Class of 2017 quarterback Tommy DeVito, who committed to Syracuse in April, is in Los Angeles this weekend for the Elite 11 Finals. The event offers the nation’s best high school passers a chance to compete with the cream of their class’s crop. The first day of the camp involves simple quarterback drills, and the live game action begins Saturday.
On paper, DeVito, a product of Don Bosco Prep (NJ), looks out of place among his Elite 11 colleagues. Quarterback recruits are typically split into two categories — pro-style and dual-threat — and the top four signal callers in both groups are attending the Finals, according to 247sports’s composite rankings. DeVito, a three-star recruit, is all the way down at No. 70 on the list of pro-style passers.
But John Cassillo of Troy Nunes Is an Absolute Magician says DeVito doesn’t look intimated by the competition, and Bleacher Report‘s Tyler Donahue shared a video of the 6-foot-2 QB firing a 20-yard dart from between the hash marks to the sideline.
The word “elite” has sort of become a joke in the sports journalism world (still no definitive word on whether Joe Flacco deserves the title), because it’s completely arbitrary. My definition of “elite” is probably a lot different than yours, so debating who is elite and who isn’t is a futile exercise. But there’s no denying that this event deserves its name.
Of the past 11 quarterbacks to win the Heisman Trophy, 10 participated in the Elite 11 Finals. And that success extends beyond the college level — Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, and Andrew Luck are just a few of the above-average NFL starters who attended the camp.
That doesn’t guarantee that DeVito will tear it up in Central New York and make millions as a pro, but it proves that the event’s administrators do a good job of identifying and inviting America’s best high school talent. He’s taking snaps next to guys who truly deserve the “elite” moniker, and, judging by that picture he tweeted, it’s safe to say the New Jersey native thinks he belongs. DeVito will spend the weekend receiving one-on-one instruction both on the field and in the classroom from quarterback gurus, and he should improve over the course of three days.
Last season at Bowling Green, new Syracuse head coach Dino Babers helped quarterback Matt Johnson, whose only other college offer came from Temple, throw for 4,946 yards and 46 touchdowns, both of which ranked second in the country. Imagine what Babers can do with a blue-chipper like DeVito.