- Jamie Newberg, RecruitingNation
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Bennie Coney (Plant City, Fla./Plant City) and Gray Crow (Clearwater, Fla./Countryside) headlined the Elite 11 Regional Quarterback Camp at UCF and while both had strong days, neither seemed completely satisfied.
"I thought I did well," Crow said. "I am a perfectionist so I thought I left a lot on the field. But that just means I have to keep working very hard to get where I want to go. I have to improve and get better. We do so many drills here and it's stuff you can do back home. That's what I plan to keep doing."
Crow, 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, has committed to Miami already and is excited about his future with the Hurricanes and Al Golden.
"Miami was the perfect fit for me," Crow said. "Between the academics and the coaches there Miami matched my personality. They also will have a pro-style offense and it's a school like Miami. I can't wait to play for Coach Golden and the Hurricanes."
Coney, 6-2 and 210 pounds, has made a lot of improvements to his game, but knows that being a quarterback is always a work in progress.
"I just have to keep progressing," Coney said. "I have to keep working on the little things and all the fundamentals. My footwork is better but it's something I have to work on. Going through my progressions is easier but it has to come more easily to me. My arm is strong but it can be stronger. I just need to keep working on the basic stuff."
Coney has not made his commitment yet and there is no immediate timetable set. His most recent offers were from USF and Cincinnati last week. Florida State, Florida, LSU, Auburn, Texas Tech and others have all offered him to this point.
"I was checking out Cincinnati this past week and they need quarterbacks," Coney said. "I like them as well as FSU, Notre Dame, LSU and all the others. They are all very good schools. I want to see some places in the next couple of weeks but I am not sure who yet. I know this summer I will get out and see a lot of schools. That's the plan."
Good showing for the Class of 2013
There were some pretty talented rising juniors in attendance on Saturday, including Brice Ramsey (Kingsland, Ga./Camden County).
"I felt I did really well after a few minutes of warm-ups," said Ramsey, who's already hearing from Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, FSU and others. "They [the coaches] throw so much at you and give you a lot to learn. But I feel like I helped myself out a lot and I will take all this stuff home with me."
One of the big surprises was Tommy Eveld (Tampa, Fla./Jesuit), who won the accuracy throwing contest.
"I had a lot of fun," Eveld said. "I learned a few things that I will work on back home. The main things for me are my throwing motion and footwork. Every coach kind of teaches you differently but to come here and get it from these guys was great.
Dominique Allen (Savannah, Ga./Richmond Hill), more of a dual-threat signal caller, loved the coaching he received at this event.
"Wow, they definitely give you a lot to chew on," Allen said, who's already hearing from Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern and Georgia. "For me, it's about making my drops quicker, getting the ball out sooner and keeping my eyes down field. It's stuff you don't really work on much back home."
Hawkins back coaching
Dan Hawkins is back coaching. The former Boise State and Colorado head coach and now one of the coaching instructors for the Nike Elite 11 Regional Quarterback Camps.
"I love this," Hawkins said. "This is why I do what I do, coaching. It's just a different path but it's still coaching. To get out here with these kids is a lot of fun."
Hawkins is obviously new to the Nike tour but he likes their philosophy of getting around the country and instructing high school QBs on how to better their game.
"I thought this went great and this is my first go-around," Hawkins said. "We got after it and once we got flowing it was good for us coaches and the players here.
"I think the big thing with these kids is they have to realize that every little thing matters when you are a quarterback. You may come here with a big arm but do you make the right decisions with the ball? How's your footwork? How's your ball placement? Stuff like that is what they all need to work on. For many it's really their first exposure to this type of coaching and they need to understand the magnitude of what it takes to be a quarterback. For me, I love to see how they handle it."
Hawkins plans on being involved for most of the Nike Elite 11 Regional Quarterback Camps that take place through May. The next one is April 9th at TCU. There will be four others at Georgia, Penn State, Ohio State and Cal.
Former Florida quarterback Chris Leak was part of the Elite 11 as a participant in the summer of 2002. He was in attendance yesterday watching his pupil, 2013 quarterback Alton Meeks (Orlando, Fla./Boone). Leak, who lives in Orlando, is mentoring Meeks and several other quarterbacks in the Orlando area.
"I love it," Leak said. "I mean, I really enjoy teaching and helping out these guys. I went through all the things they are going through and I am just trying to work with them on fundamentals and help them with the big transitions from high school to college. I want them all to become champions because that's the primary goal for every quarterback."
For the last three seasons, Leak has been a member of the Montreal Alouettes. When his playing days are over he hopes to become a coach.
"That is what I really want to do," Leak said. "I really like doing it."
Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at email@example.com.