Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Topeka Hayden QB Dallas Crittenden transfers to Lawrence Free State

Dallas Crittenden; 5'10''; 175 lbs
The Lawrence Free State Firebirds are suddenly not hurting for an experienced quarterback despite the graduation of All-Sunflower League QB (and All-State CB) Bryce Torneden, who will be joining the Kansas Jayhawks this coming fall. The team will at least have starting experience thanks to the transfer of Dallas Crittenden, who will be coming from the Topeka Hayden football team.

Hayden arrives after leading the Wildcats to a 10-2 record and a trip to the Sub-State round of the Class 4A-DI playoffs where the team fell to Andover Central 28-2. While leading a triple option attack, Crittenden still managed to throw for over 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior. If you want to take a look at him first hand, his highlight video can be found here.

When looking at his highlight reel, there are a few notable traits that were consistent over last season. To start with a bright spot, Crittenden was incredibly efficient at throwing on the run. He seemed more comfortable throwing out of the pocket and creating space with his legs. This allowed him to dump off passes on the perimeter and his ability to stay accurate on the run should help him plenty in replacing Torneden's running ability.

Dallas Crittenden (pictured) will enter summer camps as the
favorite to win the starting QB job. Photo by CJ Online
An issue that arises from this focus is Crittenden's tendencies when he is forced to sit in the pocket and throw. His steps tend to stop after his drop back, which leaves him flat-footed on many of his throws. While he did manage a 63% completion rate it'll be important to improve his footwork in preparation for the deadly safeties that the league has produced in recent years.

Another flag is Crittenden's 5'10" stature, a good amount shorter than what is considered the typical quarterback. However, he isn't the first first and isn't even close to the shortest starting QB in league history. Just four seasons ago in 2012, Olathe QB Dontez Sanchez stood at around 5'6" when he filled in at QB after Cole Murphy was knocked out for the season.

Even after being thrust into that role, Sanchez managed a 50% completion rate with 697 yards and six touchdowns. Those numbers came on just 81 attempts through 10 games, so don't be misled. Given the fact that Crittenden has starting experience and a summer to focus on learning the new playbook, he will start the season in a far better situation than what was handed to Sanchez four years ago. Coming off back-to-back Sub-State berths, he'll enter with a superior supporting cast as well.