Elite 11: Top Five Quarterbacks

By Jeremy Birmingham on June 1, 2013 at 10:23p
Norv Turner watches Brandon Harris

There were storm clouds looming, but the threat of rain didn't stop many of the nation's top prep quarterbacks from shining today in Columbus. 

With more than a hundred quarterbacks on hand, it was a challenge to find the five or six best, but Eleven Warriors was in the house and we're going to attempt to breakdown the best performers from the Elite 11 Quarterback competition at Ohio State. 

Myself and Miles were both in attendance to try and get as comprehensive as we could, but the two of us, like nearly every other media member in attendance had a difficult time taking their eyes off of one key Buckeye target, Bossier City (La.) star Brandon Harris. As good as Harris was, it was Central Catholic (Toledo, OH) quarterback DeShone Kizer who took home the biggest prize of the day, the invitation to the Elite 11's final camp at the end of June in Eugene, Oregon.

Here's the way we saw things today in Columbus.

Miles and I were in agreement that there were four standouts, guys that both of us included in our "Top Five," and most of the other people in attendance seemed to concur, there were some guys who just were better than the others in the camp. 

Our Top Five
No. Jeremy Birmingham Miles Joseph
1 Brandon Harris - Bossier City, Louisiana Brandon Harris - Bossier City, Louisiana
2 Drew Barker - Hebron, Kentucky DeShone Kizer - Toledo, Ohio
3 DeShone Kizer - Toledo, Ohio Drew Barker - Hebron, Kentucky
4 Caleb Henderson - Alexandria, Virginia Caleb Henderson - Alexandria, Virginia
5 Darius Wade - Middletown, Delaware A.J. Long - Lebanon, Tennessee

Brandon Harris

Jeremy: Simply put, Harris is a very special athletic talent. He's got protoypical size and speed to go along with a quick release and an absolute cannon for a right arm. Inconsistent with his accuracy early, Harris found his touch as the afternoon progressed. He was able to make every throw, but it was obvious that when it came time to reel it in a little his accuracy wasn't as good. He's a major talent with major upside and mechanically sound. He threw it well on the run and got better in the pocket later in the day. During the event's final drill, the "pressure cooker," he was dynamite. A full field, two-minute offense style of drill, Harris was on the money with every throw but his last, even if his receivers were unable to make the grab.

Miles: Harris was the most consistent quarterback in attendance. Showed off his strong arm and had no issues completing passes with the wind blowing hard. He also showed the ability to accurately complete passes while throwing on the run.

DeShone Kizer

Deshone Kizer looks on at the Elite 11Deshone Kizer was very impressive later in the day.

Miles: Kizer had a rough start to the day as he was hit and miss for the first part of the camp. However he vastly improved as the day progressed eventually winning the "Golden Ticket" and an invitation to the Elite 11 final. He is very good at throwing on the run, but needs work on throwing from the pocket.

Jeremy: Kizer is everything you'd want in a quarterback, when he's throwing the ball well. He's got the ideal size, good mobility, excellent arm strength and on top of that the kid is a flat out, no bones about it winner and competitor. He's a team leader and exhibits excellent field awareness. The issue with Kizer is consistency, plain and simple. One scout I talked to said his first note on Kizer for the day was "can not throw," a shocking indictment on a player who has worked very hard to improve his game. By the end of the day, that work paid off and Kizer really stood out. He made every throw on the move, but as Miles noted, his footwork in the pocket leads to some issues with his accuracy. Get that under control and someone - maybe Ohio State if they decide to offer soon - is going to get a steal.

Drew Barker

Jeremy: I've long been an unapologetic Barker fan, and he did not disappoint today. The improvements in his game over the last year throwing the intermediate passes was very noticeable and he's growing into his frame. He's always a favorite of the other kids he's around and that was the case again today. Barker's biggest asset – his will to win – can not be adequately measured in an event like this, but he was very competitive today as always. His arm strength is still not where it could be for a player of his size, but he's working hard and improving and will be a very good player at Kentucky.

Miles: Drew Barker had a very good day. Like Harris, he was very consistent and showed a great competitive spirit. He was very good making throws from the pocket, but needs a little work when it comes to throwing on the run.

Caleb Henderson

Miles: Henderson was probably the best pro-style quarterback in attendance. In my opinion he was the best in the pocket, but needs some work throwing in the run. He has a very strong arm which helped him greatly today because of the wind.

Jeremy: I watched Henderson last year as he camped at Ohio State, trying to earn a Buckeye offer and was impressed by his size and mechanics. He's a big kid, built like an ox, but I thought he might be a bit too big, but that was not the case this year. He's clearly been working very hard to get fit and it's doing well to help his endurance. Last year's camp saw him tire towards the finish line, but was still going strong today. A North Carolina commitment, Henderson will do well in an offense that allows him to drop back, scan the field and make the right read. He's smart, big and skilled.

While we agreed on the top four, Miles and I each had a different fifth. In my opinion, Darius Wade, a Boston College commitment was very impressive. He's bigger than I thought he'd be and threw very well out of the pocket rolling right or left. Big bodied and an incredibly smart player, Wade is a steal for Boston College. 

Miles was impressed by Syracuse commitment A.J Long who showed excellent arm strength and ability to keep his eyes up the field while on the move. Long has a nice, clean release and could develop nicely for the Orange.


Comments Show All Comments

tdible2132's picture

Thanks for the info!  Sounds like it was a good camp with some really good prospects.  Also, the wind must have made it really tough on guys to be accurate.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Enjoyed every word and will reread this.  Thanks 

Read my entire screen name....

tdible2132's picture

The 11W Community Applaudes you both for your hard work and dedication!

weimerad's picture

Did Harris get the golden ticket to move on?

tdible2132's picture

No Kizer got the golden ticket.

tdible2132's picture

Elite 11 has been announcing the at large bids throughout the evening, and they are currently down to 9 players left for 4 spots.  Brandon Harris has yet to get an invite.  I hope he gets one of the last 4, as I believe he deserves it.

buckatron32's picture

Jeremy or Miles, can you touch on why Kizer got the golden ticket instead of Harris? Just wandering, as it seemed like most in attendance thought Harris was the best quarterback there including the two of you. Thanks and great job on the summary. 

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Kizer is a very coachable kid, eager to improve, I think that goes a long way in a case like this. He improved a lot over the course of the day.


buckatron32's picture

Thanks Jeremy, I thought it might be something like that. Is Dilfer the guy that decides? He really seems to care about stuff like that. I remember when Sanchez was coming out of USC and raved about him. One quote was something along the lines that if he and the other quarterbacks went out he would be given the keys for the end of the night. I think he was referring to his leadership but he should have been referring to how he is a terrible quarterback and should be their limo driver. 

Becool12's picture

Do you think OSU did right by only offering Harris and not the others?

gumtape's picture

The one that recruiting urchins like me are wondering about is obviously Barker, A guy who seemed interested early but never received an offer. Don't forgot we also have offers out to Allen, Darlington, and Watson.
I trust that Hermann probably knows more about playing quarterback in his appendix than any of us (maybe except for Ross), which includes figuring out which kid he wants to drive the Ferrari to the store.
With Barrett almost certainly redshirting, a top-flite QB is not a must get for this class. It starts and ends with the offensive line.
Kenny Guiton was a last minute what the heck prospect who has turned out as well as we could hope. He should have gotten his chance two years ago against nebraska after Miller got hurt and Bauserman, ugh, let me get this bad taste out of my throat.
Once again I am amazed that 11w is able to put out such quality for free on a Saturday night.
BTW, college coaches are prohibited from attending unless their son happens to be participating in the event like Les Miles.

High and tight boo boo

Becool12's picture

I know the coaches aren't allowed to attend but I know they have eyes everywhere, including recruits. I know Herman and Pantoni follow Jeremy on twitter, so they also could have gotten updates from there. 
Barker was the quarterback I was most referring to. I really wanted Barker in this class because he was a top prospect who openly admitted he wanted to be in and stalled his recruitment for an offer from us. He is a big body and can run in between the tackles like Tebow. I think when the playoff game that Herman saw last year left a negative imprint in his mind.

biggy84's picture

How do these kids get to all these camps? Do they have to pay for their own trip?

Becool12's picture

Yup. They usually try to carpool and hitch rides with each other or coaches

m5987usus's picture

Jeremy what is going on with Raekwon McMillan?


45buckshot's picture

I'm still hoping for a Kizer offer; if this is not a must get year then why not take a chance on an Ohio kid with some upside? Like you mention, he's a better recruit than Kenny Guiton, and look how that turned out for us. I have a suspicion we're going to regret letting someone like Malik Zaire go last year more than someone out of state like Barker.
I just found Kizers top 5 on 247 and it says Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, ND, and tOSU and that a decision might be coming soon...

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton

Patriot4098's picture

I can only trust Meyer at this point. I get why Brandon Harris is so coveted, by still not sure why Kizer hasn't been offered. Especially after today.

"Evil shenanigans!"     - Mac

yrro's picture

Yeah. If you've got two guys who are pretty close in talent, I'd much rather take the local kid.

Poison nuts's picture

So, Jeremy - after today, do you personally think Kizer should get an OSU offer? Just wondering what your perspective is...I understand if you're unable to answer this question based on relationships you have with the recruits, but hopefully you're willing to give you're opinion on whether you see him as deserving the offer for QB at OSU....

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

steensn's picture

I think the coaches only take one this year.
- I think Braxton stays for his senior year, he's not going to be NFL ready after this year.
- Well have Cardale Jones and JT Barrett to fight it out with whoever we get this year for the starting spot who would all have at least a redshirt year under their belt.
- That doesn't even take into account whoever we get for the 2015 class who'd be a freshman.
That would give us 4 scholly QBs if no one leaves. For everyone pointing to Guiton, he was a last minute add because we missed out on our top QB prospects that year. It's not like he was a second QB grab or anything. It seems there are better guys out there, not that I wouldn't love to get him, but we don't have the numbers in this class for 2 QBs unless one transfers.

Geraffi's picture

That "cannon" clip of Harris is impressive.  Ball gets there in a hurry and dead on, not like Pryor's rolling throws that hit his receivers in the cleats. 

WildMan Leather and Lace's picture

Love the photo with Norv and Chud in the background.  Those guys eat and drink football and are always scouting for the future.  Go Brownies!