Toward the end of June, Mizzou picked up a commitment from QB Connor Bazelak.
With Drew Lock exhausting his eligibility and four other quarterbacks on the roster (none which has had enough time to prove themselves as the next guy), Barry Odom needed a quarterback in the 2019 class and Bazelak hopes to be the next big arm for Mizzou.
The 6-foot-3 quarterback was recently bumped to a 4-star on 247sports and he’s a solid pickup. He doesn’t have anything that makes you say ‘wow’, but he is consistently good at most things coaches would ask him to do.
His accuracy looks good on his highlights (0:28 in his HUDL highlights); however, MaxPreps only lists him with a 50-percent completion rate in 2017. He is extremely accurate on sideline fades or go routes (0:19).
In Bazelak’s junior season he threw for over 1,000 yards, 11 touchdowns, and only 3 interceptions. It should also be noted that Bazelak only attempted 134 passes as a junior.
His footwork isn’t great, but it’s not a detriment and something coaches can typically work on. His stance is good, but sometimes Bazelak throws off his back foot. At 0:14 and 0:20 we can see how this hinders his ability to really drive the ball down the field.
Bazelak is good on the move and keeps his eyes downfield (3:40). He steps up in the pocket when he needs to and moves laterally when in trouble. His lateral quickness allows him to get outside of the pocket, getting wider than the defensive contain player, and getting an 8-12 yard run (3:48).
Bazelak also does a good job of keeping the play alive when things seem to break down. Throughout his highlight tape there are good examples, but most notably at 4:03. The best thing about this play: he’s keeping his eyes down the field looking for a receiver trying to get open even when faced with a breakdown in the protection. His quickness is also shown when he makes a move to get around the left defensive end.
The only concern with Bazelak is how will he look throwing to SEC receivers matched up against SEC corners. This isn’t a problem unique to Bazelak — every prep quarterback transitioning to college faces this issue.
Bazelak’s throwing motion needs some slight work. He is holding the ball at a little lower than chest level when he’s making his reads. When he wants to throw, he has to bring the ball up then begin his throwing motion. That slight hitch slows down his mechanics.
Something like this may not seem like a big deal, but it can sometimes shave a second off a throwing motion and when you have blitzers coming your way, it can make all the difference.
Bazelak does a good job of reading the field. He goes through his progressions confidently, hardly ever looking timid in the pocket.
One thing which is hard to teach a quarterback is how to read the field.
Reading the field involves knowing exactly where your receivers will be at any point of their route and dissecting the coverage the defense is playing so you can have a better idea of where to throw the ball before the snap. This was a common critique of Drew Lock early in his career, and there are some scouts who will still say they want to see him do this better this season. Similarly, this might be a growth spot for Bazelak.
Bazelak can do the simple reads and doesn’t try to do too much. He does a good job of following his progressions (7:30). He also appears to look off the safety a few times which is a trait a bit advanced for a young quarterback and is extremely valuable when done at a high level (0:44).
The good news is that Bazelak’s weaknesses are all things Missouri’s coaches can work on.
Something that is very sought after in quarterbacks is coach-ability.
How can you take constructive criticism and use that to make adjustments to be better in all of the many aspects required from a great quarterback? That remains to be seen with Bazelak.
Bazelak does most things at an above-average level.
With the right coaching, he can be great at some things and improve on his weaknesses.