Quarterbacks guru helps young prep stars prepare for next step
MAUI, Hawaii -- As they sat in a not-so-normal classroom setting among not-so-normal classmates, a very normal argument broke out among the top seven high school quarterbacks in the country, who had come together for the first time at
With a dry erase board perched against a rock wall a few yards away from the crashing waves along Wailea Beach, the sun-soaked, makeshift classroom suddenly turned into a roundtable discussion in which "The Super 7" took a break from breaking down defenses and focused on breaking down each others' college commitments.
"Why would you go to Cal?"
"Are you serious? The Pac-10 went 5-0 in bowl games this season," Hinder shot back. "You guys lost to Utah!"
"I thought about Oregon but I like West Virginia," said
"All I know is I want to beat the Huskies every year," said a smiling Hinder, looking at
The impromptu debate, which also included Oklahoma commit
When Clarkson, a sought-after private quarterback coach who has tutored the likes of
"After that day I began to evaluate my contemporaries. I wanted to see what the scouts wanted, I wanted to see what made them so great," said Clarkson, who asked Jack Elway for tapes of his son, John. "In the case of John, he was even better than they said. But I never had the opportunity these kids have. They get to sit next to their contemporaries. They get to practice, talk and eat with their peers. They get to use them as a measuring stick and some will separate from the pack but they can all learn from that."
Clarkson also assembled an impressive collection of teachers for the camp, including
"You are playing the position that people would kill to play," said Steinberg, who represented
The allure of the position for some children and quite frankly their parents is partly why Clarkson has become such a sought-after teacher. The three-day camp included not only the "Super 7" (Clarkson's number in college was 7) but also 20 younger quarterbacks-in-training ranging from 9 to 17 years old who Clarkson privately tutors for about $700 per hour. They were broken up into three groups (Super 7, high school, grade school) and rotated through a series of sessions from on-field mechanics to dealing with the media.
"The beauty of this is that they're trying to bring in all aspects of the kid's growth as a quarterback," said Montana, whose sons,
As Leinart took the field, he recalled being a part of a similar retreat when he was in high school and spending time with six of his peers who are now in the NFL with him:
"It's important to take advantage of this time together and compete against each other," said Leinart. "I guarantee each one of these kids has heard about each other or read about each other, and now is their chance to see how they compare and what they need to work on. They're not rivals here; they're just here to get better."
While each quarterback got better during the camp, learning how to drop back from Montana, follow through from Leinart and elude the blitz from Moon, there was always a friendly rivalry between the quarterbacks during drills and even afterwards as they raced around the hotel's pools and debated football over Oceanside meals.
"This is how Washington is going down the next three of four years," said Hinder, dropping back to pass in a drill against Nate Montana, who simply laughed and said, "Let's go."
"Whatever," said Sims. "You guys are going to be playing for second place behind USC."
"Yeah, and you guys can't even beat Utah," said Hinder. "I wish we could start playing right now."
"Me, too," Sims said. "Me, too."