Elite 11: Day 1 Observations

SI All-American

MURFREESBORO, Ten. -- A rainy Monday evening at Blackman High School pushed the Elite 11 Finals to a later than anticipated start. The field of 20 participants finished registration around 2 PM CST, and they loaded the bus to head to the playing field for a 4 PM start before a batch of thunderstorms delayed the event until 7 PM. 

During the delay, the quarterbacks returned to their hotel to participate in other scheduled events such as playbook review and a deep dive into film study. 

The weather eventually cleared, and the event finally started briefly after 7 PM. During workout 1 of the event, the quarterbacks went through concept drills and a competition setting with the rails shot challenge to end the night. 

Observations: 

Gonzaga HS (D.C.) Caleb Williams only "missed" two throws all night, and even one of those was questionable at the end of the competition setting. Williams' natural arm talent was unmatched all night long. Ohio State's QB Justin Fields was a camp counselor who participated in the events, and Williams' natural arm talent was by far the closest to Fields throughout Day 1. 

Luke Altmyer of Starkville HS (Miss.) arrived as one of the hottest recruiting topics in the 2021 class, and he delivered on Day 1. Altmyer delivered the ball with consistency and pop at all three levels. He is one of the risers for Day 1 in the eyes of the SI All-American staff. The FSU commit exceeded expectations in Day 1. 

IMG Academy's (Fla.) JJ McCarthy showed why he is the guy behind center for the perennial national powerhouse. McCarthy was fluid and crisp with his delivery, and while the ball did not pop as much as expected, he was consistent and precise throughout the duration of the event. The Michigan commit was a top performer for the day. 

Oregon Commit Ty Thompson (Ariz.) was one of the most surprising prospecting in the eyes of the SI All-American team today. He was poised in the pocket, fluid in his release, and delivered the ball efficiently and effectively to all three levels of the field in each setting of the camp. 

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. 

Miller Moss (Calif.) showed why his ball placement outweighs his arm strength throughout the evening. Moss did not have the same pop as some of his competitors, but his ability to drop the ball anywhere he wanted was one of the biggest takeaways from Day 1. His accuracy bodes well for him throughout the remainder of the event. 

Joining the competition at times were collegiate quarterbacks, Justin Fields, K.J. Costello, Trey Lance, and Jamie Newman. The competition between these four was not even close, as Fields flashed why he is a potential top 10 draft pick in next years NFL Draft. Lance was the consensus number two from our perspective. 

The event concluded with the Rails Shot competition in which Maddox Kopp beat out Caleb Williams for the title. Kopp was a bit of a sporadic performer throughout the day, but when he flashed his natural ability people took notice. 

The event will resume tomorrow evening, weather permitting, at 6 PM CST. 

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