Elite 11 2014: Ranking the Top 5 QBs Following Star-Studded Competition

Tyler DonohueNational Recruiting AnalystJuly 12, 2014

Elite 11 2014: Ranking the Top 5 QBs Following Star-Studded Competition

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    Alabama commit Blake Barnett impressed in Oregon.
    Alabama commit Blake Barnett impressed in Oregon.Credit: 247Sports

    The top high school quarterbacks in America tested their skills in Beaverton, Oregon, this week. Challenges at the Elite 11 finals and The Opening revealed plenty about each passer.

    The collection included several committed standouts and a strong collection of California prospects. We were on the sidelines for all of the action at Nike's world headquarters and ranked the top five quarterbacks in attendance based on their performance and potential. 

5. Ricky Town, USC Commit

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Case for No. 1

    Ricky Town is in command as an offensive leader and clearly understands the dynamics of each play. He's a smart player who hits receivers in stride and doesn't make many egregious errors.

    The 6'4", 205-pound St. Bonaventure High School (Ventura, California) standout throws an accurate ball that hits spots where only his intended target can snatch the pass. Pass attempts didn't always come out of his hand cleanly in Beaverton, but the throws reached their intended target with precision.

    Town uses his feet well in the pocket and doesn't take his eyes off a progressing play while moving around behind center. He isn't fleet of foot but shows enough mobility to keep plays alive if the pocket begins to break down.

     

    Highlight of the Week

    The former Alabama commit was money during red-zone drills. Despite dealing with a shortened field, Town completed intermediate passes to inch his way toward the goal line.

    He did an excellent job of surveying the field before pulling the trigger on well-placed passes. Though Town ran into some trouble finishing drives during seven-on-seven action, his effectiveness and decision-making shined on the second day of Elite 11 action.

    He savored the opportunity.

    "It's tremendous competition," Town said. "There's a reason we were all invited to the Elite 11. Everyone is good, and it gives you a chance to really show how you compare to others."

     

    What the Future Holds

    Town looks to build off a junior season that saw him throw for 2,400 yards and 23 touchdowns. He provided first-year USC head coach Steve Sarkisian a building block by flipping to the Trojans in late January.

    Though he'll face serious competition upon his arrival at campus, expect Town to challenge for the starting quarterback job as an underclassman.

4. Kyler Muray, Texas A&M Commit

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Case for No. 1

    Kyler Murray was every bit of the surgical passer he appears to be on game film. His 5'11" frame has drawn some doubts, but there's no disputing his ability to dissect the defense with a strong arm and football smarts.

    The Allen High School (Texas) star is a two-time defending state champion and looked in control of the situation regardless of what coaches threw his way. Murray proved he can make every throw, from long-distance passes down the seam to sideline routes that require top-tier accuracy.

    Murray is more advanced than most when it comes to his dropback. This gives him a great foundation for pushing the ball on every play.

     

    Highlight of the Week

    Murray, who is 27-0 as a high school starter, was at his best during accuracy drills. He connected on more targets than anyone during a frantic stretch of fast-paced precision testing.

    Murray plants his feet in a hurry and follows through with darts downfield. He starred in the event just moments after enjoying a conversation with Texas A&M legend Johnny Manziel, who has quickly become a friend.

    "We just talked as bros," Murray said. "He's been there for me."

     

    What the Future Holds

    He is set to pursue a third consecutive state championship, which would cement his legacy as one of the greatest high school quarterbacks to emerge in the Lone Star State. Murray, who accounted for more than 8,000 total yards and 107 scored during the past two seasons, will follow in his father's footsteps to College Station.

    Kevin Murray enjoyed a successful run as quarterback of the Aggies, earning induction into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. The younger Murray chose Texas A&M over Oregon and brings a similar skill set to Manziel as an electric dual-threat athlete.

    His journey to playing time could be held off by Kyle Allen, the top-ranked 2014 quarterback prospect.

3. Brady White, Arizona State Commit

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Case for No. 1

    Comparisons to former Boise State star Kellen Moore and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees came on a repeated basis in Beaverton while breaking down Brady White's game with other analysts. The lofty praise for White was well-deserved, given the precision and poise he displayed all week.

    The 6'2", 190-pound Hart High School (Newhall, California) talent took on some of the nation's premier defensive backs and managed to exploit them more often than not. White, who passed for 4,535 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2013, outperformed more heralded Golden State contemporaries in several portions of competition, particularly during downfield progression drills.

    He can put the ball where it needs to be on a variety of passes and doesn't sacrifice elite accuracy when forced to add extra zip to the ball. White was also among the best at maneuvering in the pocket and exuded an air of confidence. 

     

    Highlight of the Week

    It was a delight watching White wear down defenses by targeting high school teammate Trent Irwin early and often in seven-on-seven action. They are clearly on the same page after connecting for 19 touchdown passes last fall and could reunite at Arizona State if White can convince his top receiver to join him.

    "Obviously, I'd love for us to play together as Sun Devils," White said. "I'm working on Trent, but it's his decision. It would be great, though."

    Arizona State fans should keep their fingers crossed that this prolific duo sticks together at the next level.

     

    What the Future Holds

    White is still pretty slender from a physical standpoint and said he'd like to keep packing on solid weight before he arrives at Arizona State. His skill set vastly improved between sophomore and junior seasons, so expect him to develop into even more of a technician this fall.

    Arizona State will look to get him early reps during training camp as a true freshman with an open battle for the starting job underway.

    "The competition is going to be fun," White said. "We're each going to get after it. I'm going in there swinging, and hopefully I'll earn the respect of my teammates. Starting as a freshman would be a dream come true."

2. Blake Barnett, Alabama Commit

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Case for No. 1

    Alabama entered June still searching for a 2015 quarterback commit. A month later, it appears Nick Saban may have landed the best of the bunch.

    Blake Barnett, a 6'4.5", 200-pound prospect from Santiago High School (Corona, California), never looked rattled during five days of competition. Aside from consistency, he flashed glimpses of stardom as a pocket passer who can drill the ball into tight spots.

    Given his prowess as a rusher (1,000 yards on the ground last season), the combination of abilities creates a dynamic talent capable of dominating in Tuscaloosa. Though quarterbacks didn't run for yards in Beaverton, Barnett exhibited outstanding footwork and looked nimble during hurdle and ladder drills that others struggled to master.

    He was named the Elite 11 MVP.

     

    Highlight of the Week

    Barnett quickly developed a rapport with future Alabama teammate Calvin Ridley, a Florida receiver who earned seven-on-seven tournament overall MVP honors. The two hooked up repeatedly during game action, leading their squad to a title at The Opening.

    If it was a sign of things to come, SEC defensive backs better start preparing.

    "We really found a rhythm together," Barnett said. "He's such a talented receiver, and it's big that we have a chance to build some chemistry before we both arrive at Alabama."

     

    What the Future Holds

    Barnett, who accounted for 35 total touchdowns as a junior, has several compelling quarterback showdowns this season. He'll battle Brady White in a rematch of their 2013 showdown that featured 105 total points.

    His dual-threat abilities should provide a new dimension in Tuscaloosa, where Lane Kiffin is now the offensive coordinator.

    "Coach Kiffin and Coach Saban were very fond about the idea of their quarterback being able to run the ball several times in each game," Barnett said. "It's something they were looking for, and it made sense as a fit for me."

    Don't be surprised if he adds a new wrinkle to the Crimson Tide attack by his sophomore campaign.

1. Josh Rosen, UCLA Commit

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Case for No. 1

    Trent Dilfer may have raised red flags for some when he called out Josh Rosen's reluctance to "buy in" to what the Elite 11 coaches were preaching, but we're still buying stock in the St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower, California) star.

    No quarterback threw a consistently tight spiral like Rosen did throughout the week. He may not deliver the football how Dilfer's staff would prefer, but the results were sensational and drew accolades from several receivers.

    Rosen, who threw for 3,200 yards and 39 touchdowns as a junior, pushes the ball downfield with precision. It comes out clean every time, due to predominately polished mechanics and natural touch.

     

    Highlight of the Week

    "Pocket conflict" drills gave many passers fits, but Rosen looked comfortable and his performance didn't diminish. The session required quarterbacks to alter their location in the pocket due to incoming pressure.

    Rosen didn't miss a beat throughout. He found space with one sudden move, exhibiting excellent lateral agility that had some on the sidelines comparing his footwork to Peyton Manning.

    Following the transition, Rosen reset his platform and found the target downfield. No one was smoother in drills that forced participants to read and react.

     

    What the Future Holds

    Rosen is searching for a second straight state title this season, but his mind is already looking toward kickoff of the 2015 campaign.

    If UCLA redshirt junior Brett Hundley departs for the NFL draft as expected, Rosen intends to compete for the starting job as a true freshman. He has a college-ready approach in the pocket and could direct a team capable of competing for a Pac-12 title and playoff appearance.

    "I'd love to take snaps on opening day," Rosen said. "I'm going to work as hard as I can to make that happen."

     

    All quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report recruiting columnist Tyler Donohue unless otherwise noted.