NFL DRAFT 2013 - Special Report
An Overview of our Interview with Peter Lalich
The full interview and special report on Peter Lalich can read by clicking on the following link:
The College Football Metrics.com Overview of our Interview with Peter Lalich...
What if one of the best quarterback prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft is from Division-II (D2), and is a name you've never heard of?
Of the 127 quarterbacks who have been selected in the last ten NFL Drafts, only ten quarterbacks (about 8%) have been from non-Division-I football teams. And only two of those ten have been drafted within the first four rounds (Joe Flacco in the 1st round in 2008 and Alabama State's Tavaris Jackson in the 2nd round in 2006).
Since Joe Flacco, there just has not been a great Division-II quarterback draft "story". For whatever reason, the serious quarterback prospects from the lower levels of college football have been few and far between for the last decade, and have practically vanished over the past four years.
But that dry spell could be about to break with California (PA) prospect Peter Lalich (Lah-lick).
Likely you just thought, "Who is Peter Lalich?" It is a fair response since nary an NFL Draft analyst, blogger, or "draftnik" is discussing Lalich at this time. You will not find Lalich ranked among the mainstream top-10 or top-20 QB prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft. For some scouting services, he is not among their top 40-50 ranked quarterbacks...and sometimes he is not listed at all.
But what if I told you that this "unknown" Division-II quarterback was a four-star high school recruit, and was the debated #1-2 ranked prospect in the state of Virginia in 2007...and ranked as high as a top-5 quarterback prospect nationally that year? Would you be impressed to learn that Lalich is a quarterback that measures in at 6'4"+ and 230+ pounds with a huge arm (can throw the ball 70+ yards) and has an effortless/quick release? For those more in the draft prospect "know" -- does a 37 on the Wonderlic (unconfirmed practice test) and a 10"+ hand size get your attention?
Peter Lalich has an impressive athletic family pedigree. His father (Todd) was a Florida and Ohio U. scholarship basketball player (ultimately played in Europe and the CBA), and his grandfather is in the Ohio University Hall of Fame as a basketball player (and was drafted/played for a season in the National Basketball League in the 1940s).
Lalich forced his way into splitting time as a starting quarterback at Virginia as a true freshman in 2007. Later, he broke passing records at California University (PA) in 2011, and was on his way to breaking several more marks in 2012 before he lost a few games due to a fluke injury (staph infection).
Lalich has the scouting measurables and production to be a top 5-10 quarterback prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft. So why have we not heard more about him? What's the catch?
There is a catch...
A simple Google search of Lalich's college football career will quickly reveal stories about his dismissal from the Virginia football team in 2008. The same internet search is likely to land you on the story of his dismissal from the Oregon State football team in 2010 as well. When you find that both of his college dismissal stories are a result of problems related to alcohol, it will cause most people to turn the page quickly and simply write-off Lalich as a typical prima donna, pampered athlete who is not ready to handle the next level. It sounds like just another tired tale of a failed Division-I quarterback, who crash lands into the lower levels of college football by last resort. It is a broken record of a story.
However, this story may be different...a lot different.
I had a chance to speak with Lalich about his highly unusual college path -- the journey from big expectations, to nearly quitting football, and finally finding redemption. His story is one of the more fascinating tales you will find in this, or any other, NFL Draft.
Lalich was supposed to be the "savior" of Virginia Cavaliers football upon his arrival in 2007. The plan was for him to redshirt initially and then fulfill his hoped-for destiny. Lalich instead pushed right into playing time as a true freshman, playing in a dual-QB system (one "running" QB and the other a "passer," and Lalich was the passer) early on. The following season (2008), Lalich was named the sole starting QB for Virginia. In May 2008, Lalich was arrested and charged with being a minor (age 20) in possession of alcohol at a campus party. Lalich received probation from the judge and given extra "workout" time with the team's conditioning coach as his football penance.
At his first meeting with his probation officer, Lalich admitted that he had a beer during his probation period. The probation officer noted Lalich's drinking admission in his report to the judge. Upon reading the report, the judge brought Lalich in to tell him he could not drink on probation, and the judge issued Lalich a warning (a couple of weeks into the 2008 football season). Despite the "mere" warning and no actual arrest record, the second event was a catalyst for the Virginia Cavaliers Athletic Director to release Lalich from the football program after two games as the starting quarterback in 2008. Lalich, and the coaches, were shocked.
Then Virginia head coach Al Groh quickly got Lalich in touch with Oregon State coach Mike Riley, and three days after his Virginia dismissal, Lalich was on his way to play football at Oregon State. It was at Oregon State that Lalich experienced some of his "lowest of lows," but it also began his redemption story. Lalich initially struggled with the quick change of geography, the disappointment of his letdown at Virginia, and the thought of having to sit without playing football. Lalich would have to sit out the rest of 2008, and then was to redshirt in 2009. He would be without "real" football for nearly two years.
Lalich admitted that he struggled mightily with this transition and that he did not work very hard upon arrival at Oregon State. However, Mike Riley was a great influence and Lalich rededicated himself on the field and in the classroom. Lalich boosted his grades to all "A's" and picked up Riley's advanced offense quickly and dominated in a spring game. Lalich appeared to be back on track going into the 2010 season when he rented a boat with friends, and headed out to a popular Oregon State vacation/party hangout on Lake Shasta. Lalich bumped another boat while parking his...and he ended up receiving a boating DUI. He also received a dismissal from Oregon State by Coach Riley due to his past alcohol infraction.
Lalich considered quitting football altogether due to the turmoil it had become in his life. Twice, Lalich was within reach of his young life's ambition -- becoming a starting quarterback at a major university. Twice, Lalich let himself, his family, and his teammates down. One of the more respected Division-II programs, a notorious home to "second chance" players, California (PA) reached out and convinced Lalich to join their football program. Lalich sat out and studied under NFL quarterback Josh Portis for a season (2010), and then took over as the starting quarterback in 2011.
Lalich would go on to throw for a school record 3,725 yards in 2011. He completed 63.3% of his passes while throwing for 31 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. After his first three games with Cal (PA) in 2011, Lalich went on a 25 passing touchdown (and just 5 interceptions) tear as a passer in winning eight of his next nine games, before eventually falling in the playoffs to Winston Salem State (Winston Salem then went on to lose in the title game in 2011).
The following season, Lalich probably would have broken every meaningful passing record at Cal (PA). However, he ended up playing only seven games in 2012 due to a freak staph infection from a cut on his hand. The 2012 team was headed toward a possible championship run had Lalich not missed four games (team went 6-1 with him, 2-2 without him). If Lalich had been afforded a full 13 games in 2012 (as he had the year before), he was on a pace to throw for an astonishing 4,500+ yards and 40+ TDs for a 13-game season.
Instead of smashing all the school records at Cal (PA), Lalich had to settle for a great college career and his Bachelors' degree...and redemption.
As Lalich looks back on it, he confided in me, "I wish I wasn't so short-sighted early in my college career and let everyone down. Even in my own turmoil, so many people at Virginia and Oregon State helped me behind-the-scenes. I learned so much at both schools, and gained so much from the great coaches at both schools. I only wish I could have delivered success and happiness to the fans and coaches at those schools. I will always regret letting everyone down. However, I believe God put me on this path so that I could have my character changed and realize how to work hard and what is truly important in life. I am so thankful to the coaches and fans at California (PA) for a chance, and for all they taught me. Many people will see my story and might think "what a pity," but if it were not for this strange journey, I do not think I would have been prepared to work hard and succeed at the next level. It has truly been a blessing in disguise."
Now, Lalich will face a few more obstacles. He will have to overcome the recent trend of fruitless non-Division-I quarterback prospects in the NFL...and thus the bias against the recent D2/FCS quarterback prospects for the NFL Draft. Lalich will also battle a new foe, for the first time since he first suited up as a Nose Guard/Center in youth football, Lalich is not the center of attention in football. Most football fans are not aware of Lalich, nor do most draft analysts seem to know what to make of him at this early stage of evaluation. He will have to fight his way to becoming a respected prospect for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Lalich has been working out daily at the Bommarito Performance Systems (BPS) NFL Combine/Pro-Day prep camp in Miami. He is also preparing for a March 11th Pro-Day at Cal (PA) and then off to a March 15th all-star/scouting game in Alabama (the inaugural ProGrass International Scout Bowl college all-star/scouting game).
If Lalich impresses scouts at his upcoming events, he's then going to be asked a ton of background questions. What if an NFL team interviews and investigates Lalich, and finds a kid who made mistakes, worked hard to overcome them? What if they discover that a kid who got into trouble at parties has matured and become one of the hardest working/biggest film-room junkies of the 2013 QB class? If so, his NFL Draft stock is going to rise quickly.
Peter Lalich is beyond your run-of-the-mill Division-II "sleeper" or "diamond in the rough" prospect. Had he taken a different path, maybe Lalich would be recognized as one of the best quarterback prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft today. Despite his unusual path, our data and research suggests that Lalich has the raw talent for consideration to be among the top-10 quarterback prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft. If the maturity issues are no longer an obstacle, then the sky is the limit. With those possibilities, Lalich may be the single best true "sleeper" QB in the 2013 draft class.
The Full Interview and Special Report on Peter Lalich Can read by clicking on the following link:
Our paid subscribers have access to our orignal NFL Draft Report on Peter Lalich.
**College Football Metrics.com is unique college prospect scouting research group. CFM takes a statistical, Moneyball approach to scouting talent via statistical algorithms based on a history of past college-to-pro performance results. To see more examples of our scouting research reports, visit www.collegefootballmetrics.com **