On Monday, I decided make the journey to Malibu, CA to watch tomorrow’s quarterback stars today (!) at the Elite 11 finals, a high school QB camp brought to you by ESPN RISE and Nike. And I figured that while I was there, I’d pay attention to the goings-on and then write about it. The below is everything I saw (next time I’ll pay closer attention):
• It’s very difficult remembering that humans that are 6’3″, 215 lbs, and are in perfect physical condition can also be 16 years old and impressed by the mere presence of Gatorade.
• After watching a number of the quarterborgs hit receiver after receiver, I’ve decided that recruiting “experts” are either full of shit or brilliant. There’s very little difference between a lot of these guys, no matter what you read.
• Watching reporters interview prospects in person is much weirder than watching it on a computer screen.
• The XOS videographers on hand filming for study sessions had walkie-talkies and S.W.A.T-style nicknames for each other. At one point, I overheard, “Little bird, little bird, come in little bird…”
I’m positive it was irony-free.
• The moment of truth for any sportswriter covering a high school camp is the moment an errant ball ends up at his or her feet and they must throw it back. Today, an editor at one of the major recruiting sites let down his network. And America.
• This year, the competition includes a 7on7 competition, complete with a playbook. And to be clear, Coach Trent Dilfer “WROTE THE DANG THING.”
• A number of local football players were brought in to serve as guinea pigs and run routes. I think Oregon commit Jake Rodrigues broke seven of their hands and cracked nine of their ribs. Another three were reportedly airlifted out.
• Elite 11 coach and current Fox Sports analyst Yogi Roth has an unacceptably high level of energy. He may be powering Pepperdine on a mouse wheel as we speak.
• I wasn’t wearing a compression shirt, and thus, I was in the vast, vast minority.
• Don’t let sportswriters fool you — yes, Pepperdine’s view overlooking the ocean is the best college view there is, but there’s nothing to do at night in Malibu unless you’re rolling deep with Teague Egan.
• When QBs go up against each other in an accuracy competition drilling footballs through hoops, it’s essentially impossible not to make one joke about intercourse. Related — I may have been the most immature person on a field of people most of whom unable to legally see R-rated movies.
• None of the present college QBs (Kellen Moore, EJ Manuel, Kirk Cousins, etc) asked also-present Brandon Weeden to rent a car for them. Disappointing.
• There’s absolutely no truth to the rumor that tonight’s itinerary includes a ghost story covering the Legend of Cody Hawkins.
• The event was being filmed by ESPN for a “Year of the Quarterback” special, to be aired in early August. And yes, apparently you will find out if your team’s future QB enjoys bacon with his Count Chocula in the morning.
• Tom Luginbill was there and appeared to be on the verge of boarding a yacht at any moment. More specifically, a yacht filled with recruiting tapes and a sustainable amount of hair product.
(Proof: Look at this hint)
• At its core, the camp itself is seriously just an elaborate summer camp. An elaborate summer camp with Counselor Dilfer reminding you that he WROTE THE DANG THING.
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