Starkel Impresses Elite 11 Personnel

Yogi Roth has been with Elite 11 for the last six years and this past weekend the former University of Pittsburgh wide receiver admitted he had an adrenaline rush while doing 11 hours of internet television coverage of the first ever Elite 11 Semifinals.

"Football heaven is the Elite 11," was Roth's message all weekend long as he interviewed on set every one of the 30 high school standouts trying to make their way into the finals of the Elite 11 to be held as part of Nike's The Opening at the Nike campus and headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.

The Opening starts on July 5. One of those quarterbacks working to make the finals was Oklahoma State commitment Nick Starkel out of Liberty Christian High School in Argyle, Texas.

Roth said he was thoroughly impressed by Starkel, who is also a theater student and a pole vaulter at Liberty Christian. Starkel talks about his father, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the Army as being his role model.

Starkel also can really spin the football. Despite only one season and not even a full season (because of injury) at quarterback he was able to fully impress the Elite 11 coaching staff and earn his ticket to the Finals in Oregon.

Roth took us into the war room when the Elite 11 staff gathered after the final practice at USC's Cromwell Field to make decisions on the final six spots, one of which went to Starkel.

"For the kids they are always saying like Nick, 'We're only going to get six or seven throws in seven-on-seven and it comes down to this.' I told him in the interview that it doesn't and that the process started in February when we started looking at video on all these guys and then we saw them in a regional and we got to know their personality," Roth explained.

"Then we see them in the semifinals and we looked at the beach volleyball, and how they look us in the eye, and how they respond to each other. We take into account everything. How they paid attention.

"Yes we put pressure on them at the end and make them think it comes down to that and we kind of enjoy seeing how they respond to that," Roth continued. "For coaches it is the same thing in that they need to know how a player responds to pressure and can they handle it.

"Then when we go into the war room it is the best time and the worst time and it is the first thing Trent Dilfer talked about. It is fun talking about these kids but at the same time we know each kid wants it and it will break their hearts. We know they are all worthy and we call it a camp-etition because it is a competition.

"When we got to Nick's name, it was a home run, everybody across the board said yes. We think Nick will be in contention (in Oregon) for the MVP and the top quarterback in the country."

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