Bruce Feldman has been attending the prestigious Elite 11 quarterback camp regularly since 2003. In that time, the prototype college recruit at the position has changed.
“A lot of these kids now look like point guards in high school basketball,” said Feldman, a national college football analyst who writes for The Athletic and serves as a studio guest and sideline reporter for Fox Sports.
South Carolina commitment Ryan Hilinski does not, said Feldman, who attended last week’s Elite 11 finals, in which Hilinski qualified for the final group and a spot in The Opening in Beaverton, Ore., later this month.
“I was pretty impressed with him,” said Feldman, who in 2014 published “The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks.” “He looks like he’s 20, 21 years old. He’s just a big, physical quarterback who seems very poised. He’s a guy who looks like I imagine a big recruit 20 years ago would have looked like.”
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Hilinski, threw for 3,749 yards, 33 touchdowns and six interceptions last year as a junior at Orange Lutheran in Orange, Calif. He made a verbal commitment to South Carolina in April and is expected to sign with the Gamecocks in December.
He would become the fourth Elite 11 quarterback in South Carolina program history, joining Brandon McIlwain (2015), Stephen Garcia (2006) and Blake Mitchell (2002).
Feldman watched this year’s Elite 11 finals and talked to many of the participants and was told by staff people at the camp that Hilinski and quarterback Bo Nix, the son of former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix, were two of the most highly respected players by their peers at this year’s event.
“I thought he was one of the better quarterbacks in this group, and the setting is pretty good for him,” Feldman said. “You can tell he’s been pretty well coached in high school and exposed to stuff.”