LAS VEGAS – With six spots still left to be grabbed for the prestigious EA Sports Elite 11 Quarterback Camp, many of the nation's top quarterbacks head to Las Vegas hoping to strike it rich. The final Elite 11 Regional Camp is set for Saturday at UNLV and for players like four-star prospects Nick Crissman and Sean Renfree, a strong showing could mean an invitation to the top camp for quarterbacks.
Dayne Crist of Sherman Oaks (Cailf.) Notre Dame, Blaine Gabbert of Ballwin (Mo.) Parkway West, Mike Glennon of Chantilly (Va.) Westfield, Landry Jones of Artesia, N.M., Andrew Luck of Houston Stratford and E.J. Manuel of Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside have already secured spots for the camp which will be held on July 23-26 at Soka University in Aliso Viejo, Calif.
But for others like Crissman, a UCLA commitment from Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison, and Renfree, the nation's No. 8 pro-style quarterback from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Notre Dame Prep, Saturday is the last chance to impress evaluators. Saturday will be the second time they've worked with the drills that Elite 11 quarterback coach Bob Johnson puts the players through for almost all of the quarterbacks, so most players are more comfortable and relaxed the second time around. They can just go out there and show what they've got and react instead of thinking.
"I hope to make the most of the opportunity," Renfree said. "Getting to compete in something like the Elite 11 would be a once in a lifetime deal, and I want to do everything I can to make sure I'm ready and impress them on Saturday."
Other names to keep an eye out for include Darius Banks of Culver City, Calif. He led the state in passing in 2006, but has spent most of the time this spring mainly working out with his team and hasn't been a fixture on the NIKE Camp Tour. Southlake (Texas) Carroll athlete Riley Dodge will be there. While he leads one of the most impressive passing machines in Texas high school football, the Longhorn commitment was recruited as an athlete at UT.
Sticking with Texas players, A&M pledge Tommy Dorman of Birdville, Texas, will be there Saturday. He had a real strong showing at the workouts in Fort Worth earlier this spring, and he could be a dark horse in the battle for one of the final spots. Braden Hanson of Charlotte (N.C.) Latin has all the tools to be a very good college quarterback, and he hopes to put them on display Saturday and impress judges.
A few other dark horses include Jack Elway of Englewood (Colo.) Cherry Creek, Adam Follett of Alma, Mich., Conner Kempe of Tequesta (Fla.) North Palm Beach Benjamin, and Nathan Stanley of Sequoyah, Okla. Elway is the son of NFL legend John Elway, and Stanley was one of the best quarterbacks earlier this week at the Michigan summer camp.
A few junior-to-be names are slated to be in Las Vegas also – Blue Springs South star Blaine Dalton and Upland, Calif., stud Josh Nunes. Dalton, who is 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, led his team to a state championship in 2006 after throwing for more than 1,490 yards. Missouri has put the full-court press on Dalton already after missing out on Gabbert. Nunes, who is 6-foot-4 and 187 pounds, has already landed his first offer from Hawaii.