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Novosad, Arnold Punch Tickets to Elite 11 Finals

SI breaks down 10 quarterbacks to know from the Elite 11 Dallas regional over the weekend

EULESS, Texas -- The Elite 11 quarterback camp is the most well-known prep circuit in the business and its 2022 tour is in full swing, stopping in the Dallas area on Sunday. In search of the next wave at Euless Trinity High School, two invites to the Elite 11 Finals went down after the four-hour workout. 

The first came to Jackson Arnold, the Oklahoma football commitment from Denton (Texas) Guyer High School. A strong passer with one of the state's top programs was perhaps the favorite to walk away with the honors due to his reputation within Lone Star State lines. 

“It felt great,” Arnold told All Sooners. “It’s something I’ve looked up to for a while now watching Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence a while ago. I felt at first I started a little slow and kind of picked it up, moving on and by the end I was throwing pretty good.”

The other invitee, Austin Novosad, would have been more of a surprise to someone not on hand Sunday. The Baylor commitment out of Dripping Springs (Texas) High School proved most accurate through the long workout and won the pro day accuracy challenge with a high score of 22 in the staff's scoring system.

"I think I came out here with the goal to get the invite and show what I have," Novosad said after the workout. "There was a lot of different throws but I did pretty good all day, so it's exciting. 

"It's probably 400 throws, the hardest part is staying active and having the competitiveness all the way through. It's easy to get lazy with the heat, so you've got to make sure every throw counts."

Beyond the duo, several other signal callers in the class of 2023 and 2024 stood out to Sports Illustrated.

Class of 2023

Austin Novosad - Dripping Springs (Texas) High School

There was a steady nature to Novosad, reminiscent of a jump shooter with the same form in warm ups through the fourth quarter of a given game. It's fitting he mentioned the length of the workout after picking up his invite to the finals, because he maintained his velocity and mechanics all the way through. The lead group, which he and Arnold were a part of, wrapped up their day on the pro day accuracy station and nobody breezed through the nine throws like he did. Inside the pocket or out, the future Baylor Bear just played accurate football and went to work. There isn't a lot of flash to his game and that's plenty fine with the way he can distribute the football as evidenced over the last two seasons of football, where Novosad threw for 76 touchdowns against 15 interceptions.

Jackson Arnold - Denton (Texas) Guyer

Most eyes were on Arnold from the outset and the future Oklahoma Sooner delivered. What stood out initially in checking in on the standout was his build. He is lower-body dominant and it showed up early, as he finished as a top 10 athletic tester against the field, and late with the power he can generate. Even without a set base on every throw, the torque in Arnold's ball was apparent. Another mark of the pop is how he finished the event, more steady and plenty accurate as others in his group began to ware on the long day. Arnold was a big calculated earlier in the workout, seemingly getting focused more on the drills and his footwork, but he corrected the pocket movement and sped up as the event progressed, taking to the coaching -- all good signs for the future of the Sooner quarterback room.

Jacobe Robinson - Henderson (Texas) High School

Boston College has an intriguing building block for its class of 2023 in the big Texan. Robinson's highs were as good as any passer at the event, working with the combination of fluid movement skills and a smooth release of the football. He sports a nice combination of size (6'4", 205 pounds), athleticism and precision to all three levels, with easy velocity to boot. There is also considerable room for Robinson to fill out his frame down the line as he polishes up the rest of his game. Even more impressive was the showing he put in among the rest of the area's best at less than 100 percent. Onlookers wouldn't have noticed a slight in the production due to an injury the rising-senior is working through.

"I feel great," Robinson told SI after the workout. "Being around the best of the best in the state of Texas really pushes me to be the best I can be. I'm grateful to compete. 

"I thought I did okay. I have a nagging hip flexor."

Jacobe Robinson

Robinson committed to Boston College after a recent visit

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Brayden Dorman - Colorado Springs (Colo.) Vista Ridge

A tall and steady distributor, Dorman made the trip from Colorado and showed why he is Pac-12 bound, going toe to toe with Nebraska's Zane Flores among the best looking passers from outside of Texas. Sporting a can't-miss red Arizona cap, he sprayed the football to all three levels with relative ease on a classic motion and strong follow through. A taller passer, Dorman still extended his base and stepped into each throw with consistency. There isn't much wasted movement in releasing his ball and even at the tail-end of the long day, his spiral remained relatively tight and catchable. The future Wildcat was always balanced, even while on the move, and even showcased different releases relative to the launch point. 

Jake Strong - Justin (Texas) Northwest

Not only was the Texas Tech verbal commitment among the most consistent short to intermediate passers of the event, but he proved among the most athletic. Strong posted a top five testing mark between all competitors and nearly 6'2", 200 pounds. He had one of the quicker triggers in the lead group, with enough juice to push the ball down the field while stationary or on the move. The future Red Raider did a good job of keeping square in the drills designed to make passers uncomfortable, too. Strong threw for 29 scores as both a sophomore and a junior with a 61.7 completion percentage Tech fans have come to expect.

Class of 2024

Marcos Davila - Midland (Texas) Midland Legacy

Marcos Davila might have had the most impressive day accuracy wise at the event, finishing second overall at in the throwing script with a score of 21, finishing just behind Novasad. Davila also displayed impressive arm strength and accuracy throughout the day. Davila currently holds offers from Florida Atlantic, Kansas, Louisiana Tech, and Middle Tennessee State. He was named the District 2-6A newcomer of the year as a sophomore having completed 168 of 254 passes for 2,715 yards and 26 touchdowns with just seven picks last season.

Paxton Land - Austin (Texas) Westlake

Austin Westlake’s Paxton Land might have had the most impressive overall performance from the 2024 group by the end of the day. Land’s athleticism and arm strength were both on full display throughout the event, and he finished just two points behind Marcos Davila in the Pro Day scoring script, while tying the likes of 2023 Oklahoma commit Jackson Arnold. Unlike Davila, Land sat behind the Nation’s No. 1 QB, Cade Klubnik, last season, so he has not seen as much time on the varsity stage. However, once he hits the field and shows off his tools in one of the toughest districts in the state, the offers should start rolling in. Buy stock early in this one. 

“I felt great about the day,” Land said. “I love coming to the Elite 11. I loved the coaching staff and I felt like I learned a lot today. I also really enjoyed the pro day script. I thought it was my best event, and it felt really good throwing those routes."

Darius Bailey - DeSoto (Texas) High School

Another very impressive performance came from DeSoto’s Darius Bailey, who will take over as the Eagles starting quarterback next fall. Bailey’s 5'11" frame was not eye-popping but it did not hold him back one bit. His tools were on full display, and he reminded us a good deal of 2023 New Orleans Edna Karr prospect AJ Samuel, who caught our attention at the Houston regional last year. Bailey worked with reliability, consistency, athleticism and maintained great zip on the football. He will also have the advantage of throwing to one of the nation’s top WR’s in Johntay Cook next fall.

Cole Welliver - Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus

Perhaps the biggest name of the 2023 group coming into the day, Cole Welliver’s 6'6", 200-pound frame was hard to miss. Welliver already holds offers from Arizona State, Colorado, Washington State and Florida Atlantic. Welliver has all of the tools, and might end up being the top quarterback in Texas for his cycle when it is all said and done. He just needs to go out and prove that he can put it all together. Which, if Elite 11 Dallas was any indication, shouldn’t be a problem. 

Mike Hawkins - Allen (Texas) High School

An Oklahoma legacy who already has the starting reigns at storied Allen High School, Hawkins oozes talent as both a passer and overall athlete, each on display at times on Sunday. He has a relatively easy release with plenty of juice on the football, but like most young passers needs to work on a more consistent plane. Hawkins has a strong build and lower-body development, helping to work well outside the pocket as many would expect given his 685 rushing yards from 2021. Michigan, NC State, SMU and Incarnate Word are on the early offer list to date. 

Matt Galatzan contributed to this feature