Woody's World: Thoughts on Day 1 of Elite 11
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- After an extended shutdown that scrapped most spring evaluation events, athletes from across the country are returning to the field to make up for lost time. That was the case on Monday in the Nashville area, where many of the nation's top quarterbacks gathered to compete in the annual Elite 11 event, which will be held over three days. Here are some thoughts on the first day of action.
DAY ONE RANKINGS
It was really hard to get a good feel for each prospect, especially because for most of the night everyone was split into three different groups and a lot of time was devoted to teaching from the event's coaches. But people love rankings and I'm here to give the people what they want. So here is my Top 11 after the first day, with the caveat that more stock will probably be put into what happens on Days 2 and 3.
1. Ty Thompson (Oregon commit) -- Thompson was sharp from start to finish and I didn't see him miss a throw. He also looked good on the hoof and appears to have bulked up a little bit since the last time I saw him back in February.
2. Caleb Williams (undecided) -- The nation's top quarterback didn't disappoint as he was consistent and showed his excellent arm, especially when pushing it down the field. He also came up just short on winning the "Rail Shot" competition.
6. Miller Moss (USC commit) -- The Trojans commit didn't flash very much, but he also didn't stand out for poor throws, like some of his fellow competitors. He throws a very catchable ball and did a nice job of putting it on the money most of the night.
7. Behren Morton (Texas Tech commit) -- Morton is a guy I have never seen live before and he really caught my eye with his arm strength down the field. I only noticed one inaccurate ball and that came on a rollout drill.
8. Maddox Kopp (undecided) -- Kopp gets bumped up a few notches here because of how well he performed in the clutch during the Rail Shot competition, which he won after a battle with Williams. He's another prospect I haven't seen live before and his ability to fire the ball with velocity and accuracy was impressive.
9. Luke Altmyer (Florida State commit) -- Altmyer was a late replacement but he came ready to perform and didn't disappoint. He was a good early get for the Seminoles but he also showed why they have such a fight on their hands to keep him. He gets the ball out quickly and delivers accurate passes.
10. Carlos Del Rio (Florida commit) -- While he's not the tallest prospect (and nowhere near the shortest), Del Rio really has the most college-ready frame in terms of size. It's clear Del Rio has been working on his game since the last time I saw him and he looked very comfortable and up to the challenge of the big stage.
11. Kyle McCord (Ohio State commit) -- This was probably the toughest spot to fill on the list as the bottom half of the group could really all go together. McCord did impress with his arm but was inconsistent.
OHIO STATE'S JUSTIN FIELDS IS A CUT ABOVE OTHER COUNSELORS
Also on hand at the event were four big-name college players who are also serving as counselors this week, Justin Fields (Ohio State), K.J. Costello (Mississippi State), Jamie Newman (Georgia) and Trey Lance (North Dakota State). All four took part in the workouts and it was clear that Fields was the most impressive. if I were to rank them in order based on their showings I would have:
I know Lance is getting a lot of buzz as a potential first round pick, but he struggled quite a bit, especially at the end in the Rail Shot competition. Obviously the counselors aren't being graded like the prospects competing, but it was fun to see Fields take things seriously and impress. He also took a few reps at wide receiver and was also impressive there.
QUALITY RECEIVERS LACKING
Because the event isn't tied to any other events with position players, the superstar quarterbacks were throwing to mostly no-name local prospects. That raised a bit of an issue because when you have an elite quarterback firing the ball in and your'e not used to it, it can lead to a lot of drops. That was the case on Monday night as several nice throws were dropped on the receiving end.
* Not that size really matters when it comes to quarterbacks anymore, but I was surprised how small Tennessee commit Kaidon Salter looked compared to some of the other prospects. Clearly it has no impact on his arm strength but it's interesting to see the Vols recruit a totally different type of quarterback than last year's five-star signee, Harrison Bailey, who was one of the biggest quarterbacks in his class.
* Florida prospect Jay Allen is the only unranked prospect competing in the event and he did have his share of struggles on the first day. It's understandable that Allen, who is committed to Florida to play baseball, will take some time to get up to speed. Several schools, including Miami, are monitoring Allen and it wouldn't be surprising to see him improve his performance now that he knows what to expect.
* One guy I was surprised to see struggle was Notre Dame commit Tyler Buchner. He seemed to be throwing with a bit of a side arm delivery, something I don't remember from the last time I saw him back in February. One of the nation's top quarterbacks, Buchner will be in the spotlight to see if he can bounce back on Day 2.
* Most of the quarterbacks that struggled had similar issues and it had mostly to do with nerves. It was clear some of the prospects were aiming the ball or even taking a lot of speed off it to make sure it was accurate. I expect everyone to be a lot more comfortable in the next two days.