With his invite to the Elite 11 camp, Zach Allen's stock continued to rise. With praises from Trent Dilfer and Tony Romo, Syracuse fans have been giddy with anticipation of his arrival on campus for the 2013 season. The Elite 11 camp allowed Allen to showcase his skills amongst the best quarterback prospects in the country. While he was ultimately cut from the camp, Allen says the experience was one he'll never forget.
"The Elite 11 camp was a once in a lifetime experience," he explained. "It's one I will never forget. Going down there with the top quarterbacks in the nation, hanging out with the unbelievable Elite 11 staff, and doing the things we did was unbelievable."
One of Allen's most memorable experiences was not one most would expect. It involved the beach, and Navy Seals.
"The hardest thing we had to do was we woke up at four in the morning," Allen remembered. "We went down to the beach where we met Navy Seal officers. They put us through a four hour Navy Seal workout. It was by far the hardest workout I've ever done. It was miserable. I have so much respect for them.
"What they put us through was unbelievable and they do that everyday. I have the utmost respect for what they do."
Allen continued, "We had to lock arms, walk into ocean, drop to our knees, not break chain with each other, and deal with getting pounded in the face with the waves. We had to do pushups where our face had to go in the water. Our chest went under water. We did about 100 pushups like that. We had to carry a log over our head standing shoulder to shoulder. We had to carry sandbags, crawl the sandbag all the way to the ocean and then all the way back to the wall. Everything we did was extremely hard and extremely challenging."
Obviously with such a hard workout, Allen and the other quarterbacks were extremely tired.
"Every quarterback there, we all agreed it's the hardest workout we've ever done," the Temple (TX) High product recalled. "Everyone was just broken down and beat up. After that four hours, I'm pretty sure everyone went back and took an hour and a half nap before we had to get back on the practice field. Everyone was so worn out."
Once they got back onto the football field, the 25 finalists were able to work on mechanics and different things to help make the quarterbacks better.
"The staff was top-of-the-line," Allen detailed. "They had us do tons of different drills to challenge us. A lot of pocket stuff, where we had to work our feet and work around in the pocket and then deliver the ball to an open receiver. I worked on a lot of progressions. We worked on avoiding the defender and moving around.
"Working on just different types of balls with different touch on each type of pass. Every quarterback there learned a lot."
Allen was able to shadow one of the college football's best, and he says that helped him learn to become a better quarterback. "I learned a ton," he said. "To be a better quarterback. I learned a ton about different kinds of drops. Just being a better leader and a better quarterback and teammate. A lot about different progressions. Our counselors there who work with us every day were college quarterbacks. Matt Barkley was our counselor so I tried to learn everything I could from him. I mean, he's a Heisman candidate. You want to learn everything you can from him. I watched him closely, and everything he did I tried to do and perfect it. They taught us what we can do better. As a high school quarterback, you can always do better. Whether it's your drops or hitting the right receiver. I learned a lot about my drops and how to perfect my drops."
In Allen's mind, he's a better quarterback now than he was before the camp. He believes he's better both mentally and physically.
During the camp, he continued to see himself as a representative of Syracuse University.
"I was 100% Syracuse there," the dual-threat quarterback detailed. "I talked them up the best I could. I told them how good the coaching staff is, Coach (Doug) Marrone and Coach (Nathaniel) Hackett. I told them how good the facilities are. Just everything about Syracuse including the school itself.
"I really changed a lot of people's minds about Syracuse. They came in thinking it was just another school. Now they realize it's really top-of-the-line."