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June 9, 2006The EA SPORTS Elite 11 is annually regarded as the top prep quarterback club in the country. On June 24th in Las Vegas, over 80 quarterbacks will vie for spots in the 2006 competition - the 8th year of the Elite 11. Over the past 3 years, Cal has successfully recruited an Elite 11 QB each year, signing Nate Longshore (2004), Kyle Reed (2005), and Kevin Riley (2006). Could Cal make it four in a row?
With California head coach Jeff Tedford recognized as one of the country's premier QB coaches, the Bears program has been a quarterback's dream school for nearly half a decade now. Tedford's resume at developing quarterbacks date back to his work at Fresno State, his alma mater, where he worked with former 1st round NFL draft picks Trent Dilfer and David Carr, selected as both the 6th overall and 1st overall choices in 1994 and 2002, respectively. Other former first round NFL draft picks that developed at QB under Tedford include former Oregon signal callers Akili Smith and Joey Harrington, and Cal's own Kyle Boller and Aaron Rodgers. Therefore, Cal could easily make it four in a row.
But who will it be?
Cal's top three QB prospects, in no such order, will all be in Las Vegas three weekends from now showcasing their ability. They are Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Academy's Stefan Loucks, Dallas (Tex.) Episcopal School of Dallas' Brock Mansion, and Anaheim (Calif.) Servite's Dan Klein. Like all the invitees, campers will start of doing footwork drills, then progress to throwing different patterns. Each quarterback will see a variety of defense's, including man-to-man, and cover 2.
How do Cal's targets feel about the upcoming competition and invitation ahead of time?
"I am really looking forward to it," Mansion said last week about the Elite 11 invite. "That's a big honor and I'd definitely like to make it."
The 6-foot-5 Mansion has certainly put himself into Elite 11 status. During his first year at ESD, which runs a spread, pro-style offense, the former Plano high QB threw for 1,986 yards and 28 touchdowns against just 6 interceptions. He added 989 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground, showing off his 4.7 speed.
"Even though baseball is the sport I'll probably play when I'm in college, I'm still a quarterback right now," Klein said. "I'll definitely be there at the Elite 11. It's really a cool thing to be included in that group. In fact, last weekend I was at a photo shoot that had some of the best quarterbacks in Southern California. So to be a part of all this, along with playing baseball, is really a lot of fun."
Coming off an arm problem as a sophomore, the 6-foot-3 Klein had a huge junior year on both the gridiron and diamond for the Friars. He took over the starting duties of Servite's new spread offense and quickly showed his enormous potential, throwing for 2,005 yards, 15 touchdowns, and completing 62 percent of his passes. He also ran for over 400 yards and scored 4 more TD's. To cap off his impressive junior campaign under first year head coach Troy Thomas, Klein helped lead a playoff comeback as Servite pushed past annual SoCal power Long Beach Poly 28-20. Down 20-7 late in the 3rd quarter, Klein connected on a 58-yard TD pass to one of his favorite targets D.J. Shoemate, a star 2008 wide receiver prospect who has already given a verbal commitment to USC, to ignite a 21-0 scoring run to end the game.
After football season ended, Klein quickly put his name on the map as a must see pitching prospect for Major League Baseball (MLB) scouts. Possessing a fastball consistently around 92 mph along with a nasty curveball and a self-described "filthy" change-up, Klein went 7-1 with a 1.40 ERA in 55 innings. Dan's only loss of the season came in the Friars last game to none other than Long Beach Poly, the final game of the year for Servite.
Statiscally, the Loucks has put together the most impressive prep career to date out of the three candidates. Over the past two years, he's completed over 60% of his passes, amassing 8,500 yards and an incredible 86 touchdowns for Pulaski Academy in Little Rock (Ark.).
Of course, fans can always check out the group and compare these 3 players by watching their exclusive Rivals videos.