Small-school studs worth watching: Southern Utah QB Brad Sorensen

Written by Gil Alcaraz IV on May 17, 2012


Brad SorensenA BYU transfer, Southern Utah quarterback Brad Sorensen has quickly made a name for himself as one of the top small-school gunslingers worth watching in 2012.

Measuring in at 6’5’’, 225 pounds, Sorensen has spent the past two seasons shredding opposing Great Western Conference secondaries. In 2012, however, he’ll have the opportunity to prove himself against the best that the Big Sky Conference has to offer.

With matchups against top sub-FBS programs like Montana and Montana State, Sorensen is going to have several chances to wow NFL scouts with his phenomenal field vision and big arm. He also possesses noteworthy accuracy and prototypical size for an NFL quarterback.

Speaking of field vision… Sorensen’s is as outstanding as you can expect from a Division IAA talent. Whether he’s on the move or staring pressure straight in the face, Sorensen does a great job of reading defenses and finding holes in the coverage. When forced to scramble, he keeps his eyes down field and uses his movement to open passing lanes. Combined with his accuracy, his vision allows him to pick apart defenses with ease.

Although he’s not a big fan of picking up yards with his feet, Sorensen definitely has the ability to make an impact on the ground. Combining terrific size with surprising mobility, Sorensen moves well in the pocket and uses his strength to shrug off arm tackles. He shows good footwork and awareness to step up and avoid oncoming tacklers and takes proper angles to avoid big hits when in the open field.

Last season, Sorensen was named the Great Western Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year while leading the Thunderbirds to a 6-5 record. Throughout the season, he amassed 3,143 passing yards and 17 touchdowns while completing 288 of his 425 passes (67.8 percent). Although he accompanied those impressive yardage numbers with 11 interceptions, Sorensen struggled with subpar blocking, being sacked 31 times in 11 games. Southern Utah’s overwhelming emphasis on the pass is partially to blame, though.

During the 2010 season with Southern Utah, Sorensen was much more effective. Despite throwing 35 less passes, he accumulated more yards (3,163) and had a noticeably-better touchdown-to-interception ratio (21:6). The Thunderbirds, however, also had a more-prominent rushing game in 2010, which limited opposing defenses’ abilities to pin their ears back and put pressure on Sorensen.

Brad Sorensen 3Some of those interceptions are results of Sorensen’s overconfidence and willingness to squeeze passes into traffic. Although his arm strength typically allows him to fit passes into tight windows, he can occasionally force a throw that ends up going the other direction. That, however, is a coachable problem.

When making the jump to the NFL, Sorensen will also have his hands full adjusting to the increased level of competition. That, however, comes standard with being a small-school prospect.

The other knock on Sorensen that could affect his draft stock is the fact that Southern Utah strictly runs a spread offense that relies heavily on the passing attack. Sorensen takes snaps almost exclusively out of the shotgun, but still has the vision and quarterback IQ to consistently make the secondary reads.

For the past two seasons, Sorensen has played his way onto the Walter Payton Award Watch List. This upcoming season, he has the opportunity to play his way onto numerous NFL draft boards. If he can return to his 2010 form and continue to mature as a passer, he could easily be in line for an early-to-mid-round pick during the 2013 NFL Draft.

Gil Alcaraz IV

Gil is the owner of the Minnesota Vikings blog, The Viking Den, and an editorial writer for Lakers Nation. Having followed the NFL Draft for years, Gil has had a knack for naming some of the big surprise players to make it in the NFL. Gil is also a member of the Football Writers Association of America. See all posts by Gil Alcaraz IV.