ORLANDO, Fla. — The second Elite 11 Regional of 2021 took place Sunday at Lake Howell High School in Orlando, Fla, with over 110 quarterbacks coming out to compete. The event also featured some top underclassmen, including members of the classes of 2025-27, most of whom have yet to take a varsity snap.
The state of Florida is not known for its QB recruits, so it was fairly easy to stand out on Sunday. At the time of publish, no QB from the event was invited to the Elite 11 Finals. This article will be updated if any invites are awarded Sunday evening.
Bradenton IMG Academy QB AJ Duffy was the best of the class of 2022 QBs on the day. Duffy measured in at 6’1 and 218 pounds. He had the best blend of accuracy, arm strength, release, and footwork on a day which will likely feature only a handful of 2022 QBs who will play quarterback at the Power 5 level.
Originally from Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde High School, Duffy is the No. 108 player in the country on the 247Sports Composite. He will make his commitment on March 31. 247Sports spoke with Duffy after the event about his recruitment and his game.
One of the key questions for Duffy was about his recently released Top 4 of Florida State, Michigan State, Oregon, and Penn State. Curiously, that list did not include Arizona State, the school which is the unanimous pick on the 247Sports Crystal Ball with a high confidence level.
Duffy clarified that his decision will not be limited just to his top four, and that he is still in frequent communication not only with Arizona State, but also with West Virginia.
Duffy wants to get developed and play for an offensive coordinator who is not looking to jump to a new job during his time at a school.
“As far as offensive coordinators, I am close with Kenny Dillingham, Jay Johnson, Zach Hill, and the whole staff at West Virginia, too,” Duffy said of the offensive coordinators at Florida State, Michigan State, and Arizona State, respectively.
Look for more from Duffy on 247Sports.
Others of note
Auburn commit Holden Geriner, a QB from Savannah (Ga.) Benedictine Military School flashed some impressive tools on the day. Geriner has good size at 6’3 and 210 pounds, and probably had the most zip. Having played 7v7 the day prior, he wasn’t quite as sharp as he has been at prior events, but did flash some impressive tools. Geriner is excited to meet the Auburn staff in person once the NCAA dead period is lifted over the summer. Geriner threw for 2,770 yards and 25 touchdowns to just three interceptions as a junior
Fernando Mendoza, of Miami Columbus High School impressed on Sunday. The 6’4.5, 210-pound prospect had consistently good velocity and accuracy. He changed speeds fairly well. And he was OK for a player of his size in the footwork drills. Mendoza only has Ivy League offers to this point, which are seriously in consideration for the QB who claims a 5.1 GPA. Indiana and Georgia Tech have been in contact. Mendoza’s school played only six games in the fall, so he has limited tape. If he continues to play like he did Sunday, his recruitment should expand.
Brandon Mann, of Detroit Country Day had a strong day as well. Mann took home the “Golden Gun Accuracy Challenge” award. He showed decent zip on the ball. And he has ideal size at 6’4 and 214 pounds. Mann claims an offer from Bowling Green.
Underclassmen to watch
Three underclassmen stood out on the day. Brayden Dorman, of Colorado Springs (CO) Vista Ridge has impressive size at 6’4 and drove the ball well. Keyone Jenkins, of Miami Central won the Golden Gun Accuracy prize for the underclassmen. And Ryan Downes, of IMG Academy is in the class of 2025, but looks and plays like someone several years older than he is.
A choice to make
Thomas Castellanos, of Waycross (Ga.) Ware County is being recruited as a QB by a lot of Group of 5 schools who emphasize quarterback mobility, like UCF and Coastal Carolina. But he acknowledged that he will have a choice to make when it comes time to make a decision, which could happen in the next few weeks. The bigger programs want Castellanos as a pass catching running back. His performance Sunday was consistent with the way he is being recruited.
“The bigger Power 5 schools are looking at me as an athlete,” he said. “But right now, it’s QB, that’s what I want to play.”
And yet, Castellanos says that he does plan to visit Florida State on March 27, the school which holds all of the Crystal Ball picks for his recruitment.
While Castellanos hopes that the Power 5 schools come around to playing him at quarterback, he is keeping his options open.
The best player on hand was not a quarterback
That would be Jalen Brown, the receiver from Miami Gulliver Prep. Brown is one of the fastest players in the state and used his speed and hands to come down with some poorly thrown balls on the day. The 2023 receiver is No. 22 in the country in the Top247.
Elite 11 is for girls, too
For the first time, a group of girls participated in an Elite 11 competition. Girls flag football is a varsity sport in Florida. Devyn Silvestri of Lithia Newsome High School took home the accuracy challenge.
History is now “HER” story pic.twitter.com/W3Zd2HEqtq
— Sione Ta’ufo’ou (@si_one11) March 14, 2021