Day 2 of the Elite 11 quarterback competition was the first media availability day for the event, and I was there to witness it. Here are our standout performers from the admittedly small sample set of a two-hour practice.
Kyle Allen, of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain High School, was the best quarterback I saw on the summer camp circuit. That trend continued on Saturday. The best way to describe Allen is that he doesn't make the high school mistakes. I asked Trent Dilfer about Allen, and he echoed those thoughts. Dilfer said that Allen is very organized
"Kyle has been incredibly consistent," Dilfer said. "He does a great job of playing in the moment, and getting to know the kid a bunch, that's something he had to overcome. He used to be really hard on himself, and he's really found a unique way to let it go. That's why he doesn't compound mistakes. He's very pliable in his learning."
Allen is committed to Texas A&M.
Keller Chryst of Palo Alto (Calif.) also had an impressive day. Chryst is listed at 6'3 and 215 pounds, but I think he is an inch taller and perhaps 10 pounds heavier. He already looks like a college player. Chryst has excellent touch and plenty of arm, and Dilfer raved about his ability to put the right amount of touch on the football. He also said that Chryst has very good feet, and even guarded the opposing point guard when Dilfer recently watched him play in a basketball game. Chryst is committed to Stanford.
I was also impressed by with the arm strength of Manny Wilkins, of Novato (Calif.) San Marin, and Brad Kaaya, of West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade. Both put a lot of spin on the football. Wilkins is committed to Arizona State, and Kaaya to Miami (Fla.).
Sean White, of Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) University School, continued to impress as he has done all summer. White is on the shorter side, but the only uncommitted quarterback at the event again threw with accuracy and RPMs.
"Sean White made some throws on the sluggo (slant and go) today," Dilfer said. "I just sat there on the sidelines, and thought 'that's a better sluggo than [Matt] Hassleback ever threw; that's a better sluggo than I ever threw,' it's that unique feel for certain throws that just blew my mind."
Wescott Eberts, SB Nation National Recruiting Analyst
Jerrod Heard, Denton (Texas) Guyer: The Texas commit was one of the final additions to the Elite 11 roster and didn't disappoint. What stood out the most was his improved ability to spin the football, a consistent issue for him throughout his high school career. The credit surely goes to both Heard for working on his mechanics, specifically his wrist load prior to delivery, and the Elite 11 coaching staff for the mechanical pointers that are already paying off in results.
And though Heard wasn't always sharp keeping his feet alive and hitting his check downs quickly when necessary, his desire to get better was apparent from his willingness to take extra dry reps when the other quarterbacks were throwing, working especially on his ability to effectively pump fake on quick drops to sell the slant-and-go routes the quarterbacks were practicing.
David Cornwell, Norman (Okla.) North: At the Dallas Elite 11 camp, Cornwell stood out immediately simply because of his prototypical size for the position at about 6'5 and 230 pounds. When he started throwing the football, he stood out because of his NFL-caliber arm strength and overall arm talent.
Even in an environment competing with and against the top quarterbacks in the 2014 class, Cornwell's arm strength is still superlative in comparison. For a player of his size, his feet are extremely light, but the coaching staff is still working on his lower body, as he has a tendency to let his knees lock, which keeps him from effectively transferring the momentum created there into the top of his release. Because of his natural arm strength, it doesn't cause as many issues for him as it would if he had only average arm talent, but it is a slightly limiting factor moving forward and one he is working to address. Cornwell is committed to Alabama.
David Blough, Carrollton (Texas) Creekview: Singled out by the coaching staff afterwards for his ability to keep himself level in his drops, with his knees properly bent at the necessary power angles, Blough imparts a velocity on the football that is rare for someone listed at 6'1. In that sense, he's a lot like former Purdue quarterback Drew Brees. He can maximize his natural physical tools with clean mechanics that allow him to hold his own against quarterbacks who have advantages because of their size. There is no guarantee that Blough will be able to replicate the success of Brees as a Boilermaker, but the tools are there for him to do so, which continues to make it surprising that he was so overlooked as a recruit.
Sunday's events will involve more complex decisions regarding reading defenses.
"They're going to have to ratchet it up a bit with the decision making," Dilfer said. "When you run peer progression offenses, you're very offensive-centric, you care more about your guys than what the defense is doing. But there is an element of the passing game where you have to respect what they're doing, and [Sunday] is that day. You see some shells. Sunday will be a very mentally taxing day."