hopefully you learned something about this talented young QB who is definitely flying under the radar (for now).

–Tom Melton