Sixteen of 24 quarterbacks have officially punched their tickets to the Elite 11 Finals, including Michigan 4-star pro-style commit Cade McNamara.
McNamara, a 6-foot-1, 187-pound prospect at Reno (Nev.) Damonte Ranch, attended the Elite 11 Regional QB Camp in Las Vegas. On the first day of the camp, May 12, McNamara earned his invitation. He was the only quarterback in Las Vegas that weekend to get a ticket on the first day.
“The [Student Sports staff] pulled me aside halfway through and told me I was the best guy there and it was just about finishing the day strong,” McNamara said. “I was not expecting to get the invite on Day 1, so it was a huge honor.”
In the next few days in Las Vegas, Eugene (Ore.) Sheldon 4-star prospect Michael Johnson Jr. and Trussville (Ala.) Hewitt-Trussville 4-star quarterback Paul Tyson also secured spots.
“I know Michael pretty well,” McNamara said. “I’m closest with [future South Carolina quarterback] Ryan Hilinski. We see each other pretty often when it comes to camps in Los Angeles and staying in touch through Twitter.”
The 2018 Elite 11 will span three days, June 1-3, in Redondo Beach, Calif., and include on-field drills, routes on air, classroom instruction and off-field development. The Elite 11 will be named on June 3, with the selected athletes heading to The Opening Finals in Dallas.
In 2015, Michigan quarterbacks Shea Patterson and Brandon Peters both made the Elite 11 and were selected to attend The Opening Finals. Patterson won the event as an Ole Miss commit. The 2018 season will be his first with the Wolverines.
“They will narrow it down from the 24 guys to the Elite 11,” McNamara said. “I’ve been following the Elite 11 even back when Shea got MVP. I watched that on my TV. Ever since I was little, I wanted to be in the Elite 11. It’s something really cool in my life right now.”
After spending the 2016 and 2017 seasons at Ole Miss, Patterson made the decision to transfer to play in Ann Arbor. Since his move and McNamara’s commitment on March 16, the two have grown close.
“[Shea] said that we will talk so I could hear his thoughts going forward,” McNamara said. “I’ll definitely hit him up to learn how he had success and how I can help myself. Having that source in Shea is huge.
“I compare my style to Shea. We have the same body type and play. I can learn a lot from him.”
The Elite 11 Finals, for McNamara, is not about impressive colleges, as he is 100 percent committed to the Wolverines. Instead, he is aiming to improve his game.
“The Elite 11 is totally personal,” the quarterback said. “It’s been a dream of mine and I believe I’m the best quarterback in the country. I want to prove that to everyone and get a great experience.”
Besides Patterson, McNamara knows Sam Darnold, Deshaun Watson and Kyle Allen, who all participated in the Elite 11. McNamara’s quarterback coach, Jordan Palmer, is affiliated with the Elite 11 as an assistant coach.
“They had nothing but amazing things to say about it,” McNamara said. “They really enjoyed the process. I can’t wait to get going on June 1.”
In the 2017 season, McNamara completed 225 of 384 passes for 3,470 yards, 44 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. In his Damonte Ranch three-year career, he is 593 of 1,042 through the air for 9,080 yards, 107 touchdowns and 29 interceptions.
McNamara is ranked No. 258 in the nation, No. 10 at his position and is the top-ranked player in Nevada, according to 247Sports composite.