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July 23, 2011

What we learned: Elite 11

MORE ELITE 11: Ranking top QBs for week

MALIBU, Calif. - Four days spent at the Elite 11 was valuable to see some of the nation's top quarterbacks competing in various competitions. Here are five thoughts from Rivals.com analyst Adam Gorney following the event:

1. Debate will rage about nation's top-rated quarterback

This could get interesting. Four-star Jameis Winston was arguably the best overall quarterback almost every day at the Elite 11 and he's the top-rated dual-threat quarterback by Rivals.com and No. 52 in the 2012 class.

That is 33 spots behind the No. 1 pro-style quarterback, Gunner Kiel from Columbus (Ind.) East, who was special at times during the Elite 11 but didn't show the consistency to absolutely hold that top spot.

Did Winston show enough to move past Kiel to become the top quarterback in the 2012 class? How much should one week be considered when the next set of rankings is released?

It's going to be an interesting debate because Kiel performed really well during certain times of the event but Winston was consistently more impressive throughout the entire showcase.

2. Winston is much more than just a baseball player

It is absolutely clear that Winston, from Hueyville, Ala., has a bright future in football because he is super athletic and has an outstanding arm. He makes throws look effortless and he doesn't have to force balls into bad spots to make plays. Winston is the total package of smarts and skills and he has emerged as a possible five-star prospect because he still has room to grow.

What's so befuddling about the situation is that Winston might never play college football at all because he's such a talented baseball player. Not leaning either way this week, it's still up in the air what Winston will do after his senior season.

3. Mangum continues to impress on national scale

The one thing Tanner Mangum didn't want to do is come into the Elite 11 after such a strong showing at The Opening and totally flop. That did not happen at all.

In fact, Mangum built upon his performance in Beaverton, Ore., by winning multiple accuracy challenges and being told by camp counselor Trent Dilfer that he might have had the first perfect set of five 7-on-7 downs of the Elite 11.

Mangum has emerged as a national prospect, not only a quality quarterback in the Northwest, and it's clear BYU got a major steal.

4. Washington will be fine for years to come

Washington took two quarterbacks in the 2012 class with four-star Cyler Miles and three-star Jeff Lindquist and if their performances at the Elite 11 are any indication of future success, the Huskies could be Pac-12 contenders.

Both quarterbacks had marvelous showings and were better at the Elite 11 than the Seattle NIKE Camp, which was on Washington's campus.

Miles is a physical specimen who is still awkward with his mechanics but simply gets the job done and could be a special player with more work. Lindquist was one of the smartest quarterbacks at the Elite 11 and proved he can really zip the ball because there were some questions about his arm strength coming into the event.

5. Burcham should pick up more offers soon

It's hard to believe Neal Burcham out of Greenbrier, Ark., only has an offer from Central Arkansas but that could soon change. Burcham was consistently good all week at the Elite 11 and it's difficult to really stand out with so many other outstanding quarterbacks in attendance.

What we also really liked about Burcham, who said he's hearing from Alabama, Arkansas and Missouri, is that he has a competitive streak and fire about his game that should help him moving forward.

Burcham felt he belonged at the Elite 11 no matter what his offer list says. With more publicity coming his way, more offers could be near, too.

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