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The Elite 11 is the most prestigious quarterback camp in the country, and 12 of the nation's best quarterbacks come to southern California to compete. At its core, the Elite 11 is a teaching camp. It gives scouts the opportunity to evaluate mechanics and arm strength in a controlled environment, but it is akin to scouting batting practice. You can learn a lot about a player's swing, but one would still need to see him against live pitching.
With that said, there are some observations that can be made about a player's basic dropback skills, and here are my impressions of the twelve quarterbacks at the Elite 11 after the first session.
Broken Arrow, Okla. - 6-3/220 - Oklahoma Commitment
A big quarterback, who could also have a future in baseball, lacked the arm strength of his Elite 11 teammates. It may have been a product of a lot of time playing baseball, but his mechanics were long and deliberate and he lacked velocity on his throws. We've seen quarterbacks get off to slow starts before only to come on like gangbusters in days two and three. Bradley got off to a slow start on Monday, but there is a lot of time left to show why he was selected and Oklahoma offered him a scholarship.
Miami, Fla. - 6-3/200 - Miami Commitment
Bridgewater is coming off a second MVP performance at Nike 7on, but this is not an event that I expected him to shine. Bridgewater does not blow anyone away with arm strength, but he has an elastic arm that allows him to deliver the ball from different angles to different areas of the field. He showed good field vision during the recognition drills throwing to one of five receivers as soon as they'd raise their hands. Bridgewater also hit all areas of the field during the 7v7, and while he airmailed a few early throws, he settled in and won the golden gun accuracy competition to close out the evening.
San Diego, Calif. - 6-5/190 - Stanford Commitment
Crower is the tallest of the Elite 11 competitors. He has a lot of room to grow, and he will need to learn to use his full body better. Right now, he is all arm without setting his feet and rotating his body into his throws. When he is on the move he has a compact release. Average arm strength when compared to the rest of the class, but best height.
Oviedo, Fla. - 6-3/220 - Florida Commitment
Driskel looked to have the strongest arm in attendance, and he enjoyed showing it off on virtually every throw. He needs to develop more touch on the intermediate and longer outs. He was overthrowing early, but as the night wore on, the ball started to come down, and he was not losing any velocity. He's a one speed quarterback right now... fastball.
Tampa, Fla. - 6-0/190 - Offers from Clemson, LSU, Tennessee among others
Nice vision in the recognition drill, Ely was quick to spot his receiver. Ely is undersized by pro-style standards, but he has a smooth motion, although there is some length to it. He throws an accurate short and intermediate route and has good touch on the long ball. On deeper throws that need more arm strength, his accuracy can suffer.
Springdale, Ark. - 6-3/215 - Auburn Commitment
Frazier is one of the top athletes in attendance, and he is also one of the top pure passers. He has solid mechanics and good size. His ball tends to dive when he is rushed. His athleticism lets him get good depth on his drops, and he has good footwork. He gets excellent velocity on his throws, because he plants his back foot and uses whole body in throw. He can hit the seam and out with velocity and drop a swing pass to the running backs while still looking down field.
Myrtle Beach, S.C. - 5-11/170 - North Carolina Commitment
Smallest of the quarterbacks, but he does not have the smallest arm. Good accuracy on the roll outs. There is a loop on his release on his dropback passes. The loop does not seem to slow his delivery though, he still releases the ball quickly. During the 7v7s he had a nice zip on a 14 yard curl to the sideline, probably his best throw on the day.
Bakersfield, Calif. - 6-2/225 - USC Commitment
Kessler keeps the ball high from drop back to release. He throws and easy ball with a tight spiral. Seemed a little reluctant to turn one loose, but also threw the most accurately on the day. With some passive coverage, Kessler amped up his throw and his accuracy did not suffer. He was consistently the most accurate thrower on the day. He never seemed to overthrow, but he had some left in the tank to put some zip on it when he needed to.
Richmond, Ill. - 6-1/190 - Offers from Ball State and Central Michigan among others
The Elite 11 is typically comprised of 11 highly recruited quarterbacks and one sleeper pick to make up the Elite 11, plus one. If one did not know the players while watching the camp, one never would have guessed Pittser was the sleeper of the bunch. He has a plus arm and was consistently one of the more accurate throwers. He is a little undersized, but he is not the smallest on the field, and he has a better arm than many of his well-known Elite 11 competitors.
Louisville, Ky. - 6-0/180 - Louisville Commitment
Louisville did not have far to go to recruit Smith, but that would not have stopped them from going coast to coast to get him. Maybe under the radar nationally as a local player staying local, in this man's opinion, Smith was the best quarterback on the day. His arm strength was right on par with Driskel's and his accuracy was better through the day. He zips the ball with a tight spiral, but can also drop the corner route with touch over the top. The ball never drops below arm pit level on his wind up and release. There is no wasted motion in his release and has cleanest delivery out at Elite 11.
Moore, Okla. - 6-2/180 - Oklahoma Commitment
When he's rolling out, Thompson has a compact release, and he uses his legs well on the move to get more velocity on his throws. When he's back in the pocket, he lacks the natural arm strength of many of his counterparts and his accuracy suffers when he tries to muscle up on a throw. He has good accuracy, but his ball tends to float downfield and takes an extra count to arrive to the receiver.
Denton, Texas - 6-2/200 - Oklahoma State Commitment
Like Bridgewater, Walsh had a strong showing at Nike 7on and his Guyer team finished in second place to Bridgewater's Northwestern team. This setting put more emphasis on the mechanics of quarterbacking than the 7v7 and Walsh still shows well. He has a plus arm and showed good field vision during recognition and 7v7 drills. He relies on his arm a bit too much, but when he sets his feet, he throws as nice a ball as any quarterback in attendance.
Scott's Top 5 From Day One1. DaMarcus Smith - best delivery, Top 3 of strongest arms. Accuracy was strong through the day. Seemed to lose a little steam towards the end, and it will be interesting to see how he rebounds on Tuesday with a short turnaround.
2. Kiehl Frazier - Maybe the best pure athlete in attendance. He has quick feet and good flexibility. Frazier shows good field vision and can hit all areas of the field.
3. Teddy Bridgwater - The highest ranked quarterback in attendance, Bridgewater surprised me by winning the accuracy contest to finish the day. A gamer with average arm strength, plus size and athleticism, Bridgewater had a better first day showing than I was expecting given the camp format.
4. Cody Kessler - A solid showing, Kessler looked conservative on day 1. I'd like to see him put a little more starch on some of the outs and deep throws.
5. Jeff Driskel - By contrast, I'd like to see Driskel take a little starch off his throws. A world of talent, Driskel looked like a thrower rather than a passer, but that arm...
Join Scott Tuesday at 8:00 PM EST for an Elite 11 Chat. Follow the link and click on "Chat"