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Texas native Preston Dewey highlights a loaded field at Dallas Elite 11
FORT WORTH, Texas -- This Elite 11 Regional Quarterback Camp featured the most quality prospects in one setting we have seen to date. Not all of the prospects had national acclaim yet, but impressed with their accuracy on a windy day and ability to perform when given the opportunity. In fact, there were plenty of sleepers on hand.
The initial roster looked promising and while we were disappointed that prospects Ford Childress (Houston, Texas/Kincaid) and T.J. Millweard (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal) were not in attendance, there were plenty of surprising and impressive performances.
Preston Dewey (Austin, Texas/St. Andrews) not only performed the best on Saturday, but also possesses possibly the most upside. He is coached by former Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer and it is obvious he has done a great job with Dewey. We first saw Dewey a year ago, when he was about an inch shorter and 10 pounds lighter, but he has really filled out. His release, footwork, delivery mechanics and overall competitiveness only cemented what we had seen on film to this point. He is so sound and very accurate. He can anticipate and he compensated for the wind better than most, which was a very difficult element. With recent offers from UCLA and a few non-BCS level programs, we expect Dewey's stock to rise considerably. He has a very high ceiling for development and you could see his confidence and swagger soar from beginning to end and he really got into a zone. We feel he is a BCS-level player that no one knows about or has not paid close enough attention to.
Tommy Armstrong (Cibolo, Texas/Steele) showed he is a fine passer and athlete. Any program that runs an option-based scheme, but also a competent passing game should take a long look at him. He got better and better throughout the event and we feel he will see an up tick in attention this summer and fall.
Jared Johnson (Grand Prairie, Texas/South Grand Prairie) lit up the circuit stations with consistent accuracy and his live, explosive arm. He can really hum it and his release is compact and tight on every throw. He rarely missed the strike zone and showed he is capable of making every throw on the field, but he lacks great size. Johnson can run, is athletic and would be a great fit for the spread offense. We feel he would need to be in the shotgun where he can move his launch point for him to be at his finest, but he can flat-out throw it and has a release you cannot coach.
One sleeper who caught our eye due to his athleticism and accuracy was Louisiana product Dshaie Landor (Lafayette, La./Teurlings Catholic). He has a live, whip-like arm with a smooth stroke. Clearly a dual-threat, Landor really hummed it in drills that required escaping the pocket and throwing on the move. He has good size, a muscular build and is someone we need to hunt down for film evaluation.
Brady Burgin (Dallas, Texas/Highland Park) has been on our radar for two years and he continues to improve and throw with accuracy and good velocity. He has adequate height, not ideal, but shows a very compact delivery and good footwork away from center. He will likely begin to see some non-BCS conference attention this summer after the May evaluation period for coaches.
There were three prospects on hand that were strong armed guys that had the ideal size you look for in a pocket passer. In fact at times they were so similar in their methods that is was hard to tell them apart. Zed Woerner (Marble Falls, Texas/Marble Falls), Darrack Harger (Sand Springs, Okla./Page) and Alec Morris (Alleb, Texas/Allen) were all somewhat robotic and tense in the upper body, but also very strong in their weight transfer and ability to drive the ball with authority. All three showed adequate drop speed and timing and fundamentally need refinement with their footwork and deliveries to help enhance overall accuracy.
Better than expected
Two prospects on hand we came away more impressed with than we were on film this spring were Jeremiah Briscoe (Houston, Texas/Stratford) and Faton Bauta (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer). Briscoe is more polished and mechanically sound than he was as a junior on tape. He is a wonderful athlete with terrific size, a big arm and showed more control and precision as a passer than we expected. In fact, he didn't look like the street ball player we have seen in him in the past. He has a lot of physical tools to mold and develop and with his size, speed and arm combination he has a bright future.
Bauta transferred from New York down to Florida for his senior season. As a junior, he was utilized much more as a runner than as a passer to the point where there was not much to evaluate and he would be a guy we would possibly project to another position. However, on Saturday Bauta showed he's got some arm talent and is much further along as a passer than we thought. He can drive the ball with velocity and power and what really stood out was his ability to drop with depth and a balanced setup on a consistent basis. He is a good athlete, we knew that going in, but his stock will really rise now that he is at a program like Dwyer and will be able to showcase his abilities in the passing game.
Future Horned Frogs signal-caller
TCU commit Austin Aune (Argyle, Texas/Argyle) reminds us so much of current Horned Frogs QB Casey Pachall. Aune is your prototypical slight build, tall prospect with a live arm and good feet. He will likely put on 15-20 pounds over the next three years, enjoy the luxury of redshirting and developing at a normal pace. Aunde has upside and is a late bloomer. He showed a smooth stroke and sharp velocity on short and intermediate throws and he also displayed sound footwork from center, which we love to see.
Red Raiders get a steal
A prospect we liked very much coming into the day, but has not received a lot of attention was Texas Tech verbal commit Clayton Nicholas (Abilene, Texas/ Cooper). He did not have a single offer until Tommy Tuberville and the Red Raiders came calling, despite very impressive film work and a consistent demonstration in games that he could make all the throws at the next level and do it with a smooth stroke. Nicholas showed that stroke on Saturday, but it is clear he is exclusively accustomed to working from the shotgun, because he does not yet exhibit the proper footwork, setup balance and quickness you would like to see. Therefore he was inconsistent in his overall accuracy. There is no debating his natural arm strength or wrist velocity and once he gets coached up on footwork, he could really be good because he does the other things naturally and he is blessed with good size. Tuberville got a nice steal here.
Tom Luginbill is ESPN's national director of football recruiting.