NCF On The Trail: Elite 11

Early Offer: Tough weekend for Tide 

August, 17, 2014
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today’s offerings: Alabama doesn’t lose too many recruiting battles, but the Crimson Tide suffered not just one but two stinging defeats over the weekend. Plus, Wisconsin’s classes never grab national headlines but the 2015 class is a good one, and we continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. -- Nineteen of the nation's top quarterbacks landed in northwest Oregon on Saturday afternoon, a day before the annual Elite 11 quarterback competition begins. While eyes will be focused on several storylines during the event -- including having the top six dual-threat quarterbacks in the country on hand -- attention on Saturday turned to the few uncommitted quarterbacks in attendance, including Sam Darnold, Torrance Gibson and Deondre Francois.

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videoFirst-year Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn landed his first quarterback commitment on Tuesday as Elite 11 MVP Sean White (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School) gave his pledge to the Tigers.

The 6-foot-1, 199-pound quarterback chose Auburn over offers from Cincinnati, West Virginia and Syracuse. After his strong Elite 11 performance, he was also receiving interest from South Carolina, Wisconsin and Tennessee.

White, who passed for 3,348 yards and 40 touchdowns and six interceptions as a junior, said there were several factors why he chose Auburn.

"I just loved everything about Auburn when I visited last weekend," White said. "The stadium, the atmosphere on game days, the level of football and they are so tight -- it's like a family there and then obviously playing for Coach Malzahn and Coach [Rhett] Lashlee and what they can do with quarterbacks there.

"They put up big numbers and score a lot of points. I think we will have a great ability to win in the SEC in the future. I'm just so fired up about everything. It's just an amazing place."

Malzahn, as the offensive coordinator at Auburn, helped mold quarterback Cam Newton into a Heisman Trophy winner and NFL starter. White said it was a special feeling for Malzahn to personally select him to be his future quarterback.

"I think it's huge," White said. "Coach Malzahn knows what he's looking for. So when he thinks I have the ability to come in and play for him and be successful -- it means a lot. He's had a lot of success and he knows what he's looking for, so that's a great thing."

Though White has not decided when he will enroll, he said Auburn fans can expect to get a competitive player.

"They can expect to get a winner and someone that is very competitive and I'm just going to come in and help the program win in any way possible."

That includes helping Auburn recruit for their 2014 class. White was the quarterback for the 7-on-7 power South Florida Express and will be looking to add other South Florida prospects to the Tigers class.

"I know that in South Florida, I know a lot of kids and I think a lot of kids respect me so I think I can definitely pull some kids to Auburn," he said. "I know one kid that I'm going to try to get for sure is Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman). So I'm going to start working on him.

"I know all the good players down here so I'm going to try to work them all to get them to Auburn and then also, anybody else they are going after, whether they live down here or not. I'm just going to be a big ambassador for the program and try to get the best talent for our class."

One of the few knocks on White has been his lack of ideal size. His ESPN scouting report, though, said he makes up for it with his accuracy and timing.

"[White is] a timing passer who carries the ball high and likes to get it out of his hand as quickly as possible," the scouting report said. "Has a quick release. Compensates with great timing and a live release, but he's undersized and has a very good, but not necessarily great arm."

For White, he believes his arm strength and ability to make plays will help him be a succesfful college quarterback.

"I think people underestimate my arm strength," White said. "I can throw the ball like 75 yards in the air. I'd say my accuracy and the ability to keep plays alive in the pocket is good. I'm also good at, not necessarily running, but just keeping plays alive and extending plays and looking downfield and making good throws on the run."

White recently admitted that Notre Dame was his childhood favorite team and he would love to play for the Fighting Irish. So if Notre Dame offered late, would White listen to their offer?

"No, sir," White said emphatically. "Auburn is the place I want to play. It's a great school. I think it's the best school in the country."

Auburn now has 10 commitments, including six listed in the ESPN 300. The Tigers currently have the No. 17 class in the country.
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Kyle Allen was so good this weekend at the Elite 11 finals that it almost worked against him.

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Deshaun Watson: No more visits 

June, 30, 2013
BEAVERTON, Ore. – Close the door on Deshaun Watson's recruiting.

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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Texas quarterback commit Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/John H. Guyer) drew some of the highest praise of the weekend from Trent Dilfer after several workouts at the Elite 11 finals.

“I was worried,” said Dilfer, head coach of the Elite 11 program. “I didn’t know how he’d handle this environment.”

But Heard, 138th in the ESPN 300 and the No. 5-rated dual-threat QB, has answered the challenge.

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Boilermakers get Elite 11 qualifier 

June, 15, 2013

If all plays out until February, David Blough’s storybook recruiting process will have a happy ending involving not only a Big Ten school but also the first school that took a chance on him.

After watching his recruiting process sputter early, Blough decided to make Purdue his future home. The Carrollton (Texas) Creekview 2014 quarterback and Elite 11 national qualifier committed to the Boilermakers Saturday afternoon after taking in a weekend visit to West Lafayette, Ind.

Blough, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound, pocket passer, chose Purdue over offers from Memphis and New Mexico State and interest from Iowa, Iowa State and Utah State. He was recruited to Purdue by offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach John Shoop.

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Class of 2014 quarterback David Blough (Carrollton, Texas/Creekview) described the last few days as “one of the best weeks of my life.”

Earlier in the week, Blough received an invitation to the Elite 11 national quarterback competition. Along with earning praise from Elite 11 coach Trent Dilfer, Blough also received praise via Twitter from Drew Brees. Few high school players can say they were recognized by two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.

Then on Thursday, Blough’s exciting week continued with his first scholarship offer.

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Lessons Learned: New York NFTC 

April, 28, 2013
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The 2013 Nike Football Training Camp tour continued Sunday in New Jersey as several top players from the Mid-Atlantic showcased their skills at the New York Jets' facility.

Here is what RecruitingNation learned:

More than hoops in the city
New York City is not known for producing a large quantity of football talent, but the quality is up there with the rest of the country. Athlete Curtis Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y./Erasmus Hall) and ESPN 150 defensive tackle Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Abraham Lincoln) were positional MVPs at the camp and among those most impressive players Sunday. Samuel looked smooth in one-on-one drills, and Holley made quick work of the offensive linemen in pass-blocking drills.

Samuel’s future on offense?

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Lessons Learned: D.C. Elite 11 

April, 20, 2013

ASHBURN, Va. -- Strong winds and a chill in the air greeted the quarterbacks Saturday at the Washington Redskins’ practice facility for the third regional stop this year on the Elite 11 circuit. Most handled the conditions admirably. However, as they did two weeks ago in Dallas, the coaches declined to hand out that golden ticket to the finals.

Mitch Sherman of RecruitingNation attended the event. Here’s what he learned:

East Coast QBs impress

A year after the states of New Jersey and Maryland sent Kevin Olsen and Shane Cockerille to the Elite 11 finals, quarterbacks from the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions again showed their skills on Saturday. Notably, new West Virginia commit William Crest of Baltimore Dunbar and 2015 prospect Brandon Wimbush (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter’s Prep) threw well. “Don’t sleep on us,” Crest said. And no one is, despite the larger number of quarterbacks produced out West, in Texas and the Southeast. A 2016 prospect, Jarrett Guarantano (Oradell, N.J./Bergen Catholic), looked good, as did Stephen Barmore of Southington, Conn., who has been offered by Yale.

Henderson lives up to billing

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Three-star QB decommits from Cowboys 

December, 11, 2012
Three-star quarterback Luke Del Rio (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Valor Christian) confirmed via text message this morning that he has decommitted from Oklahoma State.

A 6-foot-2, 195-pound quarterback, Del Rio originally committed to Oklahoma State at the end of May. Del Rio, the son of Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, was recruited by offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who reportedly has been hired as the new coach at Southern Mississippi. Del Rio did confirm that Monken’s departure was part of the reason for his decommitment, but he added that there were other reasons as well. Monken was on Jack Del Rio's staff when he was head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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