Ranking the Elite 11 QBs at pro day
REDONDO BEACH, Calif. - The pro day portion of the Elite 11 took place Wednesday evening as all the participating quarterbacks went through the same gauntlet of throws. Here is my ranked order of performers from the event.
MORE ELITE 11: Gorney's takeaways from opening night
1. DANTE MOORE
Dante Moore wins the night but it was close with the others in that top group even though the five-star quarterback was absolutely terrific on almost every throw. He had one of the nicest deep balls put right on the money, he was on time with every level of throw whether short, intermediate, deep, across the middle, to the sideline, throwing against the grain, everything. There were a lot of good performances but we give the edge to Moore as the best.
2. CHRISTOPHER VIZZINA
Christopher Vizzini, the Clemson commit, was phenomenal throughout almost the entire session and really set himself apart from almost every other quarterback at the event. His passes were crisp and sharp, hitting the receivers in stride and getting there with pace.
Vizzina’s deep ball was excellent and placed right in the receiver's hands. One ball sailed on him but other than that it was an excellent showing.
3. MALACHI NELSON
It was another impressive showing for Malachi Nelson. The five-star quarterback threw the short, medium and deep balls with ease and delivered one of the best throws on that deep pass to the far side of the field that nearly every other quarterback couldn’t make.
One of his deep balls hung up there a little too long and another throw sailed a bit but that’s being picky because the USC commit had an outstanding night again.
4. JACKSON ARNOLD
There is no quarterback at the Elite 11 where the ball pops quite like that of Jackson Arnold, who so effortlessly can deliver fastball after fastball without even really trying. The Oklahoma commit spins it so well, tight spiral on every throw, and he was outstanding during the pro day event.
Arnold’s deep ball was on point, his red-zone work was good and other than just incredible performances by those rated above him there’s almost nothing to knock about his showing.
5. JJ KOHL
If it weren’t for some errant throws in the final red-zone portion, JJ Kohl would have been even higher on this list because he was absolutely impressive in so many ways. His deep ball was really impressive and accurate, and on the tough throw to the field side that almost every quarterback was struggling with, the Iowa State commit delivered a strike.
His velocity is maybe the second-best at the event behind Arnold. He had a great showing and definitely is making a statement here through two days.
6. AUSTIN NOVOSAD
What was so impressive about Austin Novosad’s performance was that he was right on target with almost every single throw, kept receivers in stride, never threw low or out in front and his deep balls were some of the best of any quarterback.
His consistency, his arm strength and his accuracy all stood out very much in a very impressive round of throws.
7. JADEN RASHADA
Jaden Rashada's deep balls were some of the prettiest and most accurate of the night - and that has never been a problem for the new Miami commit. He has the arm talent and the precision to get the ball in stride to his receivers.
The high four-star from Northern California was a little inconsistent on the easier short stuff where one ball sailed and one was delivered low but all-in-all another very impressive performance.
8. KENNY MINCHEY
It was an impressive performance by the Pitt commit especially delivering an impressive deep ball that spun well and got to the receiver in stride. Kenny Minchey is a big-bodied quarterback who uses his weight distribution well to power the ball all over the field. He spun it well, was really consistent and delivered impressive throws through his session.
9. PIERCE CLARKSON
Pierce Clarkson, the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the 2023 class was very sharp throughout almost all of the workout only marred by one deep ball that hung in the air too long and a few sailed on him but everything else was pristine. The Louisville commit was excellent on throws across the middle and to the sideline and his early deep balls were some of the best of any quarterback.
10. RICKIE COLLINS
After struggling with spinning it and being on time during Day 1, Rickie Collins had a great showing during the pro-day event and just looked a lot more comfortable throughout the event. He was delivering the ball all over the field to his receivers in stride, he was throwing tight spirals, he was on time and the Purdue commit looked so much better during this piece of the Elite 11.
11. AVERY JOHNSON
After a slow start, Avery Johnson really picked it up toward the end and showed why he’s a four-star player and coveted by Kansas State, Washington, Oregon and others. He had some nice deep throws, showed zip on a lot of passes, looked really good during the red zone session and arm strength is no issue for him.
12. MALACHI SINGLETON
A solid performance was turned in by the Arkansas commitment who threw a beautiful pass on a seam route and was especially impressive on most of his deep throws. If he would take just a little bit of pace off his short passes, Malachi Singleton would have been even better. Sitting in the pocket is not his forte and so when he’s throwing on the run he looked more comfortable.
13. JAXON SMOLIK
One of the surprises of the pro-day event was Jaxon Smolik, who’s committed to Tulane but the rumor is Cal and others have been reaching out and gauging interest. It was easy to see why Wednesday night as the West Des Moines (Iowa) Dowling standout was very sharp through every level of throw, spun it well, threw the ball with pace and showed off a big arm. Even on a deep ball that sailed, it was eye-opening how well the ball comes off his hand.
14. ELI HOLSTEIN
It was a mixed bag for Eli Holstein but to be completely fair some of the receivers dropped passes that should have been caught. The Alabama commit struggled on some overthrows with the deep ball but arm strength is no issue at all.
Holstein could actually dial it back on some of the shorter throws to let his receivers catch and run so while there were some impressive throws in the red zone, there were some missed opportunities, too.
15. EMORY WILLIAMS
What stood out most about Emory Williams was that he did not make spectacular throws but also hardly missed on any as well. It was a tight, compact, competent showing from a quarterback who is committed to Miami and is ready to compete for playing time.
When he missed, it was a close call as to whether the receiver should’ve gotten there and he was consistent through all levels.
16. ZANE FLORES
Zane Flores, the Oklahoma State commit, had a good session with some very good highs but also some lows. I like how quickly the Gretna (Neb.) prospect gets into his drop to scan the field and find receivers and he was especially adept at the intermediate throws to the sideline and across the middle.
Some of his deep balls hung up in the air too long and needed to be more laser-guided. On almost all his throws, he connected with his receivers in stride which was impressive to see.
17. BRADY DROGOSH
The Cincinnati commit was especially impressive on the short throws to the sideline and anything across the middle consistently hitting receivers in stride. On the deep passes, Drogosh often put a little too much air on some and made his receivers wait. Some of those throws could have been more on a line. Still, the three-star was often on target and got the ball in the receivers’ hands.
18. CHRIS PARSON
In an event without defense, quarterbacks at this level should be able to complete every pass as we nitpick if the ball hung a little high or if it was slightly behind a receiver. Chris Parson was a little too inconsistent throughout the session. He’s very sudden in his drop and excellent on the move but the Florida State commit needs to show more accuracy on throws to all levels.
19. BROCK GLENN
Later in the session, Brock Glenn had some impressive throws in the red zone and really started to get his stride but the four-star uncommitted quarterback also had some struggles. Some of his deep throws sailed and he did overthrow some receivers although a pass or two would have been run under by elite players. Still, Glenn was more consistent through drills on the first night.
20. MARCUS STOKES
Marcus Stokes struggled throughout the pro day and while he got better late in the session, the Penn State commit was much more impressive on the first night. The three-star from Ponte Vedra (Fla.) Nease almost feels compelled to throw off-platform and sometimes just needs to take the easy win, set his feet and deliver the pass.
Because his footwork was not consistent his deep ball wobbled at times and wasn’t timely. Stokes had some good throws later but I bet he’d admit it wasn’t his best showing.