COLUMBUS, Ohio- It was perhaps the most talent-laden Elite 11 regional workout in the history of the prestigious workout circuit.
Four-star DeShone Kizer was the only prospect to earn an invite to The Opening and the Elite 11 finals immediately following the Columbus Elite 11 Regional Workout on Saturday at Ohio State. LSU, Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Tennesse, among others, are in the mix for his services.
More than 100 quarterbacks from 31 different states competed at the practice fields adjacent to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center at Ohio State for nearly four hours for the coveted “golden ticket”, which means an invite to the Elite 11 finals, held this year on the Nike Campus in Beaverton, Ore., concurrent with “The Opening”.
Heading to Beaverton
Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic four-star signal caller DeShone Kizer was the lone prospect that earned an invite immediately following the event while the staff huddled to announce the remaining selections.
The 6-foot-5 Kizer, who has become prominent on the recruiting boards of a number of programs- including LSU and others- showed good poise and concentration throughout the event, was accurate for the most part and displayed the intangibles that you want out of a college quarterback. What gets lost on Kizer at times is that he’s a three-sport athlete who doesn’t concentrate on football-much less playing the quarterback position- year-round, so he has simply scratched the surface of his ability on the gridiron. In addition to the Tigers, Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee and a host of other programs are in the mix for his services. Depending on how the quarterback recruiting dominoes fall for the 2014 recruiting cycle, he could end up at a number of spots.
Brandon Harris, Bossier City (La.) Parkway- If there was a most impressive single prospect at the event, it had to be Harris. The way he glides around when throwing on the run, combined with a quick release and strong arm shows you why 247Sports ranks him as the top dual-threat quarterback in the 2014 class. Harris still has improving to do, but the upside is limitless. His stock has risen quite a bit since May 1 and he visited Ohio State, one of the schools in the mix for his services, on Friday. Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Auburn and others are still in the mix. It will be interesting to see how his recruitment shakes out as he could be a huge domino to fall nationally. Say he goes to LSU, then does that move Kizer to Tennessee or elsewhere? What is not in question, though, is how talented Harris is and whatever school he ends up at will have a lot to work with.
Drew Barker, Hebron (Ky.) Conner- The crown jewel of Kentucky’s Top 25 recruiting class for the 2014 cycle, displayed the things that have made him a U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection at quarterback and one of the top signal callers in the country this cycle. He has a big arm, is quick and can put touch on the ball when needed. Barker was impressive for the majority of this camp, which is saying something considering the number of talented players there.
Clayton Thorson, Wheaton (Ill.) North- Thorson has gotten bigger and stronger and displayed excellent touch on a number of his passes. There is little doubt that the 6-foot-4, 190-pounder will only continue to develop moving forward as he already is showing signs of getting to a higher level. The Northwestern commit is part of a Wildcats class which currently resides in the top 20 of the 247Sports team rankings for 2014.
Class of 2015 standout Anthony Ratliff is the next major quarterback prospect from Butler High in Matthews, N.C. Clemson and others already have offered.
James Morgan, Green Bay (Wisc.) Ashwaubenon- Just as he did at the FBU Arizona Camp in March, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Morgan displayed excellent arm strength and accuracy during this event. Morgan recently was ranked as the No. 9 pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2015 class by 247Sports and he could end up being even higher. Morgan has yet to pick up his first offer, but we are certain that will change moving through the summer as he gets more exposure. Should Notre Dame become involved, the Irish could be tough to beat. His father played there and he had on a Fighting Irish hat at the camp.
Anthony Ratliff, Matthews (N.C.) Butler- Ratliff is the next major quarterback prospect from North Carolina power Butler. In addition to his accurate arm, his fluid movement throwing on the run and footwork all are advanced, which is especially impressive considering he wasn’t a full-time signal caller last season. Clemson, Mississippi State and others have offered Ratliff. We expect more to follow soon and for him to be ranked by 247Sports for the 2015 cycle in the near future as well.
Sonny Abramson, Sparta (N.J.) Pope John Paul XXIII- The same program that has major 2014 prospects Noah Brown and Ryan Izzo has a relatively talented young quarterback coming up the ranks in Abramson. We liked the way he competed and he’s an accurate passer. Rutgers already has offered and Virginia Tech and other programs are showing interest. He’s definitely one to keep an eye on.
Noah Wezensky, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers- The Class of 2016 prospect- from the same high school that produced five-star Notre Dame linebacker signee Jaylon Smith (2013 class), already holds an offer from Akron. We think there will be more in his future as he has good size (already over 6-foot-2) and had nice touch on a number of passes Saturday.
Chris Durkin, Youngstown (Ohio) Ursuline- Two things stand out about Durkin when you see the Michigan State commit in person- his intense focus and his size (6-foo-4, 216 pounds). Durkin also can throw it quite well (strong arm, accurate) and has good footwork. The sheer effort he puts forth playing the position- based on evaluations in person and on film, make him worthy of being the No. 14 pro-style quarterback in the 2014 class according to 247Sports.
Tyler Harris, Blackshear (Ga.) Pierce County- Just as he always does, Harris displayed a howitzer for an arm during the event. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder has offers from Alabama, Mississippi State and South Florida and a host of attention from other programs. He may, however, get caught up in the quarterback dominoes nationally and end up at a place totally off of his radar. Regardless, whichever school gets him will have a whole lot to work with in terms of natural arm strength. Harris is the No. 10 pro-style quarterback in the 2014 class according to 247Sports.
Peyton Bender, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Cardinal Gibbons- There perhaps isn’t a better fit for a college system than Washington State for Bender. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder displayed the ability to get rid of the ball quickly and make excellent reads. Bender is a cerebral quarterback who has excellent quickness in the passing game- a must when running Mike Leach’s fast-paced, pass-happy, get-the-ball out quick system. Bender currently is the No. 34 pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports and could end up higher.
Sean White, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School- The 6-foot-2, 204-pound White has impressed in this setting before and has a slew of scholarship offers- West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Wake Forest and more- to back up his ranking as the No. 34 pro-style quarterback in the country according to 247Sports. White played his way into consideration for a trip to the Elite 11 finals with his consistent showing Saturday.
Tyler Wiegers, Detroit (Mich.) Country Day- Rutgers got a steal in the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Weigers, who was among the most consistent quarterbacks at the event. Not overly flashy until you watch him throw spiral after spiral, Weigers fits into the mold of what the Scarlet Knights usually recruit and recruit well at quarterback (the Gary Nova and Chas Dodd types). Weigers currently is the No. 52 pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports, but expect him to rise quickly after we saw what he was all about today in person.
JJ Cosentino, Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic- The Florida State commit has good arm strength, feet and size at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, but as is the case with many young quarterback prospects consistency is the issue. Also, there probably will be some work that needs to be done on his throwing motion once he gets to college, though that’s not a huge deal right now. Consentino played his way into consideration for a trip to the Elite 11 finals and is the No. 13 pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports.
Darius Wade, Middeltown (Del.)- Wade has been competing at events like these since he was a sophomore and to be quite honest, has impressed every time. The 6-foot-2, 193-pounder has gotten bigger, too, and at this point when you take into account what you see in a camp setting and combine it with what he’s proved on the field in pads during his high school career, you have no choice but to say that Boston College fans should be excited about him being a part of the 2014 class for the Eagles. Wade had a solid outing Saturday, just as he always does. He is the No. 27 dual-threat quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports and could be rising in those rankings soon.
Reggie Bonnafon, Louisville (Ky.) Trinity- For a guy that hasn’t played a whole lot of quarterback full-time for his high school team (he’s been a receiver during his career, too), Bonnafon shows some signs of ability in the passing game. Given his athleticism, if the Louisville commit can develop throwing the ball, he can emerge as a dangerous weapon for the Cardinals in the coming years at quarterback. If he doesn’t, then he could emerge as a dangerous weapon elsewhere. That’s yet another win-win situation for Louisville, which can’t seem to lose these days. Bonnafon currently ranks as the No. 17 dual-threat quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports.
Chase Litton, Tampa (Fla.) Wharton- Litton has good size and has moments where his arm is impressive. 247Sports Crystal Ball has him as a 100 percent projection to South Florida. The Bulls can develop the local standout over time should he indeed end up there. Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Western Kentucky and others also have offered. Litton currently is the No. 39 pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports.
Brandon Dawkins, Thousand Oaks (Calif.) Oaks Christian-[/b] Dawkins had his best showing of the spring/summer camp season by displaying excellent velocity/arm strength and a quick release. Notre Dame is the destination if the Irish decide he’s their quarterback. Otherwise, look for him to end up at Utah, North Carolina State or elsewhere. Dawkins currently is the No. 12 dual-threat quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports.
Trace McSorley, Ashburn (Va.) Briar Woods- Though undersized, McSorley can throw the ball quite well and it’s obvious he has plus athleticism. The 6-foot, 192-pounder also has proven to be quite a winner during his high school career and you can tell with the way he carries himself and competes. North Carolina and other programs are recruiting him as an athlete, but watch out for Purdue, which may sneak in and snag him as a signal caller. He had a very good visit to West Lafayette recently and there’s a chance he may be a big problem for Big Ten defenses in the future, provided he can adapt to the college game and develop at quarterback like he is capable of. McSorley is currently the No. 19 dual-threat quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports.
Caleb Henderson, Burke (Va.) Lake Braddock- The U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection had a fast start, displaying good accuracy and touch during the early part of the event. Later on, he was a bit erratic, but you are talking about a player that has gotten it done on a consistent basis in pads against good competition in Northern Virginia, so it isn’t as if he isn’t capable. Henderson is committed to North Carolina and currently is the No. 6 pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports.
Best Prospect- Brandon Harris
Most Surprising- Litton
Best Underclassman- Morgan
Best All-Around- Kizer
Most Intriguing- Bender, Ratliff
Steve Wiltfong contributed to this report