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Utah Utes, BYU football: Quarterback recruits shine at Elite 11 camp

Published: Wednesday, July 20 2011 5:47 p.m. MDT

Tanner Mangum (yellow jersey), and Travis Wilson, left, participate in the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp in Malibu, Calif., on Wednesday.

Brandon Gurney

MALIBU, Calif. — There is no greater honor for a high school quarterback prospect than being named as an Elite 11 finalist.

The Elite 11 camp is run by Nike and has featured the very best of the best since its inception in 1999. Recent finalists of the Elite 11 camp include Stanford's Andrew Luck, Oklahoma's Landry Jones, Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, South Carolina's Stephen Garcia and BYU's Jake Heaps, just to name a few.

It's hard to find many finalists of the camp who haven't gone on to a lot of success at the very best Division I football programs.

This year, 24 best high school quarterback prospects in the country were invited from the four regional camps to gather here for the final leg. Those 24 have competed all week to be named as official Elite 11 finalists.

Two of the final 24 quarterbacks participating this week are BYU commit Tanner Mangum and Utah commit Travis Wilson. Given the track records of Elite 11 finalists, both Cougar and Ute fans should be excited about their commits being in Malibu this week.

If the fans aren't, their future coaching staffs sure are.

"I've called Coach Chow or Coach Roderick every day that I've been here," said the 6-foot-6, 230-pound Travis Wilson. "(They're) obviously excited that I'm down here learning from some of the best instructors there are. I can feel myself getting better every single day."

Mangum related a similar sentiment.

"I've talked to Coach Doman and let him know about everything, and he's obviously excited that I'm here," said the 6-foot-2, 195-pound prospect. "I mean, we all know what Jake Heaps was able to do for BYU as a true freshman after going through this camp, so I couldn't think of any better preparation over the summer than to be here learning from these great instructors."

Some of the very best teachers in the game have attended the Elite 11 camp. This week, quarterbacks took notes from such talents as former Super Bowl champion Trent Dilfer and current Kansas City Chief starter Matt Cassel.

"The instruction we're receiving is incredible," said Wilson. "I think I did pretty good last year, got some good offers and all that, but this year, with this camp and what I've been learning, I couldn't be more excited."

Wilson has been one of the standouts so far this week. It's easy to stand out when you're 6-foot-6, but that's not the only reason he's turning heads.

"Travis has had a really good week," said ESPN's Greg Biggins, who has helped run the Elite 11 from the very beginning. "His size is obviously a huge asset, but he has the arm to match that size and throws downfield extremely well. He's 6-6, so he's working hard on throwing like he's that tall and not throwing like he's 6-foot-2, and he's getting it. Once he continues getting to that point, the sky is the limit because he's so athletic for his size. He reminds me a lot of Drew Bledsoe athletically. His tools and upside are off the charts."

Mangum, meanwhile has stood out due to the color of his jersey, which is golden.

A golden jersey is given the winner of the "Golden Gun" competition that is held each day. It's a competition that measures the accuracy of each of the camp participants, and Mangum has come away with the award after each of the first two days.

"Tanner is really having a great week for himself so far," said Biggins. "Coming in, I considered him to be one of the top five or six guys here, but I think he's even moved up from there after his performance the first couple of days. He's obviously very accurate and has a good arm, but I would like to see him just spin it out of his hand a bit more consistently. Once he gets that, he'll really have pretty much all that you need to be a great quarterback."

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