REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – For many high school quarterbacks, the goal is to make it to the The Elite 11 Finals, which took place from Tuesday through Thursday of this week. It’s an elite quarterback competition that has each of the 20 contestants go through an NFL-style workout three consecutive days.
Every type of throw one can imagine is charted. Check downs to deep corner routes, the Elite 11 challenges every quarterback that steps onto the field. For example, there’s one area that was really interesting to watch.
Rolling left and making a throw on the money is not easy for right-handed quarterbacks, and all of this year’s signal callers were right handed. An entire aspect of Day 1 competition was dedicated to various types of throws that rolled a quarterback to the left before attempting to complete a pass.
It made even some of the most talented quarterbacks look pedestrian at times. That’s understandable because it’s arguably the most difficult throw in football.
That drill also helped to see which signal callers could bounce back after a bad throw, even a bad performance within a particular station. That’s a vital aspect of quarterback play.
To that end, how would Dylan Rizk, the future UCF signal caller, compare to some of the quarterbacks invited to California to compete in the Elite 11 finals with that type of pass or anything similar? Here are a few notes comaring Rizk's skills, despite not being in the Elite 11 finals, compared to a few of the players that did reach the final round.
On the Move
This is the area where Rizk actually compares with just about anyone that competed at this year’s Elite 11. Whether rolling left, needing to adjust his feet for an oncoming pass rusher and then firing a pass, or operating a run-pass option play, Rizk does his best work while on the move.
Many of the Elite 11 quarterbacks absolutely struggled when asked to throw on the run or even move in the pocket prior to resetting their feet and firing a pass. Conservatively speaking, Rizk would be a top six to eight quarterback when grading passers based off of throwing on the run.
Penn State commitment Marcus Stokes has a huge arm, but the Ponte Vedra Beach (Fla.) Nease signal caller’s accuracy on the move does not compare to Rizk, at least based on Elite 11. Stokes can absolutely spin it, make no mistake. He’s still better from the pocket from a traditional passing standpoint.
That’s just an example of how quarterbacks use different skill sets to be at their best. Rizk is one of those young quarterbacks that finds a way to make a play; it’s hard to define with words. He’s an athlete and a quarterback. Keep that in mind. While comparing him or any other prep signal caller to former UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton is a stretch, that’s more of Rizk’s style of play than being a strong-armed pocket passer like Stokes.
Rizk is not a power thrower, per se, as noted above. He’s a quarterback that changes velocity, even his release point at times, leading to completions. Some of the Elite 11 quarterbacks showed superior arm strength to Rizk, with one player really standing out.
Iowa State commitment JJ Kohl is a towering 6-foot-6, 225-pound power passer that few high school signal callers can compare when grading velocity. That being stated, Rizk can make the vast majority of the same throws that the future Cyclone can.
It may be a matter of timing, reading the defense and understanding the receiver being thrown the football. Rizk is not going to power through the ball like Kohl. That’s just a fact. Still, he can complete the same passes.
While he’s not going to just wow a crowd with absolute power like Kohl, he’s timely and intelligent. Those down-the-field throws can still be made, as Rizk already proved that during the Cardinal Gibbons spring game.
Now, he’s going to continue getting stronger and improve his arm strength, but it’s still his overall understanding of how and when to launch a pass that allows Rizk to make similar throws to Kohl.
Detroit (Mich.) Martin Luther King quarterback Dante Moore is a total stud. Strong arm, consistent footwork and throwing motion, and understands the timing of when to throw a football much like Rizk. He might be the nation’s best passer overall, based on the Elite 11. Still, the similarities between him and Rizk can be seen.
Rizk is not as consistent with accuracy as Moore (probably no high school quarterback is). Rizk showed stretches of good mechanics and accuracy during the spring game, however, and to reach Moore’s level of putting the football on the money play after play, it’s a matter of work ethic and staying on the grind.
After interviewing Rizk and watching him throw live, there’s no doubt he’s an incredibly motivated young man. Once he cleans up some of his inconsistencies with technique, like most high school quarterbacks need to do, Rizk has a chance to be one of the most accurate passers in the country. He’s already uncanny with making off-platform throws and passes on the move.
Still, he needs to improve his consistency from the pocket. That’s the next step for him in his quarterback maturation process. Moore is just further along, and kudos to him. Let’s see where Rizk is after being at UCF for a couple of years.
Rizk is like many high school quarterbacks. He needs refinement. Every quarterback at Elite 11, Moore included, also needs further refinement. Progressing as a signal caller takes time and patience.
Can Rizk compare to the quarterbacks at Elite 11? Absolutely. He has skills that allow him to make all the necessary throws. Now it’s about getting better and seeing what he can do to improve those little technical aspects that make a big difference in ball placement.