THE RECRUITING GUY:

Six Arkansans at Elite 11

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Bentonville quarterback Kasey Ford throws a pass during the first half of the game against Springdale Har-Ber in Tiger Stadium on Friday Sept. 27, 2013.
Photo by Ben Goff
Bentonville quarterback Kasey Ford throws a pass during the first half of the game against Springdale Har-Ber in Tiger Stadium on Friday Sept. 27, 2013.

ARLINGTON, Texas - Six Arkansas quarterbacks competed in the Elite 11 Regional Quarterback Competition at AT&T Stadium on Sunday and one is still in the running for an invite for the national competition.

Ross Trail, 6-3, 205 pounds of Wynne, was one of seven quarterbacks singled out of about 70 athletes to compete in the two minute drill where participants make five different type of passes leading up to the end zone. He was generally pleased with his showing.

“I was in the top seven today, so I was very pleased,” Trail said.

Trail also made the final group at Atlanta Elite 11 Regional Competition on March 21 and is on Elite 11 Coach and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer’s short list for a possible spot in the national event this summer in Oregon.

“He’s going to be a fringe guy to the end,” Dilfer said. “He’s going to come up in the war room. He had a very, very good Atlanta and a very, very good Dallas. You could see the disappointment on his face. I thought he was really good, I wouldn’t say excellent. I thought he was really good.”

Dilfer pointed out that Auburn quarterback signee Sean White, last year’s Elite 11 MVP, was a late selection for the national competition.

“Sean White was the 17th guy in last year and he won the thing,” Dilfer said. “So I would kind of put Ross in that category. I wanted to see a little more juice, just 10 RPM’s. Not on the ball, but just his overall body.”

Trail has scholarship offers from Louisville, Memphis, Southern Miss and Arkansas State. Ohio State and Cincinnati have indicated offers could be coming after they watch him throw this spring.

Several schools have visited Wynne during the spring evaluation period that started on April 15.

Arkansas and Texas will visit his school today while Oklahoma State is expected to visit later in the week.

Trail said he’s had limited contact with Razorbacks offensive coordinator Jim Chaney.

“They already have Ty Storey,” Trail said. “I respect that, and understand why they wouldn’t be in contact as much as the other schools, but I have been in a little contact.”

Bentonville sophomore Kasey Ford, 6-5, 237, was one of several underclassmen invited to the competition and showed off arm strength that was equal to anyone in the event. He was impressed with the Dilfer and his staff’s knowledge.

“Those guys know a lot,” Ford said. “I have to be smoother on my feet and I have to have a little more finesse on the ball. I have a lot of stuff to work on, there’s always stuff to work on.”

Ford has a scholarship offer from Louisville but is expected to receive more in the next few weeks as colleges attend the Tigers’ spring practices.

Dilfer was focused on the juniors, but said he’s aware of Ford.

“Everybody is telling me about him,” Dilfer said. “They’re talking about Ford, they’re talking about the kid from Washington and Shea Patterson, another 16. There’s a bunch of 16’s that’s pretty good.”

Ford said he plans to make a return trip to next year’s event.

“Work hard and come back next year and win it all,” Ford said.

Cooper Westbrook, 6-2, 230, of Little Rock Central showed well during the event and took home several pointers he can use for next season.

“They critiqued my footwork a lot, my drops and my steps,” said Westbrook, who’s drawing interest from Tulsa, Arkansas State and Memphis. “I’m stepping too far with my foot on my throws. So I basically learned a lot about footwork.”

Hoxie’s Cole Sears is a dual-threat quarterback who is seeing interest from schools like Arkansas State, Toledo, Iowa State, Akron, Memphis, Louisiana Tech and others.

“It’s a once-in-lifetime experience to be able to come down here with all of these great quarterbacks and be able to get out and compete,” Sears said.

Sears, 6-3, 205, completed 50 of 94 passes for 1,065 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing 177 times for 1,276 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior.

“I would say I competed fairly well, but there’s a lot of good quarterbacks,” Sears said. “Hopefully I impressed some people.”

North Little Rock quarterback Heath Land, 6-0, 200, threw the ball with consistency during the day and also showed a nice touch on the deep ball.

“I had my good moments and I feel good about myself,” Land said. “I know I’m not quite where I want to be at yet. It’s just a grind, and I’m going to keep working. Keep working hard and try and put in more work than the next guy.”

Land, who’s receiving interest from Louisiana Tech, Troy, North Carolina, Arkansas State, Kent State and others, led the Charging Wildcats to the Class 7A semifinals.

Pulaski Academy’s Will Hefley, 6-4, 200, is drawing interest from Stanford, Louisiana-Monroe, Cincinnati, SMU, Memphis, Harvard, Princeton and others. He said he felt confident about his performance.

“I was in the top group for sure,” Hefley said. “I obviously didn’t get picked for the finals, but I feel like if go out there and have a little bit better of a day I know I could’ve definitely been picked. I feel like I was one of the better ones for sure.”

E-mail Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports, Pages 21 on 05/06/2014

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