I had the absolute honor of attending the Nashville Elite 11 regional camp earlier this May. Some of the best signal-callers the country has to offer were on hand to compete and show off their talents!
Avery Johnson – Kansas is certainly not a hotbed for high school football, but recently we have seen some high-level prospects. In 2021, Devin Neal was a 2-sport star who was a 3-star RB and committed to playing football and baseball at Kansas. He wowed on tape, and it translated, as he went on to produce 764 total yards and nine touchdowns as a true freshman.
Johnson stars both on the gridiron and hardwood, taking Maize High School to the state finals in both sports. He will play QB at the next level, and there is a lot to be excited about. It’s easy to dream of extreme dual-threat upside with over 2,500 passing yards and 1,000 rushing as a junior.
Johnson oozes athleticism, whether you watch his basketball or football tape. One thing I was looking for at the regional was how he’d look inside structure during passing drills. Obviously, the Elite 11 camp setting is not where players can shine with off-script magic. Johnson was on point all day, displaying touch, accuracy, and velocity.
I was impressed with his poise and footwork. He’s definitely worked on adding traditional QB skills in addition to his exciting ability to extend plays and improvise. This event solidified Johnson as one of the highest upside QBs in the class, and I wasn’t the only one who took notice. The 4-star prospect earned an Elite 11 Finals invite as a result of his showing.
Other noteworthy performances
Nico Iamaleava – While he certainly flashed that arm talent that makes him a top 3 QB in the country, Iamaleava had an inconsistent day. He made some difficult throws look easy such as the corner route below, but would often miss high on some routine passes. Some of the coaching staff had choice words for the stud QB, which he responded well to and did make some corrections. Given Iamaleava’s high ranking, I would have liked to see him at 100%. But it was hot and it may have just been an off day.
Brock Glenn – Glenn was pinpoint all day. As a junior, he put up some excellent numbers, completing 62% of his passes with a strong 10 yds/attempt earning him a 3-star rating from on3. SEC offers have come rolling in of late. After punching his ticket to the Finals, look for Glenn’s stock to rise.
Ethan Crawford – I was not very familiar with Crawford heading into the event, but that’s the great thing about attending in person. The dual-threat prospect showed considerable zip on his throws, consistently firing tight spirals into small windows. He currently holds a 3-star rating for on3, but that’s probably too low. A stocky 6′ and nearly 200 pounds, Crawford has a lot of potential to be a difference-maker on the ground and through the air in the right system.
Marcel Reed – Ole Miss commit Reed was very good at the event. He’ll need to hit the cafeteria and weight room in Oxford but there’s little doubt his 4-star rating is warranted and he showed it in Nashville.
Steele Wasel – Every time I looked up, Wasel was delivering a dime. Eventually, I commented this to one of the other onlookers and we both agreed he was really popping every rep. Unranked on 247Sports, but a 3-star on on3, he’s currently committed to Akron but recently picked up offers from Memphis and Arkansas State. His tape out of Choctaw HS in Oklahoma is ripe with slick throws to all parts of the field. He is athletic enough to scramble and extend plays but he’s a pass-first quarterback. I think this year will see Wasel become a much hotter name on the recruiting trail.
Cedric Simmons – The sophomore stats tell you all you need to know about Simmons’ ability: 67% completion, about 10 yards/attempt, and nearly 1,000 rushing yards. I thought in person his throwing motion was compact and produced sharp passes. At this time he’s unranked on the major services but there is absolutely reason to keep an eye on Simmons over the next cycle.
2024 Ones to Watch
CJ Carr – Already one of the top rising juniors, Carr has football in his blood as the grandson of five-time Big Ten and National Champion head coach Lloyd Carr. As you can imagine, he is very polished for his age, throwing an extremely catchable ball time after time. On3 has him as a top 5 QB for 2024 and I can’t see this changing.
Walker White – A personal favorite, I was excited to check out White in person. A top 20 QB in the country per on3, White shows an exciting combination of arm talent and athleticism. Sporting a massive 6’3″, 220 pound frame, he was already one of the most physically imposing QBs at the camp. He has a very strong arm and displayed easy touch as well. In a recent interview with campus2canton, he said he wants to model his game after Buffalo’s Josh Allen. That’s a lofty goal, but White definitely has the tools to get there.
Danny O’Neil – When you have a 33-2 TD-INT ratio and lead your team to a state championship as a sophomore, people are going to notice. That’s exactly what O’Neil accomplished in 2021. The 3-star prospect looks to have a strong arm that can make many of the throws needed to succeed at the next level. With three new offers since the Elite 11 (Kentucky, Louisville, Indiana), he will have some tough decisions to make as colleges get wind of his potential.
Aaron Philo – Philo is the successor to former 5-star Brock Vandagriff at Prince Avenue Christian School in Georgia. All he did as a sophomore was throw for more yards and touchdowns while completing more passes than Vandagriff did as a senior. He also looked good in person with a strong, accurate arm. He is going to put up obscene numbers for the next two years and his status as a recruit will only grow.