IRVING, Texas -- High standards.
They're the norm for the Elite 11 quarterback camp, which held its first regional competition on Saturday at the Dallas Cowboys practice facility, kick starting the nationwide tour that will result in invitations to California for the finals.
But never have the standards been higher than they will be for members of the 2013 series, as there will be fewer invitations extended this year. Last season, 25 quarterbacks made their way to the finals.
For the Dallas regional, there was no overall MVP and the coaches declined to extend an invitation for the finals.
However, all is not lost for the participants on the day -- a strong showing at the Nike Football Training Camp on Sunday in Allen could earn one or two attendees the invite that eluded them on Saturday and further consideration after seeing talent around the rest of the country could result in Dallas attendees receiving invites.
The group of signal-callers in attendance also received a talk from 2013 Ole Miss signee Devante Kincade, the MVP from the 2012 Dallas Elite 11 camp. A favorite of Elite 11 coach Trent Dilfer, Kincade was once again sharp working through some drills and spoke briefly about the leadership skills that helped him stand out last year.
The other notable coach was Heisman-winning Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who provided perspective to the campers on the value of continuing to strive despite not receiving the recruiting accolades of other prospects. Most importantly, though, Manziel stressed having fun, something that clearly shows through in his own efforts on the field.
Here are some of the prospects who stood out on the day:
David Cornwell, Norman (Ok.) North
At 6-5 and 230 pounds, Cornwell looks the part and backs it up with the strongest arm at the event. With an effortless delivery and elite arm strength, the Oklahoma product consistently had the ball jump out of his hand with high RPMs and tight spin.
On intermediate routes, Cornwell was excellent with his velocity, but also showed the ability to float balls over linebackers in coverage in the two-minute drill with his touch and change of speed.
Of all the players at the event, he appeared to be the closest to earning an invite to the finals and there's no question that he lived up to his billing as a 247Sports five-star prospect.
Jerrod Heard, Denton (Texas) Guyer
The state champion racked up more than 2,000 yards on the ground during a junior season that saw the Wildcats take him the 5A crown in Texas and earned himself a spot running the two-minute drill. There were some tough moments for Heard on the day, but he seemed to hit his stride when grouped with the top quarterbacks, delivering some of his best passes late.
Foster Sawyer, Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints
Another state champion, Sawyer holds an offer from Alabama and showed why on Saturday, flashing a more consistent deep ball that looked better than it did last summer, perhaps in part because Sawyer looks noticeably stronger. His mechanics were crisp overall, especially with his release, which is ideal.
In drills focusing on accuracy on the run, Sawyer was able to consistently hit the target rolling to his left because of his ability to square his shoulders.
Brandon Harris, Bossier City (La.) Parkway
Another dual-threat quarterback who faced a tough test in drills that often do little to showcase the athleticism that makes him so effective as a runner on fall Saturdays, Harris was impressive with his live arm, which allowed him to get vertical consistently. If there's an area for improvement, it's with his mechanics, as the ball typically comes out lower than the ideal position of right at his ear.
Clay Holgorsen, Katy (Texas) Taylor
Hailing from a high school that isn't known for producing the talent that cross-town rival Katy chrusn out year after year, Holgorsen's name wasn't one that was widely known to recruitniks across the state prior to Saturday's performance, but it's one that should be now.
One drill had the quarterbacks making deep throws like corner routes into a breeze that seemed to gust more than 20 miles an hour at times and didn't stop Holgorsen from uncorking perfect spirals unaffected by the weather conditions. In the two-minute drill, he matched the touch of Cornwell and was quick with his feet when forced to avoid a pass-rusher on his second throw.
At around 6-0, Holgorsen will have to overcome concerns about his size, but he looked ready to helm an Air Raid offense like the one helmed by his uncle at West Virginia. Perhaps the Red Bull aficionado can make some calls on behalf of his nephew.
Darrell Colbert, Jr., Houston (Texas) Lamar
Another state champion and undersized prospect, Colbert is committed to SMU. His overall arm strength and clean release helped him earn that offer and he also helped himself on Saturday with good mechanics, especially his weight transfer in his lower body.
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