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Elite 11: Projecting Success?

Bark

As far as exclusive high school football camps go, the Elite 11 is the most prestigious of the bunch. The nation’s best quarterbacks dream of the chance to participate in this camp and, in theory, if a player is selected to participate in the final round of this competition then he is as close to a sure thing as college football can get. This year, the jewel of the Wildcat’s impressive recruiting class, Northern Kentucky quarterback Drew Barker, was among the final quarterbacks standing at the Elite 11 competition in Oregon, finishing as the seventh best performer at the camp.  This is rightfully exciting for Kentucky football fans who have been yearning for successes like this for as long as any of us can remember and is obviously a huge notch on the belt of Drew Barker. But we should take note of a few things.

Let’s be honest. Projecting potential collegiate success at the quarterback position is almost as difficult as predicting what NBA team Dwight Howard will want to play for tomorrow.  This is a fact that Kentucky fans have become all too familiar with in the past few years.  Kentucky has had their fair share of highly-touted quarterback recruits fail to fulfill their lofty expectations in the past. Players like Ryan Mossakowski and Morgan Newton (who to be fair was a great ambassador for the program off the field) came to UK with a good deal of hype thanks to their national recruiting rankings. Hopes were high that the Wildcats had another Tim Couch or Andre Woodson on their hands.  Clearly, this was not the case.  It would be easy to chalk up these unfortunate results to the simple mismanagement of talent by the previous staff.  While this probably played at least some role, the fact is it is hard to predict how a high school quarterback’s talent will translate at the college level.  And it’s not just at Kentucky where flame out’s happen. It happens everywhere.  For some examples, take a look at some of the participants in Elite 11’s of the past.

Most notably, the 2009 crop of Elite 11 prospects stands out.

Name

Colleges Attended

NFL Draft

NFL Teams

Awards/Accomplishments

Blake Bell

Oklahoma

In School

None

2011 Insight Bowl Offensive MVP

Joe Boisture

Michigan State
No longer playing football

In School

None

None

Robert Bolden

Penn State
LSU

In School

None

None

Tyler Bray

Tennessee

Undrafted

Chiefs

None

Barry Brunetti

West Virginia
Mississippi

In School

None

None

Devin Gardner

Michigan

In School

None

None

Jake Heaps

BYU
Kansas

In School

None

2010 New Mexico Bowl MVP

Austin Hinder

California

In School

None

None

Nick Montana

Washington
Mt. San Antonio College
Tulane

In School

None

None

Jesse Scroggins

Southern California
El Camino College
Arizona

In School

None

None

Phillip Sims

Alabama
Virginia

In School

None

None

Chandler Whitmer

Illinois
Butler Community College
Connecticut

In School

None

None

 

Of the eleven quarterbacks selected to participate in 2009’s Elite 11, seven of them went on to play for multiple schools during their college careers and only one, a bottle-throwing delinquent by the name of Tyler Bray, has gone on to sign with an NFL team albeit he was undrafted.  While I don’t think the Elite 11 is a bad thing as dozens of players who attended the competition have been extremely effective in college (recently Manziel and Bridgewater) I also think it’s important that fans keep in mind that it is by no means a sure-fire indicator of stardom.

My point is this.  Drew Barker has some extremely high expectations to live up to, which is fine, but we should be careful just how much pressure we heap on him.  His expectations seem merited as he has obviously performed at an elite level to garner this attention. More importantly, he appears to have some qualities that most human beings, much less a 17 year old kid, only dream of having.  He is continually cited as one of the most well-liked and respected players at each camp he attends and he seems to care as much about his recruiting class as Coach Stoops does.  I can’t remember a football recruit that has been hyped as much as Barker.  But these expectations are worrisome to me as someone who spends far too much time fretting over Kentucky football.   Sometimes people drown under the weight of expectations and the Big Blue Nation owes it to Drew Barker to keep ours in check.  Sure he was an Elite 11 quarterback and of course we are almost starving for the success that this program and it’s fans have earned after years of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  But Drew Barker probably won’t be an elite quarterback right when he arrives on campus–a fact that may be overlooked by some of the newer UK football fans that will be piling into Commonwealth thanks to the Big Blue spiritual awakening that has been brought on by Stoops and his staff.  The quarterback position takes time to mature into and for some players–think Tom Brady–this maturation doesn’t even happen in college.  If Kentucky fans start to wring their hands (as we have done over Towles, Newton, Woodson, etc.) at the first sign that Drew Barker isn’t immediately the savior of the program that a lot of people expect him to be, then we will be doing him no favors. 

Unlike so many Kentucky football “saviors” of the past, Drew Barker won’t be going at this alone.  He will have the full-force of a genuinely elite-level recruiting class joining him in Lexington. And thanks to the relentless energy from this new coaching staff, he will very-likely have another luxury unknown to the handful of highly-ranked guys who became Wildcats in the past; 74,000 screaming fans reinforcing him at every home game. Luckily for Kentucky fans, Drew Barker seems to welcoming these expectations with open arms.

Article written by Matt Wheatley

10 Comments for Elite 11: Projecting Success?



  1. No Pressue
    10:10 pm July 6, 2013 Permalink

    He will not have an enormous amount of pressure on him when he arrives because…….Stoops is smart enough to Red-Shirt him his Freshman….. After that year…..watch out SEC!



  2. Michael
    10:16 pm July 6, 2013 Permalink

    Flawed methodology leads you to a partially erroneous conclusion. If you look at the entire history of Elite 11, the 2009 year was by far the weakest year in terms of success past high school. Many big time college qb’s and NFL qb’s were Elite 11. Sure, nothing is for certain, but to imply almost a negative correlation by only showing the 2009 year is downright misleading. DB is in excellent company, statistically speaking. I agree we must always temper expectations, especially with the development of QB’s, but why not look at college starters who were Elite 11 and see how long it took them to win the starting role?



  3. Logic
    10:23 pm July 6, 2013 Permalink

    #2
    If he were to use any year but the one he chose…..how could he prove his ill-conceived point! You see…..the writer has an opinion and must find/use facts that back up his point…… Liars figure and figures lie!



  4. Really?
    10:29 pm July 6, 2013 Permalink

    “The quarterback position takes time to mature into and for some players–think Tom Brady–this maturation doesn’t even happen in college.”

    Dude, do some research. Brady went 20-5 and set the Michigan record for attempts and completions his first year as a starter. He set the record for yards in the Orange in his final collegiate game. The guy didn’t magically become good after school.



  5. Chris
    1:20 am July 7, 2013 Permalink

    I realized the unimportance of the Elite 11 when I heard two words while u were first reporting it: trent & dilfer

    Nevertheless the fierceness of the SEC will bring the best out of anyone with NFL hopes, or else they get slaughtered.

    Bridgewater was a stud from day one, his athleticism keeping defenses honest. However, with Drew Barker, his leadership is already a major factor for the program, and that type of maturity at his age you cannot teach.



  6. Living in the present
    3:13 am July 7, 2013 Permalink

    Finally, finally, finally after a hundred KSR articles.

    Great that finally someone from KSR sees the rocky road from high school to becoming a starting QB and a successful QB in the SEC.

    Let’s enjoy the 2013 season, then hype up for 2014. Much can change between now and 7 months later on signing day the first week in Feb.



  7. Remember Me
    6:07 am July 7, 2013 Permalink

    “Don’t remember a qb hyped like Barker”? You happen to remember a guy named Couch? Geez the football knowledge of some of you newbies leaves a lot to be desired. Also brilliant statement about Brady. Brady was very good albeit inconsistent in college.



  8. Can'tKnow
    8:47 am July 7, 2013 Permalink

    It’s “flame outs”, not “flame out’s”.



  9. Bunny
    2:28 pm July 7, 2013 Permalink

    Good post. You make some good points. Thanks!



  10. UK Freshmen
    7:44 pm July 7, 2013 Permalink

    ‘Leadership’ from a high schooler?? Too funny. If that’s what he’s bringing then that doesn’t say too much about the rest of the team.