This past Friday and Saturday I had the opportunity to coach and evaluate over 80 of the top quarterbacks from the southeast region and other parts of the country. Nike and the coaching staff designed drills that showcased quarterbacks arm strength, accuracy, footwork, decision making, touch, and poise under pressure. Mastrole Passing Academy had 4 quarterbacks at the event including 2013 Tyler Cogswell of American Heritage Plantation, 2013 Troy Cook of Palmetto High School, 2013 Larry Brihm of Village Academy, and 2014 Sean White of Chaminade Madonna. Cogswell, Cook, Brihm, and White did not disappoint displaying sounds mechanics, strong arms, and the ability to process information quickly under pressure. Cogswell was one of the 7 finalists competing for the top QB while Sean White was recognized by Trent Dilfer and the staff as a top 2014 quarterback for the small group of underclassman that were selected to attend. Brihm and Cook showed strong accurate arms while gaining attention from a number evaluators.
Quarterbacks from California to Florida were critiqued on mechanics, velocity, accuracy, athleticism, and how they handled pressure. Sound fundamentals quickly separated the elite from the average. Playing from under center also played a factor as the QB’s had to show a 1, 3, 5, and 7 step drop making multiple throws on all levels.
Having the opportunity to see our quarterbacks compete at a high level and be recognized by ESPNU, 247.com, Nike coaching staff, and other media outlets showed why their off season commitment to improving fundamentals and mechanics played a key part in their success.
Below is an observation on 4 of our quarterbacks with a question and answer session:
Tyler Cogswell: The 6′-4″ 2013 QB showed very well during the event. Selected as one of 7 quarterbacks in a group of 80+ signal callers, Cogswell placed the football in the necessary locations required to play the position at the next level. One area that is very impressive about Tyler is his ability to move around the pocket quickly and maintain the proper balance to execute down the field throws. There is little wasted motion once Cogswell gets back in his drops and punches that last step before the throw. Where Tyler excelled was on the intermediate to long range passes.
QUESTION: Thoughts on this past weekends Elite 11. The Competition, the environment, your performance?
Cogswell: The event was incredible. Having the opportunity to show the hard work I have put in during the off season was exciting. There were great quarterbacks from around the country and being named to the final 7 was something I strive for.
QUESTION: What do you think separated each level of quarterbacks? The elite to the middle of the pack to the lower tier?
Cogswell: I think in the end it came to the mechanics and the ability to drop and get the ball out on time
on certain routes. You could definitely see the difference in quarterbacks that had the mechanical and fundamental training as opposed to those that were competing on raw talent and ability. Coaches quickly recognize sound quarterbacks who can process information quickly and get rid of the ball.
QUESTION: What advice would you give to a rising freshman or sophomore that has aspirations to be invited to an event like the Elite 11
Cogswell: Practice your drops, make sure you get quicker faster and stronger and prepare yourself to compete
Sean White: 6′-2″ 2014 was one of a select few sophomores invited to the event. Trent Dilfer commented that White has an electric arm and his fundamentals are very sound. Sean clearly had one of the best deep ball arms at the event. Poised and smooth the ball exploded off his hand. Where Sean showed that he is one of the top prospects was during the deep comeback and bang 8 throws. These two throws require timing, arm strength, balance, and accuracy. The bang 8 route is a timing route typically ran at the NFL level requiring the quarterback to take a 5 step drop plant and throw to a receiver on a skinny post. The ball must be thrown with velocity and an intermediate trajectory to avoid contact with the safety. The comeback was far hash to an 18 back to 16 yd throw. The ball has to be placed down hill and to the sideline away from a defender’s ability to make a play on the football. White was able to produce these throws throughout the day.
QUESTION: You were one of a handful of 2014 QB’s invited to the Elite 11. How did you feel competing against the best 2013 quarterbacks in the Southeast region
White: I felt good, I felt like I belonged out there. Despite being young, I felt like I competed well and threw right with some of the best QBs in the country.
QUESTION: What did you learn from this event from a fundamental side and mental side?
White: I learned from a ton of great coaches from all over the country, including you, and I think most of the things I learned were mental. Mostly because of the pressure that the coaches tried to put me and the other QBs under, and experience in pressure situations I believe makes you mentally tougher and I think that happened up in Buford.
QUESTION: Showing off in shirt and shorts does not always translate to how good a quarterback is in a game. What part of these events or drills can expose a quarterbacks weaknesses or show his strengths?
White: I think the 7on7 portions of events is important because that is basically as close as it gets to a game as possible without putting on pads. So I would say that part of the event could give good insight on how a QB would perform in a game situation
Troy Cook: 6′-2″ 2013 has a smooth delivery and a frame that will allow a strength program to add size. Cook displayed consistency and the accuracy to play at the next level. Troy excelled distributing the ball at all three levels. Footwork, quick release, and pin point accuracy places this quarterback as one of the top 2013 QB’s from Florida. Suited for a spread or pro style offense Cook has all the intangibles coaches will be looking for in a high level quarterback.
Larry Brihm: 6′-1″2013 Very athletic quarterback that continues to climb the charts with his arm strength, athletic ability, and poise under pressure. Brihm was quickly recognized by the staff and elevated into the advanced group of quarterbacks drawing praise for his ability to throw from multiple launch points with accuracy and velocity. Look for this quarterback to attract a number of college spread offenses this spring. Larry gives defenses fits with his ability to extend the play after a break down in protection.
QUESTION: Thoughts on this past weekends Elite 11. The Competition, the enviornment, your performance?
Brihm: It was a great experience. The opportunity to compete against some of the top quarterbacks in the country. The ability to go out and show your strengths in a setting that challenges to make all of the throws required at the high school and college level.
QUESTION: How has your off-season training prepared you for an event like the Elite 11?
Brihm: I have been working hard this off season developing a chemistry with my team and receivers. I believe fundamentals play a key factor in how you are viewed at the next level. Every day I try to better myself as a quarterback that wants to win.
QUESTION: What do you look forward to this Spring after competing in these events?
Brihm: Heading into spring with the confidence that I have room to grow at this position. I am also looking forward to being a strong leader for our team while preparing to place ourselves in a position to win.
For more information about Mastrole Passing Academy www.PassingCamp.com
Private quarterback coach Ken Mastrole provides private training, small groups, camps, and evaluations for all levels of quarterbacks.
Leader in Quarterback Development
Quarterback training in Ft. Lauderdale, Naples, Orlando