Who Shined?

The first ever EA SPORTS Elite 11 workout this past Sunday at Texas A&M brought out not only the top quarterbacks from Texas but standout signal callers from Georgia, Colorado, Missouri and several other states as well. The talk in Texas this year has been all about quarterbacks Rhett Bomar, Stephen McGee and Robbie Reid and rightfully so. All looked great on Sunday but it was another Lone Star signal caller who for the second day in a row stole the show.

It's an especially deep year for quarterbacks in the Lone Star state this year but one name we haven't heard mentioned that much was Brownwood's (Texas) Kirby Freeman. Freeman, 6-2, 188 pounds put up modest numbers as a junior completing 86 of 159 passes for 1,315-yards and nine touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,121 yards but is not usually mentioned as one of the top players in the region.

That should all change as not only was Freeman was the top quarterback of the day at Saturdays Nike camp, he came back and outshone everyone at the EA SPORTS Elite 11 workout on Sunday.

"On Saturday, he started off a little slow but really picked it up as the camp went along," Nike quarterback coach Bob Johnson said. "That continued on Sunday as he was the best of the group. He has a very live arm, the strongest of anyone at the camp and a great spin. He has a very nice upside and had a great weekend."

Freeman threw the most consistent ball and the tightest spiral all weekend and was deadly accurate. He has good size and athleticism and is very coachable. We're not saying he's better than guys like Bomar and Mcgee who have gotten it done on the field where it counts the most, but in terms of arm strength, accuracy and consistency, no one was better than Freeman on Sunday.

Rhett Bomar played in three baseball games on Saturday but still came out on Sunday and showed he's easily one of the nation's top prospects. Simply put, the kid is a stud and has all the tools to excel early in college. Just eyeballing him, he looks about 6-3 and a solid 190-195 pounds. He has a great quarterback body, long and loose and the ball just flies out of his hand. He has great feet, very quick and a strong arm. If Freeman had liveliest arm of the day, Bomar wasn't far behind.

He also has a great attitude and took to coaching very well. You could see his arm getting a little tired as the day went along which we expected seeing how he was coming straight from baseball, but he kept battling and we loved his competitive nature.

Another quarterback we loved was Bobby Reid out of North Shore (Texas). Reid, 6-3, 216 pounds is an absolute monster on the field and looks further advanced at this same stage than former Texas standout and National Player of the Year Vincent Young. We've been hearing a lot about how 'raw' Reid supposedly is but we didn't see it. He has great size and arm strength, is very accurate and throws a nice tight ball very consistently. His drops are sometimes too long and his footwork could use work but we're just nitpicking a little. The fact is, Reid was a lot better than we expected and in terms of upside, there are very few quarterbacks anywhere in the country with as high a ceiling as Reid.

Another quarterback who had a very good day was Texas A&M commit Stephen McGee. McGee is a big, strong kid with a college body right now. He looked about 6-3, 205 pounds and once he got it going, had a strong workout. McGee has plus arm strength and can make all the throws although he doesn't have as live an arm as Freeman, Bomar or Reid. He threw a consistent ball with a nice spin on it throughout the day and was also one of the more accurate quarterbacks we saw. His drops are a little slow and at times he looks almost too mechanical but he showed he's easily one of the nation's best at his position.

"I like him a lot," Johnson said. "He's a good kid with good arm strength. A&M has a very good player coming their way."

The biggest surprise of the camp and the whole year for us so far was the emergence of Wildwood (Mo.) Lafayette's Taylor Bennett. Bennet, about 6-3, 190 pounds didn't even start as a junior and in fact, only got in for three plays. At both the Nike camp on Saturday as well as the workout on Sunday, the strong armed lefty showed he can spin it as well as just about anyone we've seen all year.

"I really like him a lot, he had a great weekend," Johnson said. "He has very good arm strength and throws a tight ball every time. He has good feet and is a definite Div I quarterback. He does need more work in the weight room but he had a great weekend. He won't be able to make the Elite 11 since he doesn't have any junior film but he was one of the top five quarterbacks on Sunday in what was a very strong group."

Graham Harrell, 6-2, 185 pounds from Ennis (Texas) was also very impressive as this year's crop of quarterbacks in the state looks like one of the best from any one state in some time. Harrell has a nice smooth delivery and is the type of quarterback who by the time he's a sophomore or junior in college could really be something special.

"I really like his upside," Johnson said. "His body has room to grow and it looks like he's still physically maturing. He needs to shorten his release a little and work hard on his drops and arm strength but he's a great kid, very coachable and he will get a lot better in a few years."

Alex Mortensen, 6-2, 180 pounds from Fairburn (Ga.) Landmark Christian showed off a live arm and got better as the camp went along.

"I was a little nervous at first but once I relaxed, I felt I did a lot better," Mortensen said. "The last 20 minutes or so of the workout, I think I came on really well."

"He reminds a lot of Harrell in that his best days are definitely ahead of him," Johnson said. "He has a bigger arm than Harrell but is still maturing physically and in a few years, he'll be a very nice player. I think he's definitely a Div I quarterback and does have a big upside. He needs to continue to get stronger and work on balance and staying back when he throws but he's a good kid and had a good day."

Conor Rauschelbach, about 6-2, 190 pounds from Denver (Colo.) Mullen attended both the Nike Camp and the workout Sunday performing well at both.

"He looked better Sunday than Saturday and had a solid workout," Johnson said. "He has good arm strength but just needs to get more consistent. He'll throw a great ball one time and then struggle on the next one. He's a good kid though and works hard. He wants to learn and is coachable and I do think he'll sign Div I with somebody."

Other quarterbacks we liked at the camp and feel have Div I potential included Stinson Dean out of Blue Springs (Mo.), Daniel Meager from Richardson (Texas) J.J. Pearce, Caleb Hanne from Forney (Texas), Steven Harris from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman and Lucas Garby from Toronto (Canada) Toronto Thunder.

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