MALIBU, Calif. – Wednesday was a great day of work at the Elite 11 Camp and probably the most telling day of competition. After a light morning session, each quarterback was given two four-play series in a 7on7 format and asked to compete.
Gunner Kiel showed why he is the nation's top quarterback on Wednesday.
The format was unique and revealing on several levels. Each quarterback was asked to use what he had learned in the classroom and in film study regarding reading defenses and progressions. He had to make quick decisions with a defense in place, rather than on air. He had to command a huddle and display a presence at the line of scrimmage. Finally, it was ultimately still a competition so production and success rate never left the forefront.
In some cases it was the usual suspects that continued to excel but there were also some new names that stepped forward in a day that was the closest to real football simulation as we’ve seen all week.
1. Gunner Kiel - Uncommitted
Though he’s been one of the top quarterbacks this week, Kiel hasn’t necessarily been head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. On Wednesday, when all the variables were thrown together, Kiel showed why he is the top quarterback in the nation. He went 7 of 8 on the afternoon and his only incompletion came on a drop. Every throw was on the money and with heat behind it. Even his cadence was NFL caliber, showing command at the line of scrimmage and almost drawing his own players off sides on his hard counts.
2. Cyler Miles – Washington commit
Wednesday may have been the turning point in the week for Cyler Miles. He hasn’t been among the top arms over the first two days but on Wednesday, when asked to just go out and compete against live competition he showed up in a big way. Miles completed every one of his eight attempts, hitting both the check downs and quick game routes as well as a few deep balls up the seem. You could almost see him gaining confidence with every throw. Already the most impressive prospect physically and possibly the best athlete as well, Miles is one to watch the rest of the way.
3. Jameis Winston - Uncommitted
This week in Malibu, Winston can do no wrong. He once again put together a great performance in the 7on7. While wearing the red jersey, signifying his “Best in Film” award from the day before, Winston put that aptitude to work in live competition, making the correct reads throughout and putting his throws in the right spots. Maybe more importantly, Winston’s leadership skills emerged. He shows great confidence and poise in the huddle and with his teammates, adding to an already extensive skill set.
4. Tanner Mangum – BYU commit
Tanner Mangum has been one of the best quarterbacks in Malibu through the first half of the camp but on his first two throws during the 7on7 he missed on one and made a poor read on the second. A lot of quarterbacks would start to unravel but Mangum stepped into the huddle called a play and returned to make two fantastic throws much more representative of the rest of his week. In his second series, Mangum was outstanding, hitting all four of his passes including one pass that may have been the throw of the week thus far on a seem route for a big gain.
5. Zeke Pike – Auburn commit
Wednesday was an encouraging day for Pike. He’s a quarterback with less experience than a lot of the players out in Malibu but he showed today that he is very coachable. He took what he had learned throughout the week, made the correct reads and was on target. Pike was one of only two quarterbacks to complete all eight of his attempts and he showed that when he’s just reading and reacting, he becomes a much more efficient quarterback. He’s coachable and that’s a great sign for a player with his ability.
6. Tyler Matthews – TCU commit
This was Matthews’ final drill of the event. He left on Wednesday night to go to Hoover, Ala. to compete in a 7on7 with his high school team and he went out with a good taste in his mouth. While Matthews has had his ups and downs playing against static targets and in various drill work, he looked more comfortable in the fast-paced 7on7 setting than he has all week. He’s clearly a sharp kid that is a good decision maker.
Tyler Matthews ended his camp in style with a great 7on7 effort.
7. Patrick Towles – Kentucky commit
There were a lot of reasons why Towles really shined in the 7on7 setting. His 7 for 8 performance was impressive in its own right, particularly considering every attempt came from under center where he never plays for his high school team. More impressive though was Towles’ command and approach to the session. He has a leader’s attitude and winner’s demeanor. With good size and arm strength to go with it, Towles could be a major success story for the Wildcats.
8. Patton Robinette – North Carolina commit
For a prospect with only one year of quarterback experience, Robinette looked extremely comfortable reading defenses and making throws in a live setting. Perhaps it can be attributed to Robinette’s elevated intelligence (he scored a perfect ACT score) but he was decisive and on point with all of his reads, making strong throws and completing all but two of his attempts.
9. Jeff Lindquist – Washington commit
The second Washington commit to make Wednesday’s top 11, Lindquist was outstanding in both the morning and the afternoon session. The Washington completed 5 of 8 attempts in the 7on7 including one drop while making all of his reads and throwing a very catchable football. Lindquist has been spinning the ball as well as anybody and had his best day on Wednesday.
10. Zach Kline – California commit
Don’t be surprised if Zach Kline throws some interceptions early in his career. He’s got a mentality that there isn’t a throw he can’t make. And why not? He has possibly the best arm at the event and was absolutely humming it in the 7on7 attempting to fit into some windows that no other quarterback could think about. More importantly though, he was still making good decisions and the correct reads. He finished 6 of 8, completing 3 of 4 in each of his two series.
11. Nick Patti – Boise State commit
Patti put together yet another strong performance on Wednesday. He’s just a kid that looks comfortable when the spotlight is on him and he’s got the courage to make any throw on the field. Though he was only 4 of 8 on his completions, Patti did have at least one ball dropped and he was able to find receivers downfield for big pickups. Patti’s big arm, mobility and ability to throw without having his feet set help compensate for his height issues.