BEAVERTON, Ore.- The first open session of the 2013 Elite 11 Quarterback Camp finals featured several strong showings from the nation’s top Class of 2014 signal caller prospects.
Top247 quarterback DeShaun Watson moves around effortlessly and one recruiting expert, after evaluating him today, says that he is a perfect fit for Clemson, where he is firmly committed.
The bottom line based on a just more than two hour camp setting comparison- this cycle is indeed strong for quarterbacks, particularly at the top, as multiple prospects displayed excellent raw ability in the passing game.
5- DeShaun Watson, Gainesville (Ga.)- Watson, who is a Clemson commitment, was exceptionally accurate and his placement of the ball was always in stride with the receivers he was working with. The “zip” on the ball probably wasn’t as good as some of the other prospects at the event, but it’s pretty clear why he’s such a prolific passer at the high school level. Watson also has excellent footwork. He currently is the No. 7 quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports.
4- Kyle Allen, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain- Allen was accurate for most of the day and threw several passes that provided “wow” moments for the coaching staff and the media in attendance. Allen’s release is quick and the Texas A&M commit is an excellent fit in the Aggies offense from a passing game standpoint. Allen currently is the No. 4 pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports and is a U.S. Army All-American.
3- Jacob Park, Goose Creek (S.C.) Stratford- The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Park continues to impress in this setting. He has a quick release that has gotten quicker and is more consistently accurate than perhaps he used to be. You can see why Georgia, where he is committed, and Alabama both offered him after strong camp showings this summer. Park’s advancing pass game skills, combined with the natural athleticism he possesses, makes him more of a dual-threat than people realize. Aaron Murray- the current UGA quarterback- is a deceptively good runner and Park has a greater skill set in that department than Murray does. Park recently moved up to the No. 5 pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2014 cycle according to 247Sports.
2- Will Grier, Davidson (N.C.) Davidson Day- Grier, who is committed to Florida, threw what was perhaps the best pass of the day during the SLUGGO drills, drawing an audible reaction from the coaching staff and onlookers. Grier throws an outstanding ball with excellent velocity and a quick release. His frame, which was once a concern, continues to fill out nicely. Grier currently is the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the 2014 class according to 247Sports.
1-Keller Chryst, Palo Alto (Calif.)- The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Chryst is the complete package at quarterback. He has ideal size, arm strength, athleticism, footwork, release, intangibles- whatever you are looking for in a quarterback prospect, it appears after one day that Chryst has it. He throws a great deep ball, but also puts nice touch on his intermediate and shorter throws. The No. 2 pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports, committed to Stanford on Friday.
Five who could ascend
New Ohio State commit Stephen Collier was improved on Saturday.
Drew Barker, Hebron (Ky.) Connor- The Top247 Kentucky commit had some moments where the ball came out of his hands well and he showed nice touch at times, too. Trent Dilfer, the Elite 11 head coach, praised Barker’s quickness and power. Barker is the No. 9 pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports.
Stephen Collier, Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County- Collier rebounded from an up-and-down first session (per Dilfer) to have a very good afternoon workout. His arm strength, combined with his feet, quickness and athleticism, give him excellent potential. He is committed to Ohio State. Collier currently is ranked as the No. 18 dual-threat quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports.
David Cornwell, Norman (Okla.) North- The Alabama commit and five-star prospect (per 247Sports) is a large quarterback prospect at 6-foot-5 and in the neighborhood of 235 pounds. Cornwell has a big arm and excellent quickness. He was a bit inconsistent throwing on Saturday, but hit some beautiful passes at times. Cornwell currently is the top-ranked pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports.
Brad Kaaya, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade- As high as we were on Miami signee Kevin Olsen in the 2013 class, we think that the 6-foot-4 Kaaya has a bigger arm at this stage and perhaps more long-term upside. Kaaya is the No. 13 pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports.
DeShone Kizer, Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic- The 6-foot-5 Kizer continues to show progression and given that the Notre Dame commit has one of the best sets of intangibles in the entire class for his position, he certainly belongs in the discussion among “stock up” prospects this week provided he continues his success. Kizer is the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports.
Things that stood out
-The size of Chryst was a bit unexpected in terms of how he's matured physically. He measured in at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds at the Oakland Nike Camp in May and looks every bit of that. The "eyeball test" is one of the most overused evaluation tools there is, but he definitely passes it and combining that with his already known skill set may likely land him even higher in the 247Sports rankings moving forward.
-Kizer's willingness to learn has impressed during multiple camp sessions that we've seen the Irish commit at during this cycle. Saturday proved to be no different as the three-sport athlete continued to soak in the coaching.
-The passing ability of Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer) isn't what makes the Top247 Texas commit one of the best in the country. That being said, he threw some very nice balls here and there and with proper development should be just fine in that area.
-In perhaps the most important thing the Elite 11 quarterback camp finalists will do, the group visited with the Jesse Reese Foundation (Jesse is a girl that died from cancer). The foundation about helping others with cancer and never giving up.
"Last night they got to hear a story from Jesse's dad," Dilfer said. "Then they got to hangout with ten kids that are suffering from cancer. Little did I know, some of the parents are as well. Saphire, the little girl with the pink hat. her mom found out recently that she has breast cancer.
"The engagement of our kids and counselors was great. We can't teach them these things. We know they're going to be better players, that's a given. But we want them to win off the field. We want them to communicate and engage with others. I hope every year we can influence them positively."
-Uncommitted quarterback Sean White (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School) drew the praise of Dilfer following the first session. The Super Bowl champion said that White made "three or four" NFL-quality passes during the session. White's recruitment is starting to catch fire. Wisconsin and Auburn are among the programs showing recent interest.
-Virginia Tech commit Andrew Ford (Camp Hill, Pa./Cedar Cliff) has gotten bigger and stronger during the past year or so. The four-star lefty again proved to have excellent accuracy throughout most of the session.
-The finals continue Friday with a workout at 9:30 a.m. Pacific at the Nike Campus. The quarterbacks will join the rest of the positions during The Opening. Those prospects begin to arrive in Oregon on Sunday.
Video Spotlight: Elite 11 Day One (Keith Niebuhr)
Live Updates- Elite 11 Day 1 (JC Shurburtt, staff)
Feldman: Day 1 shows just how much Elite 11 has evolved (Bruce Feldman, CBS)
The Opening: Primer (Steve Wiltfong)
Rosters: Elite 11/The Opening (247Sports)
Brian Perroni and Josh Newberg contributed to this report