S.F. Elite 11 Top Performers

QB K.J Carta-Samuels

The Elite 11 Regional tour hit Oakland on Friday and despite a very strong field, none of the quarterbacks walked away with a Golden Ticket to the Finals.

According to Elite 11 head coach Trent Dilfer, there wasn't one quarterback who clearly separated himself from the pack and had a ‘signature day' in order to receive an invite to the Elite 11 finals in Oregon next month. Saying that, there were still several standout performers in what was an overall strong group of quarterbacks.

In terms of arm strength and throwing a tight ball, San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine K.J. Carta-Samuels was clearly the guy on Friday. Samuels had a strong day and has a big upside to him. He plays in an offense that only throws about five times a game and is still learning how to play the position.

Saying that, he has a strong, physical body, moves around pretty well in the pocket and has elite arm strength and can make throws down the field on a line.

"I thought I threw pretty well," Carta-Samuels said. "I had some ups and downs but that's typically how these days ago. Overall though, I was pleased."

West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade signal caller Brad Kaaya was the most consistent quarterback of the day and has had a very good spring. He looked comfortable in every situation on Friday, whether it was straight drops, rolling out or throwing out of the shot gun.

The Miami commit has a smooth, easy release and the game looks easy for him. He throws with great touch, spins it consistently and has plenty of zip. He can continue to improve his accuracy but does a nice job throwing on time and had one of the prettier deep balls in the event.

"Having come out here this weekend already committed took the monkey off my back and I was able to go out and just throw the football," Kaaya said. "I was pretty happy with how I threw the football and felt I had good day."

After a somewhat slow start, Kentfield (Calif.) Marino Catholic's Morgan Mahalak really came on and might have been the best quarterback in the camp over the last hour. He really shined in the two-minute drill looking poised, making quick decision and strong, accurate throws.

Mahalak, who's headed to Oregon, has a live arm and was very accurate. His ball wasn't as tight early on but he really started spinning it well in the latter half of the camp and his overall accuracy improved as a result. Mahalak is a confident quarterback who plays with a swagger and should put up big numbers this season.

"What I don't think people see on the outside of the Elite 11 is the intensity of the competition," Mahalak said. "If you have bad throws or a bad drill, you have to bounce back and focus and I felt like I did that today."

Norco's (Calif.) Coltin Gerhart is a spread quarterback and said he wasn't used to some of the drops but still looked strong. Gerhart has a quick release, is strong mechanically and has one of the biggest arms in the region.

He's a dual threat quarterback who runs very well and although you're not able to showcase that aspect of your game in this environment, Gerhart still impressed with his arm talent and overall mobility.

"It was a great learning experience for me," Gerhart said. "The seven step drops were tough for me and I felt awkward at times but I still enjoyed some of the drills and it was fun hearing from the quarterback gurus who were coaching us."

Canyon Country (Calif.) Canyon signal caller Cade Apsay started off strong and had a great first half of the camp. He's an athletic kid who moves very well and can make throws from all angles.

His arm didn't look as live the last hour of the camp but he was still able to deliver the ball on time and with accuracy. At his best, Apsay has a great skill set and the ability to fit in well with any offense. He'll be back on Sunday for the NIKE Camp and should do very well."

"I was pretty nervous out there in the beginning and didn't know what to expect out here," Apsay said. "As the day went along, I felt more comfortable but still need to work on calming my mind. That's one of the things the coaches talked to us about, when you're in the pressure chamber, you need to learn to calm yourself and that's something I know I can do better at."

Snoqualmie (Wash.) Mount Si's Nick Mitchell had a strong day from beginning to end and like Apsay, has a skill set that will enable to play in any offense. He showed good mobility and can make throws outside the pocket but also looked comfortable taking drops and throwing in rhythm and on time.

"I felt like I improved a lot since the Chicago Elite Elite 11 camp," Mitchell said. "They came me a lot to work on and I thought I improved in those areas today."

The one guy everyone was anxious to see for the first time this spring was Palo Alto (Calif.) signal caller Keller Chryst. By his own declaration, Chryst really struggled and never seemed comfortable.

That doesn't change him as a prospect, Chryst still has tremendous upside. He has a Blaine Gabbert like frame and is already very developed. He has huge arm and can make every throw but struggled with accuracy most of the camp.

"I really don't feel like I did anything well today," Chryst said. "I had a few good throws I was happy with, a few touch throws but it was definitely not my best day. I threw a lot of balls in to the ground and sailed some. I wasn't nervous, I don't want to make excuses but I need to get back to the basics. It all starts with your feet and then just need to work my way up from there."

The biggest quarterback in the camp was easily Richmond (Va.) Collegiate School's Wilton Speight. The Michigan commit looks all of 6-6, 230 pounds and he had a solid camp. He was able to make all the throws showing off a strong arm and actually looked better than expected when he had to throw on the run.

Speight is a pure drop back quarterback who throws a tight ball and can get the ball down the field. He threw some of the best deep balls in the camp and makes it look easy and effortless.

"I was happy with my performance, I wasn't overly thrilled with all my throws but overall, I thought I had a good day," Speight said. "There's always a couple of throws you want back but the beauty of this is there's still 13 spots left for the final Elite 11. No one got the invite today so you just have to stay patient and let the process play itself out."

Navato (Calif.) San Marin's Manny Wilkins first caught our eye at the Elite 11 in Oakland a year ago. The quarterback attended a regional camp in Texas last month and said he felt like a different quarterback on Friday.

"I felt a lot more comfortable today than I did in Texas," Wilkins said. "I was horrible in Texas, I have no idea what happened there. I came out so fired up and I put so much pressure on myself.

"I started off slow and then I started to press and it just went downhill from there. Today I told myself to just go out there and have fun and that's what I did. I felt free and loose and just let the ball go and I thought I had a good day."

A few other 2014 quarterbacks who caught our eye included Los Gatos (Calif.) Nick Bawden, Henderson (Nev.) Foothill's Drew Doxtator, Santa Rosa (Calif.) Cardinal Newman's Keaton Dunsford, Gardena (Calif.) Serra's Jalen Greene, Mission Viejo's (Calif.) Ian Fieber, Atherton (Calif.) Menlo School's Jack Heneghan, Newport Beach (Calif.) Corona del Mar's Luke Napolitano, McKinney Boyd's Curtis Ladd, San Fernando's (Calif.) Chris Solano and Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou's Larry Tuileta.

Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco's Josh Rosen and Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure's Ricky Town were the top underclassmen at the event and both looked strong.

Although just a rising junior, Rosen is already very polished as a pocket passer. He has a quick release, a very strong arm and can throw the deep ball with touch. He wasn't as accurate as we've seen him in the past but putting the ball in tight spaces is actually one of his strengths and he has as much as upside as anyone in this camp.

"I felt like I did well out there, I did a well as I possibly could have hoped for" Rosen said. "I was hoping to get in to that two-minute drill at the end there, it was a little frustrating but it just motivates me for the next time I get out there and I feel like I can compete with anyone."

Town doesn't do the 7 on 7 circuit so this was one of the first times we've seen him this spring and he impressed. The signal caller has a smooth, easy delivery, was accurate throughout the day and showing more zip on his passes than we remember from last season.

"It was a great opportunity to be out with the best and I had a lot of fun," Town said. "I thought I did well overall, there were some footwork drills I know I can do better at but overall, it was a positive experience for me. I was real impressed with Josh Rosen and it was fun competing against him. We were going at it throw for throw all day."

A few other underclassmen who caught our eye included Merced's Tyrone Williams, Danville (Calif.) San Ramon Valley's Kevin Davidson, Uplands (Calif.) Tyler Hilinski and Tempe (Ariz.) Marcos De Niza's Dakota Miller.

For more from the 2013 Nike Football Training Camps, check Scout.com's Nike Football Training Camp Coverage.

Greg Biggins has been covering recruiting for over 15 years, covering the West since the mid-1990's and currently serves as a national analyst for Scout.com/FOXSportsNext.
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