- Tom Luginbill, RecruitingNation
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Over 50 prospects were on hand as the ESPN RISE Elite 11 Regional Quarterback camp circuit kicked off its national tour on Saturday. Florida is not known for producing high-profile passers and the Class of 2012 won't change that trend. A few well known prospects like Bennie Coney (Plant City, Fla./Plant City) and Watch List QB Gray Crow (Clearwater, Fla./Countryside) were in attendance, but this camp featured more developmental prospects with upside, particularly from the underclassmen, than big names.
As with every Elite 11 camp each year, the focus is on feet and accuracy, as it should be. How guys adjust to new drills and a foreign environment can tell a lot about their mental makeup and competitiveness. Here are the standouts from Saturday's camp.
Top prospect: Bennie Coney
(Plant City, Fla./Plant City)
Having seen Coney as a sophomore and a junior, it is clear he's made great strides in the overall fundamental side of his game. A year ago, Coney was more erratic and not as polished as he was on Saturday. He absolutely has the measurable characteristics you want in both a passer and runner -- big, strong and built like a linebacker. We would like to see him start throwing with newer balls and get out of his comfort zone a bit, but he can really spin it and was far more accurate than he was in the past. He can make all the throws and his footwork, balance and set up have really enhanced his accuracy. He was the best player on the field throwing on the run. Coney has become more disciplined and crisp in his methods and you can tell he has been working at it.
If only he were taller: Nick Patti (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips)
Pound for pound, Patti was likely the best prospect at the camp. But at 5-foot-9, his options on the recruiting trail may be somewhat limited. He has great feet, a terrific release and very sound mechanics. He really wants to be good and he is. He plays for a great program and has won a lot of games. If Patti were 6-1, he'd have multiple offers, including BCS conferences. His live arm and competitive intangibles stand out with each rep and he makes you take notice with his accurate results. One of the better camp guys we will see and he's a good prospect who hopefully will see his recruiting heat up some.
The U has its man: Gray Crow (Clearwater, Fla./Countryside)
Crow's methods and mechanics are reminiscent of former FSU signal caller Christian Ponder, only Crow, a Miami commit, isn't quite the same athlete. He is, however, a pocket passer with impressive size and arm strength. He can slightly push the ball from his shoulder at times, but generally the ball comes out quickly and with good overall velocity. He'll lose some control at times from squeezing the ball, but he is capable of making all the necessary college level throws. His frame will allow for some more filling out and he is a strong prospect. We feel he will be at his best when he plants and gets the ball out. He can't afford to waste time or be late and needs to be in a rhythm. He is fundamentally sound in his efforts and also very consistent in his methods from throw-to-throw. The pro-style, multiple set or West Coast schemes would be a nice fit for him.
Underclassman out to impress
Kevin Olsen (Wayne Hills, N.J.) is the younger brother of NFL tight end Greg Olsen. He is a rising junior who is a sharp pocket passer with good size and the frame to become stronger. His delivery is compact and the ball comes off with nice zip and overall accuracy. He was hitting hands in a good catch radius for his targets ... Akeem Jones (Carol City, Fla.) is extremely raw, but also very gifted athletically, so much so that he will be a likely candidate to play another position in college. He has a big, but wild arm. There is plenty to mold and develop, but he must harness his arm. He has tools and because he is young there is plenty of time to work on the nuances of the position fundamentally. ... Kris White (Southlake, Fla.) possesses some of the same tools as Jones, but is more refined at this stage. He reminds us of what Coney looked like last year. White has great size and is well built. He is a quick-twitch athlete and dual-threat QB with a big, but erratic arm. His upside is exciting and he's just going to be a junior. ... Brice Ramsey (Camden County, Ga.) is a young prospect who is starting to garner a lot of attention despite playing in a veer option, run-dominated scheme with few passing opportunities. He is lean and lanky, but filled out since we saw him a year ago. He has a quick and smooth delivery and is fluid in his methods from footwork to throw. He has an adequate, but not elite arm and is a late bloomer with upside and time in the weight room.
Late bloomers in attendance
Kedric Bostic (Jupiter, Fla.) has a great looking frame and nice overall mechanics. He shows good body control for a prospect who has yet to grow into his body. He can be a bit tense in the upper body, but the ball comes out clean and with good zip. Bostic showed pretty good ball control throughout the day. ... Tommy Eveld (Tampa, Fla.) is a prospect who got better throughout the day. He has some gunslinger qualities to him and fires the ball with good zip and has quality mechanics. The ball pops out of his hand pretty well. He is lean and lanky and weight room time will enhance his skills. ... Jacob Guy (Pasco, Fla.), like Bostic, looks really good and has some natural passing skills. But as we watched him throughout the day, we wanted to see more of a sense of urgency in his methods. He carries the ball well, is tall, has good feet and made some impressive throws, but could be quicker in everything he does. He's capable of doing that and has some intriguing traits. ... Paxton Lynch (Deltona, Fla.) is a big, strong-armed pocket passer whop needs to grow into his feet and frame to develop some body control. He can sling it and ball comes off with some authority. He would need to be protected in a scheme to be at his finest. ... Trenton Norvell (Seabreeze, Fla.) impressed on film and showed flashes in the workout. He is big, strong and reminds us a little Olsen, only bigger.
Tom Luginbill is ESPN's national director of football recruiting.
Over 50 prospects showed up for the Orlando Elite 11, but it was Bennie Coney who stole the show.