Alabama’s current starting quarterback crossed paths with perhaps the future of the Crimson Tide’s offense this week.
Alabama commit Eli Holstein made the trip to Redondo Beach, Calif., this week as he was one of 20 quarterbacks to take part in this year’s Elite 11 Finals. While the three-day quarterback showcase centered around competition, the four-star prospect was able to connect with someone in his corner as he met reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, who served as a counselor at the event.
“It was cool,” Holstein told Sports Illustrated’s director of recruiting, John Garcia Jr. “Hopefully one day I’m in that situation where I can come back and help the next Alabama quarterback commit just like he did. I talked with him for a little while.”
Holstein said his conversation with Young mostly centered around Thursday’s seven-on-seven session as the Alabama starter gave him some pointers while also discussing his own appearance at the Elite 11 Finals in 2019. While the two didn’t speak long, Holstein said the conversation went a long way for him.
“The first time I saw him, I didn’t know if he was going to say anything, say hi to me or recognize me,” Holstein said. “But he came right up to me and talked with me, so that meant a lot to me. With me being a nobody high school quarterback right now and him being a Heisman Trophy winner, that was pretty cool.”
Holstein is far from a “nobody.” The 6-foot-4, 222-pound quarterback is coming off of a junior season in which he completed 65.2% of his passes for 3,228 yards and 30 touchdowns with six interceptions while leading Zachary High School to a 15-0 record and a Louisiana Class 5A title.
Earlier this offseason, he set the SPARQ score record for quarterbacks at the Elite 11 camp in Las Vegas, posting a 133.56. That even saw him record a 4.64 time and a 4.19 time in the shuttle while also posting a 45.5 power-ball throw and a 38.3-inch vertical jump.
While Sports Illustrated rated Holstein No. 12 out of the 20 quarterbacks at Elite 11 Finals, the strong-armed right-hander was still able to show off some of his skills this week during his trip to California.
“Holstein flashed a big arm at times during the Elite 11 Finals, especially on the move and to the third level," Garcia said. "He worked with good pace and competed with a focus and demeanor ready for SEC venues early on. The quiet confidence also showed in the big chances he took in trusting his right arm.”
Holstein, a Zachary, La., native, originally committed to Texas A&M last summer but backed off his pledge to the Aggies in March before eventually committing to Alabama on May 24. This week, the four-star talent explained his decision to roll with the Tide.
“Being in the SEC was a big deal,” Holstein said. “I wanted to stay close to home and everything. Obviously, the great coaching staff that they have, developing great quarterbacks. … I mean the last three starters are all starting in the NFL, and Bryce Young is the Heisman-winning quarterback, so hopefully one day I’ll be in that same talk as them.”