In the world of high-level quarterback recruiting, Ryan Brand is an afterthought.
Rivals.com did not even give a star rating to the U-D Jesuit quarterback, who is committed to Air Force in the 2015 class.
Maybe it’s his stature: 5-feet-9, 185 pounds.
Whatever the reason, former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer thought enough of Brand to advance him to last week’s Elite 11 finals in Beaverton, Ore.
“I didn’t invite him because I like underdogs,” said Dilfer, an ESPN NFL analyst and the leader at the Elite 11. “I invited him because I thought he was one of the best 18 quarterbacks in the country.”
Brand did enough in Oregon on and off the field to validate Dilfer’s faith.
“What a stud,” Difler said. “He had a sore arm and never flinched. Started off on fire, was probably the most prepared with the playbook. … I give them a playbook 2½ weeks early with 250 combinations, about equal to 2-3 weeks of an NFL training camp install. Not pass protections, but in terms of the passing game, routes and formations. …
“He crushed it. We did an Axon Elite 11 assessment, the No. 1 cognitive and training assessment technology in the world and his score was equivalent to the best guys ever at the NFL combine. Super prepared, an awesome leader.
“He’s not like a lot of these other quarterbacks who have relationships with all these five-star guys because he hasn’t been to all the stuff and you wouldn’t know it. He knows everybody’s name, he’s looking everybody in the eye he’s shaking their hand, engaging them, totally prepared.”
As for Brand’s Air Force commitment, Dilfer tries not to let destinations influence his assessment, especially knowing decommitments are possible with almost eight months until Signing Day.
“I don’t get too caught up in where they’re going to go to school,” Dilfer said. “I just try to get them better prepared.”