ALISO VIEJO, Calif. -- Wednesday at the Elite 11 QB camp we finally started to see the separation we had been waiting for from some of the top signal-callers. The workout was by far the best in terms of quality play, and one player in particular took his game to another level.
In previous camps, Wednesday is usually the day fatigue sets in for the quarterbacks. That was not the case today; just about all 12 players had their best day throwing thus far.
We told Texas-bound Garrett Gilbert to take it easy and he had to sit out the Accuracy Challenge at the end of the day because of a tired arm/shoulder. For the rest of the group it was business as usual with the race for Top Gun starting to heat up.
After two solid workouts, Richard Brehaut was spectacular on Wednesday. His arm was strong, he was deadly accurate and his athleticism was off the charts. He moves around effortlessly and has a great body for the position.
The unique thing about Brehaut is he does his best work in the pads. Some quarterbacks look better in shorts and shirts, but Brehaut can run over guys, improvise, scramble and make plays off the cuff -- and those skills aren't really showcased at this camp.
So Brehaut has had an incredible week in an environment that doesn't even show what he's really about. He set a new Elite 11 record with 24 points in the Accuracy Challenge and is now just five points off the lead with one day to go.
"I thought he was incredible today," ESPN.com national recruiting director Tom Luginbill said. "In 7-on-7 action, he threw some great balls and has been one of my favorite quarterbacks all week.
Murray continued to show off his strong, accurate arm. He basically does everything well; he is gifted physically, has a great football mind and a strong drive to be a great player.
"He has it all," Elite 11 QB coach Tee Martin said. "He needs to continue to work on playing under center and taking his drops. We've been working with him on making faster decisions and he has improved a lot there. He's just a very gifted player."
We thought we knew how skilled McCarron was, but I'm not sure any of us thought he would be this good. He may have the quickest release in the camp, takes great drops and has a strong arm. He knows where to go with the ball and makes quick reads.
"The one thing he needs is to keep getting stronger," Martin said. "He needs to put on weight, especially in his lower body. That will help him stand up to some of the hits he'll take in the SEC, but he has everything else."
As we did in our recap of Tuesday's practice, here's a look at how the players were divided for today's workout. Rather than break down each player, we talked to some of the coaches at the camp and asked each of them about a strength and an area to improve for each of the signal callers.
Tom Savage (Springfield, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara)
Strengths: Strong arm and good football mind. Good at anticipating
when to throw.
Areas to Improve: Mobility. Has a small hitch in his release (think Kerry Collins) but Martin said, like Collins, his ability to throw on time and anticipation is so good, it balances out.
Allan Bridgford (Mission Viejo, Calif.)
Strengths: Very accurate and spins it well. Heady and knows the game.
Areas to Improve: Intensity, has a tendency to coast at times.
Andrew Maxwell (Midland, Mich.)
Strengths: Very accurate, strong arm, can throw on the run.
Areas to Improve: Gaining physical strength, filling out his frame.
Bryn Renner (West Springfield, Va.)
Strengths: Mature player, athletic, nice arm, throws well out of the pocket.
Areas to Improve: Consistency -- this will come with repetitions. Taking the same drop and having the same release every throw.
Richard Brehaut (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Los Osos)
Strengths: Great arm, very physical and accurate.
Areas to Improve: Playing faster. Drops can get deliberate. Touch on some of his passes.
Garrett Gilbert (Austin, Texas/Lake Travis)
Strengths: Smart, great in the chalk talks, understands the game.
Area to Improve: Getting healthy, looked about 75 percent all week and arm strength was not there.
Eugene Smith (Miramar, Fla.)
Strengths: Smart player, quick decision maker and live arm.
Area to Improve: Drops -- plays a lot of shotgun and his drops can be quicker.
Aaron Murray (Tampa, Fla./Plant)
Strengths: Great arm strength, a gamer, loves to play, accurate.
Area to Improve: Making fast decisions when going through progressions.
Zach Mettenberger (Watkinsville, Ga./Oconee County)
Strengths: Best arm in the camp, great personality, confidence.
Areas to Improve: Quicker feet and playing at a faster tempo.
A.J. McCarron (Mobile, Ala./St. Paul's Episcopal)
Strengths: Does everything well, great attitude, loves the game.
Areas to Improve: Physical strength, continuing to train hard in the weight room.
Tajh Boyd (Hampton, Va./Phoebus)
Strengths: Athletic, best drops in the camp, great release.
Areas to Improve: Seeing the whole field, accuracy.
Raymond Cotton (Fort Meade, Md./Meade)
Strengths: Arm strength, mobility.
Areas to Improve: Reading coverage, understanding the game.
EA Sports Accuracy Challenge results
Here's our three-day total for the Accuracy Challenge with one day of competition left to go. At this point, it looks like a three-horse race between Bridgford, Brehaut and Renner.
Bridgford: Day 1-23; Day 2-12; Day 3-11; Total- 46
Brehaut: Day 1-5; Day 2-12; Day 3-24; Total- 41
Renner: Day 1-6; Day 2-15; Day 3-20; Total- 41
Murray: Day 1-15; Day 2-3; Day 3-14; Total- 32
McCarron: Day 1-12; Day 2-10; Day 3-14; Total- 36
Savage: Day 1-8; Day 2-6; Day 3-14; Total- 28
Smith: Day 1-6; Day 2-9; Day 3-10; Total- 25
Mettenberger: Day 1-6; Day 2-11; Day 3-8; Total- 25
Boyd: Day 1-8; Day 2-4; Day 3-12; Total- 24
Maxwell: Day 1-11; Day 2-6; Day 3-2; Total- 19
Gilbert: Day 1-11; Day 2-6; Day 3- DNP; Total- 17
Cotton: Day 1-0; Day 2-6; Day 3-6; Total- 12
Thursday will be the final day of the Elite 11. At the conclusion of the camp, our annual Counselor Awards will be given out in several categories. The six college counselors vote for Camp MVP as well as other awards including Strongest Arm, Quickest Release, Best Feet, etc.
The winner of the Golden Gun Accuracy Challenge will also be awarded so stay tuned for more Elite 11 recaps.