Atlanta Elite 11 Notebook

BUFORD, Ga. - Elite 11 was in Georgia on Friday and quarterbacks from 16 states competed.

Over 80 quarterbacks were in attendance and there was a lot of talent on the fields at Buford High School.

Anthony Jennings, a 6-foot-2, 205 pound quarterback out of Marietta, Ga. was solid from start to finish and he walked away with an invite to the Elite 11 competition later this summer.

"Nobody wants to come in second or third, so I came here to be the best quarterback today. I wanted that invite to the Elite 11, to show I am one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, and I think I did that today," said Jennings.

A lot of quarterbacks stood out on Friday, so what does the Marietta, Ga. native think he did to set himself apart?

"I kept my intensity up and I just tried to be coachable and be competitive. I think those things made me stick out to the coaches."

When he heard his name called, he was excited. He gets to go across the country considered by the Elite 11 staff as one of the best in America.

Jennings can't wait.

"Not everyone gets to go to California for the Elite 11 and this opportunity is greatly appreciated. This is what I have been working hard for every day. It is a great feeling to know I will be part of the Elite 11."

A number of other quarterbacks stood out on Friday too. Scout had a number of their recruiting staff present and one was Director of Scouting Director, Scott Kennedy.

A host of guys stood out to Kennedy, but two emerged as the best in his eyes.

"When it comes to the top performers at the Elite 11 tryout at Buford High School, there was a clear top two and then a host of solid signal callers to follow," Kennedy said.

"Tyler Cogswell (6'4/215) made the trip from American Heritage in South Florida, and his time was well spent. He showed a quick release and had one of the strongest arms in attendance. While other quarterbacks struggled with accuracy on the deep outs, Cogswell shined. At times his accuracy suffered as he looked to overthrow the ball later in the day as he fatigued, but then he'd settle back down and throw some of the crispest passes of the day.

Cogswell would have been a clear pick for top performer if it weren't for Brice Ramsey (6'2/200 - Georgia commitment) out of Camden County High School in Kingsland, Ga. Ramsey lacks game experience in Camden's wing-t option offense, but he has the skill set that is tailor-made for the Elite 11 camp setting.

Ramsey has a lightning fast release, and the ball just explodes out of his hand without the appearance of a lot of effort on his part. He is accurate underneath with his touch throws, and while everyone else seemed to tire as the day went on, Ramsey simply became sharper.

From an evaluation perspective, he reminds me of Bart Houston who ran De La Salle's wing-t in California, but he had the skill set of a pocket passer and signed with Wisconsin. From a mechanics and passing standpoint in this type of setting, Ramsey is ahead of Houston at the same stage.

Other quarterbacks had a solid performances in front of Kennedy and he talks about those here:

  • B.J. Beecher, Concord (N.C.) - a tall, thin quarterback that showed a plus arm with a great frame to build on.

  • Parker Boehme, Sandalwood (Fla.) - not a real big thrower, but delivered crisp spirals through the day.

  • Riley Ferguson, Butler (N.C.) - a wiry frame with good flexibility gave the impression that he could simply whip the ball where he wanted.

  • D.J. Gillins '14, Eagles View Academy (Fla.) - a great frame to build on at 6'2+ and 190 pounds, Gillins showed a quick release with an accurate delivery. Was overlooked by the instructors and put in the 3rd group when he was arguably one of the top three quarterbacks overall.

  • Kelly Hilinski, Notre Dame (Calif.) - Hilinski measures a shade over 6'6 and has kept getting thicker over the course of the last year. Looked relaxed and accurate through drills.

  • Johnathon McCrary, Cedar Grove (Ga.) - McCrary lacks natural arm strength and either pushed the ball or has to wind up to generate any velocity, but he has good accuracy when he has time, and looks like a college ready wide receiver with his build and frame.

  • Max Staver, Brentwood Academy (Tenn.) - Another thrower who seemed to get better as the day went on. Has an easy delivery that generates good velocity without overthrowing. Has good size and a plus arm.

    One of the coaches helping the quarterbacks at this event is Trent Dilfer. The Super Bowl winning quarterback feels the Elite 11 tryout can really help these young men.

    "They are learning a lot in a very condensed environment. We challenge them in second and third type of quarterback training, which is kind of out of the box. They are evaluated by people that really know the position and that know how to coach it. I think being around competitive environments and seeing how you respond tells these young men a lot about themselves," Dilfer told Scout.

    It came down to a two man race in the end and Dilfer talks about those two.

    "Anthony Jennings came out here today with a purpose. He was clearly the best early on, but I thought Brice Ramsey caught him as the day went on. The more competitive environment Jennings was put it though and the more he was challenged, he responded. That is what great players do."

    Jennings has over a dozen offers and he is a competitor as is Ramsey. Dilfer and the Elite 11 want these kids to take things to another level.

    "We try to show them how to compete at a whole new level. That word has been over-used and we want to show them that competing to get the best out of yourself when it is the hardest to do so. We want to make it as difficult as possible and they should walk away with great confidence even if you weren't one of the finalists because you learned how to compete better."

    One of the younger quarterbacks who competed at a very high level and really created a buzz on Friday was D.J. Gillins. He is a 2014 signal caller out of Eagles View Academy in Jacksonville, Fla. and he felt he was one of the best.

    "It was fun, but I was a little disappointed at the end because I thought I was the best in my group," said Gillins.

    The participants are put threw drills for two hours straight with little break and Gillins feels he benefited from that.

    "I learned you have to be the best to compete with the best. I like the drills they did with us and I felt I did very well. I liked the competition and I know I got better from being here. They worked us hard and I liked it."

    The 6-3/190 sophomore started in 2011 and he threw for 2,667 yards and scored 36 total touchdowns.

    Arkansas and West Virginia are his two early favorites.

    Gillins was not the only 2014 quarterback who stood out Friday.

    Sean White also had a very good day. He is out of Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna.

    Tyler Harris threw the ball with great accuracy and he is one to watch out of Blackshear (Ga.) Pierce County.

    Will Grier traveled down from Charlotte, N.C., and he showed good feet and nice accuracy.

    Cole Garvin out of Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek, Hayden Sphire out of Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett, and Elijah Staley out of Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler had their moments as well.

    At the end of the event before the top performer was named, the coaches called out the best of this event.

    Here are the prospects that heard their name called:

  • Ryan Buchanan - 6-4/205 - Jackson (Miss.) Jackson Prep
  • Tyler Cogswell - 6-5/235 - Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage
  • Riley Ferguson - 6-2/190 - Charlotte (N.C.) Butler
  • Anthony Jennings - 6-2/202 - Marietta (Ga.) Marietta
  • Brice Ramsey - 6-3/200 - Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County
  • Max Staver - 6-5/236 - Brentwood (Tn.) Brentwood Academy
  • Damian Williams - 6-1/215 - Metairie (La.) Archbish0p Rummel

    Scout will be back at Buford High School on Saturday when the NIKE Football Training Camp takes place. Stay tuned to Scout for coverage of that event.

    Chad Simmons is currently a National Recruiting Analyst for FOX Sports/Scout. He started with Scout in 2003 and then moved on to another Recruiting Service from 2004-2008 before returning to Scout the first of 2009 to become South Recruiting Manager.
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