Speaking with incoming freshman quarterback Zach Terrell, you get the idea that he will mesh perfectly with head coach Bill Cubit and his offensive style. It is not common that a quarterback in high school gets the reigns of the offense to the extent that he is changing and calling plays on the field, but Terrell is ahead of the curve in that regard.
"We run the spread, just like Western did towards the end of the year. I call all the plays on the field, so it's very similar, a lot of freedom for me to create and make decisions. Obviously it's a lot of responsibility, but it's something that I enjoy, kind of a little chess match with me against the defense, which is something that I find very rewarding," Terrell said.
This certainly will sound familiar to WMU followers, as current starting quarterback Alex Carder is well known for his pre-snap reads and gesticulations.
Terrell, 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds out of Homestead High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., is in a similar mold, as a cerebral type of player, and Western Michigan's coaching staff discovered this early on in the recruiting process for the class of 2012. Coaches Lou Esposito and Ryan Cubit came hard after him after finding his film, and made a good impression. Terrell is not entirely sure how the Broncos found him, but once the call was placed the process went very quickly.
"I got a call one day from Coach Cubit, and he had seen my film and really liked what he saw, and wanted me to come up for the spring game," Terrell explained. "I actually was at a college when he called me, and we made a long trip back to Western Michigan on two hours of sleep, met him, and ever since then we kind of hit it off, and they offered me in the spring after seeing me throw."
Terrell did not waste a lot of time making his decision, as he committed to the program on June 29, 2011, just one day after another quarterback, Anthony Maddie of Joliet, Ill., made his pledge. Terrell explained that despite a number of Big Ten schools saying he was their number two choice, he had a very high level of comfort with WMU that made him less concerned with waiting for bigger offers. The offensive system also made a big difference in his choice.
"The fact that they're more of a pass friendly offense is definitely enticing to me as a quarterback. The system that they started to run with five wide is very similar to what I run in high school, and also the freedom to make the checks and calls on the field and put a lot of responsibility on the quarterback is something I'm very familiar with, too," Terrell said.
Terrell is also excited about coming in as Alex Carder heads into his senior season. For one, this gives Terrell an obvious opportunity to compete for the job as a redshirt freshman or sophomore, but perhaps more importantly he gets the chance to study one of the top quarterbacks in the country, and someone who has a firm grasp of WMU's complex offense.
"It's a tremendous opportunity, and something I don't take lightly," Terrell said of learning under Carder. "Obviously there are a lot of things I can learn from what he's done, the success he's had is something that I hope to do in my career. So I'm definitely going to see how he prepares, what he does to get himself ready for games and how he operates in games."
Terrell also looked ahead to his development as a quarterback heading into college, saying that while he feels he is ahead of the curve mentally due to his high school's complex system, he would still like to work on the physical aspects of the game. Prior to getting onto campus, Terrell would like to get bigger, faster, and stronger, and improve his arm strength to make the more difficult throws he will face at the collegiate level.
Terrell's fit as a WMU recruit extends beyond the passing aspect of the game, as he also rushed for over 600 yards in his senior season and ran significant amounts of zone option. This is something that coach Cubit likes to utilize from his quarterbacks given the opportunity.
As for his first year on campus, WMU already has the plans to redshirt Terrell and get him ready for competition in 2013, and Terrell is absolutely fine with that.
"That's the plan coming in, is redshirting, and preparing myself for the future, and learning as much as possible, soaking it all up, getting as physically and mentally ready as I can," Terrell said.