Oregon Football QB Commit Akili Smith Jr. Impresses In First Day of Elite 11 Finals

In an elite field of talented quarterbacks at the Elite 11 Finals in Los Angeles, Oregon Ducks Commit Akili Smith Jr. stood out in a big way.
Akili Smith Jr.
Akili Smith Jr. / Photo Credit: Brooks Austin

LOS ANGELES, CA - Four-star Oregon Ducks QB commit Akili Smith Jr. entered the 2024 Elite 11 Finals competition on Tuesday looking to make a statement, and perhaps even win the whole thing.

And after Day 1, he is certainly right in the thick of the race.

Smith's day started off a bit on the slow side with his consistency and accuracy coming into question early, as well as a bit of an erratic display in his mechanics.

That said, the physically imposing 6-5 gunslinger certainly picked up steam as the event went on.

Throughout the rest of the evening and once he settled in, Smith's array of talents were on full display, showing off his incredible arm strength and deep ball accuracy, and hitting some very difficultly designed throws along the way. Smith was also very solid in the short to mid-range accuracy and showing off his touch and precision.

That was, however, up until the rail shot challenge, which was the last competition of the day. The challenge, which consisted of a rail-shot pass to the left side of the field against Cover 2 thrown without loft in the ball on a five-step drop, is one of the more difficult throws of the camp.

Smith was knocked out in the first round of the challenge, tarnishing an otherwise solid bounce-back performance. Five-star Texas A&M commit Husan Longstreet and un-committed three-star Jaron-Keawe Sagapolutele battled it out until the end of the challenge. The two would eventually tie the rail-shot, giving them each a substantial boost in the camp overall.

Despite that late disappointment, one thing remained clear - Smith's standing as the nation's No. 9 QB in the 2025 class is certainly warranted.

And while he has certainly put himself in a good position heading into Day 2, he will have some work to do if he wants to take home the MVP award.

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Matt Galatzan