The most prestigious high school passing camp in the country kicks off in Southern California on July 18-22 and the class of 2013 is sending a loaded group of quarterbacks to compete against each other in the grueling competition known as the Elite 11 to help determine who is the top signal-caller in the nation this year. Several notable alums of the event include Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow.
|Five-star quarterback Kevin Olsen is looking for another strong showing like the one he had in New York City.|
Six of the 25 players headed to the event have already faced off against each other at The Opening so the Elite 11 represents an extended competition for some of the players while others will be throwing to be mentioned in the top group. Everybody has already been evaluated on film and in person at the regional camps by the staff so the final 11 and eventual MVP won't be the result of a good or bad day. This is about being the best of the best and the Elite 11 will weed out those that can't handle it and elevate those that can.
Helping along the way are several college counselors who came through the camps just like the high school players did. This year six current players will be on hand, led by local and USC quarterback Matt Barkley. The possible Heisman front-runner will be joined by Georgia's Aaron Murray, Geno Smith of West Virginia, N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon, Garrett Gilbert formerly of Texas and now playing at SMU plus returning counselor EJ Manuel from Florida State. The Elite 11 is being run by former Super Bowl-winning quarterback and current ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer along with quarterback coaches such as Matt James and George Whitfield Jr. Ex-NFL quarterback Jordan Palmer is also helping out.
A number of players in the MaxPreps top 100 will be in attendance as campers, starting with No. 2 overall recruit Sammammish (Wash.) quarterback Max Browne (video). Headed up the road to play for the Trojans next fall, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound pro-style quarterback was the sharpest of the six players at The Opening and is looking to solidify his status near the top of the rankings.
Unlike Browne, Whitewright (Texas) quarterback and future Longhorn Tyrone Swoopes did not have a good weekend at The Opening and is hoping the use the Elite 11 to bounce back. It's clear this will be his biggest test as a passer in his high school career and it will be interesting to see how he responds to everything from reading defenses to throwing the ball hundreds of times each day.
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Also looking to do well after average-at-best performances in Oregon are Alabama commit and Salt Lake City (Utah) quarterback Cooper Bateman, Penn State commit Christian Hackenberg out of Fork Union (Va.) and Kingsland (Ga.) signal-caller and Georgia pledge Brice Ramsey.
All but one of the 25 participants are committed to a school and that means Stockton (Calif.) quarterback and Las Vegas regional MVP Zach Greenlee will be looking to prove that he belongs with the big boys. Other automatic qualifiers to the event include Dallas (Texas) quarterback DeVante Kincade (committed to Ole Miss), Wayne (N.J.) five-star Kevin Olsen (Miami) and The Opening standout Shane Morris, who will attend Michigan.
Notre Dame commit Malik Zaire was at the loaded Columbus regional that sent Morris, himself, Oklahoma State commit Luke Del Rio, Purdue pledge Danny Etling and Maryland commit Shane Cockerille to the event and are all looking to separate from the pack. Four other Texans - the six total is the most from one state - will also be at the Elite 11 this year as Ohio State commit J.T. Barrett, Oklahoma pledge and top baseball player Cody Thomas, Texas Tech-bound quarterback Davis Webb and Syracuse commit Zach Allen will all be throwing in Southern California.
Rounding out the roster are Tennessee commit Riley Ferguson, Winter Park (Fla.) and USF commit Asiantii Woulard, Nebraska commit Johnny Stanton, Fayetteville (Ark.) quarterback and Arkansas pledge Austin Allen, plus a trio of Pac-12 guys in Washington commit Troy Williams, California commit Jared Goff and Arizona State commit Joshua Dobbs.
Should be plenty of fun, lots of passing and a long week ahead for the top quarterbacks in the country as they battle to be named one of the Elite 11.