Editor’s note: Aquinas quarterback Jake Zembiec is one of 18 rising high school seniors selected to compete in the finals of the Elite 11 Quarterback Competitionat Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Zembiec, who has given a verbal commitment to Penn State, was the starting quarterback in his team’s first 7-on-7 game. Each of the teams rotated three quarterbacks. Mach Speed advanced to the 7-on-7 finals, where it lost. Zembiec arrived in Rochester midnight Saturday.
Jake’s final entry: Assessment.
I didn’t advance, but it was good. I had fun and obviously, learned a lot from the guys there. I got a lot of cool gear, too. I didn’t make some of the throws, and all of these guys are the top quarterbacks in the country. They were on their games, very little things separates you.
It was well-deserved, for the guys who made it. I actually started our team’s first 7-on-7 game. We played five or six games. I didn’t play in the two games that were on TV. There’s nothing to blame anyone about, it was coach’s decision.
Hopefully that’s it; it should be stuff with Aquinas. I should be home the rest of the summer, far as I know.
Jake’s third entry: Thursday
We’re about 45 minutes from our first 7-on-7s. (People-Jones) is on my 7-on-7 Team (Mach Speed). We’ll see how it goes.
It was incredible. There’s some 4.3 flats in the 40. Some guy did a 47-inch vertical, I never even heard of that. I did pretty good. They made us jump on an electronic mat (for the vertical test), but overall I did good (35-inch vertical jump and 4.95 40-yard dash).
Everyone watches. All the cameras, the other players, the coaches, former NFL guys, guys who work for Nike. If you do good, you handle it well. There are some kids who are getting frustrated, and pretty quickly.
That was pretty clear early, (that it’s a business). It’s busy, you are doing a lot of stuff, but they include a lot of fun stuff, too.
I was excited to see what everyone can do. There’s a lot of energy. Guys are dancing and yelling they are ready to go.
Jake’s second entry: Tuesday
The first thing we had to do was run two miles with a 50-pound bag. Second, we had to build a plane with Legos. The third thing was we had to carry people on a stretcher for 30 minutes, up and down the field.
It was a lot harder than I thought. A lot of kids were cramping up or throwing up, but it was kind of cool. Nobody was too prideful, we were all too tired, so we had to work together. We had to do another exercise where we picked the weakest link and tell them face-to-face. That wasn’t great, no one wants to hurt anyone’s feelings. We didn’t get to sleep until around 1 a.m.
Michael Gervais is a big figure. He works with the Seattle Seahawks and other teams. He’s trying to get our minds right (for the competition). The workouts were difficult the first day, then we kept grinding, but it’s all good.
Jake’s first entry: Pre-competition thoughts
I am excited to see what they are going to throw at us mentally and physically. I think the grading system is based on every little thing you do — from how you talk, shake hands and look people in the eye to how well you know the playbook. They want to take a look at the whole person.
I think the first day for quarterbacks will include some Navy SEAL-type training. I watched the Elite 11 last year and it’s pretty realistic. I’m not nervous. I am excited to see how everybody reacts because I am sure everything we do will be tied into team building.
Speaking of teams, I will be on Team Mach Speed for the 7-on-7 competition. Each team has three quarterbacks and I will be with Malik Henry from California, who has given a verbal to Florida State, and Jarrett Guarantano of Bergen Catholic in New Jersey who is committed to Tennessee. I know pretty much all of the quarterbacks there from being in California for the semifinals and, if I had to guess, the number of reps you get will be based on how well you perform.
I am really looking forward to this week and will check in soon.