ORLANDO, Fla. -- The EA Sports Elite 11 camp featured a strong group of quarterbacks, including a mix of highly-regarded 2011 prospects, some rising senior signal callers looking to make a name for themselves and some some promising underclassmen. Here are some highlights from Sunday's event at ESPN's Wide World of Sports.
The biggest name coming into the day was Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty), who showed why he has quickly emerged as one of the elite quarterback prospects in the 2011 class. The Under Armour All-American passes the eye-test with good size and the frame to add more good bulk in time. There are a lot of strengths to Driskel's game, but the thing that stood out the most was his consistency. From drill to drill he performed well, displaying the ability to follow direction, adapt and makes plays regardless of the task. He displayed his athleticism at a combine at the beginning of the year and continued to showcase his athletic skill here with good footwork. He moved his feet effortlessly and was able to keep his eyes downfield. He also did a good job of throwing on the run and knowing when to take something off the ball and throw with some touch. He has good arm strength and is able to make all the throws. Driskel, who sports offers from Florida, Auburn, LSU, and Tennessee, among others, looks the part of a pocket passer, but has the ability to create second chances and be a playmaker. Heading into Sunday's event Driskel's stock was pretty high and he did nothing to hurt that with his performance. In fact, he might have even raised it some more.
Work In Progress
Kevin Sousa (Orlando, Fla./Lake Nona) popped on the radar a few weeks ago and is a kid who grabs your attention with his physical build. He has good size, a thick muscular frame and looks more like a linebacker than a quarterback. In addition to his natural size, Sousa turns heads with his arm strength -- the kid has a cannon. While his raw tools are impressive, he has work to do on his mechanics. It seemed apparent that he realizes he needs to work on his game and as a result he appeared to be over thinking things at times. You can tell he is working to be a better quarterback, but he came across as stiff at times when trying to marry good technique with his raw skills. In drills where he was able to move around and roll out and rely more on his athleticism, he looked more comfortable and natural. At a high school which fielded its first team last season, Sousa is still a work in progress. He claims a written offer from Florida International and interest from other programs. He is a player with upside and someone to watch as he matures at the position.
Making His Case
For the second weekend in a row, I got a chance to see Teddy Bridgewater (Miami, Fla./Northwestern) in action. Despite his success on game days, there is a perception that the athletic quarterback might be a better wide receiver prospect at the college level. I'm not one of those who thinks that. I believe Bridgewater can make the transition from high school quarterback to college QB. I will admit he may be an acquired taste at the position as he does not always show great technique or mechanics and possesses a lean build. He has shown, though, that he is a winner and a competitor, and at the Elite 11 he had his best outing in drill work. He can be an accurate passer and consistently displayed that throughout the event. He looked solid in his footwork and not shockingly did well throwing on the move. He has a long list of offers, including Alabama, Florida, Miami and West Virginia, and when approached afterward he did not shoot down the idea of playing wide receiver, but was very confident in his ability at quarterback. The debate about where Bridgewater will fit best in college will likely continue, but he helped his cause as a quarterback prospect with his performance.
Next In Line
Plant High School has proven to be a place recruiters can come to find quarterbacks. They produced Robert Marve in the 2007 class and Aaron Murray, the No. 3 QB in the 2009 class. This year, while he's not producing the same buzz as those two, Phillip Ely (Tampa Bay, Fla./Plant) is a good prospect in his own right. At 6-foot-1, he possesses just adequate size for the position, but he displayed good arm strength and accuracy, especially with short-to-intermediate passes. In a rapid fire/quick slant drill, he showed off his ability to be deadly accurate. He is also a pretty mechanically sound player at the position and you can tell he has been well coached. Ely, who will be a senior this fall, has already help lead his team to a state title and is generating some offers. He said he has offers from Florida Atlantic, Central Michigan, Toledo, and Florida International and that list will likely grow for this productive quarterback.
Notes And Observations
Another familiar face at the event was Kade Bell (Neptune Beach, Fla./Fletcher), who I saw at a camp earlier this year. Bell is an interesting kid who comes from good lineage (his dad Kerwin played at Florida) and is pretty sound in his play. He has a very quick release and when he gets in a rhythm, he can be very accurate. He does though have marginal size for the position at under six feet and lacks ideal bulk. While we don't know his hand size, it did seem at times when he did not have a good clean grip from the outset he could struggle to find the handle and it would affect his throws. Bell will likely face a bit of an uphill battle on the recruiting trail and a growth spurt could really help his cause, but he is a competitive kid who shows flashes. In the right system could end up being a nice steal for a program willing to look past his measureables. ... Quentin Williams (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson) is a player who grew on me more and more as the camp went on. At first his height, or lack of it, jumps out at you. At right about or even a little under six-feet he has marginal size for the quarterback position. He did try to make you forget that in drills with his arm strength. He will need to create throwing windows, but he did display that he can move his feet well, though he could work on improving his accuracy on the go. His play in 2009 proved that he can be productive as he threw for over 3,000 yards and 34 touchdowns and some schools seem to be focusing on his output as he said Florida International and Central Florida have offered. ... Coming in from Georgia was Akil Dan-Fodio (Stone Mountain, Ga./Redan), a prospect with ability on the field and in the classroom as he lists Harvard among his offers along with UAB and Clemson. Dan-Fodio has good size with a big frame. He displayed good arm strength in drills, but does need to improve his consistency as well as working on his footwork. ... Some promising underclassmen in attendance included Abe Coleman (Hialeah, Fla./American), who was at a combine in Miami last week. He lacks ideal height and needs to keep developing his overall mechanics, but again displayed a strong arm. A physically good looking kid was 2012 prospect Bennie Coney (Plant City, Fla./Plant City), who has a big frame and a nice wing span.
Craig Haubert is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. and has more than a decade of coaching experience.