E11 group looking strong after Day 1
ALISO VIEJO, Calif. -- After one day of skills and training, it is fair to say this group of quarterback prospects at the EA Sports Elite 11 is the farthest along of any Elite 11 group we have evaluated.
Here's a quick look at how each prospect looked in their first day of the week-long event.
Unorthodox but effective
Teddy Bridgewater (Miami/Northwestern) never ceases to amaze us with how he gets the job done. He is a wonderful athlete who can be as dangerous as anyone in this class in the spread offense. However, he isn't always pretty or fundamentally sound.
The four-star prospect does not have the best arm of the group, but he is clearly the best athlete, which gives him versatility. He is raw and his methods can be unorthodox, but he won the accuracy contest at the end of Day 1. While there are more fundamentally sound quarterbacks at the camp, the position is about playmaking and accuracy, which is why Bridgewater gets it done.
Looking for the right fit
Phillip Ely (Tampa, Fla./Plant) is a fundamentally sound, live-armed QB that has been well coached, understands the drill circuit and is at his best when he gets the ball out quickly. He has gotten bigger but is still not overly tall. He worked out well, and if he chooses a school that runs a similar offense to the one he runs at Plant, he could have a lot of success at the next level. He has good zip, throws well on the move and is excellent in the short-to-intermediate passing game.
Two guys that are not very tall but arguably have the smoothest and quickest releases of the group are Louisville commit DaMarcus Smith (Louisville, Ky./Seneca) and UNC commit Everett Golson (Myrtle Beach, S.C./Myrtle Beach). The ball jumps off their hands with terrific velocity and they are very similar in stature and athleticism.
Smith looks to have the stronger of the two arms and could be an inch taller, but both would really benefit from being in the spread offense. If both were taller, you would be hearing much more about them.
Ready for the jump
There is not much to add on what we think of Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, Fla./Paul J. Hagerty), who is the No. 1 rated signal caller in the 2011 class. The future Gator is really good and already looks the part of a redshirt junior in college thanks to his 6-foot-4, 224-pound frame. He could turn out to be quite the stress reliever for coach Urban Meyer.
Bet on Walsh
The more we watch Oklahoma State commit J.W. Walsh (Denton, Texas/Guyer), the more he reminds us of a slightly taller and stronger-armed Ely. Both prospects have a knack for keeping plays alive with their feet, are better athletes than you might think and have a gambler mentality -- which cannot always be showcased in a drill or workout setting.
Walsh can do some exciting things with his feet, but we would like to see him become a bit more consistent with his accuracy overall. He shows flashes but can miss the strike zone at times.
Southpaw signal callers
Oklahoma commit Kendal Thompson (Moore, Okla./Southmoore) and Stanford commit Evan Crower (San Diego/St. Augustine) are the two lefties of the group and possess the most intriguing releases of the entire group. Most lefties have a three-quarters or lower delivery point with a "slinging" delivery, but this is not the case with Thompson or Crower. In fact, both have unorthodox over-the-top, compact deliveries, but the end result is positive.
Both throw a catchable, soft pass with touch and timing. Crower is more of a prototypical pocket passer, while Thompson is somewhat of a dual threat.
Oklahoma commit Archie Bradley (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow) looks fantastic on the hoof and you can see a lot of upside in him, if he chooses football over baseball. He is big, has a good arm, shows flashes of being very precise and has a high ceiling for development as a pocket passer.
Third time's a charm
This is the third time we have seen Cody Kessler (Bakersfield, Calif./Centennial) in person. We really liked him the first time and did not like him as much the second time, but we felt he looked the best of the in-person sessions Monday. The USC commit consistently hit the strike zone and showed a smooth stroke. He looked stronger as a whole in terms of his delivery, arm strength and footwork.
Auburn's perfect fit
Auburn commit Kiehl Frazier (Springdale, Ark./Shiloh Christian) is such a good looking kid on the hoof, but you need to watch him on tape to get a real feel for all he can do with his arm and legs. He has a big arm with surprising touch when he needs it. Frazier has ironed out some things mechanically to become what Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn wants in a signal caller.
Under the radar signal caller
Adam Pittser (Richmond, Ill./Burton) has a live, strong arm with adequate height and the frame to fill out. He is extremely accurate with a smooth stroke. Without question, he stood out on Day 1 among a solid, steady performing group. However, he plays in a conservative, Wing-T offense with few passing opportunities. As a result, he only has multiple MAC conference offers, but he is a BCS prospect that coaches across the country are missing out on.
The 6-1, 187-pounder reminds us of Minnesota QB Adam Weber, who also faced some of the same challenges in recruiting that Pitter is in terms of a lack of exposure and lack of a pass-friendly scheme (Weber also played in a Wing-T) to create buzz statistically.
Tom Luginbill is ESPN's national director of football recruiting.
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