Michigan QB Recruits Headline Elite 11 Tryout!

After the completion of Sunday's Iowa Nike Camp was a completely separate event: the Midwest tryout for the Elite 11 Camp. The 60 top quarterbacks in the Midwest competed for several hours in all types of passing drills.<br><br> You can't beat watching the prospects perform in person! And so (naturally!) GoBlueWolverine was there in force!<br><br> U-M was well represented in quarterback recruits at the tryout! As was the state of Michigan. And the U-M contingent led the way!

You can't beat watching the prospects perform in person! First hand observation/scouting takes recruiting coverage out of the world of fantasy and into the real world!

This particular type of quarterback 'tryout camp' is a 'bear' for the players, as they have to throw dozens of passes for several hours in all situations -- short passes, long passes, passes on the run, you name it. Many different passes in many different passing situations were created for the contestants to have to show their passing skills in.

It is not that a player was throwing continually; the 60 kids were divided into several groups, so that each player had a rest between throws as he waited for his turn to come up again. Still, we've watched several of these long quarterback passing competitions now, and the virtue of have the kids throw dozens of passes over several hours is clear: all of the kids have zip on the ball at first, but after an hour of throwing only the top kids still have that zip, and after another hour, only the VERY top kids. And this particular camp also had a fairly gusty 10+ mph wind blowing around, changing directions, etc., which added another degree of difficulty.

In our opinion, two Michigan recruits clearly topped the tryout, and three instate Michigan QB's put in impressive top-notch performances as well.

As we said in an earlier article, quarterback Evan Sharpley (6-2 1/2, 190 lbs., 4.7 in the 40, 3.97 GPA) from Marshall, Mich. attended the Nike Camp during the morning and early afternoon, and then stuck around for the Midwest's Elite 11 tryouts. And just as the Nike Camp was ending, in walked over 30 more quarterbacks, making over 60 in all who tried out. Several were already well known to us:

- Rob Schoenhoft ('01/02/03 U-M camper, Planned '04 Camper, OSU Nike stats: 6-5 1/2, 233 lbs., 4.88 40, 29 inch vertical jump) from Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Xavier. Last fall he made unofficial visits for the Indiana and OSU games.

- Mikhail Eisler (Planned '04 U-M Camper, 6-4+, 205 lbs.) from Holt, Mich. Eisler suffered an ACL his junior year, and wears a knee brace -- however his mobility was noticably improved from the OSU Nike Camp.

Chad Somerville (6-3, 175 lbs.) from Mason, Mich.

- And also, another Jan. 29 Junior Day attendee, Jake Christiansen (6-0, 205 lbs.) from Lockport Township, Ill. Jake's father was a coach at the tryout camp.

Here are our scouting reports on each.

- Rob Schoenhoft.
Robby may have been the top overall performer, and certainly was one of the top two. We've gotten to watch Robby several times now: we watched him throw the ball several times a year ago, and last month we observed him at length in the OSU Nike Camp (where he was the top QB). And Rob has pregressively gotten better every time we've watched him. This day he was ever better than at the OSU Nike just a month earlier. And we would still saw Robby has a 'raw' look to him -- although that tag is now much less applicable than ever before. For a 'mental picture' comparison for U-M fans, Robby-in-a-Michigan-uniform would make people do John-Navarre-double-takes. Like Navarre, Robby is big and sturdy, and also like Navarre Schoenhoft has a powerful arm. Rob had no trouble whatsoever with the gusty winds blowing around (there were similar conditions at the OSU Nike). As a comparison to John Navarre -- well, Navarre has the best arm a U-M quarterback ever had, so whether Robby's is quite THAT strong remains to be seen. But Schoenhoft has a howitzer for an arm -- and he was throwing cannon-shots at the end of the day just like at the beginning. And -- his mobility is noticable better than John Navarre's. Rob will be an in-the-pocket quarterback, but he would not look like he's running in slow motion when his pass protections breaks down. Oh yeah, his accuracy is very good as well. And his mechanics also look good. And finally, Rob was relaxed and at ease in the competition -- he has a natural, affable cool-headiness.

- Evan Sharpley.
Sharpley and Schoenhoft may well have been tied for best overall performer.
Here is what we said about Evan in our Nike Camp report: "(As far as a 'mental picture')In a uniform Sharpley would remind Michigan fans of Brian Griese, except Evan is more mobile and has a better arm. Evan has good mobility, and good ability to throw on the run. His arm is strong and very 'live', his form is polished (even though he is pitching on the Marshall baseball team right now) and he throws a beautiful, picture-perfect spiral. And he has very good accuracy as well. A lot of the passing drills were done into a fairly gusty 10-15 mph wind or into a cross wind, and Evan had plenty of arm to drill the tough throws into the wind."
In the Elite 11 tryout, Even kept it up -- in fact he seemed to absolutely relish the competition, and stepped it up even another notch. He had a confident smile throughout the competition, and was relaxed and chummy with his friend Schoenhoft. He had the prettiest ball out there, and he knew it -- he stepped up and delivered one beautiful, on the money spiral after another, no matter what the throw. The wind did not bother Evan at all: his balls were not cannon-shots like Schoenhoft's, they were just such perfect spirals that they just seemed to slip aerodynamically and effortlessly through the wind. If Schoenhoft's balls were cannon shots, Sharpley's were bullets. As we said before, his accuracy is excellent. And his mechanics are very good.
Where Sharpley gets his perfect-mechanics 'polish' is hard to figure, since he does not have a QB tutor like the top West Coast kids, and he is pitching baseball right now more than throwing footballs as well (his dad to ld us he pitches again Tuesday). In our minds, Evan compared well with the to SDST Nike QB we watched a couple weeks earlier: quarterback Mark Sanchez (Nike stats of: 6-3 1/2, 211 lbs.) from Mission Viego, Calif. Sanchez is an inch taller than Sharpley, but that is about the only difference in our opinion. Another possible 'mental-picture' comparison for Sharpley (maybe better than the Griese comparison): Kyle Boller.

Will both-or-either Schoenhoft and Sharpley make the "Elite 11"? That we cannot say -- we of course are not the final judges. But based on the six Nike Camps we have now seen this year, we'd say -- very likely.

We will add to this report shortly!

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