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Weinke grades current NCAA QBs!

Chris Weinke (background) and Cam Newton

After this past weekend's vaunted "Weinke Bowl," IMG Academy football program director, Chris Weinke, recently spoke to columnist Gene Wojciechowski about his take on the current crop of NCAA quarterbacks.

Check it out:

In early March, former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke got a phone call at the Bradenton, Fla.-based IMG Academy football program.

Could he get Cam Newton ready for the quarterback's pro day at Auburn?

And could he do it all in five days?

Answer: In late April, Newton was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, going to the same Carolina Panthers team Weinke once played for.

And when Newton returned to IMG to train during the late spring and early summer, Weinke, with the help of the Panthers' playbook, taught the rookie the basics of the entire Carolina offense. When the NFL lockout was lifted, Newton arrived at training camp farther ahead in the learning curve than anyone -- except Weinke and Newton -- ever expected.

Why the former Florida State star, who also tutored 2011 first-rounder Christian Ponder of FSU, hasn't been hired as a college quarterbacks coach yet is beyond me. Talk to him for 10 minutes about the position and your football IQ increases exponentially.

Weinke, who finished ahead of Oklahoma's Josh Heupel, Purdue's Drew Brees and TCU's LaDainian Tomlinson in the 2000 balloting, votes annually for the Heisman. So I asked him to evaluate this season's Heisman quarterback candidates.

OnAndrew Luck, Stanford: "I look for body language -- does that guy have total control of the offense when he's out on the field? Is he able to make big plays in pressure situations? Can he make the tight throws? Can he make plays with his feet? Does he make stupid throws? Can he win? Does he play fast, but not in a hurry?

"I keep trying to find something wrong with [Luck>, but I can't find it. Very rarely do I see him make mistakes.

"I did spend a little time in New York with him [during the 2010 Heisman presentation>. He's not a guy who's all about the big cigars and the motorcars. The first thing he said to me is that he wanted to finish school and get his degree."

On Kellen Moore, Boise State: "If you watch him on TV, he looks tiny. But at the end of the day, he gets rid of the football as fast as anybody. And he's as accurate as anybody.

"Watching film of him, he throws the ball with unbelievable anticipation, which coaches love to see -- and at the next level you have to be able to do that. He makes accurate throws if he's in a good delivery position or not."

OnBrandon Weeden, Oklahoma State: "I'm a little biased with him, having been in the same situation [Weinke and Weeden both played professional baseball before returning to college and playing football in their mid-20s>. I just like the way he operates out there. He throws it with arc and with pace. He just looks comfortable."

OnRobert Griffin III, Baylor: "He can spin the rock. It's ridiculous how athletic he is."

OnCase Keenum, Houston: "I like his game. Great command of that wide-open offense, and I believe he is going to break a bunch of records. Probably doesn't get enough credit because of who they play against. Gets rid of the ball and throws with great accuracy."

OnLandry Jones, Oklahoma: "Solid. Big arm and throws the ball with anticipation. Great awareness in the pocket. Has all the tools to make the transition nicely to the next level. Great leader."

His Heisman leader? Too early to pick, said Weinke.

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