5 Top Performing Quarterback Recruits from 2015 Atlanta Elite 11 Regional
The weather was just one of the challenges facing the crop of quarterbacks who lined up at the Atlanta Elite 11 Regional at Buford High School on Sunday in hopes of earning an invite to The Opening.
A steady rain, and at times a downpour, was present throughout the event.
However, the Elite 11 staff—led by former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer—didn’t let up on a group that featured some top talent from the 2016 and 2017 classes.
Yogi Roth, who is an analyst with the Pac-12 Network and doubles as a counselor for the Elite 11 camps, said that Henry and Pass were a cut above the field.
“Obviously, the two guys that won it were awesome,” Roth said. “Those two young men, they obviously earned their invites.”
Both passers reinforced the belief that they are two of the nation’s best in the 2016 class, and both earned invites to The Opening.
However, a handful of others managed to emerge from a field that was stocked with quality arms from top to bottom.
Who joined Henry and Pass as standouts at the Atlanta Elite 11 regional?
4-Star Bailey Hockman
Hometown: Powder Springs, Ga. (McEachern)
Size: 6’2”, 210
247 National Rank: No. 77 (No. 4 pro-style QB)
While the 2016 stars got the hype entering the camp, a few rising juniors in attendance have already made a name for themselves in recruiting circles.
One such 2017 standout is McEachern (Georgia) High School 4-star passer Bailey Hockman.
The left-hander showed off a smooth delivery and great touch on longer passes.
With powers such as Alabama, Florida State and Georgia under his belt, the 6’2”, 210-pounder proved that he’s in contention to be one of the top passers in the 2017 class.
Yogi’s take: He was cool. I interviewed him before the camp. He’s a dynamic kid. I thought the ball spoke when he played. He can make every throw and it’s clear that he’s a football junkie. I spoke with him before camp and you can see how serious he takes the game. He’s an exciting prospect to watch.
4-Star Zerrick Cooper
Hometown: Jonesboro, Ga. (Jonesboro)
Size: 6’3”, 200
247 National Rank: No. 310 (No. 11 dual threat QB)
Considering that he missed his entire junior season due to a torn ACL, this spring is an important period for 4-star dual threat and current Clemson pledge Zerrick Cooper.
Despite wearing a brace on his right knee, Cooper looked fluid in his movements and had one of the stronger arms of all the passers in attendance.
He has a smooth motion, and while he did struggle with accuracy at times, he has all the tools necessary to become a standout at the next level.
His performance at the camp is a strong first step in his recovery and should set the stage for him to enjoy a strong senior season.
Yogi’s Take: I thought Zerrick had a really good day. Coming off an injury, I think he’s still getting his footing back. To me, he grew all day long. It’s not a shock that he’s a big-time recruit. His measurables are off the charts and his film is awesome. I can see why people are high on him, no doubt. We’ve had a lot of success with guys in this region going to Clemson. You go all the way back to Tajh Boyd and DeShaun [Watson] who is there now, and he’s in that mold. I’m excited to watch him in the summer as he continues to get healthier.
3-Star David Moore
Hometown: Alpharetta, Ga. (Milton)
Size: 6’2”, 170
247 National Rank: No. 1196 (No. 33 dual threat QB)
The Peach State product followed that up with another strong outing in his home state.
He displayed a strong arm, great footwork as well as a compact and effortless throwing motion.
While some players understandably were up and down with their performance due to the wet conditions, Moore was one of the most consistent passers at the event.
Moore noted afterward that he accounted for 39 total touchdowns, 26 passing and 13 rushing, during his junior season.
Illinois, Oregon State and Wake Forest represent Moore’s most notable offers to date. However, if he continues to perform well on the camp circuit, expect his offer list to swell heading into the fall.
Yogi’s Take: I’m a big fan of David Moore. First and foremost, this kid defines grit. This is a young man that wants to prove that he can compete and he did. He brought juice every time and in every drill. To me, he’s got unique arm talent in terms of making a variety of throws. He’s not afraid to learn, get coached, screw up or take chances. I think he’s a major Division I quarterback for sure. He was a hair below those two guys [Henry and Pass] in the entire body of work of the day. He’s a guy that is totally on our radar and totally on our list for Elite 11 as we move forward. This is a guy that will be talked about when we make our selections 100 percent. I think he’s a guy that we will see continue to grow in recruiting. I wouldn’t be surprised if he explodes all of a sudden once the dominoes start to fall at that position.
4-Star Jawon Pass
Hometown: Columbus, Ga. (Carver)
Size: 6’5”, 220
247 National Rank: No. 47 (No. 2 dual threat QB)
When it comes to athleticism, 4-star dual threat Jawon Pass—who, at 6’5”, 220, runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds—takes a backseat to no one in the 2016 class of quarterbacks.
Pass has shown the ability over his career to be a dynamic talent who can break a game open with his legs. However, during the Atlanta Elite 11 regional, he clearly has shown marked improvement as a passer, as noted by Bud Elliott of SBNation.
With the type of arm strength he flashed on Sunday, he’s starting to draw comparisons to former Heisman Trophy winner and current Carolina Panthers star Cam Newton, as detailed by Bleacher Report’s Barrett Sallee.
Overall, Pass displayed the kind of arm talent that validated his lofty ranking and earned him a spot in the Elite 11 finals.
Yogi’s Take: With Jawon, everyone in the world is after him and you understand why. It makes total sense because he’s ridiculously talented. You watch his film and it’s clear that he’s just gifted. When you watch him, you know where he needs to grow. He needs to grow from a mechanics standpoint so that he can become a more consistent passer. He’s a young man that probably comes off reserved. But he was smiling and laughing and he was extremely coachable throughout the day. We pulled him to the side and asked him to try specific things and he was doing everything. His ceiling is off the charts.
5-Star Malik Henry
Hometown: Bradenton, Fla. (IMG Academy)
Size: 6’3”, 180
247 National Rank: No. 8 (No. 2 pro style QB)
While the field on hand in Atlanta for this weekend’s festivities was deep, 5-star Malik Henry wasted little time in separating himself from the pack.
In terms of throwing motion and accuracy, it’s hard to find a quarterback in this class who throws a prettier ball.
One of the bigger questions that Henry answered with his performance was his ability to adapt to the pro-style system he will now run at IMG Academy. He noted that he operated out of a shotgun system at his previous high school, and he said that taking snaps under center has been a point of focus for him in the offseason.
“I think I did a pretty good job,” Henry told Bleacher Report. “I took every snap today from under center. I’ve been trying develop that part of my game and I’m real comfortable with that now.”
Even though he arrived with considerable hype, Henry said that is something that didn’t affect his mindset—which was to prove himself as the nation’s best passer in the 2016 class.
“I just want to go out there everyday and work hard to prove that I’m the best quarterback in the nation,” Henry said. “That’s what I look at myself as. It’s not me being cocky, either. That’s just the confidence I carry within myself. I’m very confident in my game. When I put my mind to something, I’m going to do it.”
Yogi’s Take: I’ve been watching Malik Henry since he was a freshman in high school. You would always hear about how special he is and how uniquely gifted his abilities are on the field. You watch him on film and you see that. Then, when you see him in person every year, he impresses. Finally, it’s his time. What I was most proud of was how coachable he was, and not from a “yes sir, no sir,” standpoint, but from an adaptability standpoint. This young man can adapt. He can grow and he can learn and he did it all day long. I showed him something in the first drill of the morning about climbing through conflict and by the afternoon he was doing it in seven-on-seven and looking natural with it. So to me, he’s a bona fide star.
Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.