Santa Clara, Calif. - 90 percent of the kids who show up at an Elite 11 camp don't have a chance to move on. But they at least want to be present when someone who did have a chance gets an invite to the finals.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, no invitations to the Elite 11 finals were handed out last Friday, and even the kids who didn't have a chance drooped noticeably when Trent Dilfer announced that nobody was sharp enough to move on. That said, there were still plenty of good days from lots of good QB prospects, and the coaches routinely praised the QBs as the deepest group they had seen yet.
Keller Chryst, the star of the show, had a good, but somewhat underwhelming day overall. He missed a few simple throws in early drills before finding a groove later -- he was the only QB to complete every pass in the end-of-day two-minute drill. Even though I don't think anybody was so blown away that they had to go lie down after watching him, it's very apparent why Chryst is so highly rated. He's able to rip 25-yard passes through the wind and also showed really nice touch on the ball when he threw passes to crossing receivers. Overall, he's got a very advanced arm, and he should be a smashing success in college, no matter which system he chooses -- Pitt, Alabama, Stanford or USC.
On the flip side, Brad Kaaya (Miami commit) and K.J. Carta-Samuels (Vanderbilt commit) both turned in really good afternoons, with Kaaya earning a Golden Gun jersey at the end of the day. Kaaya's insanely strong arm stood out even in warmups and he's got very smooth feet. Carter-Samuels also totes a rifle of a right arm, and you can tell he's a workout warrior too. Both QBs mentioned that they were very solidly committed to their schools, as well. KJCS said he really wants to go to Vandy, but he's going to an Oregon football camp later this summer. (He also earned an Elite 11 invite this weekend.) Kaaya spoke candidly about Miami's recruiting class being all offense at the moment, a little window into the strength of his commitment to the U.
Wilton Speight made his commitment to Michigan obvious by rocking some blue and maize shorts, and he had plenty of talent to go with it. Speight's size is impressive, and he has a very powerful arm to go with it. He reminded me a little bit of Ryan Mallett (a former Wolverine) with better feet.
I was also pleasantly surprised with Santa Rosa's Keaton Dunsford. The kid is just as big as Chryst and Speight, and has a huge arm as well. I was shocked to see that he only had an offer from Harvard, but he mentioned that Cal has been recruiting him hard lately. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Bears pounce on a local talent like Dunsford, who looks like he's got all the tools to be a college starter someday.
Morgan Mahalak, an Oregon commit, was proud to rock the Oregon shorts on Friday and showed exactly why the Ducks wanted him in their class -- he had a solid arm and some of the most impressive feet at the camp. He probably needs to put on about 20 pounds before he's able to fit into a crowd of college QBs, but he's got a big frame and should be able to do that quite easily (as anyone who has ever gained weight in college can attest).
Similarly, I also liked the athleticism and arm of Marcus McMaryion. Neither he or Mahalak strain to throw the ball despite the fact that they're skinny guys, which makes me think that they both could get a lot stronger with a redshirt year.
Coltin Gerhart, the younger brother of Stanford legend Toby, is a dead ringer for his big brother and you can tell athleticism runs in the family. Gerhart earned a Golden Gun jersey at day's end by showing off his power on his feet and with his arm. He's a little short and it's hard to tell if he's going to get too much bigger (he, like Toby, is a shade over 6 feet tall), but his inherent, obvious power does make him an attractive prospect.
As for the younger guys, Ricky Town's arm easily stood out. He moved fluidly and rocketed some passes in a zone-read drill that had several recruiting analysts making notes next to his name.
Altogether, the day provided an interesting challenge for a lot of talented QB prospects -- how would they handle the typical chilly, windy Northern California day in front of Ronnie Lott, Trent Baalke and Alex Smith? But even though the biggest name didn't leave anyone starry-eyed, that may not have been all his fault.