It was a star-studded affair at the Super 7 Quarterback Camp put on by one of the nation's top quarterback gurus, Steve Clarkson and DeBartolo Sports. Clarkson and his Air 7 Academy has come a long way baby.
Some of Clarkson's former students include USC assistant head coach Steve Sarkisian (BYU), Kevin Feterik (BYU), J.P Losman (Tulane and Buffalo Bills), Casey Clausen (Tennessee), Ricky Clausen (LSU and Tennessee), Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame), Chris Rix (Florida State), Ben Roethlisberger (Miami-Ohio and Pittsburg Steelers) and Matt Leinart (USC and Arizona Cardinals). That is just a sampling of the players that have been mentored over the years by Clarkson.
Is it any wonder why arguably the finest quarterback to ever play the game, Hall of Famer Joe Montana, had his son at the camp? Hockey great Wayne Gretsky's son was also in attendance. The son of Randy Cross, Montana's center for much of his career, was on hand and UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel and Snoop Dogg were also in the house with their sons.
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As impressive as that list of stars is, it was the players that shined on this day and if the Super 7 Camp is any indication, then there will be plenty more successful quarterbacks in the future that were tutored by Clarkson.
The camp was broken into groups. There was a group that included players already in college, a group that will be incoming freshmen, sprinkled with some of the nation's top high school seniors-to-be and a very solid group of underclassmen.
THE COLLEGE STARS
The college players on hand were Rhett Bomar from San Houston State, Josh Freeman from Kansas State, Willie Tuitama from Arizona, Rudy Carpenter from Arizona State, Jake Locker from Washington, Todd Boeckman from Ohio State and Jimmy Clausen from Notre Dame.
Those fine players demonstrated how it is supposed to look lining up behind center on Saturdays in the fall. Each and every one of them passed the eyeball test.
The accuracy contest was won by Bomar, Locker came in second, followed by Clausen.
THE COLLEGE BOUND
The next group included Matt Scott who signed with Arizona this past February after having a stellar career at Corona (Calif.) Centennial, E.J. Manuel who is Florida State-bound after a great career at Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside, Terrelle Pryor, who is Ohio State-bound after finishing up a high school career as a two-sport star at Jeannette, Pa.., Dayne Crist from Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame who signed up with Notre Dame and Kevin Prince from Encino (Calif.) Crespi who signed with UCLA.
Prince missed his senior season due to a torn ACL, but was the surprise hit out of the group, making one outstanding throw after another and getting kudos from camp councilors and campers alike.
Each of the incoming freshmen showed flashes.
The group of high school seniors included three of California's best, and this year that is saying something. The three Cali kids were USC-bound Matt Barkley from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, UCLA-bound Richard Brehaut from Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Los Osos and the undecided, but owner of 20-plus offer Josh Nunes from Upland, Calif. The Californians were joined by LSU-bound Russell Shepard from Houston (Calif.) Cypress Ridge and Brendan Cross from Alpharetta (Ga.) Chattahoochee.
The top three winners of accuracy contest were Brehaut, Nunes and Cross. Brehaut landed in first place, but Cross won the big prize on Saturday.
The top three finishers from the players, in college, about to enter college and the high school seniors competed against each other and Cross, who is flying under the recruiting radar, went throw for throw with the college guys, the incoming freshmen and the highly-touted high school seniors to win the camp's overall accuracy prize.
It is a good bet that when word gets out on the poised performance of Cross then his stock should take an upward turn. Besides poise and accuracy, Cross has some zip on his ball to go along with his other attributes. Cross is definitely one to watch on the recruiting trail in the near future. He has picked up his first offer from Air Force and he has NFL bloodlines. His dad is 13-year NFL veteran center Randy Cross (UCLA) who played with Joe Montana with the San Francisco 49ers.
The camp had a host of young guys to jot down that will have an opportunity to be recruited when it is their time to shine.
For the class of 2010, Nick Montana from Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, Brandon Connette from Corona (Calif.) Santiago, Anthony Neyer from Bermuda Dunes (Calif.) Desert Christian, Greg Caruso from Brentwood, Calif., Chase Rettig from Pasadena (Calif.) La Salle, Austin Hinder from Steamboat Springs, Colo., and Matt Schilz are ones to watch to see how they develop this fall.
Montana is the son of Hall of Famer Joe Montana, and the consensus from the coaches is this young man has improved 100 percent from a year ago and is really coming into his own as a quarterback.
Hinder is the grandson of longtime NFL coach Jim Hanifan.
The class of 2011 includes Jerry Neuheisel. It is undetermined at this time where the son of the new UCLA head coach will end up playing his high school ball. There has been talk that it will be at Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola, but as of right now he is finishing the year out in Maryland.
Neuheisel's classmates include Trevor Gretsky from Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian, who incidentally is already taller than his dad, hockey great Wayne. The younger Gretsky has only been playing quarterback for a short while, but he's a quick study and really looks good.
The sophomore-to-be quarterbacks are Max Wittek from Fairfield (Conn.) Fairfield Country Day and Conner Preston from Palisades, Calif. Wittek may transfer to Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Preston started as a freshman for Palisades.
Believe it or not, there was even a class of 2012 quarterback at the camp in Corde Broadus who will be a freshman at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. He is the son of entertainer Snoop Dogg.