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A close look at success

MALIBU, Calif. - This week at the Elite 11 competition at Pepperdine University, Michigan State commit Tyler O’Connor and Boise State pledge Nick Patti are both getting an opportunity to work closely with the quarterback they hope to replace as early as next fall.

Michigan State commit Tyler O'Connor is learning a lot from Spartans quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Two potential Heisman candidates in Broncos standout Kellen Moore and Spartans signal-caller Kirk Cousins are two of the five college quarterbacks participating in the event, joining Florida State’s E.J. Manuel, San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley and Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden

Conveniently enough, O’Connor finds himself rotating in the same group as Cousins, and Patti is doing the same with Moore.

“It’s great,” O’Connor stated. “He’s liked a lot of the things I’ve done, but has also given me some tips. The biggest thing he’s said is knowing the defense and knowing the offense, and knowing what the defense is going to dictate to you.”

Patti just loves seeing how he stacks up with Moore at this stage in his game.

“It was cool to watch him throw it around and see how he competes as well, and compete with him and that whole deal,” he said.

Since committing, both O’Connor and Patti have become friends with Cousins and Moore respectively. The understudies talk at ease with the established quarterbacks, and they’re trying to soak up whatever they can and implement it into their own game.

“I see what it takes to be at that caliber of quarterback,” O’Connor said. “He’s obviously one of the top quarterbacks in the country, and that’s my goal to be just like him someday. I was talking to him about his first couple of years at Michigan State, and he said he was just learning the whole time, and the main thing he stuck with was learning the offense and knowing that kind of stuff.”

Patti agrees.

“You watch a guy who’s at that level he’s at, but he still comes out here and he picks apart other people's brains, and he’s still learning and wants to get better, and I think that’s an attribute everyone should have,” Patti explained. “You’re never at the top of your game. It’s kind of cool to see him succeed, and you pick up little things from his game that you can take to yours.”

O’Connor and Patti still have some developing to do before they reach the level of Cousins and Moore. However, they have a lot in common. They’re each similar in stature and have a lot of the same mannerisms on the field.

Like Cousins, O’Connor has a nice arm, is comfortable in the pocket, and has been pretty accurate on both Monday and Tuesday. Cousins and his strong arm has intimidated a couple of the local high school receivers brought in to catch balls at the camp.

In the same mold as Moore, Patti looks very comfortable throwing the football rolling out of the pocket, and not many people would argue he has the most live arm at the competition.

If this week's Elite 11 is an indication, fans of both Michigan State and Boise State could be in line to see a lot of the same over the next five years.

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