Nebraska sophomore quarterback AJ Bush — the No. 3 signal caller last season and No. 3 headed into fall camp — is spending a week with a private quarterback coach in Arizona.
That coach — the Quarterback Academy's Dennis Gile — has been impressed with what he's seen from the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Bush already.
"The talent level is there — his ceiling is super high," said Gile, who played college football and spent two years in the Canadian Football League. "I'm not trying to create somebody who's not a quarterback. I'm just trying to help someone be a better quarterback. No question — he's a Division I starting quarterback at a high, high level. It's everything. He has all the intangibles to play the position."
If Bush continues improving, Gile said, he'll be Nebraska's starter eventually. Right now, he's behind two fifth-year seniors in Tommy Armstrong and Ryker Fyfe.
"He's understanding better where to throw the ball from, how to position his body, how to create rotational force out of ground force, he's understanding all of his cleats in the ground is better than being on his toes," Gile said. "All these little things help a quarterback get better. If he learns to do those things consitently, there probably won't be a quarterback battle at Nebraska. He just has natural ability that I'm not sure any of those guys do. I'm saying that off what I've seen off TV and what I've seen out of him. He has a huge upside."
Gile had two sessions with Bush when he talked to The World-Herald. He'd work Bush through some chalkboard/classroom sessions Tuesday night, but Bush told him that he'd done well on playbook quizzes at Nebraska. Bush is throwing alongside a number of starting Division I quarterbacks — including Notre Dame's Malik Zaire, Texas A&M's Trevor Knight, Houston's Kyle Allen and UCLA's Josh Rosen — and doing well.
"He might have thrown the best post patterns out of anyone," said Gile, who was contacted by Bush's dad to work with the Atlanta native. "He figured out a few things. He threw some balls today that would have blown some people's mind. He didn't start out that way, but he was getting it. The biggest thing is how coachable a kid he is."
Bush, a two-star, late commit in the 2014 class, is entering his third year in Nebraska's program. In an interview with The World-Herald after spring practice, NU coach Mike Riley said he believed Bush would stay in the program and hoped that he did, as he'd be a serious competitor for the starting job in 2017. So long as Armstrong stays healthy, he's the overwhelming favorite to start in 2016.
In 2017, Bush's competition would be Patrick O'Brien — whom Riley would like to redshirt in 2016 — 2017 projected signee Tristan Gebbia, and Tulane transfer Tanner Lee, who arrives on Nebraska's campus June 1.
Lee must sit out the 2016 season because of NCAA transfer rules. He just spent a week working with another private quarterbacks coach, George Whitfield. He's worked with Whitfield the past two summers.
"I honed in on mechanics and staying 100 percent ready to go," Lee said. "I feel good. It's the little details of your entire body — generating power from your legs to your release point. We worked on a lot of agility things — moving in the pocket."