Each year, one of the biggest events for rising high school quarterbacks comes around as the Elite 11 finals take place in Beaverton, Oregon.
Following months of grueling competition, the top 18 signal-callers in the nation will fight for a spot on the final Elite 11 list.
Whether they have already committed to a school for their college tenure or are waiting to announce their decision, the competition helps draw attention to every notable quarterback in the field. The Nike event draws plenty of attention, with each of the quarterbacks earning spots on a team at The Opening.
Much like Andrew Luck and Matthew Stafford before them, each field general hopes to enjoy a successful college career after the camp. Those notable alumni have helped build the foundation for the Elite 11, but who out of this year's crop will continue the history of success?
Here's a look at the entire field of competitors, per the event's official Twitter account:
With the event officially getting underway over the weekend, here's a look at the competition thus far.
|4||Kyler Murray||Dual||Texas A&M|
|5||Brady White||Pro||Arizona State|
|7||Jared Stidham||Dual||Texas Tech|
|10||Brandon Wimbush||Dual||Penn State|
Updated through 7/10
Day 5 Recap
Blake Barnett began the competition as the No. 4 quarterback in the competition. While the entire list was shuffling around him, the Alabama commit slowly rose and established himself as one of the best signal-callers in the country.
Coming into the final day of competition, Trent Dilfer released a list of the top quarterbacks with Barnett's name at the top of the list. By the end of the tournament, Barnett took home the QB MVP, per the Elite 11 account:
Josh Newberg of 247Sports provides a look at the quarterback accepting the trophy:
The dual-threat quarterback shined on the final day of competition, helping Team Apocalypse win the seven-on-seven event. He paced the team offensively, growing as a quarterback throughout the process and showing off his patience with some of the best players in the country on the field.
Paul Myerberg of USA Today believes the award went to the correct player in Barnett:
Alabama commit Blake Barnett named Elite 11 MVP. Totally deserved. He lit it up from the start and never stopped.— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) July 11, 2014
While Barnett was busy taking home hardware, a future teammate did the same. Calvin Ridley, a 4-star receiver committed to Alabama, was his favorite target throughout the event.
For his efforts, Ridley won the overall MVP for The Opening at the end of the event. Tyler Donohue of Bleacher Report notes the impressive day for the Crimson Tide:
Blake Barnett was just named Elite 11 MVP. His future top target at Alabama was named overall tournament MVP. Good day for #RollTide nation.— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) July 11, 2014
The two also connected on a beautiful pass on the day, as Barton Simmons of 247Sports passes along:
Ironically enough, his team's win in the finals came over Ricky Town, a current USC commit who decommitted from Alabama in January. Therefore, this had to feel like a bit of redemption for Tide faithful.
Though Town had a rough day on Wednesday, he more than rebounded on the final day to lead his team to the finals. Jeremy Crabtree of ESPN notes the turnaround for the future Trojan field general:
One of the connections he made on the day for a touchdown was with 4-star receiver K.J. Hill, as Simmons passes along:
Ricky Town to Kj Hill for a TD https://t.co/OndccJMFhy— Barton Simmons (@bartonsimmons) July 10, 2014
Several quarterbacks were out of the final game, but still made the most of their day.
Josh Rosen, maintained his position on the Elite 11 list throughout the final days, put together another good day on Thursday. Unable to make the final, the UCLA commit still reached out to fans in a special way, via Crabtree:
Of the 11 quarterbacks that made the final list, each earned an invite to the Elite 11 QB Camp beginning on August 17. With Barnett sitting firmly atop the list heading into the event, the Crimson Tide quarterback will look to prove it once against the best in the class.
Day 4 Recap
As The Opening officially got into full swing on Wednesday with the seven-on-seven competition beginning, every quarterback was put to the test.
Though no rankings were released for the young players, several were still able to stand out during the games. One player that gained a lot of buzz was Michigan commit Alex Malzone, who helped his team tremendously when he was on the field.
The 6'1.5" signal-caller showed off his accuracy through traffic on this pass to Snoop Dogg's son, Cordell Broadus, per Barton Simmons of 247Sports:
Malzone wouldn't stop there, though. The 4-star player hasn't been touted for his arm strength, earning just a six rating by 247Sports, but proved he had zip behind the ball on Wednesday.
Jeremy Birmingham of ElevenWarriors.com notes the cannon that Malzone showed off during The Opening:
Alex Malzone with a BULLET that sticks into CJ Conrad for a big gain. Great use of his body to fend off the defense by Conrad.— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) July 9, 2014
One player that had an up-and-down day was Kyler Murray. The Aggie commit was sensational throughout the day, but threw a pick-six and another tip-drill interception during the ESPNU broadcast late at night that might leave a mark.
Luckily, he had a much more memorable play earlier in the day that secured a win for his Vapor Carbon team, per The Opening:
Murray also decided to make the most of his time in Beaverton as he worked to recruit a wide receiver.
Christian Kirk, a 4-star receiver out of Scottsdale, Arizona, has yet to make a decision about his college career. Several schools remain on his list, with Texas A&M still in the running.
With Kirk still undecided, Murray worked to convince him to be his teammate in the future, per Wescott Eberts of SBN Recruiting:
Christian Kirk working with Kyler Murray today, says they already have chemistry. He's impressed with how close all the #Aggie commits are.— Wescott Eberts (@SBN_Wescott) July 9, 2014
Several other quarterbacks stood out on the field, but the competition is truly about the teams at this point. As the tournament winds down on Thursday, so to will the Elite 11 finals.
The final list for the invites to the Elite 11 QB Camp that starts on August 17 is set to be announced in the coming days. With so many standouts hoping to stake their claim in the competition, what happens on the field during the seven-on-seven tournament will be crucial.
Day 3 Recap
It was a slightly slower day for the Elite 11 with The Opening getting underway, but several quarterbacks still had good showings in Beaverton.
After Day 2 of the "campetition," there was quite a bit of shuffling at the top of the Elite 11 list. Here's an updated look, provided by Trent Dilfer of ESPN:
While a few names dropped off the list, one that made his way back on it was Ricky Town. The USC commit had a strong performance on Day 2 of the Elite 11, catapulting him to the No. 11 position on the list.
With several days still left of The Opening, and the seven-on-seven competition still yet to get underway, Town still has to prove himself to secure a spot.
Another player who saw his stock rise in the event was Brady White. After narrowly cracking the list after Day 1, the Arizona State commit now finds himself in the top five with just two days remaining.
Tyler Donohue of Bleacher Report provides a look at one of White's passes from Day 3:
QB Brady White hits high school teammate Trent Irwin. White would love to lure him to ASU. https://t.co/glcdWLh4yW— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) July 8, 2014
One player that dropped completely off the list was Travis Waller. Following a great performance on the opening day of the finals, the 4-star quarterback plummeted after Day 2 and has some work to do if he wants to be on the final list.
The recent Oregon commit showed off his ability throughout the event over the weekend, but clearly fell short according to the staff's standards on Monday.
Despite the steep decline on the second list, Jeremy Crabtree of ESPN believes he will climb back up the list after Tuesday:
As the competition now turns strictly to The Opening, and the seven-on-seven games for the signal-callers, they will have to prove themselves on the field. Against some of the top defensive players, quite a few players might separate from the pack in the coming days.
Day 2 Recap
On the final day before the start of The Opening, the list of the Elite 11 quarterbacks so far has been released.
Though there are still several days remaining for the top prospects to reshuffle the order, several have clearly made a statement to this point. Here's a look at the full list from the Elite 11 Twitter account:
There were a few surprises on the list, both good and bad.
Leaving off Ricky Town seems like a shock, especially considering he's the No. 2 pro-style quarterback according to 247Sports. Apparently, being left off the initial list lit a fire under the USC commit, as Barton Simmons of 247Sports points out that he torched the field on Monday:
Ricky Town just put together maybe the best session yet. 5 of 6. Two TDs. Live updates http://t.co/WgrNf5uJ2j— Barton Simmons (@bartonsimmons) July 7, 2014
Another name missing from the list is 247Sports' No. 1 dual-threat quarterback Kyler Murray. The Texas A&M commit is slightly undersized at 5'11", but has normally been seen as one of the best whenever he touches the field.
While Town and Murray were left off, one top quarterback in the class to make the list was Josh Rosen. The No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the 247Sports rankings hit the list at No. 3, but has shown off plenty of his arsenal thus far in the competition.
One pleasant surprise was seeing Ryan Brand near the top of the list. The recent Air Force commit has shined throughout the Elite 11 competitions and earned a spot despite not being highly recruited—he received just two offers (Air Force and Indiana State).
Despite the fact that he's just 5'10", the dual-threat QB more than earned his place on the list with his outstanding accuracy and footwork.
Russell Wilson—another undersized QB—formally invited Brand to the competition, as shown at the end of these highlights:
As for the No. 1 name on that list, it appears Texas Tech might just have a potential star in quarterback Jarrett Stidham. While he's only considered a 4-star quarterback by 247Sports, Stidham is the No. 2 dual-threat signal-caller and turned down Alabama, Auburn and Florida to play with the Red Raiders.
Simmons passes along some analysis about Stidham from early in the event:
Several more lists will be announced at the Elite 11 before the final one is announced, but being near the top at the start is a great sign. With both Murray and Town competing for a spot, no name on the list is safe.
Later on in the day, the signal-callers were also all placed on their teams for The Opening. Here's a look at the complete breakdown for the six different teams:
|Team||QB 1||QB 2||QB 3|
|Alpha Pro||Ross Bowers||Alex Malzone||Jarrett Stidham|
|Apocalypse||Blake Barnett||Brian Lewerke||Travis Waller|
|Fly Rush||Sam Darnold||Deandre Johnson||Brady White|
|Land Sharks||Ryan Brand||Deondre Francois||Ricky Town|
|Mach Speed||Ben Hicks||Josh Rosen||Brandon Wimbush|
|Vapor Carbon||Sheriron Jones||Drew Lock||Kyler Murray|
The Opening Twitter
The Opening is set to start on Tuesday, so every quarterback will now be put in a seven-on-seven competition. After days of drills, it's nearly time to finally show their skills in a game situation.
Day 1 Recap
After getting acquainted with their fellow competitors on Saturday through several difficult workouts, the quarterbacks finally took the field during Day 1 of the event.
During a series of drills that tested every quarterback's speed and arm, several players stood out on Sunday. One player that had a strong showing was Kyler Murray, a dual-threat quarterback who has committed to Texas A&M.
Barton Simmons of 247Sports passes along footage of the young signal-caller during workouts:
Murray comes into the competition with plenty of hype as a 5-star player and is apparently showing the same potential at the Elite 11 finals.
Another quarterback looking great on the field is recent Alabama commit Blake Barnett. After announcing his decision to join the Crimson Tide last month, Chad Simmons of Scout.com notes that Barnett shined on Sunday:
Simmons also provides a look at the zip on the ball from Barnett:
Either player has a chance to be one of the top at the camp, as both Murray and Barnett are ranked inside the top three in the 247Sports' composite rankings for dual-threat quarterbacks.
One other signal-caller just behind both Murray and Barnett also made a statement on Day 1. Brandon Wimbush, a 4-star quarterback committed to Penn State, is also ranked as a top-five dual-threat QB and showed off his athleticism on Sunday:
Brandon Wimbush, first HS QB that actually did this drill right. https://t.co/eVtDGVDfBl— Barton Simmons (@bartonsimmons) July 6, 2014
With just one more day on the schedule for the Elite 11 finals before The Opening officially starts on Tuesday, each player will continue to try to shine through on Monday.
As players like Wimbush, Murray and others prove themselves, other signal-callers have a chance to blossom.
On Tuesday, each quarterback will find out which team they will play for during The Opening in the seven-on-seven tournament. With only a few days remaining, all 18 players will continue to look to prove they are worthy of making the final list of the famed Elite 11.
Though there weren't many on-the-field events going down, Saturday of the "campetition" was an eventful one for the blossoming signal-callers.
Simply arriving at the camp is an experience for every player in attendance. With just 18 quarterbacks making the cut, the Elite 11 Twitter account noted the arrival of the special field generals:
ESPN analyst and famed quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr. also provides a look at the field donning its new gear from Nike:
Along with their new clothes and shoes, the quarterbacks were also greeted by a familiar face.
After making their way to Beaverton, the players were treated to a memorable start to the event. Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, an Elite 11 alumnus who won the 2013 Heisman Trophy and BCS National Championship, was part of the welcoming committee:
While the players were slowly getting comfortable in the finals environment, some were already plotting their plans for later in the week.
For now, only the quarterbacks have arrived for the Elite 11, but other top players will enter the fold during The Opening. According to ESPN's Gerry Hamilton, one quarterback who plans to utilize the opportunity for recruiting will be USC commit Ricky Town:
Town committed back in January with the Trojans and is apparently looking to put more quality recruits around him at USC. He also told Simmons about what he hopes to accomplish during the competition:
It’s just an honor to be here. I’m trying to be part of the 11, be part of that fraternity and do the best that I can, and show that I am the best.
I think we’re all trying to compete here and prove we’re the best. I’m here just to compete against everyone, whoever I’m up against, I’m ready to compete and have fun.
Though it's an honor to make it to the finals, it's not all fun and games for the remaining players. Saturday saw all 18 of the quarterbacks take part in a series of strenuous tasks that pushed them all to the limits on Saturday and into Sunday.
Nike Football provides a look at the workouts:
With all of the players set to take the field on Sunday, Saturday set the stage for a tough camp that will help all of the top signal-callers. Heading into a week where they will look to separate themselves, every player will benefit from Saturday from a leadership standpoint.
Recruit information courtesy of 247Sports.com.
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