Jake Haener Scouting Report | Fresno State University QB | 2023 NFL Draft
Jake Haener is no stranger to exceeding expectations and setting new standards of excellence. As a high school senior at Monte Vista High School in Danville, CA, Haener took a squad that went 7-4 the year prior – including a first-round loss in the CIF North Coast Section (NCS) Playoffs – to a 12-1 record and an NCS Division 1 title in only one season. To those who worked with Haener before he cemented his place as one of the greatest quarterbacks to step foot on Monte Vista High School’s campus, it wasn’t surprising to see him take the program to new heights. After all, Haener was a 2016 Elite 11 finalist and 25th-ranked Pro Quarterback prospect in the 2017 recruiting class, according to 247 Sports. Despite Haener’s excellent track record and undeniably impressive skill set, many West Coast FBS programs overlooked Haener, thinking he was too small to play at the Pac-12 level. Luckily for Haener, the Washington Huskies – Haener’s “dream school” – were an outlier amongst those Pac-12 programs and offered Haener a scholarship before his senior season, which he immediately accepted.
Haener arrived in Seattle for fall practice in 2017 and made an immediate impact as the Huskies’ scout team quarterback. Although Haener did not see any in-game action in 2017, he won the Bob Jarvis Offensive Scout Squad MVP award. In 2018, Haener entered the season as the backup to future NFL quarterback Jake Browning and played sparingly in four games. He finished the season with 107 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT on 9-for-13 passing. Throughout the 2019 offseason, Haener battled former 5-star Jacob Eason for the Huskies’ starting quarterback job, which was ultimately won by Eason one week before the start of the 2019 season. Haener immediately entered the transfer portal with hopes of earning a starting role at a new Division 1 program. Haener found his new home with the Fresno State Bulldogs but would have to sit out for the 2019 season due to NCAA Transfer Rules.
Weeks before the start of the 2020 college football season, former Bulldogs head coach Kalen DeBoer announced that Haener would be Fresno State’s starting quarterback for the 2020 season. From then on, Haener would never relinquish his spot as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback for the remainder of his time at Fresno State.
In a shortened season due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Haener led Fresno State to a 3-3 record and finished the season with a stat line of 2,201 yards, 14 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and a 153.4 QBR with a 64.7 completion percentage.
The following year, Haener took a massive leap in his development during the 2021 season. Haener and the Bulldogs finished with a 10-3 record, which included huge wins against UCLA and eventual MWC West Division Champions, San Diego State. Haener, who threw for 4,096 yards and 33 touchdowns, earned several individual accolades for his performance during the 2021 season, including All-Mountain West second-team honors and a spot on the Davey O’Brien Award semifinalist list.
After DeBoar’s departure to become the new head coach at Haener’s former school, the University of Washington, Haener announced his intentions to follow his head coach and re-enroll at UW. However, when Fresno State hired former California Golden Bears’ head coach and Haener’s former childhood trainer, Jeff Tedford, to be the Bulldogs’ new head coach, Haener reneged on his transfer to UW and decided to stay in Fresno for his final year of eligibility.
Haener and the Bulldogs began the 2022 campaign with victory over the Cal Poly Broncos and a close three-point loss against the eventual Las Vegas Bowl Champions, Oregon State Beavers, before setting their sights on a Week 3 match-up against west coast powerhouse USC. Unfortunately for Fresno State, Haener would be knocked out in the first half against USC after suffering an ankle injury, which kept him out for the Bulldogs’ next four games. Fortunately for Fresno State, which dropped three of five games during Haener’s absence, Haener returned for a big-time showdown against in-state rival San Diego State. Haener and the Bulldogs would go on to defeat the Aztecs behind a massive fourth-quarter comeback led by Haener and rattled off five straight wins to earn a spot in the Mountain West Conference Championship game against Boise State. As road underdogs against the Broncos, Haener led Fresno State to a 28-16 victory to give the Bulldogs their first Mountain West Conference title since 2018. To finish off the 2022 season, Fresno State faced off against Washington State in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl, defeating the Cougars in a lopsided 29-6 victory, capping Haener’s historic run as Fresno State’s starting quarterback.
Haener ended his career with the highest completion percentage in Fresno State history (68.1%), fourth all-time in passing yards (9,031) and completions (731), and fifth all-time in passing touchdowns (67).
Jake Haener possesses an array of qualities that should garner interest from several NFL organizations in the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft. Haener, who measured in at 6’1, 200 lbs during his final year at Fresno State, boasts high-level arm strength, ball accuracy/placement to all three levels of the field, and quarterback instincts and anticipation. Haener plays a controlled style of football that allows him to utilize his excellent short-range accuracy to pick apart the defense on underneath concepts while also using his superb anticipation to hit intermediate timing routes consistently. Haener’s arm strength and ball placement enable him to fit the ball into tight windows and put his receivers in advantageous positions to beat their matchups on contested catches. Haener displays an innate understanding of the importance of ball placement and works to set up his receivers to maximize their yards after catch potential. Haener protects the ball well and processes coverages effectively, a testament to his high football intelligence (FBI). Haener’s throwing mechanics and footwork appear clean and tight, and his release does not raise any concerns whatsoever. Despite his above-average size and frame, Haener can withstand big hits and absorbs contact well in the pocket and open field. However, Haener does seem to have some limitations as an athlete, as he never eclipsed 100 rushing yards once during his three seasons at Fresno State. Haener moves decently in the pocket when given sufficient time by his offensive line but does not possess the necessary athletic ability, twitch, and foot quickness to escape a condensed pocket when protection breaks down around him. Haener must improve his overall pocket presence and mobility before seeing consistent playing time at the next level unless he goes to an organization with a veteran offensive line that can provide him with a clean pocket early in his career. Although Haener might not be the best athlete in the 2023 quarterback class, his high FBI, impressive arm strength, pinpoint ball accuracy and placement, and ability to remain calm, composed, and efficient in high-leverage situations should be enough to warrant a Day 3 selection in this years’ NFL Draft.
Mid 5th-Early 6th round selection