Feldman's Elite 11 thoughts: I came away 'more impressed' with QBs than expected (2024)

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. — I’ve heard that a lot of recruiting folks are underwhelmed by this year’s crop of high school quarterbacks, but after spending a couple of day around them at this week’s Elite 11, I came away more impressed than I thought I would. Having said that: I’ve covered the Elite 11 for two decades. It’s a really well-run event. A buddy of mine who works more on the NFL side had asked me the other day, “What’s the main purpose of it?” My answer is that the Elite 11 is about trying to evaluate the quarterbacks while also trying to help develop them.


But there’s still a big play-making component to the position that is missing in this setting, because that’s one of the things you can’t replicate in shorts and T-shirts. But it’s still a good window into the 2024 quarterback class.

Here are 15 takeaways from the 25th edition of the Elite 11:

On Dylan Raiola: ‘I was wowed’

Dylan Raiola didn’t win the MVP honor, but I was wowed by him this week. Much as I was the first time I saw him in person, last spring at an Elite 11 regional. Ranked 247Sports’ No. 1 overall prospect (and QB), he more than lived up to the hype both times. Physically, he looks and carries himself like he’s in his mid-20s. At 6-feet-2 1/2, 226 pounds, the Georgia commit makes everything look easy, which really stands out after watching almost all of the other quarterbacks look like they’re amping everything they can into their throws.

Raiola exudes a lot of confidence. He doesn’t rush anything but still plays quick and strong. He can throw from different arm angles and can make any and every kind of throw, from the power throws to those he needs to layer in. He’s just a pure passer. The hit rate on five-star quarterbacks is around 30 percent over the past decade by my calculations, but I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t have an excellent college career.

Julian Sayin, who stood out the most

I was equally impressed (and probably more so) by Julian Sayin, who won MVP honors. I say more so because I came in expecting it from Raiola. I wasn’t as sure of Sayin before this. On Wednesday night at the BreakAway Data station (measuring velocity and release time), he was just slinging the ball around. He had total command, like he was having fun and knew he was going to ace the test. It was a little three-quarters, but it came out of his hand so quickly and so on target. The more I watched the Alabama commit, the more I liked him.


Usually at events like this, you notice a QB after a few eye-catching throws, and then you keep watching and there are a few clunkers. Or a bunch of them. Not Sayin. I think he got better, the more he did. He reminded me a lot of Clemson QB Cade Klubnik when he was at the Finals two years ago, really clean and polished. Sayin’s not huge physically at 6-feet-1 1/2, 193 pounds, but I think the Crimson Tide got a really good one. The Elite 11 coaches I spoke to said his arm was a stronger than it looked on film. Another coach said he’s heard people compare him to former Tide star Mac Jones, but he thinks Sayin is more athletic than Jones and has more juice in his arm than Bryce Young had when he was at the Elite 11. He came into the camp as 247Sports’ No. 4 QB. I wouldn’t be surprised if he leap-frogs Jadyn Davis and Elijah Brown to No. 2.

A hot prospect stays intriguing

Trever Jackson, one of the two uncommitted QBs here this week, blew up. Starting on opening night, he won the Rail Shot Challenge, where he shined in the spotlight with all of the other QBs, including the coaches and counselors with Caleb Williams and Michael Penix Jr. among them. The 6-feet-3, 187-pounder from Florida clocked by far the fastest velocity among the Elite 11 invitees that were timed at the regionals and displayed a lot of raw talent with a lot of juice in his arm. He was tops at the BreakAway Data station.

The @breakawaydata Ball Score combines a QBs average velocity (MPH) and average release time (seconds) from 12 throws made at the BreakAway station. The higher the score, the faster and quicker the ball is delivered. Top 10 #Elite11 Finals B/A Ball Scores from Wednesday are here! pic.twitter.com/UVxshGR07G

— Elite11 (@Elite11) June 16, 2023

He showed repeatedly that can rifle the ball all across the field. Jackson is also really athletic and twitchy. He was inconsistent on Friday but in all, he had an outstanding week. Going into the event he had Pitt very interested, and Miami has come into the picture this week. Another counselor, Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa, was telling folks that he’s “our type of guy,” so don’t be surprised if the Terps come after Jackson hard.

Quick-hit thoughts on the rest

  • Ohio State commit Air Noland, ranked No. 7 among the QBs and No. 47 among the entire 2024 class, looked really good too. The lefty always seemed comfortable and on point, displaying a deft touch. He has a very quick release and looked crisp throwing the ball on the run. One of the Elite 11 coaches described him as “electric.” I think he’ll be a great fit for Ryan Day and the Buckeyes with those gifted receivers in Columbus.
  • Will Hammond, a three-star committed to Texas Tech, looked way better than his ranking. He was one of the most athletic QBs at the event and was almost always on time with his throws. The 6-feet-2, 187-pounder was a favorite of many of the coaches. They loved how he throws the ball but also how decisive he was in how he communicated to them in the competitions. This guy’s a steal for the Red Raiders. I doubt he’s going to be a three-star for much longer.
  • FSU commit Luke Kromenhoek had a strong first night on Wednesday but was inconsistent as the event wore on. The 6-feet-3, 192-pound converted wide receiver should be a fun prospect to watch as he develops in Mike Norvell’s system. He had one of the strongest arms at the Elite 11.
  • Jadyn Davis, ranked No. 2 among the QBs coming into the event, had an interesting couple of days. There were some very good moments for the Michigan commit, particularly in Friday’s 7-on-7 setting, but it appeared that he’s developed something of a wind-up mechanically. A few of the coaches told me it’ll be important for him to tighten his delivery so he won’t be late on his throws.
  • Florida commit D.J. Lagway, at 6-feet-3, 231 pounds, is a very impressive athlete. The ball jumps out of his hand. His mechanics are a little different with his rigid front leg, and coaches say he will have to work to get his feet on the ground when he’s unloading the ball. But he has really intriguing talent.
  • Everyone at the Elite 11 couldn’t believe that LSU commit Colin Hurley, standing about 6-feet-1, 220 pounds and built a lot like Raiola, had only turned 16 a few months ago. He’s younger than some QBs who will be sophom*ores this fall. He didn’t at all look out of place here compared to the other top quarterbacks.
  • Nebraska commit Daniel Kaelin was another player lots of the coaches really liked in terms of his makeup and how he handled himself. Character-wise, he shined this week. He also showed to be one of the most accurate passers at the competition.
  • TCU commit Hauss Hejny turned a lot of heads this week. At 5-feet-11, 185 pounds, he was one of the smaller QBs, but he’s also the fastest one too. He was clocked in the 4.4s in the 40 at regional camps. His arm was better than many anticipated. Some coaches compared him to a shorter Max Duggan. Others compared him to Trace McSorley. Either way, Hejny looks like an ideal one to thrive in that system, going from Duggan to Chandler Morris to him.
  • Georgia’s other commit at the Elite 11, Ryan Puglisi, displayed one of the stronger arms in Redondo. He really unleashes the ball, and he was moreathleticthan a lot of the coaches here expected. The Connecticut productacquittedhimself well in LA.
  • Ethan Grunkemeyer, a three-star committed to Penn State, threw it well, especially early at the competition. The 6-feet-2, 186-pounder from Ohio a pretty twitchy athlete and clocked one of the quickest shuttles among QBs here. He was more inconsistent in Friday’s 7-on-7 work, but still looked like someone who is going to see his star ranking improve quite a bit.

Two other non-QBs who I kept noticing:

  1. Luke Reynolds, a really slick route running tight end, who is committed to Penn State. The 6-feet-4, 220-pounder from Connecticut is actually a converted quarterback.
  2. The other guy was a tiny, super-quick wideout from Long Beach Poly: Jadyn Robinson, a member of the Class of 2025. He’s only 5-feet-8 and maybe 130 pounds, but he was a really fun player to watch dart away from defenders and track down balls all week.

(Top photo of Dylan Raiola during 3DQB Off-season prep: Aubrey Lao / Getty Images)

Feldman's Elite 11 thoughts: I came away 'more impressed' with QBs than expected (1)Feldman's Elite 11 thoughts: I came away 'more impressed' with QBs than expected (2)

Bruce Feldman is the National College Football Insider for The Athletic. One of the sport’s leading voices, he also is a sideline reporter for FOX College Football. Bruce has covered college football nationally for more than 20 years and is the author of numerous books on the topic, including "Swing Your Sword: Leading The Charge in Football and Life" with Mike Leach and most recently "The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks." Follow Bruce on Twitter @BruceFeldmanCFB

Feldman's Elite 11 thoughts: I came away 'more impressed' with QBs than expected (2024)


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