Elite 11 continues in NYC
ESPN 150 quarterback Kevin Olsen headlines Saturday's field
The Elite 11 regionals are intended for top level rising senior quarterbacks (2013) and select elite underclassmen. All players are Class of 2013 unless otherwise noted.
Saturday's New York City Elite 11 regional at Randall's Island Park in Manhattan marks the halfway point of Elite 11 regional tour. And so far, four players have snagged invitations to the Elite 11 finals in Redondo Beach, Calif., in July.
Marietta (Ga.) quarterback Anthony Jennings was the latest to earn an invite after he was named MVP of last week's Atlanta Elite 11 regional. He'll join DeVante Kincade of Skyline (Dallas), Tyrone Swoopes of Whitewright (Texas) and J.T. Barrett of Rider (Wichita Falls, Texas) in California.
ELITE 11 PRIMER
Tom Luginbill, ESPN's national director of football recruiting, on the Elite 11 regionals:
Why they matter
Events such as these help under-the-radar prospects more than anyone else, especially if they have a good showing, because it likely will lead to instant online exposure.
Why you should pay attention
High-profile prospects competing against one another can give you a pretty good barometer on whether the early recruiting offers and hype are warranted. This event provides a showcase for the top prospects and a chance for under-the-radar passers to develop and get better at the fundamentals and mechanics of the position.
What he looks for
For evaluators, it's about the eye test in terms of measurables: Is a guy as tall as he says, and does he weigh as much as he says? I spend a ton of time studying feet and release mechanics. It's all about feet; it's the essence of accuracy. I want to see whether the guys who spend all their time in the shotgun can take a three-step or five-step drop and get the ball out. You'd be stunned by how many can't. Often, arm strength is the last thing I'm concerned about.
So which quarterback at Randall's Island has the skills to accompany that quartet out to Cali? There are plenty of candidates.
Leading the way is Wayne Hills (Wayne, N.J.) standout Kevin Olsen. Rated the No. 7 pocket passer (pocket passers and dual-threat QBs are ranked separately) and No. 77 overall recruit in the ESPN 150, Olsen is the younger brother of Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, while his other brother, Christian, was a quarterback at Virginia.
Last season, Kevin completed 124-of-205 (60.5 percent) for 1,686 yards, 20 touchdowns and only six interceptions to lead Wayne Hills to its second straight North 1, Group 3 title.
Olsen has offers from a number of top programs, including Miami, Notre Dame, Florida, Florida State, Auburn, South Carolina, Rutgers and Wisconsin. Olsen brings a lot of hype to Randall's Island, but he knows he'll have to back it up if he wants a finals invite.
"I'm looking forward to competing against the top players in the country and, at the same time, proving that I am of that caliber," said Olsen.
Olsen will get competition for a finals invite from Wakefield (Raleigh, N.C.) star Connor Mitch. Rated the nation's No. 13 pocket passer by ESPN, Mitch completed 254-of-425 (59.8 percent) last year for 3,832 yards and 51 touchdowns and was picked off just nine times.
Mitch passed for 3,332 yards and 37 touchdowns as a sophomore. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder has been offered by the likes of North Carolina, NC State, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, South Carolina and West Virginia.
"I hope to prove that I can compete with the best and that I belong at the Elite 11," he said. "I just have to be focused and prepared."
Another top quarterback expected to be in attendance is Gilman (Baltimore) dynamo Shane Cockerille. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder ran for 1,300 yards and passed for another 1,100 yards last season while accounting for 26 total touchdowns. He also led the Greyhounds to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship and a No. 21 final ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50.
Rated the nation's No. 22 dual-threat QB, Cockerille recently committed to Maryland over the likes of Michigan and Virginia.
Pennsylvania will be well-represented at Randall's Island with a number of solid QBs, including Roman Catholic's (Philadelphia) Michael Keir, who passed for 1,525 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. He is rated the nation's No. 26 pocket passer by ESPN.
While the majority of the quarterbacks who'll be in attendance on Saturday are from the Northeast, Berean Christian's (Walnut Creek, Calif.) Garrett Anderson is expected to make the trek from California. Rated the nation's No. 34 pocket passer by ESPN, Anderson passed for 21 touchdowns and ran for nine scores as a junior.
Another quarterback to keep an eye on is St. John's (Toledo, Ohio) star Brogan Roback. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder, who holds offers from Bowling Green, Toledo and Ohio, completed 98-of-181 (54.1 percent) his junior season for 1,645 yards and 14 touchdowns and ran for seven scores. Rated the nation's No. 38 pocket passer by ESPN, Roback threw for 2,193 yards and 25 touchdowns as a sophomore.