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Cali Elite 11: Mahalak shines

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Northern California Elite 11 regional was held at the San Francisco 49ers training facility on Friday evening. On the surface it was one of the most talent-heavy regionals of the 2013 circuit and while it didn’t produce an immediate invite to the Elite 11 finals, it may still produce a few arms that return to the 49ers facility as NFL talents.

Vandy commit K.J. Carta-Samuels excelled throughout Friday's competition.

We take a look at the day’s top performers including those prospects whose performance put them in the best position to earn that coveted invite to the Elite 11 finals.

1. Morgan Mahalak, Greenbrae (Calif.) Marin Catholic

The Oregon coaching staff has proven to have a fantastic eye for talent at the quarterback position but on Friday, it didn’t take an expert to recognize that Mahalak was elite. The 6-3, 190-pound Oregon commit was organized and efficient in his delivery and was one of the most comfortable quarterbacks at the event delivering the football outside the pocket. He showed plenty of arm and only got better as the day progressed. In a camp-closing pressure drill with the entire camp looking on, Mahalak had the best performance of the finalists.

2. Brad Kaaya, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade

There may not have been a more consistent and steady performer at Friday’s event than Kaaya. Committed to Miami, the Hurricanes look like they’re getting a steal out of southern California. Kaaya has a great frame, standing all of 6-4, he was accurate on every level on Firday be it in the quick game, intermediate and vertical routes. Athletically Kaaya showed the ability to compose his feet outside of the pocket and under duress as well.

3. KJ Carta-Samuels, San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep

With his bother current Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels looking on, KJ put together a strong showing on Friday. A Vanderbilt pledge himself, Carta-Samuels showed one of the day’s strongest arms and that arm allows him to make some ‘wow’ throws in the intermediate passing game, fitting the ball into windows over the middle or on the sideline. Carta-Samuels possesses elite athleticism and gets outside of the pocket and downhill on his throws as well as anyone. Considering that Carta-Samuels plays in a run-heavy option offense in the fall, his progress as a passer is striking.

4. Keaton Dunsford, Santa Rosa (Calif.) Cardinal Newman

Brad Kaaya

In a camp full of big names, Dunsford pushed his forward as a new one to consider. Currently he has one offer from Harvard with interest from Cal and Stanford but looked worthy of several others. A big-bodied quarterback at 6-4, 225 pounds, Dunsford made numerous coaches and analysts look at their roster to determine who the big kid was making all the throws. Dunsford has an imposing presence, good mobility inside the pocket and consistently delivered the ball on target with poise.

5. Cade Apsay, Canyon County (Calif.) Canyon

Though Apsay doesn’t have big presence in the pocket, he does deliver the ball with consistency, shows really good accuracy and has the feet to extend plays and make throws in chaotic situations. Early in the day Apsay was one of the best arms in attendance. As the day progressed, him arm seemed to tire and he lost a lot of his consistency, and stumbled to the finish line but his overall body of work was very impressive.

Other notable performances

The nation’s No. 1 quarterback, Keller Chryst, did not have one of his better days. He consistently sailed the ball on receivers and just never seemed to get into a steady rhythm. That being said, his talent is undeniable. He was one of the biggest players in attendance physically and has a huge arm, he just seems to still be in the process of learning to harness those tools.

Michigan commit Wilton Speight was the only prospect in attendance bigger in stature than Chryst and Speight had a very solid day in his own right. Speight showed one of the stronger arms at the competition and was steady throughout.

247Sports four-star Manny Wilkins redeemed himself from a sub-par performance at the Texas Elite 11 with a very strong day in California. Wilkins threw with good accuracy throughout the day and though he still has a tendency to mix in a head-scratching throw, he had a very strong day overall.

The Elite 11 isn’t really the setting for Boise State commit Jalen Greene, who excels using his legs but the lefty out of Junipero Serra showed good accuracy throughout and looks to be a perfect fit for what Chris Petersen likes out of his quarterbacks.

Brad Kaaya

Hawaii commit Larry Tuileta out of Punahou High School made the trip to the mainland and represented the islands well. He doesn’t have an overwhelming arm but the ball gets to where it needs to be and it gets there on time.

The young guns

1a. Ricky Town, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure – Town was as comfortable as anyone at the event on Friday delivering the football in uncommon scenarios. He also showed good zip on the football and good command throughout.

1b. Josh Rosen, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco – Get used to seeing Rosen and Town together at the top of quarterback lists. It should be a battle over the next two years with both quarterbacks displaying elite ability. Rosen just shows incredible precision, with each throw looking like the last and the last one was always a good one.

3. Tyrone Williams, Merced (Calif.) High School - Williams wasn’t a high profile player coming into the event but he proved to be a name to watch for the future. He has good size at around 6-3 and he made several throws that could have put him alongside the best at the event.

4. Kyle Kearns, Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill – Slender but athletic, Kearns will continue to develop physically which should only strengthen an already tremendous arm talent.

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