5 Top-Performing Quarterback Recruits from 2015 New Orleans Elite 11 Regional
NEW ORLEANS — The "Pressure Chamber," the Elite 11's popular challenge determining the quarterback MVPs of the Nike-based regional competitions, saw familiar faces in its New Orleans regional Saturday. Of the five quarterbacks who made it to the finals, four participated in previous Elite 11 regional events this year.
Jett Duffey was one of those four, as he participated in the Elite 11 Dallas regional two weeks ago. Duffey made a vow competing last year as a sophomore that he would win MVP honors before he graduated, and he cashed in with an impressive performance at Joe Brown Park.
The quarterback competition featured more than 50 participants, and here are the five who stood out to the Elite 11 coaches. Also included are comments about each of the five players, courtesy of Brian Stumpf, vice president of football events for Student Sports and one of the leaders of both the Elite 11 and The Opening.
MVP: Unrated QB Jett Duffey
Hometown (school): Mansfield, Texas (Lake Ridge)
Size: 6'1" and 180 pounds
247Sports national rank: N/A
Stars are overrated. At least, that's the case for Jett Duffey, a player who is unrated by 247Sports but continues to turn out impressive showings at Elite 11 events. Duffey made it to the Pressure Chamber at the Dallas regional but turned his intensity up a notch in New Orleans. The coaches recognized his play, and they rewarded him with MVP honors.
Duffey said applying the lessons learned at the Dallas regional helped with his consistency throughout the New Orleans event.
"In Dallas, I learned to keep my rotation tighter when I throw the ball to keep my accuracy," Duffey said. "That was one of the main things. I learned the drills. And before I came [to New Orleans], I made sure I took some time out of my days to work on those drills, so I can do better here."
Duffey doesn't have any FBS offers for now, but he does have offers from FCS programs McNeese State and Stephen F. Austin. Wake Forest, Kansas and North Texas are three FBS programs showing interest, and Duffey said Wake Forest and Kansas are supposed to make a stop at his high school later this spring to determine if he deserves an offer.
"Recruiting's going OK," he said. "For an underdog, I get looked over because of bigger stars. One day, I'm hoping people's eyes will open. I want to go where someone believes in me, not somewhere I want to go."
"Jett was really close to being MVP in Dallas, as well. He's a Texas kid, and there's a multitude of quarterbacks in the Lone Star State. Jett doesn't fit in the cookie cutter of the measurables in terms of being 6'2" and 210 pounds and running a 4.6 [40-yard dash], but he's close on all those. He's a hardworking kid. Nobody's going to outwork Jett. He's a guy we're going to look at really closely going down to the final selections of the Elite 11 finals. We love his makeup and everything about him. We think he can throw with anybody in the country."
3-Star QB Nick Starkel
Hometown (school): Argyle, Texas (Liberty Christian)
Size: 6'3" and 185 pounds
247Sports national rank: No. 732 (No. 38 PRO)
Of all the quarterbacks, Nick Starkel may have the best combined arm strength and accuracy. In the Pressure Chamber, Starkel showcased a nice deep ball and also showed velocity with his checkdown throws.
Additionally, he displayed a level of poise that summed up why he's a legitimate target for a few FBS schools.
Oklahoma State was Starkel's first offer and is his most recognizable offer thus far, but he also has offers from Indiana State and Old Dominion. Starkel also is getting looks from Baylor, Oklahoma, Arizona State, Cal, Kentucky and a few other programs.
"Nick had a really good day. I thought he made the throw of the camp in the Pressure Chamber finals, fitting a seam in between the linebacker and safety. He's a guy who's popping on the radar. He's a small-school guy from Texas. There are guys every year we find in Texas, going back to Davis Webb and before, who aren't top-tier guys initially but catch fire. I think he's going to catch fire as people come through and see him at his high school during the evaluation period."
3-Star QB Keon Howard
Hometown (school): Laurel, Mississippi (Laurel)
Size: 6'2" and 205 pounds
247Sports national rank: No. 615 (No. 33 PRO)
Of the five participants in the Pressure Chamber, Keon Howard was the only one who hadn't competed in a previous Elite 11 regional this year. The pressure of being in the finals, however, didn't faze him, as he won coaches over with his consistency and ability to adjust immediately after receiving instruction from the coaches.
Built more like a safety than a quarterback, Howard showed athleticism and displayed a high IQ with some of the decisions he made. Howard has offer from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Louisville, Memphis and Southern Miss.
"Keon's a guy who really flashes. He's got a lot of stuff to him. Watching him on film, he had a huge junior season and put up giant numbers in Mississippi. It'd be great if we get a chance to work with him again. He's very raw, but he's got arm talent. He made some throws today that only two or three other guys in the camp could make. The tools are there; for Keon, it's just putting it together and taking all the reps seriously. He's got the stuff to be a big-time kid."
Unrated QB Cody Saunders
Hometown (school): Panama City Beach, Florida (Arnold)
Size: 6'2" and 199 pounds
247Sports national rank: N/A
Cody Saunders is slowly building a reputation of being a quarterback to watch.
Currently, he is considered something of a sleeper, but after Pressure Chamber appearances in Orlando and now New Orleans, Saunders has shown he's a contender who can be a nice get for one lucky school. He showed good footwork and nice velocity with his throws.
In speaking with the Elite 11 coaches, Saunders could be a steal for an interested ACC school. Southern Miss, Utah, Purdue and Clemson are some of the schools that have shown early interest.
"Cody had a strong day. He's not necessarily on the radar as much as some of the other guys. The panhandle of Florida is really an underrecruited area. He's got the size and good arm talent. It's just a consistency thing with him, but he flashed it."
3-Star QB Brennen Wooten
Hometown (school): San Angelo, Texas (Central)
Size: 6'1" and 184 pounds
247Sports national rank: No. 373 (No. 17 PRO)
Committed to TCU
As a TCU commit and someone who competed in the Elite 11 Dallas regional, Brennen Wooten was expected to perform well. He didn't disappoint, as he showed a nice mid-range ball and one of the best deep balls of the competition.
Wooten's decision-making skills and accuracy make him a solid get for the Horned Frogs. He committed to TCU in July and chose the Horned Frogs over offers from Clemson, SMU, Washington State, Kentucky and others.
"Brennen was really strong at the beginning of the camp. He had some moments in the movement drills where he was still fighting things, but from the standpoint of footwork being on point, getting the ball out on time and the things he really excels at, he displayed that. He had a real good day for himself."