BEAVERTON, Oregon -- Five-star Palo Alto (Calif.) quarterback Keller Chryst has had a big week -- he committed to Stanford on Friday, just before heading out to Oregon to participate in the Elite 11 Finals.
Count Elite 11 head coach Trent Dilfer among those impressed with the 6'4, 220-pounders skill set and not for the reasons most expect.
It's funny, I don't get enamored by his arm at all," Dilfer said on Saturday evening during a media availability. "I get enamored with his ability to tempo the ball. We were working on a drill that had the tight end coming right in front of the quarterback on a crossing route and Keller just understands throwing a catchable ball. He has a natural ability to tempo and it's a ball that finishes really smooth."
It probably helps having an uncle who is a major-college football coach in Pittsburgh head man Paul Chryst and a father who has long been an NFL coach, including spending years working as a quarterbacks coach. Suffice it to say that Chryst has a background that supports success at his position.
Part of it is natural and part of it is being coachable.
"I think he gets it just with his release, his snap," Dilfer said. "At times he gets a little bit long, which we've worked on, but he has a really natural snap of his wrist, the way the ball comes off of his fingers and he finishes with his wrist. I think that's why he's able to do it and why he's able to conceptualize it."
Of course, Chryst is also the product of an Elite 11 process that has been meticulously refined and improved by Dilfer and his knowledgable, hard-working staff.
"A lot of times you can get players to do something by telling them the end result, not telling them how to do it. Firm with an arm. Instead of throwing a fastball every throw, it's firm and it has a nice little arc on it, it finishes easier. The staff has really embraced how kids learn. We get the most out of them from how we message them."
Many college coaches like to see football prospects play on the basketball court to get a slightly different look at their athleticism. Dilfer is no different and made a trip during the Elite 11 evaluation process to watch the Palo Alto product on the hardwood. Just as he has during the finals, Dilfer came away impressed.
"He has great feet," Dilfer said. "I went to see him play during basketball season. I was thoroughly impressed watching him cover the two, three, four , and five. Stayed square on everybody he played. He was beat once baseline by an athletic four on a nice play and he chewed his own [butt] down the floor so it wouldn't happen again. The kid has very good feet for his size."
Put it all together and the result is a five-star prospect.
After speaking with Dilfer on Saturday night, SB Nation Recruiting caught up with Chryst to get his thoughts on the Elite 11 Finals, his recent commitment to Stanford, and more.