After visiting with my good friend Bill Conley at Ohio Dominican University today, I stopped at the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp. The Nike staff, large in number, did a really good of providing a competitive atmosphere for quarterbacks. In this case, lots of money gets lots of things done first class. Only there for about 40 minutes, but did make some observations.
Many of the top Ohio quarterbacks were there to compete and get exposure. According to list given me, there were 23 QB's from Ohio in attendance. That list covered the Classes of 2013, and 2014. Quarterback prospects from as far as Virginia, Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, Colorado, and Texas also competed. I did watch all 23, but I saw most.
The positives out-weigh the negatives in attending this two hour competition. Any chance a player gets to improve his skills or pick up any little tid-bits about quarterbacking, go for it. The Nike staff does so many of these over the country, including Hawaii, that they have to have some knowledge. This does not make them special, but another set of eyes never hurts. Quarterbacks get a chance to compare themselves with other QB's throughout not only Ohio, but also throughout the Midwest. Finally, exposure the right way is always important. Hopefully good reports go out to the colleges.
These Elite 11 Camps, obviously, hurt a prospect's chances for success. As I always tell parents- "who is doing the evaluating?" Hopefully, for such a big production, the evaluators know their QB- stuff. The evaluators have seen many top players throughout the country, since February. My hope is that they have not raised the bar so high that prospects today still get a fair evaluation.
My biggest concern is that some of the top QB prospects in Ohio are not camp or shorts/tee-shirt guys. They drop their arm sometimes. They over throw receivers, trying to show rpm's. They short-arm. Some QB's have not thrown much this spring. Some are baseball players with baseball throwing motion. But some have worked with a QB coach who sometimes has own thoughts on throwing footballs. Good college recruiters realize it is what players do when in pads, not in the month of May.
Mitch Trubisky from Mentor is not a really a camp-guy, but he is the best in his class. He makes all of the throws, but does not have perfect throwing motion. But he is smart, tough, and completes passes in a game. Fun to watch Malik Zaire. He continues to improve as a camp-guy, but his strength is when players are wearing pads. A Notre Dame commit. Austin Ernst is physically not ready to really show his strength. For me, he has alot of upside. Ricky Davis, on the otherhand, needs game time experience. Does well in camps and has some offers, but needs competition. After three years, finally someone has gotten Kyle Kempt to improve his release and lose his baseball pitcher's release during football time. Today was the best that he has ever thrown. Finally, my top QB in the 2014 class is not a camp-guy yet, but he does well in pads. He lives in Toledo.
Hopefully, I am becoming more open-minded about camps and combines. Actually, I direct some of my own. For me, however, big is not always better. Again, it matters most who is doing the evaluating and the instructing.
Nike has the market of trying to incorporate the AAU mentality into high school football. They do a really good job at what they do. I find it hard to believe that if many of the top recruits missed these regional camps, they would not get invited to the "big show" in Oregon this summer.
Today 23 QB's from Ohio got exposure and a chance to compete against many of the best. For me, I have seen all of the Ohio QB's already, but I did get some sunburn on my hatless-head. My exposure was to the sun.