MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. -- Day one of the Elite 11 Finals is in the books, as 20 of the nation's elite passers in the recruiting class of 2022 gathered at Mira Costa High School to compete in a circuit of passing drills that test arm strength, accuracy and touch.
Throughout the event, the passers each received feedback from the camp counselors - North Carolina's Sam Howell, Oklahoma's Spencer Rattler, Liberty's Malik Willis, and UCLA's Dorian Thompson-Robinson - as well as coaches such as Quincy Avery, Jordan Palmer and Josh Johnson.
Sports Illustrated All-American's team of analysts was live on the scene, evaluating each and every throw that the quarterbacks made. You can find our rankings from day one and short summaries of their performances below.
Day one Elite 11 rankings
1. Ty Simpson (Alabama commit)
It was a close call, but the Alabama commitment’s consistency was unmatched on the first day of the marathon week. Whether it was the mechanics, delivery, velocity or overall accuracy, the SIAA staff didn’t see many missteps from the Tennessean. He was particularly accurate while in the pocket, working to all three levels, often hitting the intended target on the numbers. While on the move, his athleticism shined through and allowed for relatively easy-looking completions, even when working against the grain. Simpson showed no weaknesses out of the gate.
2. Maalik Murphy (Texas commit)
If not for Simpson, Murphy could have run away with top honors right out of the gate. The local prospect not only sports the most impressive frame in the field, but backs it up with an ease regardless of what is asked of him. Murphy was locked in from the very beginning, showing tremendous velocity and accuracy on the majority of his throws, and great timing with his receivers. With that said, few could handle the velocity he released the football with to the second and third level, so he could take something off the football and show touch as well.
Physically, Murphy was arguably the most impressive prospect on the field, and already looks the part of a Power 5 starting quarterback.
3. Cade Klubnik (Clemson commit)
While not as physically imposing as the top two performers, the future Clemson Tiger was in the same ballpark from a consistency standpoint and most importantly -- from an accuracy standpoint. At one point, Klubnik worked a handful of near-perfect throws while on the move, along the edge of the end zone. Few looked as comfortable as the Texan when asked to make plays from beyond the pocket, with anticipation and timing often on display.
4. Nick Evers (Florida commit)
There are a lot of powerful arms among the group of Elite 11 finalists, but the Florida Gators commit puts zip on his passes as consistently as anyone. Evers impressed onlookers in the rail shot competition with a perfect first throw and another solid pass to follow, although it wasn’t enough to push through the end of the challenge according to the coaches. There were some minor placement issues on throws rolling to his left side, but otherwise Evers put the ball in a catchable spot for his receiver far more often than not. We’ll want to see his footwork improve on under-center drops as he plays in a high school offense that operates solely out of the shotgun, but he grew more comfortable on each rep in that department.
5. Devin Brown (Southern California commit)
Devin Brown had a very impressive Houston regional, and continued that momentum into the finals, where he challenged for a top ranking on the first day of camp. Brown looked poised and consistent, and showed great zip on the ball throughout the event. His mechanics are sound, and he shows impressive footwork, including when throwing on the run, where he was also as solid on the run as anyone else in the competition.
6. Holden Geriner (Auburn commit)
Another prospect extremely comfortable on the run, Geriner breezed through most of the drills presented to him Wednesday. Despite a delivery on a lower plane than some of his competitors, the Auburn commitment doesn’t sacrifice drive on the football upon its release. He sprayed it all over the field with confidence in looking like one of the best at the event. It shouldn’t surprise given how well Geriner did at both the Atlanta and Orlando regionals, where he was hard to miss with the effectiveness and whip-like motion he throws with.
7. AJ Swann (Maryland commit)
The Maryland commit continues to be one of the more consistent passers on the Elite 11 circuit in 2021. There's nothing overly flashy to his skillset, though he's extremely well-rounded and can make all of the throws with ease and constant accuracy. He's limited physically when compared to the likes of a prospect like Maalik Murphy, especially on the run.
8. AJ Duffy (Florida State commit)
IMG Academy’s signal-caller is physical and competitive and it showed to kick off the camp, but it was his second-level accuracy that shined brightest on the first day of action. Duffy was particularly effective on the over route as well as routes outside the numbers, with some on-target hits late in the event during the competition portion as well. Duffy also held his own outside of the pocket.
9. Tayven Jackson (Tennessee commit)
It’s hard to miss the ball jumping off of the Tennessee commitment’s hands throughout the course of a two-plus hour workout. Equipped with a long frame, you wouldn’t know it watching a fairly quick release with plus accuracy all night long. When the passers are able to fully air it out, we could see Jackson climbing this list.
10. Quinn Ewers (Ohio State commit)
In a loaded field, one of the favorites certainly flashed one of the biggest arms at the event. Few can let go of a football and see it cut through the air like Ewers can, and it was on display at times Wednesday evening. He was strong in the pocket and showed off the arm angle manipulation, but was off on some of the more routine throws of the event. The future Buckeye capped the camp with a noticeable miss in the ‘rail shot’ competition, but told reporters he would use it as motivation to bounce back thereafter -- to expect otherwise may not be advisable.
11. Gavin Wimsatt (Rutgers commit)
A strong frame with easy-to-see pop when the ball comes off his hands, there is a control to the Rutgers commitment’s game. Often balanced with a relatively wide base, it helps Wimsatt control his accuracy to the second level and beyond the numbers. His best ball of the evening came on a deep out, in which his ball placement and timing looked like teaching tape.
12. Walker Howard (LSU commit)
The Louisiana native is a precision passer and it showed well more than not on Wednesday night. After a bit of a slow start relative to some others, Howard bounced back and got better as the event wore on. His plus athleticism, mechanics and arm strength made for some of his best throws late in the workout. Howard nearly won the event’s knockout-style competition, the ‘rail shot’ event, making it to the final pair alongside Texas A&M pledge Connor Weigman.
13. Drew Allar (Penn State commit)
Striking size and pocket ability translated to easy power on the football Wednesday for Allar. The Ohio native is somewhat methodical in his drops, but when he lets it rip, the flight of the football is streamlined towards the target. The future Nittany Lion has a strong base, easy release and classic follow-through when stationary.
14. Zach Pyron (Baylor commit)
Pyron came out with great energy, but might’ve been a little riled up and it showed. He lacked touch and accuracy on intermediate to deep balls near the end zone and may have been rushed in his footwork. Expect a stronger day two now that he’s settled into the area after getting to the event late and having his photo taken before joining the other quarterbacks.
15. Luther Richesson (considering Appalachian State, Cincinnatti, Central Michigan, Charlotte, others)
Richesson is easily a player with the most to gain as he came across the country to see how he measures up with the rest of the field. With his offers mainly consisting of Group of 5 schools, he showed good zip on the ball but didn’t always have the tightest spiral. He has a nice compact over the top release that allows the ball to come out quickly. Richesson has the physical gifts to develop a strong deep ball but will work on more consistency in the intermediate game.
16. Katin Houser (Michigan State commit)
One of the prospects whose occasional throw would lead to folks in the stands asking, ‘who was that?’ It was the new Michigan State pledge on more than one occasion, thanks to the quickness of his delivery and accuracy on intermediate assignments. Another local standout out of St. John Bosco, Houser had some of the best footwork inside and out of the pocket, from what we saw.
17. Conner Weigman (Texas A&M commit)
Connor Weigman struggled with his consistency for a good portion of the day, and lacked some of the accuracy you’d like to see in some of the shorter and medium-range throws. The velocity is there, and the tools are there, but at least after day one he has a lot to improve on. Weigman did get better as the day progressed, however, with his best portion of the camp came in the rail shot competition, which he won over Walker Howard.
18. Jacurri Brown (Miami commit)
Brown got off to a rough start when drills got underway, struggling with accuracy on short-to-intermediate concepts as several balls ended up on the ground, both over the head and near the feet of his receivers. Brown is a high-quality athlete and had no issue while rolling out of the pocket, making some more impressive tosses in those occasions compared to within the pocket. The throwing power is there, and when Brown connects with his receiver in stride, he looks the part of a Power 5 quarterback.
19. Tevin Carter (considering Auburn, Georgia Tech, Memphis, others)
Carter can certainly spin the football, with a powerful arm and life on all of his throws. It’s the consistency and accuracy portions of his game that the large-framed Memphis, Tennessee prospect struggled with on Wednesday night. He struggles on the run, but when he has the opportunity to set his feet, he cuts through the football with relative ease.
20. Nate Johnson (Utah commit)
Johnson has good mobility in the pocket and excels at throwing on the run. With that said, he just didn’t have the same zip on the ball that a lot of these other quarterbacks did, which resulted in under-throwing some balls, including in the rail shot event that closed out the first day. He’s a great athlete at the quarterback position, and more consistency at the second level could help him bounce back.
News and Notes from Elite 11 Day One
Baylor commit Zach Pyron arrived late to day one after he battled a flight delay in Dallas. He took his photos in the stands, then hopped right into drills and had a solid outing.
It was great to see an elite group of counselors with Spencer Rattler, Malik Willis, Sam Howell and Dorian Thompson-Robinson all pulling up to this year’s event. Mallik is an absolute freak and is worthy of every bit of NFL buzz he’s getting. Every one of his throws was an absolute laser and moves around with ease. You could tell which quarterbacks really stand out from the bunch because of their physical gifts and those that are drawing major college attention for their technique and polished mechanics.
The night wrapped up with the rail shot event, which is basically a deep ball challenge that leads the receiver into the end zone. It’s a great drill to test a quarterback’s arm strength while also measuring their ability to put the necessary touch on a ball when leading their receivers. Many of the quarterbacks let loose and shared laughs even with only a select few advancing.
Texas A&M commit Conner Weigman won the drill after knocking out LSU commit Walker Howard in the final round.