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Elite 11 Recap - What I Learned About Raiola/Puglisi + My Top-12 Rankings from the Week

Graham Coffey

DawgsCentral Elite 11 QB Rankings

I should be clear that my rankings weigh throws made to actual WR’s more than drills that involve stationary targets. In making this list I asked myself a simple question, “If I was an OC which players would give me the most scheme flexibility?”

I gave equal weight to how college ready the player is right now versus how high their ceiling will be if they develop well at the next level…


Elite 11 Day 3 Recap

I’m on a flight home right now and am going to go rapid fire on what I saw from UGA’s two QB commits this week as well as other SEC commits, some notable QB’s, and other prospects that I walked away impressed with…

- Dylan Raiola is the most talented QB in the country. That isn’t in doubt. What I wanted to see is how he would handle the pressure of being at this event as the #1 player. Even at his age, people want to tear him down. He said all the right things and complemented Julian Sayin after last night’s Pro Day Workout, but he was frustrated with coming in 3rd. I truthfully don’t know how that event was scored, but all of us agreed he made all the throws during Day 2.

- Raiola started out Day 3 a little bit choppy in the stationary accuracy target challenge. He missed a throw. Then he missed another one. Then he started pressing. Instead of throwing the ball he began aiming the ball. Then his throws started missing the targets. I started to wonder if he was going to spiral a little and carry that frustration into his 7-on-7 session. He came out and went 13/16 for 4 TD’s in his 15 minute 7v7 period. As if that stat line wasn’t impressive enough, one of Raiola’s 3 incompletions was a dropped TD pass. He lofted it up towards the goalpost over a defender in the back of the end zone and it might have been his best ball of the session. On a day where things hadn’t been going his way this was a moment where he could have lost his cool. He high-fives the WR who dropped the pass and then threw a TD on the very next play to avoid a turnover on downs. It was the most impressive workout we saw from any of the QB’s in attendance all week long.

- In bouncing back between his accuracy challenge and his 7-on-7 session, I learned everything I wanted to know about Dylan Raiola. This is a kid with all the eyeballs on him who has never failed at much of anything. When he was down he re-centered and started dropping dimes all over the field. Two perfect deep balls for TD’s down the right sideline and one TD lofted to the back of the end zone over a defender was just some of the high level throws we saw from him.

- The most exciting thing about Dylan Raiola up close is that he is not just the best arm in his class. He is also the best processor. He sees everything much faster than 99% of the QB’s who will ever set foot on a college football field. He throws the ball before guys look open and when it gets there they are. That is what every QB coach on Earth is trying to teach their pupils. Combine the processing with an arm that delivers accurate touch passes when necessary and also has no issues driving balls to the back of the pylon, and you have rare prospect. In most years the top rated QB prospects are ranked highly because they have elite traits that have a chance of being valuable if they learn to process. Raiola already has both the head and the arm. 


- Ryan Puglisi wasn’t “scored” in the Top 11 of the event throughout the week but I wouldn’t pay much attention to that. This isn’t his type of event. He has never played 7-on-7 or attended many camps so most of this stuff was new to him. He showed off the arm strength in the accuracy challenge though. The targets pinged loudly and rocked backwards everytime he hit them. I really don’t care what he (or anyone else) scored on a bunch of stationary drills that he has never practiced in his life… That stuff is fun but a lot of it doesn’t translate to real football. Puglisi has some of the best tools of any QB in this class. His velocity might be the best of anyone who attended the camp, and he can be an NFL player one day. 

- Puglisi is a big kid. He’s broad shouldered, a legit 6’3” or taller, and looks like he can run the ball up the middle. There were players there who got higher marks in the final rankings who will never have a chance of seeing an NFL field because they lack the requisite arm strength, height, and durability… Puglisi is the type of dude who can be a 1st round pick if he figures out how to properly channel the elite physical traits that he possesses. He can drive the ball from the opposite hash and he can rifle it accurately even when rolling left. The task for Puglisi over the coming months and years will be to improve his use of trajectory to flip the ball over second level defnders. We saw him do it a couple times and it was pretty, but he will have to improve his consistency. The kid was clocked at 94 MPH on a radar gun at 16 years old. The tendency for him is going to be to throw hard. His arm strength on slant patterns, out routes and other flat balls will allow him to turn almost any sliver of separation into a throwable window. The ceiling for him is higher than all but 2-3 QB’s who were here at Elite 11.


- Julian Sayin (Alabama commit) is going to be elite in an RPO-based system… The only problem is that Tommy Rees hasn’t historically run many RPO’s. Pair him with WR’s who can do damage after the catch and he can have some 2018 Tua type stat lines at Alabama. He is a surgeon in the middle of the field up to 15-20 yards. That isn’t to say he is bad anywhere else, but that short stuff is where he really spins it. He was at his best with repetitive drills where he could get into a rhythm and just sling it at a predetermined spot. In the accuracy challenge he had one of the best runs. He scored highest in the Pro Day Workout. His deep ball is pretty and it goes far. It doesn’t drive through the air like a Raiola/Puglisi or a big-armed guy like DJ Lagway, but arcs a little more. The deep throws are still accurate but they don’t get to the WR quite as fast. It probably won’t matter at the next level unless we see him trying to fit balls down the sideline against an elite Safety tandem that is playing Cover 2. He will have plenty of talent around him at Bama and his ceiling is a Heisman Trophy type season. Raiola’s ceiling is higher from a scheme flexibility standpoint, but Sayin and he are the clear top tier. Sayin’s 7v7 run wasn’t very impressive. He had 1 TD in 6 drives during his 15 minute session and there were times where he would get stuck on a read and be somewhere between feeling like the player was open and not feeling like the player was open enough to actually let go of the ball. The line for him in the drill ended up at 9/16 but many of those completions were checkdowns after he scanned the field. He had a slant pattern in the end zone go off a WR’s hands. It wasn’t a perfect ball but it was definitely catchable. I think Sayin is most comfortable throwing on the move. Being stationary in the pocket looked a bit uncomfortable for him at times. He really excels as a freelancer so 7v7 ball takes away some of that. I am curious to see if he rolls frequently in college and how his confidence develops on certain throws.


- DJ Lagway (Florida commit) really impresses physically. He is built like a RB and has an arm that can hum it. The accuracy during stationary drills was better than I expected, but he struggled hitting guys in-stride in a couple different drills. In 7v7 he started slow and got frustrated and then started staring down WR’s and was intercepted two drives in a row. He will be similar to Anthony Richardson in that he has elite physical gifts and his ceiling is unbelievably high. The million dollar question will be whether or not he fully develops as a passer. There were times this week where I thought the answer was yes and others where I wasn’t as sure of his future. He didn’t just gun everything and I thought that was promising. No matter how it goes, he will be a lot of fun to watch in coming years. I think the right QB coach and the right offensive system could be turn him into a star but the wrong one could waste his considerable physical gifts. 


- Air Noland (Ohio St commit) was more accurate than I expected for most of the week. He was smooth underneath during a lot of drills but less so with intermediate to deep throws. A couple of his deep balls were affected by the wind on Thursday night (in fairness it was pretty breezy out). His arm is not as big as some of the guys but it is big enough to be effective at Ohio State. Noland is not very tall but he is a really muscular kid with broad shoulders. He has been playing with the same guys since he was about 5 years old. Because of that when he was on the field in 7v7 he struggled adjusting to some WR’s who he isn’t used to. I think that is understandable, and he got better as the session went on. I don’t think he has the type of ceiling that the top 3-4 QB’s do, but he definitely belongs solidly in the tier below Raiola & Sayin. 


- Jadyn Davis (Michigan commit) had one of the roughest Pro Day Workout performances of anyone in attendance and his arm didn’t pop like I expected it to for a 5* type kid. He is rated as a 5* and 247 has him as their #2 QB, but I don’t think he showed enough to back up the ranking. The closer that a drill is to real football then the more I weigh it. His 7v7 session was one of the best of the week so that gave him higher marks in my eyes. I’m not saying he won’t go on to have a productive career, but nothing about his play really said “FIVE-STAR” at any point during the 3 days. Physically he has less tools than probably 5-7 players, but the 7v7 made me feel like his processing is pretty good. In the end, that matters a lot. 


- Colin Hurley (LSU commit) won’t get a ton of press clippings out of this week but I came away really impressed with him. He is playing up a year but hung with some of the best players at Elite 11 this week. Hurley is a quieter kid but he has good tools and some alpha vibes. Calm and collected, I think he has a bright future ahead of him. 


- Luke Kromenhoek (FSU commit) showed some impressive stuff this week. He’s a private school player out of Savannah who is ranked as a four-star but hasn’t played a ton of tough competition. He had one of the best 7v7 runs and I like his processing ability and he’s very athletic. Running isn’t part of this camp, but Kromenhoek can. I would give him a fifth star over a lot of guys. 


- Will Hammond (Texas Tech commit) was probably the biggest surprise of rhe week for me. The three-star out of Hutto, TX is currently the 29th ranked QB in the 247 Sports composite rankings, but I think he will be a very productive college player. He showed good accuracy and a bigger arm than I expected. He has good feet and put up almost 900 yards during his Junior year. Joey McGuire is a guy who knows Texas High-School Football and is good at finding inefficiencies. I think he snagged an underrated diamond in the rough with Hammond.


- Hauss Henjy (TCU commit) isn’t that tall, doesn’t have the deep ball arm, and wasn’t blessed with some of the other tools that his peers were. Despite that, he played a lot of good football this week. He is really accurate and he makes good decisions. That will take you far in college football. He has to put everything into almost every throw. You won’t see him making things look easy or delivering fastballs on in-breaking routes, but he knows his arm and he makes the right choices on how to throw most routes. Sonny Dykes will turn him into a productive QB. 

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