Recapping Tyler Buchner's Elite 11 Performance

Bryan Driskell

Notre Dame 2021 quarterback commit Tyler Buchner was considered one of the nation’s premier quarterbacks in the country heading into this week’s Elite 11 finals. 

The talented San Diego native is still one of the nation’s best quarterbacks, but according to the Sports Illustrated analysts in attendance, Buchner’s performance at the event was a disappointment.

Heading into the event, Buchner was ranked as the fourth best quarterback by SI All-American director of recruiting John Garcia. Here is what SIAA wrote prior to the event:

“Ultra-productive passer and runner with dynamic features.”

After the first day of work, Buchner ranked near the bottom of the 20 quarterbacks in attendance. The Irish commit ranked 17th based on his opening day performance. Here's the analysis from SI All-American:

"The Californian's delivery remained low throughout the night and the velocity didn't match what we've seen on tape. Still, the Notre Dame commitment can flash in the intermediate game."

Here's more:

"Tyler Buchner (Calif.) came in at fourth in the initial SI All-American Rankings, but his unorthodox delivery and overall arm strength did not match what we watched on tape. He will have time to recover throughout the day, but he did not start as expected today."

Buchner was said to have a bit of a bounce back performance after day two, but he still ranked near the bottom.

"The Notre Dame commitment started off much like where he left off yesterday - with room for improvement. His timing looked better as the workout wore on and the intermediate accuracy followed. His best ball came on the run on one of the deeper shots of the script."

Here's more on his improvements on day two:

"Was projected as at top 5 participant heading into the camp, but he struggled yesterday. His delivery and mechanics were not close to what he showed on film, but he looked and adjusted more efficiently during Day 2. His delivery was still off, but his timing only improved as the workout waged on, and he never seemed to fatigue. He was most efficient in the intermediate level."

On day three Buchner finished 18th out of 20 quarterbacks in the accuracy gauntlet. 

I normally roll my eyes and ignore when I read comments about a quarterback's throwing motion being an issue. Most analysts don't really know how to evaluate if a throwing motion is correct or not, because quarterbacks all have different motions, and the only time it matters is if it impacts the success of throws.

Based on what Buchner showed on film and at Notre Dame's camp two summers ago his throwing motion is not an issue, at all. He has a fast release and the ball jumps out of his arm, and his ball placement is outstanding. All of those factors were why I grade him out as a five-star recruit.

My reaction to that criticism changed when I saw video clips of Buchner from the event. He's clearly lowered his arm angle when he throws, and it caused his elbow to lead through the throwing zone more than it should. That caused the ball to dip back as he worked through the zone.

This caused his hand to come through the zone late, and the ball did not come out of his hand clean. It also did not come out of his hand with the explosiveness that he shows on film. This is problematic because your hand dragging like that is not only going to decrease power for Buchner, it's going to cause more of a looping follow through that is going to create accuracy issues, and that's what a criticism of him from the SI folks was this week.

He was throwing almost sidearm, which is fine for quarterbacks who have always done it that way, but that's not what Buchner's natural motion was, and it was obviously impacting his throws.

Whoever is working with Buchner needs to stop whatever alterations they made to his throwing motion, get him back to what he was before and focus on his footwork. The concern for me is the longer a quarterback uses a faulty delivery that isn't natural for him the more it becomes natural over time and becomes more of a muscle memory situation, which then makes it harder to deprogram.

If Buchner abandons the current course he's on he should be fine, but if he continues working with this "new release" it's going to hurt his development as a quarterback.

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Comments (9)
No. 1-8

Hopefully is just a miscalculation that is reversed pretty quickly before it becomes too programmed. I am curious from your experience, how hands on are college coaches in situations like this? Is it more hands off until he gets to campus, or if they watch this week’s film and say okay something isn’t right with this alteration and we have to get it fixed soon.


Hopefully he can revert back to his old throwing motion quickly.


Not sure where or why the throwing motion was changed or for what reason. Some one else on another ND Site mentioned he didn't look comfortable/quite right or possibly had an arm issue like soreness after throwing hard at a series of these Elite 11 camps.

This Covid Elite 11 setting didn't allow too much observer interaction to get it covered.

We know he's exceptional when he's "on"...hope this is not some QB guru's idea and just arm stiffness or something else that can be corrected.

The Resurrection book about Ara's first year at ND--Way back when Parseghian first saw John Huarte---from SoCal too--throw the ball, Tom Pagna wanted to change it and Ara said don't change a thing---because the ball is well thrown and very accurate with his semi sidearm delivery every time.

Philip Rivers at NCST and with the Chargers throws the ball more sidearm than normal...but it works.

He did well in the workouts for the Regional Elite 11---so get some rest and settle back to normal.


This is very disappointing. Who is tinkering with his mechanics?

Nathan Erbach
Nathan Erbach


I don’t want to overreact too much before I see his mechanics again during his senior year and maybe in a few other camp setting or videos coming up.

Obviously a change in QB coaches could be a big part of this and that would be somewhat concerning. Looks like he’s now working with Taylor Kelly, former ASU QB and someone that knows Chip Long well. Ironically, he’s the QB coach at Mater Dei HS where USC commit Miller Moss plays and they don’t really have similar motions.

Some have said he might have been fatigued, but the motion was such a drastic difference than he has shown in the past so something is definitely there beyond fatigue in my opinion.

I do think ND fans need to just take a deep breath in regards to this for the time being. Those anointing him the “savior” were way ahead of themselves even though his talent is immense, but I don’t think minds should be all of sudden changed because of the Elite 11 camp.


I'm not normally doom and gloom, but this is my nightmare. Usually we mess the qb's up once they get on campus lol


I hope he's not a Phil 2.0 = great athlete, build, speed, running, but funky mechanics that never get ironed out


I love this kid, take a look at Matt Stafford throwing motion! He can throw from any angle.....and he does. I can't wait till this kid gets on campus, he's gonna be a four year starter!!!!!