NEW YORK - Eleven high school quarterbacks represented Pennsylvania in the Randalls Island ESPN Elite 11 Regional camp on April 29 in New York. The camp invites the best high school quarterbacks in the country to show off their skills, with the top performers moving on to the final Elite 11 event in July.
Sixty-two quarterbacks participated in the event, coming from as far as California and Utah. The group was largely made up of rising seniors, but with a privileged few underclassmen, including two freshmen, sprinkled in.
Participants hailing from Pennsylvania included Timothy DiGiorgio of Frankford, Chris Geiss from Great Valley, Pat Moriarty from Harriton, Bryan Schor of Delaware Valley, Brennan Scott from Manheim Township, Nick Shafnisky from Whitehall, Matthew Voytik from Hickory, Alec Warner of Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg), Austin Wilson from East Pennsboro, Ryan Zapoticky of Dallas, and Joe Viviano of Conestoga.
They labored through various drills to test their throwing strength, accuracy, endurance and footwork in the beginning portion. For the next 45 minutes, the quarterbacks dropped back and showcased their best spirals, tossing to receivers running diverse routes downfield.
Delaware Valley's Schor, entering his senior year, stood out among the group from Pennsylvania. He earned a gold shirt for his standout play in one of the contests.
"I won the accuracy contest," he said. "That was pretty exciting. I got a little recognition from a couple coaches."
Schor and many other competitors don't know where they will attend college. They send in their film tapes and are chosen for Elite 11s competitions, hoping it will help get them noticed by college recruiters.
"I could've done a little better on a couple of balls, but I was excited to be out here, the nerves were going a little bit," Schor added.
Yogi Roth, host of ESPN's Elite 11s quarterback show, is in the midst of a tour searching for the country's most promising prospects. At each regional, one player is chosen to move onto July's final in California. At Randalls Island, Roth wasn't surprised at who was chosen.
"He had all the hype," Roth said about Kevin Olsen, from Wayne Hills, N.J. "For the first time this year on the tour, the quarterback with all the hype absolutely lived up to it."
Olsen enters his final year of high school searching for his third straight state title.
Although Phillip Walker won't be headed to California, Roth said he also stood out. Walker, from Elizabeth, N.J., has ties to Philadelphia through his offer to play at Temple University.
Brennan Scott, also entering his final year of high school, said he thought he showcased some of his strengths in the center of tough competition.
"I'm pretty good at reading defenses and most of the at-the-line checks," Scott said. "There are a lot of good players here, but I think I did alright."
The Elite 11s has existed for 14 years, every year sending new members to compete at the top colleges in the nation. Roth is sure Olsen will be a big name in the Division-I college game soon, joining participants from other regionals who have already been selected.
To finish off the event, six noteworthy quarterbacks stepped on the field to take on the spotlight alone. With the other quarterbacks, crowd, coaches and cameras focusing on them, they each completed a simulated drive downfield, ending the day with a touchdown pass to the back of the end zone.
"When you see an Elite 11 quarterback from 10 years ago like Carson Palmer, and a quarterback from a year ago like Chad Voitik, they meet up and there's an immediate bond," Roth said as the day's participants filed past him off the field. "There's 166 quarterbacks that have been named Elite 11s quarterbacks, and that fraternity is such a unique element."
PLAYER COLLEGE YEAR CURRENT STATUS/ DRAFT POSITION
Rob Bolden Penn State 2009 Sophomore
A.J. McCarron Alabama 2008 Junior
Tom Savage Rutgers, Arizona 2008 Transferred from Arizona, no current team
Andrew Luck Stanford 2007 No. 1 overall pick in 2012 (Colts)
Blaine Gabbert Missouri 2007 First round in 2011 (Jaguars)
Ryan Mallett Michigan, Ark. 2006 Third round in 2012 (Patriots)
Pat Devlin Penn St., Delaware 2005 Undrafted, currently with Dolphins
Josh Freeman Kansas State 2005 First round in 2009 (Buccaneers)
Matthew Stafford Georgia 2005 No. 1 overall pick in 2009 (Lions)
Tim Tebow Florida 2005 First round in 2010 (Broncos)
Jake Locker Washington 2005 First round in 2011 (Titans)
Mark Sanchez Southern Cal 2004 First round in 2009 (Jets)
JaMarcus Russell LSU 2002 No. 1 overall pick in 2007 (Raiders)
Trent Edwards Stanford 2001 Third round in 2007 (Bills)*
Vince Young Texas 2001 First round in 2006 (Titans)
Matt Leinart Southern Cal 2000 First round in 2006 (Cardinals)
* On Eagles roster