Day Two: 7/23
by Greg Biggins/StudentSports.com
Day two of the EA SPORTS Elite 11 Quarterback camp solidified what we already knew on Wednesday, this is one of the deepest and strongest group of quarterbacks we've had in five years of doing the camp. In the past, there has always been two or three guys who really stood out but this year, there's at least six or seven guys all having strong camps.
At today's workout, we had a special guest speaker in former Dallas Cowboy Super Bowl champion Troy Aikman. Aikman had no problem holding the attention of the campers as he talked about how to get the next level and beyond.
"For all of you here that made it, congratulations," Aikman said. "You obviously all have great talent or you wouldn't have made it this far but it's not all about physical talent. The most important thing to do is to continue to work hard and make the right decisions off the field. The quarterback should be the hardest working player on the team and he has to be the guy other players on the team will want to follow.
"I also can't stress enough that everything isn't about arm strength. "The goal is to complete passes, not try and throw every ball so hard that no one can catch it. Don't get me wrong, having a big arm can help but it's more important to be able to throw a catchable and accurate ball. It's probably the hardest thing for a young quarterback to understand and I was that way when I played growing up as well. I wanted to impress the coaches and show how hard I could throw the ball.
"The problem with that though is you start relying on your arm too much and think you can make all the throws and fit the ball in to tiny places and that can get you in trouble. Your feet are what allow you to throw the ball where you want it. It's nice to have a strong arm but it's not everything."
Once Aikman finished up, it was time to go to work and once again, Anthony Morelli stepped up and had a great workout. He was in the same group as Rhett Bomar, John David Booty and Bobby Reid and really stood out. His arm strength is tremendous, he spins it every time and you could count on less than one hand how many times he missed a receiver.
Speaking of Reid, he had a great bounce back day although he wasn't bad at all on Wednesday. No one improved more from day one to day two than Reid who looked so much more comfortable in the drills and threw a great ball all day long.
Fellow Texan's Bomar and Kirby Freeman shined again as well and in particular Freeman. He's smart, makes all the right reads and then has a great release and arm to make all the throws. Matt Tuiasosopowas as good as anyone today and has had two great workouts in a row. The amazing thing about Tui is he plays in an option style offense but is still so advanced in terms of his mechanics and knowledge of the passing game.
Drew Weatherford had another great day as well and his arm actually looked stronger today than yesterday. He can make every throw and is also the biggest personality of the group. Along with Freeman, Weatherford is easily the most out going of the quarterbacks and is the kind of person his teammates will want to rally around.
Nate Longshore, easily the biggest quarterback in the group at 6-4, 235 pounds was impressive once again and is making a strong claim to be the top quarterback prospect in California. He combines a big arm with a nice touch and has a great feel for the position as well.
John David Booty, still suffering from shin splints but feeling a bit better, clearly throws the prettiest ball in the camp. He's so gifted both physically and mentally that it's tough to see him not earn some playing time next year at USC.
Following the workout was the first chalk talk of the camp where the first hour was spent talking about the pressures of being a quarterback. Camp head coach Bob Johnson discussed in great detail the dangers of alcohol, drugs, groupies and agents. He also talked about always believing in yourself no matter what and staying even keel when things are good or bad.
The next hour was spent breaking down a cover three defense (three DBs across the back of the secondary). Several of the quarterbacks including Cornelius Ingram, Chase Patton, Freeman and Weatherford commented about how much they learned in just one session and how they realized how little they really know about reading a defense.
Friday will be workout No. 3 followed by a chalk talk, lunch at Laguna Beach and then an EA SPORTS Video game competition, which Chris Leak won easily a year ago. All the players have been playing the game non-stop whenever there was free time including roommates Matt Tuiasosopo and Bobby Reid who are so hooked on the game, they were up almost past curfew Wednesday night and skipped breakfast this morning to go at it with each other.
Day One: 7/23
by Greg Biggins/StudentSports.com
Day one of the EA SPORTS Elite 11 kicked off without a hitch as all 12 quarterbacks made it safely to sunny Southern CA for the five day camp. Here's a look at each of the 12 signal callers and how they looked in today's first workout.
Pittsburgh (Pa.) Penn Hills quarterback Anthony Morelli was the first to arrive right around 12:00 as the standout signal caller had been in CA since Sunday vacationing with his father and girlfriend. Soon after, all 12 quarterbacks arrived and after some introductions and a run to In-N-Out Burger for a quick snack it was time to hit the field.
The first workout is the one we always worry about as each quarterback always tries so hard to show off what kind of arm they have. By the time workout No. 3 and 4 rolls around, their arm is shot. It happened last year with Jamarcus Russell and the year before with D.J Shockley. You can tell each player a 100 times to pace themselves, but when they have the chance to compete against a lot of the players they've been reading about, it's tough to hold back.
The three players who came in with the most notoriety and hype had to be Morelli and Texas standouts Rhett Bomar and Kirby Freeman. All three more than lived up to is and showed why they should be ranked the top three quarterbacks in the country.
Morelli clearly has the strongest arm of the group and in fact, may have the strongest arm of any quarterback we've had in five years of doing the camp. His accuracy is also off the charts and he's definitely going to be a special player for some lucky college.
We saw Bomar at the EA SPORTS workout in Texas right at the tail end of baseball season. At the time, it was evident, he wasn't in football form but you could still see his special ability. At today's workout, he was a different player. His arm strength, quick release and accuracy were all way above average and he may have the quickest feet in the camp.
Freeman has seen his stock soar since the last time we saw him, at the Nike Camp in Texas. At the time of the camp, he was regarded by many as the 5th guy in Texas behind Bomar, Bobby Reid, Stephen McGhee and Graham Harrell. He smoked everyone at the camp and his stock hasn't slowed down since as he blew up Miami's football camp, was offered and committed shortly after. Freeman had a great workout today and when you combine his physical tools with his ability to run (rushed for over 1,000 yards last season) there may not be a better overall quarterback in the nation.
Three other quarterbacks that were right behind the above trio were Woodinville's (Wash.) Matt Tuiasosopo, Land O'Lakes (Fla.) Drew Weatherford and Canyon Country's (Calif.) Nate Longshore. ‘Tui' had a great day showing his athleticism, quick release and was always one of the quickest quarterbacks to figure out the drills, which can be very complicated for anyone to learn, including the college counselors.
Like Bomar, Weatherford was much improved from the last time we saw him. He was on another level from his showing at the Nike Camp where he was still rounding in to shape after tearing his ACL a year ago. To say he was a pleasant surprise wouldn't be all that accurate because we expect everyone at the camp to perform at a high level but Weatherford really looked good throwing the ball and showed plus arm strength and accuracy all day long.
Link to Student Sports High School Coverage
Bomar standing out at Elite 11 QB Camp
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