5 Top-Performing QB Recruits from 2015 New Jersey Elite 11 Regional
Several of the area's top high school quarterbacks invaded the New York Jets facilities in Florham Park, New Jersey, on Sunday. A talented group of passers swarmed to the complex for another installment of Elite 11 competition, which continues to make its way across America.
Headlined by Tennessee commit Jarrett Guarantano, the event featured top-tier prospects and a few off-the-radar performers who opened eyes. Bleacher Report settled in along the sidelines to analyze the action.
Here's a look at the top five passers from a busy day, along with insight from Brian Stumpf, Elite 11 leader and Director of Football Operations at Student Sports.
4-Star Jarrett Guarantano
High School: Bergen Catholic (Oradell, New Jersey)
Size: 6'4", 200 pounds
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 103 overall; No. 6 pro-style quarterback
It's been a momentous month for Jarrett Guarantano, who committed to Tennessee over Rutgers and Ohio State in an exclusive Bleacher Report video. The new Volunteers pledge posted an impressive performance in Elite 11 action less than two weeks later, becoming the sixth quarterback to earn an invitation to The Opening in July.
He came to camp as a man on a mission to win positional MVP honors, and that mindset paid off. Guarantano's lasers included a beautifully delivered touchdown toss in the "Pressure Chamber," and there were no lulls throughout the day.
Guarantano will face elite programs like Paramus Catholic (New Jersey) and IMG Academy (Florida) this fall, testing his skills against some of the nation's top defenders. He holds more than 30 scholarship offers and plans to enroll early.
"He had a bumpy workout with us last year when he came in as a younger guy, but today you saw him put it all together. In terms of impressive workouts we've seen this year, from start to finish, he's probably at the top. He's always had the big arm and the physical build you look for at the position. His precision was on point throughout the day."
3-Star Anthony Brown
High School: St. John Vianney Regional (Holmdel, New Jersey)
Size: 6'1", 195 pounds
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 730 overall; No. 18 dual-threat quarterback
Anthony Brown is outstanding athlete who may have more collegiate opportunities elsewhere on the field at this stage of his career. However, he proved to have the skills of a viable, steady passer during Sunday's competition.
Brown, who tallied 3,000 total yards and 34 touchdowns in 2014, pushed Guarantano for MVP honors. Though he doesn't possess an overwhelming stature, his footwork and strong arm lead us to believe he can operate successfully in the pocket and keep defenses on high alert thanks to excellent rushing abilities.
Boston College, Northwestern and Syracuse are among the programs in pursuit. He now holds more than a dozen offers, and efforts like this one should further expand that list.
"I think you see 'athlete' a little bit on tape, and you wonder if he's going to play safety or slot receiver in college instead. I think he's a quarterback all the way. He threw the ball a lot better than most of us thought he would, which means he's been working at it and is passionate about playing quarterback. You can put him in pretty much any system that coaches run in college."
4-Star Brandon McIlwain
High School: Council Rock North (Newton, Pennsylvania)
Size: 6'0", 200 pounds
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 232 overall; No. 8 dual-threat quarterback
Brandon McIlwain made a strong impression on coaches and analysts before he even threw the football. He's changed his physical frame, losing close to 15 pounds since last spring, and it gave him a more mature look on the field.
McIlwain can already make most of the throws you look for from a top college prospect, operating with a smooth delivery that gets the ball downfield in a hurry. There's an effortless quality to his mechanics, which suggests he's feeling more confident than ever.
South Carolina landed his commitment over Penn State and Florida in late December. He threw for 2,100 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior, adding another 1,100 yards and 20 scores on the ground.
"I'm impressed with the work he's done on his body. He looks like a different dude. He's a guy who had a few question marks coming in, but I think he answered those questions. He's right up there with a lot of the quarterbacks we've seen, and he'll be on the board when we talk about guys for the finals."
3-Star Eddie Hahn
High School: Red Bank Catholic (Red Bank, New Jersey)
Size: 6'3", 205 pounds
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 455 overall; No. 18 pro-style quarterback
Eddie Hahn is another New Jersey prospect who has drawn interest from college coaching staffs at a variety of positions, including safety. He's an athletic specimen who excels in multiple sports and put his skills on display Sunday.
Though some programs may prefer Hahn lines up on defense, there's a lot to like about what he brings to the table behind center. His throws come out with quality touch, and he's capable of finding receivers in traffic with well-placed balls.
Hahn, who threw for 1,485 yards and 20 touchdowns last season, per MaxPreps, visited UNC and Duke earlier this spring. His offer sheet features North Carolina State, Temple, Connecticut and Yale.
"Eddie Hahn is a football player. You watch his tape, and he plays every snap of the game—defense, offense, run the rock and whatever his team needs him to do. He showed that he can be a college quarterback if that's where he sees himself. He throws the ball well, spins it and looked comfortable in the drills he went through."
Unrated Anthony Russo
High School: Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pennsylvania)
Size: 6'4", 221 pounds
247Sports Composite Ranking: Unranked
Anthony Russo was among the most physically formidable quarterbacks in the mix Sunday and quickly became a dark-horse contender for MVP honors. He stands tall in the backfield, exhibiting solid dropback footwork and consistent focus.
He's an attentive playmaker who does a good job of monitoring downfield developments and avoiding unnecessary mistakes. This attribute also showed up in games last season, when Russo threw 20 touchdowns and just two interceptions, per MaxPreps.
Rutgers, Temple and Connecticut have offered since March. Previous options included Bucknell and Monmouth, so things seem to be on the rise for Russo's recruitment.
"We got an email from him about a week-and-a-half ago about him being interested in the camp. I don't think we had him in the system, so I'm glad he hit us up. He's one of those big-framed kids who hit what you look for in terms of measurables and prototypical build. It's awesome to see a guy like Anthony put himself on the map today, and he has a chance to turn more heads at some college camps."
All quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue.
Recruit ratings and info courtesy of 247Sports.