Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Elite 11 ... Years Later

I saw a post on facebook today, urging me to watch the Elite 11 on ESPN tonight "if I'm a football fan."  I gotta say, my football fanship is not in danger of being revoked by not watching it.  I'm not saying that I have no interest in the abilities of 11 kids who may or may not end up contributing at all to my own personal entertainment in the future (ok, maybe that's precisely what I'm saying) but rather that this is not football.  This is a competition which exists to build hype around players, increase their exposure, and perhaps grant them opportunities for scholarships where they previously would not have existed.

Aside from all of that...I got to thinking about the validity of this "Elite 11" concept...and wondered how many "Elite 11" QBs go on to be "Elite" in college.  Of course, not wanting to dive into a 2-week research project, I simply looked at the college careers of the QBs in the class with Aaron Murray, our current Elite-11 prospect.

I recognized some of the names, and some I've never seen before.  You can imagine my surprise and happy disposition when I realized that our own Aaron Murray stacks up pretty favorably against the majority of the NIKE Elite 11 of 2008 (which, I may add, did NOT include Matt Barkley for some reason I don't recall).

Of the 11, only three played in 2009, and only one as a starter.  Tom Savage started for Rutgers in Big East in 2009, before a 2010 injury sidelined him and derailed his career.  He has since moved to AZ, where he sat out a year, and then to Pitt, where he will sit for 2012 as well.  By the time he starts his final season of eligibility at Pitt in 2013, he will have been out of the game for over 2.5 years.  Garret Gilbert was highly praised in 2009 for the way he "didn't screw it all up" in the BCS title game, and that he was a plucky replacement for the injured Colt McCoy.  His sophomore season produced more INTs (17) than TDs (10) and he was replaced as the starter in his Junior year.  Richard Brehaut, UCLA, was a backup in 2009 and has seen his completion percentage drop every year since.  He has amassed 12 TDs and 9 INTs in three years as a Bruin.

Three of the Elite 11 have no stats to speak of in the three years since their distinction.  Raymond Cotton (Ole Miss) and Eugene Smith (WVU) have apparently been unheard of by ESPN since.  Zach Mettenberger  (UGA) showed promise during a redshirt season and the following spring, being locked in a battle with current starter Aaron Murray.  However, certain indiscretions derailed his UGA career and he was removed from the team.  Last season, Metts wen 8-11 for 92 yards and a TD while playing for SEC Champs LSU.

In actuality, the battle for "Most Elite" of this group appears to be a three-way race between Clemson's Tajh Boyd, UGA's Aaron Murray, and Bama's A.J.McCarron.

Going by titles, McCarron is easily Head and Shoulders above the other two. He wears a big ring to prove it.

When you look at their most recent books of passing work, though, you'll see some striking similarities.

So I guess it begs the question...how do we apply "Elite" status?  McCarron completed a much higher percentage of his passes, but threw for over 500 fewer yards than Murray, and almost 1200 fewer than Boyd.  He also didn't throw 1/2 as many TDs as either.

But he has a BCS title.  They don't.

Who won?

Go Dawgs.


Amendment - The Petis pointed out to me that the player once known as "Eugene Smith" has come to national prominence as "Geno Smith."  And, when doing research on THAT young man, well....

I mean, he's a pretty clear-cut above the rest of the competition in most categories.  One has to wonder how he'd fare in any conference other than the Big East... but still, he's gettin' it done.  

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