Elite 11 2014: The 10 Biggest Takeaways
The Elite 11 finals have concluded in Beaverton, Oregon, with nearly 20 quarterbacks participating in the event. It's the most prestigious quarterback camp for high school passers in the nation, which is why a lot of scrutiny comes with it.
As the event was followed and tracked, several observations and opinions were drawn. A 5-star quarterback from California is the closest thing to "perfect" in this year's class, while the MVP of the camp may get an extra star.
Also, a 4-star passer's biggest strength is his biggest weakness.
Blake Barnett Winning MVP Puts Him in 5-Star Contention
It capped a beautiful week for the Alabama commitment, as he checked in bigger than originally listed at 6'4.5" and 200 pounds.
Barnett is already a high-end 4-star prospect, so winning MVP at the most prestigious quarterback camp in the nation will surely put him thick in the mix for 5-star status.
3-Star Quarterbacks Are Pretty Good Too
Recruiting fans pay the most attention to how many stars are attached to a prospect's name. Analysts and media give the most attention to 5-star and 4-star prospects.
People, Brian Lewerke, Ben Hicks, Ross Bowers and Sam Darnold should not be slept on. Just because they are 3-star recruits does not mean they're not capable of becoming top-flight college starting quarterbacks.
Several Dual-Threat Quarterbacks Are Better in the Pocket Than Given Credit for
In these types of settings, dual-threat quarterbacks cannot show off their full skill sets. The reason they're labeled as dual threats is because they can also hurt defenses with their legs.
Over time in recruiting, many people have started to naturally assume dual-threat quarterback prospects are raw and can't throw from the pocket.
However, looking at what unfolded at this year's Elite 11, dual-threat quarterbacks such as Blake Barnett, Deondre Francois, Jarrett Stidham, Brandon Wimbush and Travis Waller are all better in the pocket than you probably think.
Brady White Should Not Be Overlooked
Brady White is a 4-star quarterback from California who doesn't really catch anyone's eye at first glance. However, once you watch him play, it's easy to see this guy has something about him.
It's tough to overlook a 4-star quarterback, but the Arizona State commit doesn't get as much attention as others. Yet he was the No. 2 quarterback in the Elite 11 rankings heading into the last day.
White is listed at 6'2" and 190 pounds, which is probably generous. However, he has a stronger arm than his size indicates, plus he's mentally tough. Keep a close on eye on him this fall as well as during his time in Tempe. This guy could make some serious noise.
Torrance Gibson May Have a Long Ways to Go
A 5-star athlete, quarterback is where Torrance Gibson wants to play in college. However, he may not be ready right now.
Gibson came to the event as an athlete but was allowed to get in some quarterback work at the Elite 11 finals. He showed off his explosive body quickness in his drops, but Barton Simmons of 247Sports noted how raw Gibson is mechanically.
He may be enthusiastic about improving, but Gibson is behind several quarterbacks in this year's class when it comes to the nuances of the position.
Ricky Town's Struggles This Spring Have Been Because He Hasn't Been Healthy
Anyone who follows recruiting likely has heard how 5-star quarterback Ricky Town hasn't lived up to his billing at various camps this spring.
Well, perhaps the reason for his struggles was revealed at the Elite 11 finals. The USC commit had arthroscopic knee surgery a few months ago and is just now starting to feel healthy again, per Barton Simmons of 247Sports.
Town put together a solid week at the event, showing off terrific delivery quickness and vision.
He told the following to Simmons of 247Sports on July 5: “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.”
There Isn't That Big of a Drop-off from Blake Barnett to Sam Darnold
Both have similar size, being around 6'4" and 200 pounds. Both have good mobility to shuffle their feet quickly inside the pocket, and both can get out on the move to make first downs with their legs.
The pair have similar arm strength, and they both can deliver accurate strikes. Any team who missed out on Barnett would be wise to go hard after Darnold because the two are nearly identical players.
Jarrett Stidham Has Superstar Written All over Him
From a pure talent perspective, not many quarterbacks in the country are better than 4-star passer Jarrett Stidham.
At 6'3.5" and 190 pounds, Stidham has great arm strength to get velocity on his throws. His accuracy has become impressive, plus the Texas Tech commitment's vision, awareness and decision-making have become more steady.
Stidham also has fine speed when running with the football. The fact that he'll be coached by Kliff Kingsbury and play in a potent offense in Lubbock leads one to believe he'll be superstar in a few years.
Brandon Wimbush's Arm Strength Is a Gift and a Curse
Brandon Wimbush has a powerful throwing arm. The main problem with that is Brandon Wimbush knows he has a powerful throwing arm.
The Penn State pledge can make some throws that observers can practically hear humming through the air. Fitting it in tight windows is not an issue for the New Jersey native.
However, the confidence he has in his arm strength can lead to him gambling too often and making poor decisions. It's safe to say Wimbush's biggest strength may also be his biggest weakness right now.
If There's Such a Thing as a Perfect Quarterback in This Class, It's Josh Rosen
There's no such thing as a perfect player, but the closest thing to a perfect quarterback prospect in the 2015 class is Josh Rosen.
From California and committed to UCLA, Rosen is 6'4" and 205 pounds. He has just about everything you want in a quarterback: arm strength, accuracy, quick feet, mobility, vision, intelligence, consistency and confidence.
He's a charismatic guy who understands being a quarterback isn't just about throwing passes. Rosen isn't afraid to get on teammates, but he knows how to also pick people up.
The feeling that's been stated several times this spring and summer here is that the 5-star quarterback is awfully comparable to Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.