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June 26, 2004LAS VEGAS - Several of the nation's top quarterback prospects rolled the dice and took a chance to help improve their stock at Friday's EA SPORTS ELITE 11 regional workout at UNLV.
And for several prospects, it was well worth the gamble because they solidified their changes to be one of the lucky 12 players selected for the elite quarterback camp.
The most impressive quarterback was Fresno (Calif.) Edison pro-style quarterback Arkelon Hall. The Washington State commitment had a great workout and did everything correct.
He displayed tremendous accuracy, his footwork was impeccable, his drops were great and he had plenty of velocity on the ball and completed about every type of pass quarterback coach Bob Johnson asked of him.
"I did all right," Hall, who looked much improved over his performance at the Palo Alto NIKE Training Camp, said. "I got here at 3:45 and had to come straight from the airport here, so I was a little rushed."
Hall even joked that maybe the Cougars should make him take a later flight than the rest of the team because if he can perform like this when he's rushed maybe it's something he should stick with.
"I think my arm speed was really good today," Hall, who is 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, said. "I put a lot of good zip on the ball. I also felt good about my footwork. I still want to get better and learn more, but today was a good day for me."
And if he does well again at Saturday's workout, don't be surprised if Hall is one of the precious few that receives and invitation to the camp.
"I want to do a little better," he said. "I want to come in and close the deal."
Southlake (Texas) Carroll quarterback Chase Daniel also had an impressive workout and most observers had him rated as the second-best of the day.
Daniel, who is 6-0? and 214 pounds, had a little bit of trouble with the depth of his drops and he slipped a few times trying to set up, but everything else he did was dazzling. He displayed great arm strength, made right decisions and his footwork at times was perfection.
After Friday's workout it's going to be awfully tough to keep Daniel from being named as the top quarterback in the Lone Star State. He definitely looked like a prospect worthy of a potential four-star ranking. With offers from Duke, Houston, Maryland, Missouri, Stanford, Oklahoma State, TCU, Kansas State and several others, Daniel could be a heck of a steal for a team that wants a quarterback with the total package and doesn't mind playing a quarterback just a hair shy of 6-1.
"I liked what I did," Daniel said. "I wanted to come out here and impress the coaches. I got some really good feedback on how I did. I gave it my best and feel pretty good about my chances to make the Elite 11."
Daniel and Hall weren't the only quarterbacks that impressed.
Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland standout Jonathan Garner had another impressive workout. He looked good in person at the Miami NIKE Camp and his film is one of the more impressive for quarterbacks in the Southeast.
Garner might have had the strongest arm at the workout, but his release wasn't the quickest of the bunch. Still, he's going to be a very serious candidate for the Elite 11 after another impressive workout.
Garner and Daniel will not be at Saturday's workout because both are heading to Stanford's camp.
Lockport, Ill., quarterback Jake Christensen was solid, but not overly spectacular. However, that's typical Christensen. He was probably the most consistent quarterback at the workout, as he did a little bit of everything correct.
After seeing Christensen for the second time in person this spring, it's become even clearer he made the perfect choice to play for the Iowa. Christensen, who is 6-foot and 200 pounds, should be an amazing fit for the Hawkeye offense that features a quarterback that's just as adept at play-action passing as he is standing in the pocket.
Stockton (Ariz.) St. Mary's quarterback Willie Tuitama looked good again with another all-around exciting performance. He impressed last month at the NIKE Camp at Palo Alto, and it looks like he's continued to refine his game. He has very fluid mechanics and when he needs to, he can put plenty of zip on the ball.
It's easy to see why some have compared Tuitama to former NFL great Jim Plunkett. It's also easy to see that Mike Stoops and the Arizona Wildcats got a very solid quarterback commitment.
A dark horse that might have a serious shot at making the Elite 11 is Carlsbad, Calif., standout Sean Canfield. The 6-3?, 203-pound Oregon State bound signal-caller had great drops, great technique, a very quick release and about everything else you wanted from an elite quarterback. The one knock on Canfield is that he doesn't have the strongest arm.
However, when you do everything else right, you don't always have to have a rocket for an arm.
For more coverage on the Elite 11, check out StudentSports.com.