Commentary

Montana shines at Berkeley Elite 11

Updated: May 19, 2009, 11:14 AM ET
By Greg Biggins | ESPNRISE.com

The EA Sports Elite 11 Regional Camp at Berkeley, Calif., brought out over 60 kids from all over the west region and as far away as Iowa and Virginia. There were some standout performances and a few sleepers who showed D-I potential. Here's a rundown from the day's best.

Berkeley Elite 11's Best Player

Nick Montana (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian)
There were several players who had their moments, but as a group the camp lacked that one monster performance. Most players acknowledged this wasn't their best performance, but Montana was the most consistent from start to finish.

He seemed to get stronger as the day went on and showed improved arm strength from a year ago. Montana has a great frame, was solid on his drops, had a quick release and was spinning it very well. He plays with a swagger and has excellent leadership skills. Combined with some very good junior film, it's easy to see why Montana is one of the most heavily-recruited quarterbacks in the country.

"I thought I had just an average day," Montana said. "I wasn't as consistent as I wanted to be and my mechanics were messed up a little. I threw some good balls but I'm usually a lot more accurate. I don't know if nerves got to me but you have those days I guess and I just tried to battle through."

Most Upside

Austin Hinder (Steamboat Springs, Colo.)
Hinder had an up-and-down day. Like Montana, Hinder said he suffered a bit from nerves and was gripping the ball pretty tight on some throws. He wasn't spinning it as well he did a year ago at the same camp, but when he did put everything together and had a nice run of four or five throws in a row, his talent jumped out. Hinder is 6-foot-4 with a strong body and very good mechanics. He's a likeable kid and has the kind of personality that teammates rally around. Right now, he lacks is consistency, but the talent is obviously there.

Sleeper

Marcus McDade (Stockton, Calif./St. Mary's)
McDade played behind Oregon State signee Cody Vaz a year ago and is not on a lot of recruiting radars right now. After seeing him on Friday, there is no doubt he is a legitimate D-I prospect. He threw the tightest ball of the day and was in the top three for arm strength as well. He's strong mechanically and looks like he has been coached very well. He moves well in the pocket and throws well on the run. With three outstanding receivers coming back next fall, including Joshua Harper, who was on hand catching balls, McDade is poised to have a big senior season.

Stock Up

Grant Hedrick (Central, Ore./Independence)
Hedrick is very sound mechanically, has plenty of arm strength and can make all the throws. If there is a downside, it's his size. Hedrick is just under 6 feet and a lot of schools will back off him because he may not look like a prototypical D-I quarterback. With his talent, however, Hedrick has the ability to play at the next level.

Workout Warrior

Nick Hirschman (Los Gatos, Calif.)
This is Hischman's second Nike camp (USC Nike camp was his first) and he's performed well both times. Hirschman is a thick kid, very well coached and has a good idea where to go with the ball. He put up good numbers as a junior and has a live arm is very accurate and shown nice improvement in his overall athleticism.

All The Tools

Brett Nottingham (Danville, Calif./Monte Vista)
Nottingham has made some nice strides since he attended the camp last year. He's incredibly smooth with an effortless delivery. Nottingham doesn't have a huge arm, but has more than enough arm strength and throws a very nice deep ball. He threw the skinny post very well and was one of the most accurate quarterbacks of the day. Nottingham has seen a nice bump in his recruitment recently and is easily among the top signal callers in the West region this year.

Underclassman To Watch

Michael Eubanks (Corona, Calif./Centennial)
It's hard to believe Eubanks is just a sophomore, but he has a college body right now with two years of high school remaining, he is a player to monitor closely. Eubanks has a big arm and moves around the pocket very well despite being 6-4.