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July 26, 2012
Elite 11: Big Ten has best crop of QBs
The Elite 11 is in the books and the weeklong event was a valuable time to evaluate all 25 quarterbacks in action. It was also a chance to see how conferences could shape up in years to come as these quarterbacks develop into college quarterbacks.
Adam Gorney ranks the leagues by their collective group of future QBs at the Elite 11.
1. Big Ten
Overview: If all five of these quarterbacks stick with their respective commitments, the Big Ten will be loaded for years to come because in one way or another all of them impressed during the Elite 11.
Morris was one of the best players at the event. He has an incredibly strong left arm, zips it all over the field, has a super competitive nature and even though he's hit-or-miss sometimes he has shown more consistency through the summer.
Hackenberg threw too many interceptions at The Opening but looked much more controlled during drills at the Elite 11.
Etling was one of the biggest surprises at the camp and made lots of smart decisions. Barrett has a lot of tools and could be a nice mix of Troy Smith and Braxton Miller for the Buckeyes. Stanton still needs to work on his throwing but he has a great frame and is a perfect dual-threat guy for any program.
Overview: This group was not especially impressive during the Elite 11, but each QB had good moments. Bateman and Jennings were probably the most consistent throughout the week and since they're headed to Alabama and LSU, respectively, that is good news for those powerhouses.
Allen and Ramsey were quietly consistent. Neither did anything to blow away anyone but they did a nice job through the week. Kincade is undersized with a stronger-than-expected arm, although he definitely needs to gain weight. Ferguson has a slender build and struggled because of an injured thumb but impressed because of his toughness.
Overview: Browne has so many special abilities that he could compete for early playing time when he gets to USC. The way Browne is poised, intelligent and savvy - plus his great demeanor on the field - he could be the next big-time quarterback for the Trojans.
Goff has great size and definitely proved he deserves a bump in the rankings. He has a strong arm and is sometimes hit-or-miss but definitely impressed on the national stage.
Williams usually throws a perfect spiral. He's been seen at numerous 7-on-7 events, camps and games, and that's how the ball comes off his hand. Plus, he is a precision passer and usually puts the ball right where it needs to be. The Washington commit continues to show he's a top prospect.
Dobbs is lean and needs to add bulk but he throws a good ball and can be a contributor for the Sun Devils. He might not start immediately because of the depth at ASU but he can play in the Pac-12 for sure.
4. Big 12
Overview: Webb was by far the best quarterback headed to a Big 12 school. He has a live arm, gets the ball where it needs to be and was impressive all week through the drills.
As he did at the Oakland Elite 11, Del Rio made some really nice throws but was also spotty at times. He's a little undersized but that might not make a tremendous difference in Oklahoma State's wide-open offense.
Swoopes and especially Thomas struggled more often than expected. Swoopes, a Texas commit, has a really strong arm but his mechanics need work and he's too inconsistent when he just drops back and throws. His style is not as a drop-back passer so there is still lots of upside for him.
Thomas said he's never taken a snap under center before the Elite 11 and it showed. He struggled, especially throwing the deep ball - a lot of ducks - and was rather inconsistent through the week.
5. Big East
Overview: If there were more future Big East quarterbacks at the Elite 11, this conference might be way higher solely based on Woulard's performance. So many quarterbacks looked similarly good and talented but the USF pledge stood out among them all.
Woulard has an outstanding arm, zipped it better than nearly anyone at the event and, after an early groin injury, impressed every time he was on the field.
Allen made some early impressions and stayed steady throughout the week. He didn't do anything extra special but didn't make many big mistakes, either.
Overview: Olsen had one of the more impressive arms at the Elite 11. He's active in the pocket, does a good job of checking down when needed or making a snap decision to get the ball out to an open receiver. There are times when he's hit-or-miss but usually Olsen makes the right call.
Cockerille is a bull. It looks like he can run over even the toughest linebackers and there were many sessions when he threw a nice ball. The lefty fires it well and could be a nice addition to the Terrapins.
Note: Because Notre Dame has no conference affiliation, Malik Zaire was not included in this breakdown. Neither was Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln's Zack Greenlee, the lone uncommitted quarterback at the event.