The Opening: Elite 11 Finals Preview

Four of the 18 Elite 11 selections

A look at the 18 quarterbacks headed to the Elite 11 Finals in Beaverton as part of The Opening...

For the second straight year, the Elite 11 Finals are a part of The Opening, with 18 quarterbacks invited over the course of the spring to the Finals in Beaverton, Oregon at the Nike World Headquarters.

Of the 18 quarterbacks invited to the Elite 11 Finals, half of them come from the West, with nine quarterbacks earning invitations.

Here are the 18 quarterbacks that have been invited to the Elite 11 Finals and The Opening.



Alex Malzone, 6-2, 200, Bloomfield (Mich.) Brother Rice
Ranking: #184 Overall, #9 QB, Committed to Michigan

Malzone earned his invitation to Beaverton after a great showing at the Columbus Elite 11.  He has the arm to make all the throws and has good velocity on his passes, shows excellent timing and is very accurate. He has the ability to make tough throws into coverage and has great touch down the field. Shows calm under pressure and lead several late game winning drives and has been in big game situations.



Ben Hicks, 6-2, 200, Waco (Texas) Midway
Ranking: #51 QB, Committed to Houston

Hicks could be the sleeper of the event as he enters it as the only three-star rated recruit from the region. he has a good arm, release and accuracy. His combination of skills should have him poised for a solid showing. Attended multiple Elite 11 stops.



Blake Barnett, 6-4, 200, Corona (Calif.) Santiago
Ranking: #130 Overall, #7 QB, Committed to Alabama

Barnett committed to Notre Dame back in November then opened things up in June. While Oregon courted him, an unofficial visit to Alabama swung the momentum the Tide's way and Barnett picked Alabama. One of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country, Barnett was the first player in the country to earn an invitation to The Opening and the Elite 11 Finals after winning MVP honors at the Los Angeles Elite 11 Regional in January.



Brady White, 6-2, 180, Newhall (Calif.) Hart
Ranking: #161 Overall, #8 QB, Committed to Arizona State

In it's long history of top quarterbacks, White is actually the first quarterback from Hart ever invited to the Elite 11 Finals. White was good at the Los Angeles Elite 11 and NFTC but it was in Oakland at the Elite 11 regional there that White landed the coveted and elusive invitation for a Hart quarterback.



Brandon Wimbush, 6-2, 215, Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep
Ranking: #191 Overall, #11 QB, Committed to Penn State

Wimbush was the top quarterback at the NJ/NY NFTC and earned his spot in the Elite 11 Finals there. Wimbush has a big-time arm and showed it his junior season, which was his first as a starter. He has huge hands and spins he ball well, can throw the 15-yard out on a line and also shows good tough on passes over the linebackers and throws a nice deep ball. He is also a threat running and can make defenders miss..



Brian Lewerke, 6-3, 190, Phoenix (Ariz.) Pinnacle
Ranking: #42 QB, Committed to Michigan State

Lewerke did a number of events this spring, the Los Angeles Elite 11 and NFTC and then the Oakland NFTC and it was in the Bay Area that the future Michigan State Spartan earned his invitation. Lewerke is the first quarterback commit to Mark Dantonio to make it to the Elite 11 Finals and is the third Arizona quarterback in the past two years invited.



DeAndre Johnson, 6-1, 177, Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast
Ranking: #26 QB, Committed to Florida State

Johnson was stellar at the Orlando NFTC and carried that throughout the rest of spring and early summer, with great performances at the MVP Camp and the IMG 7v7. One of the first selected to the Elite 11, Johnson is a commit to Florida State.



Deondre Francois, 6-2, 185, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy
Ranking: #232 Overall, #15 QB, Considering Auburn, Ohio State, Florida State, Notre Dame

Francois has emerged as the top true quarterback prospect from the state of Florida. He has good size and excellent athletic ability. While he's a true dual-threat quarterback because of his running ability there's no question that Francois is a pocket first quarterback. He possesses a good arm and sometimes that's a detriment, as he needs to learn to throw at different speeds. Francois makes good decisions, sees the field and is a leader. Earned invitation after the Orlando NFTC.



Drew Lock, 6-4, 175, Lee's Summit (Mo.)
Ranking: #192 Overall, #12 QB, Committed to Missouri

Lock is one of the players who we are looking forward to seeing the most. He is an excellent basketball player in addition to be a star quarterback. An interesting blend of skills at the position to go with great size and strength. Was the lone invitee from the Chicago NFTC.



Jarrett Stidham, 6-4, 190, Stephenville (Texas)
Ranking: #33 Overall, #4 QB, Committed to Texas Tech

Stidham comes in off of winning the Most Valuable Player honors at the Elite 11 regional stop at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. He is one who responds well to being challenged and pushed, so he could really rise to the challenge. Big arm with the ability to make all the throws.



Josh Rosen, 6-4, 205, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
Ranking: #13 Overall, #1 QB, Committed to UCLA

The nation's No. 1 quarterback, Rosen earned his spot after winning QB MVP honors at the Los Angeles NFTC, a year after being the top underclassmen at the Los Angeles NFTC and the San Francisco Elite 11. The future UCLA quarterback also made St. John Bosco the only West Coast school to have a player in The Opening in each of its four years.



Kyler Murray, 5-11, 190, Allen (Texas)
Ranking: #39 Overall, #5 QB, Committed to Texas A&M

Murray enters as one of the players on the radar from the Midlands to be in the running to win overall MVP. He makes very quick reads and is able to drop the ball in on a dime at times. Has solid 7v7 experience and should star in that format. The Texas A&M commit locked up his spot after a good showing at the Dallas Elite 11.

Ricky Town, 6-4, 210, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
Ranking: #21 Overall, #3 QB, Committed to USC

Town is one of the premier quarterbacks in the country but had an up-and-down spring dealing with a knee injury. Still, Town appeared at most every camp asked and on the heels of his showing at the Oregon NFTC, earned a spot in the Elite 11 Finals. He's one of two USC commits going to The Opening.



Ross Bowers, 6-2, 185, Bothell (Wash.)
Ranking: #58 QB, Considering California and Colorado State

Bowers diligently did a number of Elite 11s and NFTCs, going to Los Angeles in January and also having a good showing at the Oakland Elite 11. But it was in Oregon where he punched his ticket, earning QB MVP honors at the Oregon NFTC and spot in the Elite 11 Finals and The Opening.  He will announce his decision at The Opening


Ryan Brand, 5-10, 190, Detroit (Mich.) University of Detroit Jesuit
Committed to Air Force

One of the true underdogs in the field, Brand committed to Air Force this week, and is the first-ever Air Force commit ever selected to The Opening or the Elite 11 Finals. He was in the final four at the Chicago NFTC and landed the 17th invitation to The Opening.


Sam Darnold, 6-4, 210, San Clemente (Calif.)
Ranking: #29 QB, Considering Duke, Northwestern, Stanford, Tennessee, USC and Utah

Every year there is a player that shoots up the charts in the spring after good showings at a number of camps and showcases. Darnold fits that bill for the 2014 spring. Despite just playing three games last year for the Tritons, he's had a tremendous spring, doing well at the Los Angeles NFTC before earning his spot in the Elite 11 Finals at the Oakland Elite 11. He's the second San Clemente quarterback to make it to the Elite 11 Finals, following Travis Wilson (2011).



Sheriron Jones, 6-2, 185, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde
Ranking: #230 Overall, #14 QB, Committed to Florida

Jones had to wait a little longer for his invitation to the Elite 11 Finals, but after performing well at the Los Angeles Elite 11 and NFTC and then the Oakland Elite 11, he was worthy of the invitation. Another top dual-threat prospect from the West, the future Florida Gator makes it two years in a row a Florida quarterback commit was invited (following Will Grier last summer).



Travis Waller, 6-4.5, 185, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite
Ranking: #100 Overall, #6 QB, Committed to Oregon

Waller has really emerged as a top dual-threat quarterback prospect this spring and his performance at the Oakland Elite 11, coming on the heels of a stellar showing at the Los Angeles NFTC got him his spot in the Elite 11 Finals and The Opening. Waller committed to the Ducks at the beginning of July.



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