5 Top-Performing Quarterback Recruits from 2015 Charlotte Elite 11 Regional
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Saturday's Elite 11 regional featured two previous regional winners, commitments from Oklahoma, North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest and a host of other talented gunslingers looking to make a name for themselves and potentially earn an invitation to The Opening.
When the competition ended, 3-star quarterback Jett Duffey—who competed in his third The Opening regional this spring—claimed his second quarterback MVP honor. More importantly, the Mansfield, Texas, gunslinger left Charlotte with the coveted ticket to the Elite 11 finals this summer in Oregon.
Duffey was one of a few stars from the Elite 11, which featured roughly 80 quarterbacks from 15 states. Here are five quarterbacks who showed that they were legitimate contenders and earned the respect of the Elite 11 coaches in attendance.
Additionally, Brian Stumpf, vice president of football events for Student Sports and one of the leaders of both the Elite 11 and The Opening, provided insight on each of the quarterbacks. He also gave feedback on three other quarterbacks to watch from Charlotte.
3-Star QB Jett Duffey
Hometown (school): Mansfield, Texas (Lake Ridge)
Size: 6'0", 171 lbs
247Sports national rank: No. 1,293 (No. 38 DUAL)
It wasn't long ago when Jett Duffey was an unranked quarterback looking for respect—and looking to do whatever it took to get respect. It's amazing what three impressive Elite 11 regional showings can do.
Duffey was one of six quarterbacks to participate in the "Pressure Chamber," the final event of the day to determine the quarterback MVP of the day, and as the last of six to compete, he set the bar with solid throws and a confident approach. It ultimately resulted in an invitational to the Elite 11 national competition, as he was the seventh quarterback to earn the prestigious invite.
Duffey won the Elite 11 New Orleans regional MVP award, and he was a Pressure Chamber finalist at the Elite 11 Dallas regional. His Charlotte performance gave validity to the nickname he gave himself on his Twitter page: TheHUNGRY.
"Each time, I'm progressing, and I'm getting better," Duffey said. "I come to these things for the coaching and competition. I come out to prove I'm a good quarterback, one of the top in my class. Every time I come out, I want to make sure I was better than the camp before and just execute and better myself."
Duffey is a sleeper who may not have the physical quarterback measurables to some but does have a quarterback's arm strength, decision-making ability and overall football IQ. Currently, he only has offers from Nevada, Air Force, Southern Illinois, McNeese State and Stephen F. Austin.
Perhaps his invitation to the Elite 11 will help his recruiting escalate. If not, Duffey simply is proud of how he earned the invitation to the annual event
"It was a long road, and I don't mind taking the long road," he said. "That's how you appreciate things more, and that's how you learn to take things step by step. It feels great to finally get the invite."
"I'm excited for Jett. We were trying to hold him back and give others a chance to get some shine, but he just doesn't let that happen. If I'm a guy throwing the spread, he's the dude to look at. He can play, and we've seen him three times now matched up against some of the best. He's matching throw for throw with them. Every year, we end up with the underdog guy in the Elite 11 finals. If he fills that profile now, there's no reason he can't compete and win it."
4-Star QB Austin Kendall
Hometown (school): Waxhaw, North Carolina (Cuthbertson)
Size: 6'2", 205 lbs
247Sports national rank: No. 127 (No. 8 PRO)
Many felt Austin Kendall would be the guy to beat on Saturday, and while the 4-star prospect didn't win, he didn't disappoint. Kendall made throw after throw throughout the competition, and he made the kind of plays that won him over with head coach Bob Stoops and Oklahoma.
Kendall committed to Oklahoma on April 7, choosing the Sooners over Tennessee, Kentucky and Auburn. He was a one-time Tennessee pledge, decommitting from the Volunteers on March 10 to explore additional options. Kendall could be a big name in the Big 12 in the near future.
"Austin probably was the highest-profile guy coming in. At the start, I think he was getting warmed up and was taking his time. We told him it was time to ratchet it up, and he did that. There's a ton to like about Austin. He's a smart kid who's really strong with his mechanics. He's not the biggest guy, but he's a perfect fit in a system like Oklahoma. If you want to see another Landry Jones come through, Austin Kendall's probably that guy in this class."
3-Star QB Jamie Newman
Hometown (school): Graham, North Carolina (Graham)
Size: 6'3", 219 lbs
247Sports national rank: No. 648 (No. 16 DUAL)
A familiar face to the Elite 11 regionals, Wake Forest commit Jamie Newman competed in Charlotte after competing in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., earlier this spring. Newman's ability to improve every time out has caught the attention of the Elite 11 coaches, and his will to be better each day will make him one to watch at Wake Forest.
Newman committed to the Demon Deacons over offers from Duke, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, North Carolina State and several other schools. Of Wake Forest's seven pledges, Newman currently is the highest-ranked commit.
"He's a guy who just keeps getting better. He was so raw the first time we saw him a couple years ago, so it's great to see him work like he does and come back and compete every time. He's still seeing that some stuff in 7-on-7 is a little fast for him, but physically, there's not a lot he can't do. Plus, he's a sponge; he's soaking it all up. I'm excited to see how he matures at Wake Forest. They got a sleeper, off-the-radar guy."
3-Star QB Patrick O'Brien
Hometown (school): San Juan Capistrano, California (San Juan Hills)
Size: 6'4", 225 lbs
247Sports national rank: No. 897 (No. 50 PRO)
Since winning MVP honors at the Elite 11 Los Angeles regional in March, Patrick O'Brien has seen a slow but steady rise not only in his play, but also in his recruiting. O'Brien, who now has four offers, is a prototypical pocket passer who showed his skill set all day Saturday.
O'Brien found his receivers on a variety of routes, and he showed why Nebraska and Texas Tech have shown high interest as of late. O'Brien also has offers from Colorado and Colorado State, and he has interest from Notre Dame and Arizona State.
"He was the MVP in Los Angeles. In Southern California, they say quarterbacks grow on trees. He wasn't really a high-profile guy at that point. It's been great to see him go through the process and pick up some good offers. He's progressed a little bit. I think he may have been the MVP until that last Pressure Chamber where Jett killed it. I think he can go from four offers to 15 or 20 in the next month or two."
Unranked QB Steven Duncan
Hometown (school): Charleston, South Carolina (Ashley Ridge)
Size: 6'4", 224 lbs
247Sports national rank: n/a
In the age of the spread offense, Steven Duncan is an old-school quarterback—someone who loves lining up in a pro-style format and controlling the offense. Duncan is a big guy with a big arm. He showed poise throughout the event, and that confidence earned him a spot in the Pressure Chamber.
Duncan has six small-school offers, the largest arguably coming from Cornell and Bucknell, but he is receiving interest from several schools, including Rutgers and Western Kentucky. Rutgers has been a major player in his recruiting, and an offer could come soon.
"I think if he were coming up seven or eight years ago before the spread overtook college football, he'd be a guy who would have 12 or 15 offers. He's looking for that pro-style offense, that play-action, dropback style. There's a couple tweaks the coaches worked on with his footwork and his base, but when he's right, he's a kid who can make all the throws."
Other QBs to Watch
Here are three other quarterbacks whom Stumpf spoke highly of following Saturday's competition:
4-star 2017 Davis Mills
"I think he's the first underclassman we've put in the Pressure Chamber this year, which speaks of what he did. In terms of pure passing, I don't think anybody threw a prettier ball. He's well coached, and with his footwork and mechanics, he's pretty pure. In terms of 2017 guys, he's got to be near the top of pro-style guys."
3-star North Carolina commit Logan Byrd
"He's a big guy who likes to run. If you watch his tape, the first two or three plays are all runs. But he can throw it, as well. He's a North Carolina commit, once was a Virginia Tech commit. We saw him in Chicago, and he got a little bit better this week. Plus, he's pretty athletic for his size. It'll be interesting to see how he fits in at UNC, especially inside the 10- or 15-yard line."
3-star Duke commit Chazz Surratt
"Chazz was kind of like the great, white buffalo. I don't know if anyone's seen him in camps. I know we hadn't, and we do a lot of camps. It was great to see him come out. He was an absolute stud on his highlight tape. He was blocking extra points, making sacks, throwing for 50 touchdowns and running for 20. He's six weeks off a knee procedure, and he told me he was about 80 percent, but he competed. I think Duke's got a special guy. He can do a lot of special football stuff on the field."
Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles