No need to reinvent the wheel. Our LSU sister-blog And the Valley Shook profiled Hayden Rettig as an incoming Tiger recruit a year ago, and did a fantastic job here.
Below are some highlights from the ATVS piece, but you really should read the whole thing over at ATVS - lots of interesting background information. Keep in mind, Hayden has not played any more actual football games between this piece and now, but he is bigger and stronger, and has been in a big-time NCAA environment for a year, all things that should help him at Rutgers. Also, rumor has it his arm is even more laser/rocket-ier, but that's unconfirmed.
ATVS is analyzing Rettig's senior highlights in this video:
Re: Arm Strength
When I'm looking for arm strength, I'm looking for throws like the one at the 1:08 mark. It's not a particularly long throw, but it gets on his guy in a hurry. Or throws like the one at the 1:50 mark. As you go up each level in football, you have to, more and more, possess the ability to throw in tighter and tighter windows. Here, his target is right between two defenders and Rettig puts enough smoke on the ball to fit it in.
The throw at 2:06 may be the best example of pure arm strength, though. Getting knocked back by a defender, Rettig is still able to amp a throw out to his receiver, 25 yards downfield.
One thing I like about Rettig is that he shows a fundamental consistency in throwing screen passes. Screen passes aren't always the easiest of throws. Lollipop and you risk a drop (or worse, a fumble). Drill it and you risk the same. It's got to have the right balance of touch and velocity to put your runner in the best position to get the ball and go. Check 2:35, for an example. Nice, easy throw that let's his runner grab it and go.
Re: Grace Under Pressure
About half way through the video you see a lot of protections breaking down and Rettig stays mostly composed, keeps his eyes downfield, avoids the rush and either scrambles for modest gains or makes strong throws. He doesn't seem panicked under pressure.
Re: Room for Improvement
Rettig's fundamentals are quite inconsistent. His footwork, in particular, can be painful to watch. His feet get choppy and his throws sail off target. In HS this is less of a big deal because you are often throwing to wide open players and placing a throw at a particular spot isn't terribly important. But it is important for him to understand that his accuracy starts with his base. When he loses it, things get ugly. When he has it, he can make some sensational throws, like at the 6:54 mark.
Footwork aside, I do like his upper body mechanics. He's got a nice, easy, repeatable throwing motion. It's generally over the top and the ball comes out quick, without wind up. If he pairs that with better footwork, I'm guessing his accuracy will go up and up and up. He does get a bit "side-arm-y" at times, but that's likely a product of his arm strength and impatience.
Re: Predictions for Rettig's future
High End: I think he will be the starter, some day. But that day is a ways away. He needs to be patience. Jennings (IMO) is going to steal the back-up gig this season and the starter spot next year. Assuming Jennings starts as a true sophomore and junior, the earliest Rettig could hit the field is as a RS Jr. in 2016, or maybe not even until his Sr. year.
Low End: I could see him transferring out if the above scenario plays out
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ATVS nailed it. Rettig will be playing at Rutgers before he likely would have had a chance at LSU, even after sitting out this year. Exciting stuff from ATVS (they just thought it would be exciting for them and the Tigers). Geaux Knights?!?