High-SchoolFootball: Elite 11
June, 14, 2012
By Christopher Parish | ESPN.com
Is Lincoln (Stockton, Calif.) junior quarterback Zack Greenlee the nation’s best quarterback without a scholarship offer?
He’s certainly in the discussion. Rated the nation’s No. 21 pocket passer by ESPN, Greenlee is one of only two QBs in the top 25 without a reported offer from any college. That doesn’t mean there’s not interest -- schools such as Boise State, BYU, Cal, Colorado and UCLA are among those who have reached out to the 6-foot-2, 187-pound signal-caller. But no school has extended an olive branch.
Their loss could soon be some school's gain. Greenlee performed exceptionally well at the Oakland Elite 11 regional, going toe to toe with some of the nation’s best QBs on a blustery day by the bay.
Last season, he and teammate Justin Davis (a USC pledge) helped Lincoln to an 11-2 record. Davis led the team on the ground with 36 touchdowns, but it was far from a one-dimensional offense. Greenlee completed 59.1 percent of his passes for 2,340 yards and 22 scores with just five interceptions.
Maybe the college coaches need to see more. So Greenlee will take his talents to Las Vegas on June 16 for another Elite 11 regional. Until then, we’ll help you get to know this budding young star.
ESPNHS: Between you and Justin Davis, that’s quite a formidable offense. Tell us a little bit about what it’s like to have him in the backfield with you.
Greenlee: It’s a strong tandem. We feed off each other, and teams have to prepare for both of us. They’re fighting to stop the run, so we can come at them through the air, and then when they adjust for that, Justin just pounds it up the middle. It’s nice having him out there, too, because teams have to respect the play-action.
ESPNHS: What are some things you’re working on this summer in preparation for your senior season?
Greenlee: I’m just working to get bigger and stronger and building chemistry with my wide receivers. I was pretty small [as a sophomore], I was maybe 165 or 170, so I’ve been putting on a lot of weight. I’m 190 now and I want to be at least 200 by the time I leave high school.
ESPNHS: Be your biggest critic here. What do you think you need to do to take the next step?
Greenlee: I have to progress as a leader for our team. And I just have to keep working on footwork. As a player, I need to make sure I get all of my reads down and just work on improving on learning to read defenses.
ESPNHS: You had a chance to compete at the Oakland Elite 11 regional. How do you think it went?
Greenlee: I thought it went really well. I got a chance to compete with some of the best QBs in the nation, guys like Max Browne and Cooper Bateman. It was nice to put a face to a name and talk to them. And it was great to compete out there and show the coaches what I can do. I feel like I did really well. It was hard to get used to the wind and battling the elements, but I settled down. I had fun going through the drills.
ESPNHS: What were some things you learned from the coaches while you were there?
Greenlee: They talked a lot about ball placement. Stuff like when I’m dropping back, where to hold the ball. It was a big learning experience for me.
ESPNHS: You’re going to be at the Las Vegas regional. What would it mean to you to get an invite to the finals?
Greenlee: It would mean a lot. I’ve been working hard all summer to get there. That has been my goal since my sophomore year, and I’m looking forward to it. I just have to show the coaches that I can continue to keep competing.
ESPNHS: How’s the recruiting process going?
Greenlee: I’ve talked to quite a few schools, but I haven’t gotten an offer yet. I’m looking to get out to some camps. I’ll be headed to the Fresno State and UNLV camps shortly.
School: Lincoln (Stockton, Calif.)
2011 Team Record: 11-2 (Lost in CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinals)
Attempts/Completions: 127-of-215 (59.1 percent)
Passing Yards: 2,340
June, 7, 2012
By Christopher Parish | ESPN.com
Tom HauckGilman (Baltimore) quarterback Shane Cockerille shined at the NYC Elite 11 regional in April and will compete at the final Elite 11 regional in Las Vegas on June 16.Throughout this offseason, we’ve spotlighted Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week, we profile Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) junior Shane Cockerille, who shined at the New York City Elite 11 regional in April and will be competing at the Las Vegas regional on June 16.
Shane Cockerille didn't quite know what to expect heading into the New York City Elite 11 regional competition.
The Gilman (Baltimore) junior quarterback was widely regarded as one of Maryland’s top football recruits, but he hadn’t yet made a name for himself outside the state. He was hoping to change that at the event at Randall's Island, but he wasn't familiar with the drills or the format.
All he knew was that he’d be going up against some awfully tough competition.
But Cockerille is no stranger to good competition. His Gilman team routinely faces some of the best schools in the region, and this fall the Greyhounds will open up against perennial powerhouses Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio), Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) and Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.), the latter of which finished this past season as the nation's No. 1 team in the POWERADE FAB 50.
A dual-threat quarterback, Cockerille will be tough for even those top teams to slow down. He threw for 1,100 yards last season and rushed for 1,300 more, accounting for 26 total touchdowns just one year after transferring from DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.). Cockerille helped Gilman finish 10-1 on the season, beating Calvert Hall (Baltimore) in the second overtime for the MIAA A Conference championship. The Greyhounds finished the year No. 21 in the FAB 50.
Now, as Cockerille prepares to make a run at an Elite 11 finals nod at the Las Vegas Elite 11 regional, we caught up with the 6-foot-2, 207-pound Maryland recruit to find out what he’s looking forward to this time around.
ESPNHS: How do you feel like you did at the New York Elite 11 regional?
Cockerille: I thought it went pretty well. I came out wanting to compete and to make myself known. I knew I was competing against some of the best guys in the area. I feel like I learned how the camp works. I didn’t know what a lot of those drills were, but I got a good feel for them.
ESPNHS: What are some of the things you’ve been doing since last season to prepare for your senior year?
Cockerille: I’m lifting four times a week and I ran track this season to work on getting my speed up. And I’m training with my quarterback coach on Sunday and Monday nights, too.
ESPNHS: Here’s a chance to be your biggest critic. What are some of the things you feel like you need to improve on?
Cockerille: I definitely want to work on my accuracy, and I am always working on my pocket presence.
ESPNHS: One of the knocks on you is that your accuracy suffers sometimes because of your arm slot being a little too low. Is that something you’ve worked on?
Cockerille: I’ve been working on that all offseason, getting my arm up. People have told me that in the past, that my arm is kind of low, and I’m working on it. You can definitely tell when my arm is up that my accuracy is better.
ESPNHS: Is that a tough thing to do? It seems like it’s a move from a natural movement to something that takes you out of your element.
Cockerille: It’s how I threw the ball naturally. I guess I relied more on my athleticism than just being a quarterback.
ESPNHS: You committed to Maryland in April. What made you choose the Terrapins?
Cockerille: Our [third] game of the season, against Good Counsel, coach (Randy) Edsall was out there and he saw me play in person. One day later he called and said he liked the way I played. For your hometown school to offer you to be a QB was really exciting. I looked through the process a little to see what else was going on, but when I went to the spring game, I felt like it was time to commit to Maryland. It’s a dream come true to go to your hometown school and try to help them turn things around.
ESPNHS: Are you looking forward to being the leader for this team this season?
Cockerille: Definitely. I love to do that. I feel like when I have the spotlight on me, I play better.
School: Gilman (Baltimore)
2011 Team Record: 10-1 (Won MIAA A Conference championship)
Passing Yards: 1,100
Rushing Yards: 1,300
Total TD: 26
May, 31, 2012
Tom Hauck/ESPNHSMarin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.) junior quarterback Jared Goff was one of seven finalists at the Oakland Elite 11 regional. Goff has committed to Cal.Throughout this offseason, we’ve spotlighted Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week, we profile Marin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.) junior Jared Goff, who shined at the Oakland Elite 11 regional.
When you play quarterback in Northern California, wearing the number 16 carries extra meaning. After all, it’s the same number Hall of Famer Joe Montana wore while leading the San Francisco 49ers to multiple Super Bowl titles.
Marin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.) junior Jared Goff has worn the same number since he started playing quarterback as a 7-year-old. While he was too young to catch Montana during his playing days, Goff quickly learned the significance of wearing that number.
“I look up to him,” said Goff. “It’s got a lot of meaning to me.”
While the 6-foot-4, 190-pounder has a long, long way to go to match “Joe Cool,” he has become a star in his own right in the Northern California high school football realm.
Rated the nation’s No. 14 pocket passer by ESPN, Goff has committed to Cal. He threw for 3,179 yards and 44 touchdowns as a junior while leading Marin Catholic to the North Coast Section Division III final, where the Wildcats were edged by Campolindo (Moraga, Calif.) 20-18 on a last-second field goal.
Since then, Goff has focused his offseason training on improving his skills to help Marin Catholic capture the crown this fall. He’s also aiming for an invite to the Elite 11 finals, and he took a great step in that direction on May 18 when he was one of the finalists at the Oakland Elite 11 regional.
We caught up with Goff to talk about his commitment to Cal, his goals for this upcoming season and what an Elite 11 invite would mean to him.
ESPNHS: When did you first realize you wanted to play quarterback?
Goff: I’ve been playing quarterback since I was 7. I liked how if the game isn’t going well, it’s all on your shoulders. I like the leadership part of it, how everyone looked to you when things weren’t going well.
ESPNHS: Your dad played Major League Baseball. Did you ever have the urge to play baseball beyond high school?
Goff: I think I have the ability to play college baseball. But it’s too demanding a position at quarterback, it’s too much of a commitment. So I won’t be playing college baseball. I’ve always loved baseball. My dad was totally clear that if I didn’t play sports, he’d be happy. He just wanted me to have fun. I like them both, but it was nice he didn’t pressure me.
ESPNHS: What led you to pick Cal?
Goff: I committed to Cal over Boise State and Washington State. (Cal head coach) Jeff Tedford puts a lot of guys in the NFL, especially with a guy like Aaron Rodgers. And it’s second to none academically. You can’t really ask for more than that. Both my parents went there and it’s 30 minutes from home. I knew when I was at Cal that nothing could beat it for me. Everything fell into place. It was perfect. They were the first to offer, so that added to it.
I’m super excited to work with coach Tedford. Between him and (quarterbacks) coach (Marcus) Arroyo, they have 40-plus years of playing or coaching the quarterback position, and I’ve never heard of that anywhere else. I’m really excited to get better working under them.
ESPNHS: How relieved are you to have the process over with so early?
Goff: It definitely helps a lot, because I don’t have to worry about calling coaches all the time or keeping up on the recruiting news. I can focus on being a better leader and getting that state ring.
ESPNHS: Talk a little bit about the section final. How much has that weighed on you this offseason?
Goff: That was a tough one. We had plenty of chances to win that game. It was frustrating and disappointing because of how good we were and how poorly we played. But I think that’s a good thing for us now. It showed we have to bring our best effort and focus to every game. But Campolindo deserved it that night.
ESPNHS: How would you describe your experience at the Oakland Elite 11 regional?
Goff: It was a lot of fun going up against the top guys in the country. Being able to compete and do well against them was awesome. It definitely helped a lot. I went out with the goal of getting MVP but just came up a little short.
ESPNHS: You did end up beating out Oakland Elite 11 MVP Max Browne for MVP honors the next day at the Oakland NFTC. How did that feel?
Goff: It was nice to win it, just to come away with something from the weekend. Max was one of the first people to come up and congratulate me. We were obviously competing, but we formed a friendship there. Cal-USC (where Browne has committed) is a big rivalry, and we were talking about how fun it’s going to be to compete against each other for four years.
ESPNHS: What would an Elite 11 invite mean to you?
Goff: It would mean everything. I’ve been working for it since my freshman year. I knew then it was something I wanted.
School: Marin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.)
2011 Team Record: 13-1 (Lost in North Coast Section Division III final)
Passing Yards: 3,179
May, 24, 2012
By Brandon Parker | ESPN.com
Tom Hauck/ESPNHSStaley (Kansas City, Mo.) quarterback Trent Hosick makes a throw at the Oakland NFTC on May 20. The junior will compete at the Elite 11 regional in Las Vegas on June 16.Throughout this offseason, we’ve spotlighted Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week, we profile Staley (Kansas City, Mo.) junior Trent Hosick, who will compete in the Las Vegas Elite 11 regional on June 16.
Since transferring from Ozark (Mo.) after his freshman year, Trent Hosick has adjusted nicely at Staley (Kansas City, Mo.). After sitting out a year, he excelled in his first season under center this past year, maintained a high GPA and even made waves on YouTube by creating a video on how to "Heisman" with teammate Morgan Steward. But there is one thing the junior quarterback has not grown accustomed to since becoming a Falcon — losing.
In the fall, Hosick totaled 2,403 yards and 31 touchdowns on the ground while throwing for 1,422 yards and 10 touchdowns to lead Staley to a 14-0 record and the Class 5 championship, a first for the football program. Then in the winter, the 225-pound Hosick went 29-0 en route to the Class 3 heavyweight wrestling title, besting competitors who were sometimes 70 pounds bigger than him.
With his past success driving his thirst for more, Hosick will join some of the nation's top gunslingers for the final Elite 11 regional on June 16 in Las Vegas. Rated the nation's No. 23 pocket passer by ESPN, Hosick took time out to talk about his victorious junior campaign, commitment to Missouri and intense competitive drive.
ESPNHS: After going undefeated and winning a state title in football, what was it like doing the same thing in wrestling?
Hosick: I've been wrestling for 13 years and since I'm graduating early next year, I won't be around to wrestle as a senior, so what's not to love about what happened? It was a great conclusion to my wrestling career and made me even more competitive. It's definitely made me a better football player, too. It's taught me discipline and helped take my training to another level because no one works harder than wrestlers. That's the hardest type of training there is. I think what gives me an edge is the way I train, so there's no doubt that wrestling has helped me out in football, too.
ESPNHS: How hard was it wrestling guys who were sometimes 70 pounds bigger than you?
Hosick: I tried to put weight on during the season, but it's hard when you're wrestling because you have four-hour practices almost every day. I ended up wrestling state at 218 and most of the year I was weighing 212.
ESPNHS: After leading a run-first offense last season, what are you looking to show at the Elite 11 regional next month?
Hosick: At this point, I'm already committed to Missouri, so I'm not into impressing recruiters. Number one, I love competition, so winning is very important to me. What I hope to show at the camp is that I am one of the best throwing quarterbacks in the country. I have confidence in that. Our offense doesn't always showcase that, and that's fine because we won a state title, which is most important. But whatever doubts people had about me throwing, I plan on changing them and making them say "Wow, this kid is a great thrower."
ESPNHS: What would it mean to get an invitation to the Elite 11?
Hosick: I'd of course be really excited to be a part of the Elite 11, but at the same time I feel like I belong. There will be a lot of phenomenal players out there and I feel confident that I can throw with the best guys in the country. I'd be honored if the coaches thought that as well and invited me to the competition.
ESPNHS: What made you commit to Missouri as a junior?
Hosick: The number one thing to me in looking for a school was finding a place where the coaching staff, particularly the coach I would spend the most time around, were people I could consider a friend and who were winners. That's the type of relationship I have with [Staley] coach [Fred] Bouchard now. I don't want it to be a serious business relationship. I really love [Missouri assistant] coach [David] Yost and that's the biggest thing I found at Missouri, guys I can go to work with and consider family. The other thing was I wanted to go to a place where they were good but not quite national champions like Alabama or LSU. I wanted to be at a school that was just on the cusp of becoming the best team in the country and I want to be that piece that helps put them over the top. Plus, the guys they are bringing in and the move to the SEC make it even better. If I had waited eight more months, I still would've made the same decision to go to Missouri.
ESPNHS: One of those guys coming in next season is Dorial Green-Beckham. What would it be like to potentially be throwing to a player like him?
Hosick: It's very exciting. Dorial is an extremely rare high school football player and is going to be a great college player. At the same time, he will be a teammate and I hope he's willing to go to work because we have work to do as a team. I think we can do something special together. I know Dorial a little bit and I'm also very excited to play with Morgan Steward again, who is one of my best friends.
ESPNHS: What have you been working on in anticipation for your senior year and the next level?
Hosick: I watch my own video and critique myself and there are a few things I'm changing about my game. I'm working on my timing and trying to grow in making my reads quicker. I want to look off safeties better and be able to zip the ball in there. I'm also working on my "two throw," which is when you throw over the linebacker and in front of the safeties. My pocket presence is another thing, where I don't feel like I have to rush too soon. I can make plays with my feet if I need to, but the area I need to grow in most is taking a step up in the pocket and throwing with confidence even if there's a guy coming for me.
ESPNHS: With all the winning you've done, how much more pressure does that create for you to succeed as a senior?
Hosick: It does raise the bar and we have a very high standard for our team this coming year. I was a little worried at first about coming out again after such a wonderful season and having that same passion. But it didn't take long for it to come back and for me to start getting excited again. And we're going to do it again. Our first game is against Lee's Summit West and I'm confident we can push our team as hard as we can and win the championship again.
ESPNHS: At this point, do you even remember what it's like to lose in sports?
Hosick: I remember it enough not to want to do it again [laughs]. I don't like losing. It's the same thing that pushes me in academics, too. If I get a B, there's an A to be had in the class and if I got a B, then I know someone did better than me. I don't know why the Lord made me this way, but I just don't like losing in anything. And I won't do anything unless I know I will win at it. A lot of my friends like to challenge me in HORSE because they know I'm a cruddy shooter. So even though I like shooting hoops, I won't do it sometimes because I don't like losing. It sounds crazy, I know. But that's just the way I am.
School: Staley (Kansas City, Mo.)
2011 Team Record: 14-0 (Class 5 state champ; No. 1 in Missouri POWERADE state rankings)
Passing Yards: 2,403
Rushing Yards: 1,422
Brandon Parker covers high school sports for ESPNHS. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at email@example.com.
May, 16, 2012
Tom Hauck/ESPNHSJohnny Stanton led Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) to a state title in December. He'll be looking for an Elite 11 finals invite on Friday night.Throughout this offseason, we’ve spotlighted Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week, we profile Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) junior Johnny Stanton, who will compete in the Oakland Elite 11 regional on Friday.
Johnny Stanton isn’t afraid of the big moment.
With his team trailing 37-36 in the CIF Division I State Championship Bowl Game, the Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) junior quarterback led the Eagles on a dramatic fourth-quarter drive capped by his one-yard plunge on fourth down with 16 seconds left to give the Eagles a 42-36 win.
Stanton completed 14-of-25 passes in the game for 306 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another touchdown in addition to his game-winner. He finished the year passing for 2,439 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushing for 1,528 yards and 25 scores.
Now, Stanton is ready for another big moment. Friday night he’ll be competing in the Oakland Elite 11 regional, with the MVP earning a ticket to the Elite 11 finals in July. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has drawn comparisons to Tim Tebow because of his size and his dual-threat abilities — Stanton is rated the nation’s No. 14 dual-threat QB by ESPN.
But Stanton knows running the ball isn’t going to get him to the Elite 11 finals. He’s been working all offseason on improving his passing mechanics so he can seize the moment on Friday night.
ESPNHS: What were you thinking when your coach decided to go for the touchdown in the state championship?
Stanton: I was excited for him to go for it. We had the bigger guys up front and I think we had the stronger guys. It felt so close yet so far. There was a lot of pressure. After I scored the touchdown, I just started running down the sideline with my finger in the air. It was an incredible experience. I don’t think it hit me until a couple days later. It was definitely a storybook ending for us.
ESPNHS: How were you able to stay so composed during the winning drive?
Stanton: We just knew our whole season depended on this. I think all of us dreamt of that and knew what to do in that moment. That really helped us keep our composure. It was a product of a year’s worth of practice, weightlifting and watching film.
ESPNHS: How has your team kept from staying complacent this offseason?
Stanton: Coach (Harry) Welch has been really helping with that. Any time he thinks we’re getting content, he might lecture us. A couple of times, he’s shown us film of Brophy Prep (Phoenix), our first game of the season, so we can see what we have to be ready for. We all know we can have a much better year than we had last season.
ESPNHS: What do you think of the comparisons to Tim Tebow?
Stanton: I really do appreciate the comparisons to him. As unorthodox as he is, I still think he’s a good quarterback. He still finds a way to win, and there’s something to be said about that, especially at that level. Tebow isn’t afraid to run through guys, and I’m not afraid to, either. Just the way that he carries himself, he’s really a great role model for athletes.
ESPNHS: Where does your recruiting stand?
Stanton: The schools that have offered are Air Force, Washington, Cal, San Diego State and Navy. I’m hearing from Wisconsin, Oregon State and Nebraska and some from Washington State. I want to choose the best school for me, and whether that school has offered me or not, I’m not sure yet. I’m not really setting a timeframe. I’m not really worrying about it too much yet. As long as schools are still looking at me, I’m happy.
ESPNHS: What are you looking to prove at the Oakland regional?
Stanton: A lot of people think I’m an athlete playing quarterback. I want to show that I’m a better thrower than people think. There are going to be a lot of great quarterbacks there. I think I can throw it pretty well on the run. I’m trying to stay consistent and have a good day out there.
ESPNHS: What would an Elite 11 invite mean to you?
Stanton: It would be really cool. Just getting there would be a great accomplishment for me just to show how far I’ve come. It would mean a lot to me.
School: Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
2011 Team Record: 13-2 (CIF Division I state champ; No. 27 in POWERADE FAB 50)
Passing Yards: 2,439
Rushing Yards: 1,528
May, 10, 2012
By Christopher Parish | ESPN.com
Tom Hauck/ESPNHSNarbonne (Harbor City, Calif.) quarterback Troy Williams threw for 34 touchdowns and ran for another 11 scores during his junior season.Throughout this offseason, we’ve spotlighted Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week, we profile Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.) junior Troy Williams, who will compete in the Las Vegas Elite 11 regional on June 16.
Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.) quarterback Troy Williams has all the physical tools. He’s a dual-threat quarterback, but he considers himself a pass-first signal-caller. He has outstanding speed, he’s getting stronger every day and he’s remarkably accurate.
Yet he might be at a bit of a disadvantage at the Elite 11 regional in Las Vegas on June 16.
The problem? Williams’ team runs a shotgun, no-huddle offense, meaning the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder isn’t as accustomed to taking five- and seven-step drops, resetting and firing at his target. Those are skills that are invaluable in the Elite 11 setting.
That said, we’re still giving this stellar QB as good a chance as any. Rated the nation’s No. 11 dual-threat quarterback by ESPN, Williams dominated as a junior, throwing for 3,247 yards and 34 touchdowns and rushing for 587 yards and 11 scores.
Williams led Narbonne to the CIF Los Angeles City Section title and an 11-3 record. This season, he’s hoping to lead his team to a state bowl game, and he thinks the Gauchos can go undefeated, too.
We caught up with the stellar playmaker to talk to him about his goals for the upcoming season as well as what he’s looking forward to at the Las Vegas Elite 11 regional?
ESPNHS: What are some things you’ve been working on this offseason?
Williams: It’s going good. I’ve spent a lot of time working on footwork, and I’m trying to get better at reading the field. I’ve been working out with (former NFL star) Keyshawn Johnson on the weekends.
ESPNHS: It’s not every day that you get to work out with a big star like that. How did you meet up with him?
Williams: He coaches a 7-on-7 team I’m on (the 1925s, based out of Los Angeles) and so we’ve been able to do some work with him. You don’t get a chance to work out with NFL guys every day, so I’ve really used that opportunity.
ESPNHS: What are some of your goals for this offseason, apart from working on footwork and reading the field?
Williams: I’m in the weight room every day. I want to get a lot bigger than I am now. I don’t want to look like some stick out there.
ESPNHS: You’re a dual-threat quarterback, and that can be very tough to manage. What is going through your mind when you’re trying to decide if you’re going to hang in there and make a pass or try to make a play with your feet?
Williams: I usually want to make a pass. If the pocket breaks down, I’ll try to break out and make a throw. Usually I’ll stay in the pocket as long as I can to make the throw. But if it breaks down, or my receiver messes up a route, or there just isn’t anything there, I have no problem breaking off a run.
ESPNHS: What are the expectations for Narbonne this fall?
Williams: We won the L.A. City Division title last season, and this year, I want to win another city title, I want to go undefeated and hopefully make it to state. Last year was fun, but I want to forget about last year now. That’s in the past. We have to come out more hungry now, take practice real serious, go out there and go get our undefeated season.
ESPNHS: Are you looking forward to being a leader?
Williams: Most definitely. I like it when guys look up to me. I like taking control of the team. I love being a leader.
ESPNHS: What are you most looking forward to about the Elite 11 competition?
Williams: I’m really excited. I saw a lot of it on TV last year, and I want to be that guy on TV this year and show everyone my promise. It’s a lot of good competition, you’re going against the best quarterbacks in the nation, and I want to show up and represent.
ESPNHS: Your team runs a no-huddle, shotgun offense. Is that difficult to pick up?
Williams: It was implemented before I got here, so I’ve been working on it ever since I’ve been here. It’s not as complicated as it seems. But it all goes by really fast. We roll out quickly in the no-huddle, and I just go out there and have fun.
ESPNHS: Update us on your recruiting. Where are you at right now?
Williams: It’s getting a little crazy right now. I’ve visited both Arizona State and Arizona, and I plan on visiting Washington soon. We’ll see how things go. I’m looking both in-state and out of state, and I just want to go to the right college and get a good education. I’m the one who’s going to be there for four years, so I have to make sure that I make the right decision for me.
School: Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.)
2011 Team Record: 11-3 (won CIF Los Angeles City Section title)
Completions-Attempts: 211-339 (.622)
Passing Yards: 3,247
Rushing Yards: 587
May, 2, 2012
By Christopher Parish | ESPN.com
The Plain Dealer /LandovMentor (Ohio) junior quarterback Mitch Trubisky will look to show off his dual-threat skills at the Columbus Elite 11 on Friday.Throughout this offseason, we’ve spotlighted Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week, we profile Mentor (Ohio) junior Mitch Trubisky, who will compete in the Columbus Elite 11 regional in Ohio this Friday.
It’s been a whirlwind junior season for Mentor (Ohio) quarterback Mitch Trubisky, and he’s enjoying every minute of it.
The stellar signal-caller set multiple school records this season, won numerous accolades including Division I co-Player of the Year honors by The Associated Press, helped his team win 11 games and earn a berth in the regional finals, and to top it off, he’s earned some pretty impressive scholarship offers, including one from reigning BCS national champion Alabama.
As if that wasn’t enough, Trubisky is rated the nation’s No. 7 dual-threat quarterback by ESPN. In Trubisky’s mind, he’s simply out there to make plays and doesn’t care if that’s with his arm or his feet.
And he certainly got the job done last season, throwing for 3,845 yards and 41 touchdowns and running for 611 yards and 12 more scores. On Friday, he’ll put his stats – and his skill set – to the test against some of the area’s most impressive quarterbacks at the Elite 11 regional competition in Columbus, Ohio.
But before he takes on the competition, get to know Mitch Trubisky.
ESPNHS: How’s the offseason going? What have been some of your biggest goals this spring?
Trubisky: It’s going well. Lately I’ve been lifting with the team – we lift after school together – and the weather’s been great, so I’ve been getting out and throwing passing patterns to my receivers. I run the offense and we run their routes. My arm is getting stronger and I’m doing some speed training on the side as well as putting on some pounds.
ESPNHS: It must be tough to get faster and put on weight at the same time, right?
Trubisky: It’s a slower process for sure. If you put on too much weight too quickly, you are too slow, so it’s a gradual process. But those are always two things that will help out in the fall. You can never be too strong or too fast.
ESPNHS: Anything else you’ve been working on?
Trubisky: I’ve been watching a lot of film from last season. One of the things I want to do is know what everyone else’s jobs are and knowing what the defense is going to give us, so I can help my teammates be the best they can be as well as getting better myself.
ESPNHS: You’re going to be at the Elite 11 regional this weekend. What are some of the things you’re looking forward to about this competition?
Trubisky: The Elite 11 competition is awesome. I’m surprised at how big it’s become. If you’re a big-name QB, you want to get into this competition. I’m excited to compete and give it my best, and hopefully things will work out. It should be really exciting.
ESPNHS: What are some things you really want to showcase at the event?
Trubisky: I hope people can see my foot work and my arm strength and how accurate I am. I want to show people that I can throw the ball hard but be accurate with it as well.
ESPNHS: You’re rated as a dual-threat quarterback. Do you consider yourself a dual-threat QB?
Trubisky: Everyone asks me that. I guess you’d say dual threat, but I don’t really have a preference. I do whatever I have to for my team to be successful. If that means pulling it down and getting some yards with my feet, I’ll do whatever I can do.
ESPNHS: Is there one quarterback you model yourself after or that you like to watch?
Trubisky: I like to watch Aaron Rodgers and try to mimic what he does. I think he knows the game really well, he’s always a step ahead of the defense, and he’s so accurate. He’s got one of the quickest releases of any quarterback. It’s fun to watch.
ESPNHS: Give us an update on your recruiting. How are you enjoying the process so far?
Trubisky: It’s going really well. I’m taking it slow. I don’t know how far I am into the process, really. I don’t know when I’ll commit. A lot of schools are showing interest, and I’m excited to keep this thing going. When it’s time to decide, I’ll know it’s right, and then I’ll let everyone know. But I’m having fun with it and taking it slow. There’s been a few schools who have talked to me just recently and others who have been talking to me for a long time. I think right now, Alabama, Tennessee, Michigan State and Ohio State are my favorites, but I’m definitely keeping it open, because I know other schools are still looking at me.
ESPNHS: Finally, tell us a little bit about this fall. What are you looking forward to most?
Trubisky: My ultimate goal is to help us be the best team that we can be this year. I want to take my team to states and bring back a state championship and just be a great team player. The numbers don’t really matter to me. If my team has success, I’m sure I’ll have success. I’m just looking to have a lot of fun in my senior year.
2011 Team Record: 11-2 (lost in regional final)
Passing Yards: 3,845
Passing TDs: 41
Rushing Yards: 611
Rushing TDs: 12
April, 26, 2012
Throughout this offseason, we’ve spotlighted Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week, we profile Holy Trinity (Hicksville, N.Y.) junior Chris Laviano, who competed at the Elite 11 regional at at Cowboys Stadium in March. Laviano won't be able to make this Saturday's New York City regional, but does plan on being at the Las Vegas regional in June.
Chris Laviano never thought he’d get the chance to play quarterback.
Up until the seventh grade, he saw most of his time at center and middle linebacker. Then he played running back and was the backup quarterback.
Finally in the eighth grade he got his chance and he hasn’t looked back since.
The 6-foot-2, 197-pound junior is rated the nation’s No. 2 pocket passer by ESPN and this fall he’ll be a four-year starter at Holy Trinity (Hicksville, N.Y.).
Laviano led Holy Trinity to a CHSFL Class AAA runner-up finish as a freshman and has thrown for 3,227 yards and 29 touchdowns the past two seasons. However, this past fall, a young Holy Trinity squad struggled to a 3-7 mark.
Laviano, who has offers from Boston College and Rutgers, is focusing this offseason to return Holy Trinity to its winning ways. He’s also aiming to earn a trip this summer to the Elite 11 finals in California.
In late March, Laviano impressed at the Dallas Elite 11 regional at Cowboys Stadium, but came away without an invite. He’s hoping it’s a different story in June at the Las Vegas Elite 11 regional, which Laviano plans on attending.
ESPNHS: How did it feel to be named the starting quarterback as a freshman?
Laviano: At the time, it was big. I had only played quarterback one year before in the eighth grade. I pretty much went from Pop Warner to varsity. I lived it up that year. I never felt any pressure because the upperclassmen were awesome. Our running back, Anthony Brunetti, took me under his wing and made it easier for me.
ESPNHS: You didn’t play quarterback until the eighth grade? What did you play before then?
Laviano: I played center and middle linebacker until the seventh grade. Then I played running back and was the backup QB. I just didn’t get the chance (to play quarterback). I’ve come a long way. If I take a step back and look at how far I’ve come, it’s pretty crazy.
ESPNHS: Who’s taught you the most about the position?
Laviano: My personal quarterback coach, Todd Krueger, has taught me the fundamentals and how to play the position. My coach at school, Dominick Tassone, also knows what he’s talking about. We do the drills they do at Elite 11 and also switch it up a little bit to get our receivers involved. Coach Tassone and I watch film and break down defenses all the time.
ESPNHS: Who do you credit the most for getting you to this point?
Laviano: Definitely my mom and dad. They’ve guided me through these four years and have never steered me wrong. I wouldn’t be here without them. And my head coach, Tony Mascia, has given me great advice as well.
ESPNHS: How difficult was last season?
Laviano: It was tough because we had two great years before then. It was a pretty rough year. But you bounce back and work even harder. Our whole team has a chip on its shoulder to get back to winning seasons.
ESPNHS: How would you describe your Elite 11 experience so far?
Laviano: I went to the Ohio State and Penn State regionals (last year). The experience of competing against kids your own age is the best part, just to be able to compare yourself against them. I was talking to as many kids as I could to see how their recruiting processes were going. I talked to Gunner Kiel and Zeke Pike. It was cool to get reps with the best. At the Dallas regional, I did well, but I think I did much better at the Nike Football Training Camp the next day. I threw much better. But I was definitely more prepared.
ESPNHS: What mentality are you taking with you into the Las Vegas regional?
Laviano: I’m definitely hungry. My ultimate goal is to make the finals. When you go to these events, you need something that’s going to separate you from 100 kids. You have to have a swagger and take it from the competition. You have to be first in line, have zip on the ball and be all business. It’s the last one, so you’ve got to give to it all.
School: Holy Trinity (Hicksville, N.Y.)
2011 Team Record: 3-7 (Lost in Class AAAAA state semifinals)
Completions-Attempts: 139-232 (.599)
Passing Yards: 1,713
April, 18, 2012
Throughout this offseason, we’ve spotlighted Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week, we profile Lassiter (Marietta, Ga.) junior Eddie Printz, who’ll be competing at the Elite 11 regional at Buford High School (Ga.) this Friday evening.
Eddie Printz is in perpetual motion.
In his mind, he doesn’t have time to relax if he wants to improve his game and keep pace with the rest of the top quarterbacks in the nation.
The offseason began for the Lassiter (Marietta, Ga.) junior shortly after his squad fell to Walton (Marietta, Ga.) 30-24 in the Class AAAAA state semifinals in December. It was the fourth straight road playoff game for the Trojans, who drove to Walton’s 9-yard line at the end of the game but had their comeback attempt end after Printz’s pass on fourth down was broken up.
Overall, it was a remarkable season for Printz, whose 3,350 passing yards rank 11th on the Georgia single-season passing list. He also tossed 28 touchdown passes and was picked off just nine times.
But Printz, who's rated the nation's No. 19 pocket passer in the Class of 2013 by ESPN, isn’t one to get caught up in what he’s done. So for multiple days each week, he’s been doing flexibility training in the morning, lifting weights at lunch and then throwing to his receivers after school
Printz is focused on making this summer’s Elite 11 finals and then leading Lassiter to a state title in the fall. And he’s been able to focus completely on football after pledging to UCLA in January. Printz had previously committed to SMU, but reconsidered after SMU coach June Jones was considering the Arizona State job.
Printz has prior Elite 11 experience having shined at the regional in Athens, Ga., last year. He’s hoping a strong performance at this Friday’s regional in Buford, Ga., will lead to an invite to the Elite 11 finals.
ESPNHS: How good do you feel with what you guys accomplished this past season?
Printz: I thought we had a good season, made a nice run in the playoffs. I’m excited to come back and make another run. It was fun. Our team overcame adversity and played our tails off. We wanted to win for the seniors. It’s like playing for your brothers out there.
ESPNHS: How much has that fourth-down pass stuck with you this offseason?
Printz: It’s motivation. It makes me want to get that much better. We had the play called and just didn’t execute it. There’s not much else left to say.
ESPNHS: You were originally committed to SMU? What led you to de-commit from the Mustangs and ultimately pick the Bruins?
Printz: All the drama with June Jones kind of gave me doubts about going there. I felt like I could go in right away at UCLA and compete. I thought it was a good opportunity for me. The academics there are top notch and coach (Jim) Mora is a great coach. Coach (Noel) Mazzone is a good guy. I can’t wait to play for him.
ESPNHS: You were at last year’s Elite 11 regional at Georgia. How do you think that experience will help you this time around?
Printz: It was a good learning experience for me. I felt like some of the things they taught me I could go back and work on. I felt like they made me a better quarterback as a whole.
ESPNHS: What type of mentality to do you have to take into an event like that and what do you think you’ll bring to this competition?
Printz: You’ve got to be ready to compete and show what you have to offer. I feel like I’m a good leader, on and off the field. I was the first junior named captain in Lassiter history. It was a huge honor. I have good pocket presence and a strong arm.
ESPNHS: How much would an Elite 11 invite mean to you and what do you hope to accomplish if you got one?
Printz: It would be phenomenal. It would be a great opportunity to compete with the best and it would be a great learning experience. It would be something I’d remember forever.
ESPNHS: What have you been doing to improve this offseason?
Printz: I work out multiple days a week. During lunch, I lift weights. In the morning, I do rapid training, which is like bodyweight flexibility movements with medicine balls and bands. And I throw with my receivers after school. I’m pretty much moving 24-7.
School: Lassiter (Marietta, Ga.)
2011 Team Record: 10-4 (Lost in Class AAAAA state semifinals)
Passing Yards: 3,350
April, 12, 2012
By Christopher Parish | ESPN.com
Tom Hauck Lexington Catholic (Lexington, Ky.) junior signal-caller Kyle Bolin threw for 3,088 yards and 29 touchdowns this past fall to help lead his team to the state semifinals.Throughout this offseason, we’ve spotlighted Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week, we profile Lexington Catholic (Lexington, Ky.) junior Kyle Bolin.
After receiving interest from schools around the country, Kyle Bolin didn’t need much time to make a decision — the Lexington Catholic (Lexington, Ky.) signal-caller decided early in his junior season that he wanted to attend Louisville.
With his commitment out of the way, Bolin’s main goal now is helping his team avenge last season’s 42-21 loss to eventual state champ Highlands (Fort Thomas, Ky.) in the Class 4A state semifinals. Bolin threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
But his more immediate focus is the Elite 11 regionals. And as Bolin proved last season, he deserves to be mentioned among the nation’s top quarterbacks.
He completed 211-of-366 passes for 3,088 yards, 29 touchdowns and only 11 picks. And while Bolin is a prototypical pocket passer, he’s also able to make plays with his feet, rushing for 300 yards and five scores last year.
Bolin took some time out from his offseason workouts to talk about his hopes for both his senior season and the Elite 11.
ESPNHS: How’s the offseason going so far?
Bolin: Everything’s going great. I got my recruiting process out of the way, and now everything’s been a lot less hectic. I’m focusing on just getting better, I’m working hard in the weight room and I’ve been out throwing routes to receivers. We’re trying to make a run for state this fall, and we think we have the talent to get it done.
ESPNHS: You mentioned getting the recruiting process “out of the way.” Are you relieved it’s over?
Bolin: The process was great, don’t get me wrong. But yeah, it’s nice to get it out of the way. It starts getting pretty hectic. I was trying to find the place that best fits my potential, and I found that in Louisville. I went to campus a couple times, and I just fell in love with the place. The coaching staff was great, and I’m looking forward to working with them. I just can’t wait. That was the place I wanted to be.
ESPNHS: Was staying in state a major factor for you?
Bolin: I wouldn’t say it was a major factor, but I wanted my family to share in this experience with me. I wouldn’t be where I am now without my family. I like being far enough away, but close enough to go home when I want to.
ESPNHS: What are some things you feel like you need to work on this summer?
Bolin: I just want to get better in every aspect. I want to get my arm stronger, my release quicker, my accuracy better, and I want to work on my footwork. I’m focused on play-action, which is a big thing because when you go out and throw, you’re not working on your play-action game. But I’m going to work on that hard this offseason. I’m working on pretty much everything.
ESPNHS: Tell us about the Elite 11 competition. What regional are you going to, and what are some things you’re looking forward to about the event?
Bolin: I’m going to the one in Columbus (Ohio). It’s such a respected competition. Growing up and being a huge quarterback fan, and obviously playing quarterback, I have looked forward to a chance to go to the Elite 11 competition. I want to be one of those guys who has a chance to go to California. I want to be around the best QBs in the nation. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity.
ESPNHS: It’s an event that really fosters competition. How do you feel like you personally fare when the competition level increases?
Bolin: I love competition. I’m one of the most competitive people you’ll ever meet. We could be playing anything and I want to win. It makes me work and drive harder to be the best. I feel like I do a lot better in games or situations where the pressure is higher and the stakes are greater.
ESPNHS: Finally, tell us about your senior season. What’s going to be the key to your team’s success?
Bolin: My class, my senior class, is a lot of guys who all started as sophomores. We had more sophomores than juniors or seniors. Last year we made it to the state semifinals, and that was a tough game. But this year, everyone understands what we’re working for. There are no more chances after this. Everyone’s working their butts off, and even the younger guys are joining in. If we don’t win, I will be very disappointed.
School: Lexington Catholic (Lexington, Ky.)
2011 Team Record: 11-3 (Lost in Class 4A state semifinals)
Passing Yards: 3,088
Rushing Yards: 300
Christopher Parish covers high school sports for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @CParishESPN.
April, 5, 2012
By Brandon Parker | ESPN.com
Throughout this offseason, we’ve spotlighted Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week, we profile a player who's already earned that honor in Skyline (Dallas) junior DeVante Kincade.
In DeVante Kincade's mind, he was about four months overdue for his chance to throw passes at Cowboys Stadium.
Last December, the Dallas Skyline junior quarterback stood one win away from playing for the Class 5A, Division I state title under the bright lights of "Jerry's World." But the Raiders' undefeated season unraveled in the final two minutes during a 28-24 semifinal loss to eventual champ Southlake Carroll (Southlake, Texas).
"It was real tough, watching them score and then recover the onside kick and score again," recalled Kincade, who threw for 3,720 yards and 37 touchdowns last season. "We had 40 seconds after that to try and win the game, but we couldn't get the lead back. That loss gave me more fire and flames to work way harder and add on to our intensity."
So when Kincade finally did get to throw in Cowboys Stadium at last month's Dallas Elite 11 Regional Quarterback Camp, he was more than ready to shine. Using strong footwork and impressive accuracy, Kincade earned MVP honors and the first of 24 spots at the Elite 11 finals in Redondo Beach, Calif., in July.
Kincade took some time out to talk about his Elite 11 selection, recruitment and how RGIII is biting his style.
ESPNHS: What was the experience like at the Dallas Elite 11 regional?
Kincade: I had a really great time. There were a lot of great juniors there, so I knew I had to set the tone and get it done. We did things like throwing on the run and rolling out for the throw with things swinging in our face. It was really fun and challenging.
ESPNHS: What do you think stood out to the counselors that led them to name you the MVP?
Kincade: I felt like I did well in the footwork drills and being accurate. It almost felt like I was back at Skyline; I felt comfortable. I was just trying to be a leader and play to the best of my ability. I really wasn't expecting to win MVP, but God blessed me so that I did.
ESPNHS: What do you think the Elite 11 finals will be like?
Kincade: Oh, it's going to be way more intense. Trent Dilfer is a different guy. He's actually kind of like one of our coaches at Skyline, our offensive coordinator. He has a real passion for the game and I like that. I saw some of it on TV last year and they coach you really hard, which is good.
ESPNHS: What are your strengths as a quarterback?
Kincade: I think I have real good accuracy. I can also get out of the pocket and make throws on the run. I can play out of the shotgun and make hard throws as well.
ESPNHS: What are some things you are working to improve upon?
Kincade: I want to buy more time in the pocket instead of just rolling out so much. I think it'll help to make more throws in the pocket and only run if I really have to.
ESPNHS: Speaking of which, I'm sure you know a lot of critics have their thoughts about your size and what you need to adjust in your game. How do you respond to them?
Kincade: Once I came into Elite 11, I came in confident. I know I'm not as highly recruited as a lot of the other guys, so I had to be confident in myself. I know I'm better than them. That's not to sound cocky, but it's just a confidence I have in myself and my ability.
ESPNHS: The weekend wasn't all good news for you. Your top receiver in junior Ra' Shaad Samples fractured his left foot and is expected to be out three to four months. How concerned are you about his injury?
Kincade: I was shocked when I heard it. I couldn't believe it. We have great chemistry, where he knows where I'm going to throw it and I know where he will be. He knows when I'm having a bad game and I know when he's having a bad day, too. I'm sure he will come back strong, though.
ESPNHS: Which schools are recruiting you right now and where are you at in the process?
Kincade: I've got offers from Kansas State, Colorado, Notre Dame, Mississippi State, Illinois and Oregon State. I don't have any favorites at this point. I think after spring football is over, I'll break it down some to a list of favorites.
ESPNHS: I noticed you wear a glove on your left hand. Is that something you do for style or grip?
Kincade: I've always been doing that since middle school. It does help me grip the ball better, and I feel like a different person when I put the glove on (laughs). A lot of people think I got it from Robert Griffin, but I was wearing it way before him.
School: Skyline (Dallas)
2011 Team Record: 14-1 (lost in Class 5A, Division I semifinals)
Completions-Attempts: 186-263 (.707)
Passing yards: 3,720
Rushing yards: 857
Brandon Parker covers high school sports for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March, 29, 2012
By Christopher Parish | ESPN.com
Tom HauckVanderbilt commit Johnathon McCrary of Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, Ga.) has thrown a combined 52 touchdown passes over the past two seasons.Throughout this offseason, we’ll spotlight Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week we profile Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, Ga.) signal-caller Johnathon McCrary.
There’s coveted recruits. And then there’s Johnathon McCrary.
One of the most hyped athletes in the Southeast, the Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, Ga.) junior signal-caller was on the must-have list of schools across the country. In all, more than 40 schools offered McCrary a scholarship offer.
It’s easy to see why. During his sophomore campaign, McCrary threw for 3,345 yards and 25 touchdowns. And this past fall, he was just as impressive, tossing for nearly 2,700 yards and 27 scores.
But after all the schools came calling, McCrary opted to commit to Vanderbilt in February. Now he’s got his sights set on having a big summer, which includes the Elite 11 competition, and hopefully chasing a state championship.
The young quarterback stopped to chat with us recently about offseason workouts, the allure of Vandy and the chase for a title.
ESPNHS: How’s the offseason going? What sorts of things are you doing?
McCrary: I’m trying to grind, really. I’m doing three-a-days and I’m trying to get ready for next season.
ESPNHS: Three-a-days? That sounds tough. What sorts of things are you doing?
McCrary: Well, I wake up at about 4:30 every morning. I get to school at around 6, and I work out for an hour and a half. Then I head to class. Then there’s another workout, usually more weight training, and then I go to class again for a while. Then if it’s track season, I work out with them, doing sprints, or I’ll just hit the weight room again. Then I go home. And if it’s football season, it’s film study before bed.
ESPNHS: Film study before bed? You must dream of football all night.
McCrary: I am always thinking about it. Sometimes when I’m in class, I’m sitting there playing out scenarios in my head. It feels great when you start really learning the game. I’ve got a whole lot to learn, still, but I’m doing better than I did last year.
ESPNHS: So with these three-a-days, are you trying to gain weight? Get stronger?
McCrary: It’s more mental than anything, actually. I figure that most players can’t do three-a-days. I figure I won’t ever be the biggest guy, but I’ll be the best guy mentally.
ESPNHS: You’ve committed to Vanderbilt. What made that the right choice for you?
McCrary: They have a lot to offer. Every week you play against the best in the nation in the SEC. You can get a top-flight education there. It doesn’t get any better than that. And it’s close to home. They were really sincere about what they said about me. They said I was really the only quarterback they recruited, and I figured, heck, if you’re going to put your neck out there for me, I can put my neck on the line for you by committing here.
ESPNHS: Tell me a little bit about what you’re looking forward to about the Elite 11 competition.
McCrary: Well I want to do it, and I want to win. It’s a great competition, and I love competition. But I don’t think it’s everything. When you put pads on, it’s a different story. When you’ve got the pads on and a guy’s out there trying to get after you and you dodge him and then you make a play, that’s when you know you’re going to be a good football player.
ESPNHS: What’s one thing you’re really looking forward to learning at Elite 11?
McCrary: Everything, really. I just want to get the knowledge, and they have coaches there who have great knowledge. I’m trying to use it all to my advantage, and I’m looking forward to making some great relationships with the other guys there.
ESPNHS: Lastly, tell us a little about your senior season. What are you looking forward to most?
McCrary: Trying to win a championship. Everybody on my team this year is trying to win. It’s a great thing to have under your belt before you go away to college. Last year, right before the playoffs, some of the guys on my team weren’t really focused. You could see it in their eyes. But this year we have a chance to actually be the best. My whole line is hungry this year. Nothing’s going to get in our way. This year, everybody’s ready.
School: Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, Ga.)
2011 Team Record: 7-4 (lost in first round of Class AAA playoffs)
March, 22, 2012
William Wilkerson/ESPN.com Rider (Wichita Falls, Texas) junior quarterback J.T. Barrett will take part in the Elite 11 regional at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday.Throughout this offseason, we’ll spotlight Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week we profile Rider (Wichita Falls, Texas) signal-caller J.T. Barrett, who’ll be participating in this weekend’s Elite 11 regional in Arlington, Texas.
Elite 11 Watch Archive
J.T. Barrett considers himself a perfectionist.
So instead of basking in all his on-field accomplishments -- and there’s plenty of them -- the Rider (Wichita Falls, Texas) junior quarterback chooses to engross himself in game film.
During the season, Barrett watched film twice a day, looking for all the mistakes he made.
And during this offseason, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect has worked out nearly every day with the hope of correcting those mistakes.
Barrett believes he’s an improved quarterback since the season ended for his Raiders in December. And that’s a scary thought considering he accounted for 3,119 yards and 23 touchdowns as a junior.
Barrett, who holds offers from the likes of Texas Tech, Nebraska, Baylor, Ohio State and LSU, will get a chance to put his skills on display this Saturday during the first Elite 11 regional in Arlington, Texas. And he hopes he’ll show enough to earn a spot in this summer’s Elite 11 finals.
ESPNHS: When did you first set a goal of making the Elite 11?
Barrett: Last year, I watched the whole thing. I got real excited. I wanted to get in. If you’re there, you’re one of the best in the nation. I’m trying to get to that finale. When I got the invitation to the Dallas regional, I ran to my coach.
ESPNHS: What are you looking to prove this Saturday?
Barrett: I’m a quarterback who looks to pass first but also has the ability to run. If the pocket breaks down, I have the ability to escape the pocket and keep my eyes downfield, looking for who’s open and then delivering them the ball. I’ve read a couple places where people say I can’t throw, and I’m looking to prove them wrong.
ESPNHS: How often do you watch film and why is it so important to you?
Barrett: In season, I watch film twice a day, sometimes until midnight. I’m probably going to get in trouble, but sometimes it gets me away from my homework. If you have a counter for what the defense is doing, the defense isn’t going to be able to stop you. You have to find those things out. That’s why you watch film.
ESPNHS: What are your goals this offseason?
Barrett: My goals are to keep getting better. With the exposure I’ve gotten and my offers, some people might slack off if they were in my position. But every day, I’m making sure I’m getting better, whether it’s running, passing or watching film. You have to put in work. Even Peyton Manning does. If you don’t, somebody is going to catch up. You’re going to get passed.
ESPNHS: Who’s the quarterback you look up to the most?
Barrett: Peyton Manning just by the way he works on the field. He takes care of business, then he goes home. That’s the way it should be. I like how he can dissect the defense. He doesn’t really beat you with long throws. He breaks down defenses with his reads. He knows what the defense is about to do even before the defense does. That’s from watching film and being a student of the game. That’s what I’m trying to be. I used to be a Colts fan, but when they got rid of my man Peyton, now I’m just a Peyton fan.
School: Rider (Wichita Falls, Texas)
2011 Team Record: 10-3 (lost in Class 4A, Division I regional finals)
Completions-Attempts: 101-170 (59.4 percent)
Rushing Yards: 1,515
Rushing TD: 9
March, 15, 2012
By Jim McCormick | ESPN.com
Courtesy Charles Thomas/Fork UnionFork Union Military Academy (Fork Union, Va.) quarterback Christian Hackenberg was the first recruit from the Class of 2013 to commit to Penn State.Throughout this offseason, we’ll spotlight Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week we profile Fork Union Military Academy (Fork Union, Va.) signal-caller Christian Hackenberg.
Elite 11 Watch Archive
It’s no mystery that Pennsylvania has been known to produce prolific quarterbacks. While it’s clear that great talent at the position can come from all over the nation, a strong debate can be made for the Keystone State as the premier source for signal-callers.
While Christian Hackenberg plays his ball in Virginia for Fork Union Military Academy, his roots are in Northeastern Pennsylvania, where his father played quarterback for Marian Catholic (Tamaqua, Pa.) and earned a scholarship to Virginia. His grandfather also coached high school football for 25 years.
Hackenberg, an ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect, has plans on returning to the state where he lived until he was seven, as the 6-foot-4, 215-pound quarterback was the first verbal commitment of the Class of 2013 for coach Bill O’Brien at Penn State.
We spoke with Hackenberg about his plans this offseason and more specifically his goals in the Elite 11 QB competition.
ESPNHS: What is the key attribute that a successful quarterback must possess?
Hackenberg: Mental control of the game is what I think is most important. This begins with preparation. You need to be able to understand each and every situation that you’ll face in the course of a game. You need to be able to make the plays with your brain before you make them physically. I definitely go through mental preparation before each game and take the lessons from my coaches and the films and get in mental reps before we even hit the field.
ESPNHS: How has attending a military academy versus a more traditional school environment prepared you both for college and in your approach to your game?
Hackenberg: The academics here are really strong and you have to learn how to manage your own time and schedule in terms of getting everything done. You learn to work within a very disciplined structure, which I think can only help for when I face the demands of a college schedule. You are used to budgeting your time and getting things done when you have to, which will help set me up for the college experience.
ESPNHS: Is there a QB out there that you really appreciate?
Hackenberg: I like to look at myself as my own type of player, and that my skills and approach are unique to me. But I have been compared by a few coaches to Jay Cutler in just how I play, and that of course is flattering. It’s an obvious one, but I really love watching Peyton Manning and how he checks down and adjusts and just shows how prepared and even ahead of the game he can be out there. His understanding of the game is just as important, if not more, than the physical gifts.
ESPNHS: What is your general goal for this offseason and, more specifically, what are you looking to get out of the Elite 11 experience?
Hackenberg: I’m always trying to get bigger, faster and stronger each offseason and improve myself as an overall athlete. Then there’s specific stuff I work on like my fundamentals — my release, arm slot and different drops. With Elite 11, I want to make it to the final 11 and compete on that high level.
ESPNHS: What was your impression as you watched the Elite 11 specials that aired on ESPN this past summer?
Hackenberg: I think that the intensity that coach (Trent) Dilfer brings to the situation is great and how he puts quarterbacks in awkward situations under a lot of pressure. It makes you better, and clearly you are a top quarterback if you make it out there, but I really look forward to being tested at that level and pushing my game to improve.
ESPNHS: Being the first commitment of your class to Penn State, what made you comfortable and confident in the decision?
Hackenberg: Once I met coach (Bill) O’Brien I felt really comfortable. I had been to games at Penn State before and I always knew through my family what the tradition and culture of football there has been, but once I went up there and met the staff and with coach O’Brien I just felt like it was right for me. It was great to meet Adam Breneman up there and to know that some other talented guys from my class had strong interest really made me confident in what could be accomplished there. I looked at it like I could spearhead the process of trying to build the class. I look at it like a challenge trying to build a strong class after everything the school and program have been through.
School: Fork Union Military Academy (Fork Union, Va.)
College: Penn State
2011 Team Record: 4-6
Completions-Attempts: 171-341 (.501)
March, 8, 2012
By Brandon Parker | ESPN.com
Courtesy of Wayne DonnellySt. Pius X (Houston) junior QB Kohl Stewart, a Texas A&M commit, threw for 3,167 yards and 30 touchdowns last season.Throughout this offseason, we’ll spotlight Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week we profile St. Pius X (Houston) signal-caller Kohl Stewart.
Elite 11 Watch Archive
Believe it or not, baseball is Kohl Stewart's first love. Football didn't truly come into the picture until his freshman year at St. Pius X (Houston). Sure, Stewart had suited up at quarterback during his younger days, but his arm didn't get used very often. "The only thing I remember is that all we did was run," Stewart recalls with a laugh.
Boy, have things changed.
Baseball is still there, what with Stewart batting .330 with 30 RBIs while striking out 42 batters as an outfielder and right-handed pitcher last year. But the talk these days is of Stewart's quarterback skills on the gridiron. As a junior, he passed for 3,167 yards with 30 touchdowns for the Panthers.
Stewart, who has committed to play football and baseball at Texas A&M, took time to talk about his dual-sport love, college commitment and development as a quarterback.
ESPNHS: What are some of your earliest memories of football?
Stewart: I played two years of football when I was younger in little league, but my first year really playing football after that was my freshman year because I didn't play in junior high. I really learned to throw at St. Pius X. Playing baseball helped because the throwing motion was there and that helped mold the way I did things as a quarterback.
ESPNHS: Considering your late start, what was it like to get attention so early from colleges?
Stewart: It was a shocker to me that colleges were contacting me after my sophomore year. Everything was so fresh and I had broken my collarbone as a freshman, so when I came in for my sophomore year, I didn't get even know if I would start. But it happened and I became pretty capable from that position.
ESPNHS: What's your favorite sport, football or baseball?
Stewart: I don't really have a favorite. I've played baseball longer, so football is more fresh and there are a lot more wheels turning in head because it's new to me. I love playing both and will try to play both in college.
ESPNHS: Is Texas high school football just like they portray it on TV shows and movies?
Stewart: It definitely is. We've played a few teams here and I don't think I've seen people travel like they do for football games here. People will fill up our stadium from other schools. It's almost like the whole town shuts down for those Friday night lights in the fall. Everybody is going somewhere to see a game.
ESPNHS: What are your strengths as a quarterback?
Stewart: We've had a lot of good receivers, so they help make me look pretty good. My arm is where I can make certain throws that college quarterbacks can make. I feel like I know how to read defenses, too. My arm is my biggest strength in just making throws that other guys can't.
ESPNHS: What are some things you plan to work on this offseason?
Stewart: Just throwing to the right guy. It's really important that I get better at making sure I read the play correctly and get the ball to a guy that's in the best position to make a play.
ESPNHS: What impact would making the Elite 11 have on your development?
Stewart: It'd be an honor to play with guys that good and learn from the counselors, like Trent Dilfer. Having guys like that who played at the pro level can obviously teach you a lot, so I'd really look forward to the chance to be there.
ESPNHS: What made you commit to Texas A&M so early?
Stewart: Just the family feel. My family has been associating with Texas A&M for as long as I can remember because both my parents went there. We live an hour from campus, so it's pretty much home for me.
School: St. Pius X (Houston)
College: Texas A&M
2011 Team Record: 5-7 (lost in TAPPS Division I quarterfinals)
Completions-Attempts: 172-312 (.551)
Brandon Parker covers high school sports for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at email@example.com.