So before we get started, if you don't watch a ton of ESPN, you may be asking, what is the Elite 11?
I believe it only started occurring a few years ago (not entirely sure on that thought). But basically, it is a TV show/QB camp headed by Trent Dilfer and several other coaches. Before the show, quarterbacks from around the country will try to show their stuff at regional camps. If a QB does well enough at these tryouts, then he'll be invited to try out for the actual Elite 11. Generally, the coaches will take a pool of around 25 or so quarterbacks, and those guys will be on the actual show.
The show works like an actual reality TV series, with player and coach personal interviews, drama, and other elements. The whole 9-yards. The players will be subject to a series of mental and physical rigors, with players being eliminated as the camp progresses. Eventually, the final Elite 11 QBs will be named (all the other ones having been sent packing). These QBs will gain the benefit of receiving valuable one on one instruction, but will more than anything else improve their own stock by generating a lot of buzz around their name. If you paid attention at all last year, you would've seen that Jared Goff was fortunate to make it all the way to the final 11.
This year, our newly committed QB Luke Rubenzer has made the initial cut, and will be competing for the final 11 spots this weekend in Portland. The full list of competitors can be found here, but check out Rubenzer's profile!
Rubenzer was one of the more controversial selections to the Elite 11 final. Just a consensus three-star recruit, with only one BCS offer, the 6'0, 185-pound Rubenzer will be looking to prove the Elite 11 staff correct and show that he belongs. Rubenzer was dangerous last season with his arm and legs, throwing for 2,834 yards and 36 TDs with just six INTs, while rushing for 1,184 yards and 10 scores. He's won Div. III All-State honors the last two years and showed his athleticism at the Los Angeles NFTC when he put up a 97.83 SPARQ Rating including a 4.20 shuttle and a 39.5 foot power ball throw. After an impressive Columbus Elite 11, he committed to Cal on June 13.
As you can see, some of these recruits are real, established players with 4 star recruiting rankings. Others are on the outside looking in, and are looking to impress the coaches at the camp as well as coaches around the country this weekend. Some of the underdogs to keep an eye on are:
David Bough. Maybe the most under the radar of the bunch.
His offer list isn't too long, but he definitely looks to possess the skills to make some waves this weekend.
Stephen Collier is in the same boat. He's a raw talent that possesses huge upside, but definitely has not fully developed yet. Urban Meyer and company will be keeping a close eye on him this weekend to see how he performs. With that being said, his athletic makeup makes him a great fit for Urban Meyer's quarterback run heavy, spread offense.
Andrew Ford. Only one offer, and that's from VT where he's committed right now.
Both Morgan Mahalak and Manny Wilkins are from Marin Country, the area where Jared Goff is from. Mahalak actually was Goff's backup, and hasn't started in high school yet. Despite that, he's already committed to Oregon, so he won't have as much to prove as other QBs having already accrued a top tier offer. Wilkins is a great physical talent who has been on some school's radars the past 2 seasons. He is committed to ASU now, but could see more offers rolling in next year.
And finally, our very own Luke Rubenzer. Luke is one of the lower ranked QBs at the camp, but on the field his numbers are some of the highest. Having accrued almost 4,000 yards of offense last season, all Luke is missing is a high recruiting ranking. Of course, we don't want him to get too much attention because that may attract him to some other school options (just kidding... kind of). Looking forward to seeing Luke compete this weekend.
It's interesting that the Elite 11 seems to be taking a lot more mobile QBS, especially when compared to last year. I think this year's crop of QBs may just be more mobile on the whole, but I also think this is a reflection of a sea change in terms of college football offenses. So many teams are now running these spread, zone read looks, and the QBs who are thriving in these offenses are the faster ones. I think Manziel really opened up a lot of eyes this year, not solely because of how productive he was, but that he was able to be so productive while being only around 6 foot and with a slightly better than average arm primarily because of how mobile he was.
Will Rubenzer make it to the Elite 11? It's really hard to say, obviously this thing is loaded with talent. I think in terms of overall production, he's in the top 5 of all these guys, if not the no. 1 guy. I'm not sure how much the coaches on the show will take running ability into account, because Luke is definitely one of the best contestants at that. In terms of throwing ability (arm strength, accuracy), we know that Luke is certainly capable, but I'm not sure how he'll stack up against some of the best QB talent in the nation. I'm definitely very excited to see how our guy fairs.All in all, it bodes well that Cal has been able to get a guy on this show now two years in a row. Definitely gives us some good positive publicity.