T-minus five days until the kickoff of the 2021 Elite 11 Finals.
Last year’s Elite 11 Finals took place at Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, Tenn., and not Los Angeles, the usual home, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But fear not, the camp for the most elite QB prospects in high school football that includes NFL alumni like Mac Jones, Trevor Lawrence, and Justin Fields, will return to Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach from June 30 to July 3.
The number of participants changes depending on the year, but the 2021 class will feature 20 QBs from the Class of 2022.
Six athletes punched their ticket to the Elite 11 Finals at either the Dallas or Houston regional, making Texas the state to send the largest group of QBs to Manhattan Beach next Wednesday.
Let’s introduce you to the finalists from the Dallas regional first; I’ll talk about Houston on Monday.
High School: Southlake Carroll (Texas)
Weight: 206 lbs
College Commitment: Ohio St.
At the Dallas regional, Quinn Ewers simply stole the show.
“People write about [Ewers] as the No. 1 guy and his arm talent is a reason,” said Brian Stumpf, who oversees the Elite 11 regional tour.
Ewers’ release looks like nothing I’ve seen before. It’s not hyperbole to say his arm strength at this stage of his career may be better than a handful of current NFL starters.
Check out this cool side-by-side comparison of Ewers’ and Mahomes’ throwing motion:
Every major recruiting service from ESPN to 247 Sports ranks Ewers as the No. 1 QB prospect in the Class of 2022, so yes he’s the odd-on favorite to be named Elite 11 Finals MVP by the conclusion of camp.
Kudos to Ryan Day for establishing a pipeline of talented signal-callers in Columbus. Dwayne Haskins Jr. and Justin Fields left after three years in college to become first-round picks in the NFL Draft.
And once he arrives on campus, Ewers will have to compete with 2019 Elite 11 Finals MVP CJ Stroud to be the starting QB for Ohio State.
High School: Austin Westlake (Texas)
Weight: 186 lbs
College Commitment: Clemson
Klubnik and Ewers faced off in the Texas 6A D1 State Championship Game at AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys) this past January.
Austin Westlake beat Southlake Carroll 52-34.
Ewers racked up 351 yards passing and 3 touchdowns, completing 23 of his 39 attempts. But, he committed two turnovers. Klubnik finished the game 18-of-20 for 220 yards passing and a touchdown in addition to 97 yards rushing on 17 carries.
“When you have a quarterback as accurate as [Klubnik] and can really run when he’s in the open field, he may be the fastest guy on the field,” said Southlake Carroll coach Riley Dodge via the Austin American-Statesman. “That ain’t fun when the fastest guy on the field is touching the ball 100% of the time.”
In other words, one of the storylines for next week will be the competition that arises out of the Ewers-Klubnik reunion.
High School: Flower Mound High School (Texas)
Weight: 188 lbs
College Commitment: Florida
At this point, Evers is a one-year starter albeit productive, so I’m really excited to see where he is in terms of his development six months from now.
I’m surprised he committed to Florida in early March because 247 Sports reports Auburn and Ole Miss as the only other schools in the SEC to have made scholarship offers too.
Evers looks like one of those athletes whose recruiting stock may blow up after a strong camp at the Elite 11 Finals next week and another full season as the starting QB for Flower Mound.
High School: Pinson Valley (Ala.)
Weight: 215 lbs
College Commitment: Baylor
When I wrote about the finalists from the Los Angeles and Nashville regionals yesterday, I mistakenly left out my thoughts about Zach Pyron.
I love what I see, especially the ability to roll out and throw across his body:
Pyron committed to Baylor in early March too. According to 247 Sports, Kansas State appears to be the only other Power Five school to offer Pyron a scholarship.
Add him to the list along with Evers as another prospect whose recruiting profile may benefit tremendously from a strong performance at the Elite 11 Finals.
If Pyron looks the part side-by-side with prospects like Ewers and Clubnik, more big-brand programs will make a run to flip his commitment.
As the only finalist from the state of Alabama, it’s ironic how Pyron earned his invite at the same regional as Alabama commit Ty Simpson.
“[Simpson] was the one who I knew was probably the best one there, so I was looking to try to compete against him to show I could compete with some of the best quarterbacks in the nation,” Pyron said via AL.com.