Posted by Bryan Fischer
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Some of the top quarterbacks from Texas and the Midwest descended upon TCU's campus for the second stop in the 2011 edition of the Elite 11 Regional Quarterback Camp Saturday afternoon.
Although several quarterbacks impressed on a slightly windy but otherwise picturesque spring day, Austin (Texas) quarterback Preston Dewey threw a tight spiral and displayed a strong and accurate arm to take home the Golden Gun Award as the top signal caller at the camp.
"It felt really good, all the hard work I've been doing paid off today," Dewey said. "I just came out here to do what I can do and show everybody that I can play at the next level."
Dewey might have been the best quarterback at either Elite 11 camp this year in terms of being a complete player. He had good footwork and never got off balance too much when throwing. He held the ball tight and has a good release that gets the ball to where he wants it quickly. Dewey has a very good arm that can make all the throws.
The 6-foot-3, 210 pound quarterback is as intriguing off the field as he is on it. Previously at Austin-area powerhouse Westlake High, Dewey transferred to local private school St. Andrew's Episcopal. Taking advantage of transfer regulations, he reclassified to the class of 2012, giving him an extra year of high school.
"A couple people have done it and it's not real common," he said. "Brock Mansion did it at Cal and T.J. Millweard did it at (private Fort Worth school) All Saints. I checked out all the NCAA stuff and if I can be eligible and I can. There's no problem with that. I want to be where I am right now and I want to be recruited by who I am right now instead of going to a smaller school or walking-on."
The 18-year-old Dewey is using the extra time at the prep level to his advantage. Not only did the transfer allow him to start right away at quarterback, it also meant that he could have more time learning from St. Andrew's head coach and Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Ty Detmer.
"It's awesome," Dewey said. "With his background, he has all the knowledge in the world. He's helped me out a ton. I think I've learned more about football this past year than I have my entire life just because of everything he knows about the game. I couldn't have asked for a better coach."
As a result of a strong "junior" season last year under Detmer, Dewey is seeing his recruiting picking up. He is up to four scholarship offers, including two from the Pac-12.
"UCLA I actually had never talked to (until recently)," he said. "I was in school and my dad texted me that UCLA just offered. I was like, 'Are you serious?' That was my first big offer.
"Utah and Wyoming both sent me an email and said call them. So I did and they both offered me on the same night. It's pretty exciting knowing Norm Chow and Rick Neuheisel, guys who have been around the game and know what they're looking for in a quarterback, have offered me a scholarship. It's humbling and gives me a lot of confidence."
Because his offers are from schools located around the country, Dewey realizes he will probably be leaving the state to play college football. He was hoping to play for Texas A&M, where his father played football, but the Aggies already have a quarterback for the class of 2012 in San Antonio (Texas) signal caller Trevor Knight. Texas showed some interest but backed off after picking up a commitment from Scottsdale (Ariz.) quarterback Connor Brewer.
"I still want to go to a big school that can compete for a national championship," Dewey said. "I've kind of accepted the fact that I'm going to have to go out of the state and pretty far from home. I really don't have a problem with it."
Dewey says he would like to make a commitment at the end of the summer or right before the start of the season. He's already taken unofficial visits to several schools, including Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Clemson and South Carolina.
Tech commit Nicholas looks sharp
Abilene (Texas) quarterback Clayton Nicholas was one of the few campers in attendance who actually had already committed to a school. A Texas Tech pledge, he preformed well throughout the session and displayed a strong arm but wasn't perfect as he readily admitted.
"I did alright, I missed a throw here or there but you've got to learn from it," Nicholas. "You've got to get the ball downfield and do what you have to do."
The 6-foot-3, 200 pound Nicholas had a very quick drop back and delivery but tended to drop his arm angle at times. He needs to work on throwing over the top a bit more which will should translate into improved accuracy for his otherwise strong arm. Nicholas understood that the camp was also an opportunity to work on things mentally in order to improve as a quarterback.
"I really come out here to work on leadership, command, knowing what all the players are doing what the route is, everything," he said. "All the things an Elite 11 quarterback would work on."
While it is almost common place for verbal commitments to continue to look around as part of the recruiting process leading up to Signing Day, Nicholas seems to be sold on the Red Raiders and firmly committed.
"I am solid with them," Nicholas said. "They're the only school really talking with me and they're the only school I'm looking at. It's a good school for me and they like to throw it around which is what I'm made for.
"All of the offensive coaches have been really good to me."
Nicholas was unsure if he was going to show up Sunday for the TCU Nike Camp but if he did, he might do a little recruiting for the Red Raiders.
Other quarterbacks of note
Underclassmen who made an impression at the event were 2013 quarterback Kenny Hill of nearby powerhouse Southlake Carroll High and 2014 quarterback Jerrod Heard. Seniors-to-be Brady Burgin of Highland Park (Texas), Houston (Texas) quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe and Allen (Texas) quarterback Alec Morris also stood out. Grand Prairie (Texas) quarterback Jared Johnson also looked good and was very accurate but will likely be recruited as an athlete due to his height (about 5-foot-10). Virginia Tech commit and local quarterback T.J. Millweard did not show up.