This week, I will be going to Malibu, CA to take in the Elite 11 QB camp finals. The camp not only features the top high school QB talent we have to offer, but also top college QBs in counselor roles, a TV crew, and weird recruiting media lurking behind every handicam.
Day two begins at Pepperdine. I tell security I’m here for Elite 11 and they give me a visitor’s pass. It’s not directly stated, but the implication is strong that the security guard is a fan of The Solid Verbal.
I’m not positive I know what’s going on in this picture, but if I had to guess, it was some sort of morning introduction. If you pay close attention, a child is also doing windsprints and ESPN’s Annabel Stephan is chewing somebody out, possibly on one of the six communication devices she’s on at all times. Don’t cross her.
Boise State QB Kellen Moore (middle in white) was there. This is his “I got this one, guys” face. I’m not sure he made any other face today.
Top high school QBs bring the ruckus at the Rokus. Just how they roll.
On your left is Elite 11 coach Matt James. Early on in the day, he was telling players, “When I move, you move…” over and over again. I could only keep myself from singing “JUST LIKE THAT…” for so long.
Trent Dilfer had his own assistant, who walked like him and came complete with shirts featuring below average ESPN catchphrases. This one was a particularly aggressive “C’MON MAN!”
On the right is Gunner Kiel, the nation’s unanimous #1 QB prospect. On the left is Yogi Roth, former Pitt WR, USC assistant, bestselling author, and current Elite 11 coach/Fox Sports analyst. Similarly, the photographer responsible for this shot is a host and writer who listened to most of “Jesse’s Girl” on his drive through Malibu Canyon today.
Here, why doesn’t Florida State QB E.J. Manuel show you how to do it?
You’ll notice the goggles on some of the heads of the QBs — they apparently flicker and strobe to distract the QBs to better simulate game obstructions. Also, and this is according to unproven science theorized by myself and Rivals.com’s Emily Nerland, the glasses result in either legal blindness or the ability to shoot uncontrollable lasers from one’s eyes. It’s an either/or situation.
Lots of skulls wearing football helmets are seen dotting the field. This either implies loving football so much that you wish to be buried in uniform or a prediction that, in the not so distant future, a race of highly trained skeletons will compete for football glory (and be sponsored by Nike).
Coach Dilfer and Mini Dilfer don’t acknowledge ESPNU’s Tom Luginbill as they walk by him. In my own head, I was already picturing an MTV reality show about this moment, but with Dashboard Confessional softly playing in the background while we hear a voiceover that says, “Previously on The Pepp…” DRAMA!
Guess which of the people in the frame are filming and who’s an immovable 5-star OL prospect watching his teammates catch passes. I’m stumped, too.
Trent Dilfer had great things to say about the WRs brought in from Crespi, a local HS football powerhouse of sorts. Not pictured: a 5’4″ receiver who was an absolute terror named “Mike Mike.” Seriously.
Yeah, I’m in your shot, and now I’m in pristine HD for the world to see. Take that, Year of the Quarterback.
I don’t know where your eyes are instantly drawn, but note CBS’s Bryan Fischer (far left in the hat) waiting like a hungry lion to go interview QB prospects.
The XOS video team setting up the afternoon film session. I was lucky enough to sit in and learn the following things:
1. I know very little about Xs and Os.
2. I’m okay with knowing very little about Xs and Os.
3. Everyone else, including discussion leader Trent Dilfer, knew what they were talking about.
4. Former Jets QB Ken O’Brien is one of the coaches at the camp and he was drafted in 1983. Related: I can’t imagine that any of the parents of these QBs knew each other in 1983.
5. I promise I’ll never ever throw with my front foot under my hips. I swear.
6. Cramps are the silent killer of QB prospects. Unless the QB squeals a little when it happens in the middle of a film session, then it’s not so silent.
7. These prospects are incredibly intelligent as they watch and react to film and playbook installation.
8. The answer to a question from Kellen Moore about a back shoulder pass was, (paraphrasing) “Yes Kellen, you can make that throw, but these guys? Not yet.”
9. Trent Dilfer hates the shotgun. A lot.
10. Jameis Winston, a prospect from Alabama, took home the honorary red XOS jersey, an honor given to the top performer of the film session. The voting process seemed inexact.
My brain could take no more, so I begrudgingly made my way outside to this. Let’s hope I make it back tomorrow.
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