April 5, 2009

TCU Elite 11 brings out stars and sleepers

FORT WORTH, Texas - At the Elite 11 Regional Workout on the campus of TCU, some of the top quarterbacks in the midland region convened to compete with each other in the most prestigious quarterback camp in the nation. The group consisted of several prospects already committed and a few sleepers that may have significantly helped their chances for the opportunity to commit themselves.

Leading the committed prospects were two future signal callers for Texas A&M, Jamiell Showers and Matt Joeckel. Both prospects had strong afternoons. Showers showed nice touch and good accuracy on the day while Joeckel showed a good arm and a big frame to work with. The two should have some good battles in College Station for the quarterback job.

Oklahoma State commit Johnny Deaton had a good afternoon as well. Deaton had one of the quickest releases at the event, has good athleticism and at around 6-foot-3 has good size as well. Despite some inconsistencies spinning the ball at times, Deaton had one of the better days at the event and was a pleasant surprise.

"I think it went pretty well," Deaton said of the afternoon. "It's been a while since I got my footwork going again so it was a little rusty but overall I think it went pretty well. I've been throwing for probably about two weeks and we've been working out and stuff but I just now started recently throwing so I'll get it down."

As Oklahoma State's first 2010 commitment, the Cowboy coaching staff won't have to sweat out Deaton's signature next February. The dual-threat prospect hopes to enroll early and is already actively preparing for his time in Stillwater.

"I've already made a few trips to make their quarterback meetings and stuff so I'm trying to make frequent visits to start learning stuff there also," he said.

Missouri also had a commit in attendance that was one of the day's top performers. James Franklin out of Corinth (Texas) Lake Dallas is very well put-together at around 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds and he showed some terrific ability throwing the ball. He is an athletic quarterback but on Saturday showed that he can be an elite passer as well. Franklin made all the throws and is only going to get better as he continues to develop.

Missouri had another familiar name in attendance as well. The brother of five-star 2008 Missouri signee Blaine Gabbert had an outstanding afternoon in Fort Worth. Tyler Gabbert doesn't have the size of his 6-foot-5 brother but he does have the hose for an arm that college coaches love. Gabbert had a lightening quick release and arguably the strongest arm of the day. Already with offers from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and others, Gabbert showed that despite his 6-foot-0 height, he has a special arm.

Another quarterback with less than ideal height who makes up for it with some tremendous physical gifts is Matt Brown out of Allen High School. At around 6-foot-1, Brown has great feet and quickness but throws a very accurate ball as well. He also has the arm to make all the throws and shows good poise in his drops. With offers from Arizona, Kansas State and Nebraska already in hand, Brown noted that Arizona is high on his list and that he would love to pick up offers from Oregon, TCU and others.

Wherever he goes, Brown hopes to play early and thinks that there may still be a growth spurt in him somewhere that will help him in that regard and beyond.

"I'm looking for whatever fits best and whatever also can get me to the next level," he said. "That's something I've dreamed about since I was little. To be put in that situation maybe start as a freshman as soon as I get there and have four years under my belt. I'm getting taller. I was 6-foot at the start of last summer and now I'm 6-2 and I have cousins and uncles that are 6-6 and 6-7 so I'm hoping that maybe I'll be 6-3 or 6-4 and I know there are some guys that would like to see that happen so maybe that will open up some things."

At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, John Peloza doesn't need to worry about size. He just needs to get on the field. At Plano West last season, Peloza was the starting quarterback on the junior varsity squad but showed on Saturday that he could be a hidden gem. Along with his size, Peloza has great arm strength, good mobility for his size and nice touch on the deep ball.

Dallas (Texas) Skyline quarterback Javia Hall will be a full-time starter in 2009 for the first time as well. Last season he split time and the offense looks to be in good hands with Hall under center. He was arguably the most consistent and accurate passer at the entire event. Though he lacks ideal height and he has a skinny frame, Hall has pinpoint accuracy, throws a very catchable ball and had no problems with any throws all day.

Another notable attendee was Texas commit Colt McCoy. While McCoy showed some inconsistencies as the day drew on, he was one of the best quarterbacks throwing on the move in some of the positional drills. He flicks the ball effortlessly regardless of where his feet are and he has the same types of tools that have allowed his brother Colt to find so much success in Austin.

Other top standouts on the day included Jacob Morgan out of Austin (Texas) S.F. Austin, David Piland out of Southlake (Texas) Carroll and Parker Bridwell of Hereford, Texas.

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