Elite 11 Finals Preview
The 22nd annual Elite 11 Finals is set to take place next week from June 29th-July 1st. The event has played host to the likes of Tim Tebow, Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, and Teddy Bridgewater over the last two decades, and now a new set of young gunslingers will have the opportunity to make a name for themselves.
The event will feature nearly two dozen 2021 quarterbacks from across the nation and pits them competitively against each other in pursuit of the Elite 11 MVP. Various styles of play, coupled with the lack of ability to compete over recent months, should make the competition at an all-time high.
The headliner of the event is Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga quarterback Caleb Williams. Williams is widely considered one of the best overall recruits in the country, regardless of position. He is uncommitted, but that is set to soon change. He has set a date for July 4th, and he will decide between LSU, Maryland, and Oklahoma. The storyline will certainly be one of the more talked about during the event.
Speaking of Oklahoma, Brock Vandagriff is another finalist that is considered to be one of the best prospects in the country, and he was previously committed to the Sooners before re-opening his commitment and ultimately deciding to stay home at Georgia. Vandagriff has camped well over his career, and this will serve as his best opportunity to date to show that he is truly in the elite of the elite. The Bogart (Ga.) Prince Avenue Christian School star has received criticism over the level of competition he plays against, but he should be able to silence some doubt over the course of the week.
Another talented Peach State gunslinger will join the mix, and he will play against Vandagriff at the college level. Grayson High School quarterback Carlos Del Rio has been committed to Florida for almost a year. He has been in the national spotlight for the majority of his high school career, but he has yet to get the nod as the top quarterback in the state of Georgia. He will look to show off his live arm and mobility at the national event.
Another Florida commit is participating in the event, but Jay Allen is not committed to the Gators on the gridiron. Instead, he has committed to play baseball in Gainesville. Allen will have a chance to go head to head against Del Rio and show that he might have a future behind center in Gainesville.
A trio of commits from Big Ten Rival Schools are slated for the event in Christian Veilleux (Penn State), JJ McCarthy (Michigan), and Kyle McCord (Ohio State). Each will look to show why they are the next man up for their respective teams in the race for Big Ten supremacy. McCord is accustomed to playing on the national stage, while Veilleux and McCarthy are becoming more acclimated. Each one brings a unique skill-set to the table, which plays a key role in their commitment decisions. There is at least some form of bragging rights on the line between this group.
Texas has always laid claim to being the state for quarterbacks, and this year's Elite 11 Roster bolsters the claim. Seven prospects from the Lone Star State are headed to the event to compete, as they make up nearly half the field. Five of the seven are already committed to a school, while Maddox Kopp and Grayson James will look to use the event to springboard their recruitment even more.
Two of the five committed are pledged to stay in-state and play in the Big 12. Behren Morton (Texas Tech) and Kyron Drones (Baylor) will compete against each other for years to come, and they both have plenty to prove in this event. While the other three are leaving the state to play in the SEC, Kaidon Salter is heading to Knoxville, while Dematrius Davis (Auburn) and Garrett Nussmeier (LSU) will play against each other annually. All three prospects have been coveted national prospects for some time, and they all reached a commitment decision over the Spring. This group will not only compete for MVP, but also for bragging rights to be the top gunslinger in the fertile state of Texas.
Tyler Macon is the lone finalist from the Midwest, and the Missouri commit comes in under the radar. He is undersized, but he possesses the requisite poise and a big arm. Piecing that together with his mobility should bode well for him in this competition. He is certainly a name to watch over the course of the three-day event.
A duo of Pac-12 commits will compete for conference bragging rights, Miller Moss (USC), and Ty Thompson (Oregon) bring their own unique skill sets to the table. Both pro-style quarterbacks have big arms and camp well, so the competition will be interesting. Sam Huard was scheduled to participate in the event, but announced this afternoon that he will sit out due to health concerns. Moss and Thompson should both be up for the challenge.
Another prospect hailing from out west is Notre Dame commit, Tyler Buchner. Buchner has one of the most complete deliveries in the entire country, and he will be an impactful name during the course of the event. His mobility and big arm are his driving force from a physical standpoint, but he gets it above the shoulders. He is a complete quarterback, who will look to grow his game during his competitive setting.
The ACC now has two quarterback commitments set to compete in North Carolina pledge Drake Maye and Florida State-bound Luke Altmyer. Maye is a one-time Alabama commitment who flipped his decision to North Carolina, where he is a legacy prospect, during the first week of May. He has led the charge for the Tarheels on the recruiting trail, and he will have a chance to show why his recruitment was a national battle for so long. He will certainly factor into the top quarterback race for the week. Altmyer is another ACC prospect Alabama is interested in, having offered June 1 amid his rise in profile. After a strong and ultra productive junior season at Starkville (Miss.) High, the offers haven't stopped rolling in.