I went to the Elite 11 regional held at Memorial on Friday afternoon. The elite eleven, for those of you who do not base your life on 16 year-old quarterbacks, is a series of workshops and tryouts designed to determine the top QB prospects in the country. Audacious high school quarterbacks turn out at one of several regional camps; the best 12 (in a display of arithmetic that would do the midwest proud) from across the country are then invited to the national camp. If you don't follow recruiting but this still sounds vaguely familiar, it's because our last 4 quarterbacks, besides incoming freshman Beau Sweeney, were selected for the national camp: Brock Mansion, Kevin Riley (who?), recently departed Kyle Reed, and yes, even Nasty Nate.
Although RemorsefulBruinBabe would swear otherwise, I don't pay too much attention to high school football, and I'm happy to say that this was my first elite eleven camp. I went to check out our latest commit, Allan Bridgford, in what I presumed was a selective, intimate affair. I was hoping there would be a couple dozen kids with numbers taped to their backs, so the observers (read: players' parents and me) could identify the different players. I was wrong.
Can you find Allan Bridgford in this mess? Neither could I, and for a while I was pretty bummed that I had utterly failed in my sole mission: evaluate our newest QB. It's tough to do this when you can't even figure out who he is.
Then I started listening to the parents surrounding me and my spirits were instantly buoyed. Most parents were having difficulty picking out their own kid on the field. This is what happens when you bring seventy-five identically dressed 6'0-6'4 white kids together. I'm pretty glad that I'm not obsessed with recruiting to the point that I can find our prospects more easily than their own parents can. That would be a tough skill to be proud of, and not one that would be very useful outside of a football stadium. Like in a bar, for instance.
"Did you know that Kevin Riley was the #6 pro-style quarterback in 2006?"
I briefly located Josh Nunes when his parents picked him out. The players were spread out across the field in groups of 20 or 25. They would work out for 15 minutes at one station and then rotate to the next. Nunes was in the group at the north end, testing accuracy by throwing at targets ranging from 10 to 50 yards away.
The quarterbacks hit these circles pretty regularly.
This one, behind the back corner of the endzone, not so much. I don't think anyone ever hit it. Watching these guys try to make it was like watching a group of average guys hitting on a really hot girl, or like me hitting on any girl. It just wasn't happening.
Gratuitous picture of hot girl to help illustrate irrelevant point. Circa 1998.
Anyways, for the few throws I caught from Nunes before he disappeared into an adolescent waspy pack, he appeared to have less wasted motion on his delivery and a tighter spiral than most. Like everyone else, he couldn't hit Catherine Zeta Jones. Sorry Hydro, that's all I've got.
This guy missed as well:
Hippie who can't throw is shunned.
Elsewhere, a group of players worked on moving around in the pocket and stepping into throws:
It's worth remembering that Nasty Nate surely had to participate in this agility drill (or something very similar) and he was judged to be one of the top 11 12 QBs in the country. He must have some talent.
Here quarterbacks threw between stationary defends to cutting receivers:
And here a hungry Rick Majerus barks orders at a terrified teen:
At the conclusion of the camp, the coaches selected the top performers of the day to participate in an accuracy competition. It was the only point in which names were announced. The names that I caught were Derek Carr, Sean Schroeder, and Tate Forcier. No Josh Nunes, and sadly, no Allan Bridgford. Your Winner:
What, you don't recognize him?
Tate Forcier! Congratulations, Tate!
And the most important shots for last:
Above: Male Emperor Penguins huddle together to protect their unhatched young from the arctic winter.
Below: High School quarterbacks imitate male Emperor Penguins.
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