Alabama, Auburn QB Target Jawon Pass Dominated Elite 11 Regionals in Atlanta

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterMarch 23, 2015

5-Star QB Jawon Pass
5-Star QB Jawon PassCory Fravel / 247Sports

BUFORD, Ga. — Florida State commit Malik Henry won MVP at the quarterback position and earned an invitation to The Opening finals in July at the star-studded Elite 11 regionals at Buford High School outside of Atlanta on Sunday, but he wasn't the only signal-caller who shined.

Jawon Pass dominated as well.

The 6'5", 220-pounder from Carver High School in Columbus, Georgia, looked every bit like a superstar as well, and was the only other quarterback invited to the Elite 11 finals in Beaverton, Oregon, when the camp wrapped up in rainy Buford.

"It's exciting and a blessing more than anything," Pass told Drew Champlin of AL.com. "I'm just thankful to get the invite. I came out here and competed. It was tough, but we had to fight through (the weather.)"

Here's just a small glimpse of his size, arm strength and athleticism in a drill in which the wet ball slipped through the receiver's hands:

North Carolina, Louisville and Auburn are Pass' top three schools, according to 247Sports' Steve Wiltfong, with Alabama also in the mix, according to his 247Sports crystal ball.

He has a live arm, can push the ball downfield and showed during the regional qualifier that he has the ability to create behind the line while keeping his eyes downfield and hitting his receivers in stride deep. What's more, he has the speed and power to be a monster on the ground.

He's the second-ranked dual-threat passer in the country, according to 247Sports, but too often dual-threat quarterbacks get labeled as athletes who run first and pass later.

Pass is anything but that.

The thought of Pass in Auburn's offense, with head coach Gus Malzahn and Rhett Lashlee calling the shots, is frightening. Malzahn has already proven that he has the ability to produce a potent offense with a true dual-threat quarterback with a bruising running style and big arm.

As B/R national recruiting analyst Sanjay Kirpalani noted during the event, Pass was sporting a subtle hint that he could be favoring the Tigers:

Sanjay Kirpalani @SanjayKirpalani

QB Jawon Pass was rocking #Auburn socks yesterday. Dual-threat with a cannon for an arm too. Would be a great fit in Malzhan's system.

He's already drawn comparisons to another quarterback who was quite successful on the Plains—2010 Heisman Trophy winner and national champion Cam Newton:

Tyler Donohue @TDsTake

#GotOpen: Coveted QB Jawon Pass (@Puma_Blessed2). Perhaps the most athletically gifted Georgia QB since Cam Newton. http://t.co/codAkmWZca

SB Nation Recruiting @SBNRecruiting

Think my main takeaway from Atlanta Opening Regional is that while his motion isn't pretty, Jawon Pass has made big strides as a thrower.

SB Nation Recruiting @SBNRecruiting

And considering Jawon Pass runs like Cam Newton, him showing the improvement as a passer year to year is big.

Is that a stretch? 

Not really.

Sure, he has more work to do as a passer, needs to refine his motion a little bit and become more accustomed to fitting passes into the tighter windows that he will find at the college level. But he has a year to do that in high school and, before then, will have the chance to compete against some of the best high school players in the country with some of the best coaches in the world at the Elite 11 finals.

Don't sleep on Alabama, though.

While the Crimson Tide aren't in his top three, there's still a long way to go before national signing day. If Pass can progress as a passer, he could absolutely thrive in offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin's system. Blake Sims proved last year that dual-threat passers can succeed in the more traditional Bama offense if they can prove to Kiffin and head coach Nick Saban that they can still operate within the pro-style principles of the offense.

He would be the perfect "next step" for the Crimson Tide offense, which isn't going to go full-Oregon and run spread and tempo but could offer the threat of that with a player like Pass, who would essentially be a "sure thing" as a rusher on short-yardage and goal-line situations.

The two powers in the state of Alabama can't let him go to the ACC.

Pass plays essentially in Auburn's backyard across the state line in Columbus, which is a talent-rich area in which Alabama has had success as well. If he ends up on the Plains or in Tuscaloosa, he will be a superstar.

He proved it on Sunday.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and college football video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com unless otherwise noted, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.


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