May 3—Cameron Swiger fulfilled an ambition Sunday, but he hopes it will merely be a stepping stone toward his ultimate dream to be a Division I college quarterback.
The 16-year-old Anthony Wayne High School sophomore participated at the invitational Elite 11 regional held in suburban Indianapolis at Brownsburg (Ind.) High School.
Swiger was timed and measured in NFL combine-style athletic tests, rated on his performance in various passing skills designed to evaluate the participants' footwork, arm strength, accuracy, and ability to throw under pressure.
"It was a good day," said Swiger, who went to the event with his father, Justin Swiger, who is a tennis pro at Shadow Valley Tennis Club and a tennis coach at St. John's Jesuit.
"I threw pretty well and thought I had good footwork at the camp," Swiger said. "I had good coaching, and there were a lot of good players out there. It was definitely a legit camp. Everyone there was good."
Swiger said that only his four athletic-skill results were available to him afterward and that, combined, he rated on the 82nd percentile of all participants tested. The three top-rated quarterbacks overall at the event were Penn State commit Drew Allar and Purdue commit Brady Allen, both juniors, and Saline (Mich.) High School freshman C.J. Carr, who has already received scholarship offers from Michigan, Michigan State, and Central Michigan.
"It was good experience," Swiger said. "There were a lot of really good quarterbacks out there, and a lot of good coaching."
Anthony Wayne head football coach Andy Brungard said that the Generals' sophomore had applied to the event following his seventh, eighth and ninth-grade football seasons before finally being accepted this year.
Athletes must submit highlight tapes, physical dimensions, and a list of any accolades earned, and have their coach submit a similar application.
"We kind of put our kids in a committed, compelled, or obsessed category in regard to their offseason workouts, and this kid is obsessed," Brungard said of Swiger's desire. "He was previously a three-sport athlete — football, basketball, and baseball — and I think if you asked him why he did baseball and basketball it was to prepare him to be a better quarterback.
"This year, he went out for track so that he could get faster in order to be a better quarterback. Everything he does is to help him improve his game.
The Elite 11 is billed as the premier quarterback event in the nation, bringing together the nation's top signal callers each offseason to compete and improve their skill set, both on and off the field.
This year there are eight regional events — Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, Fla., and Philadelphia — with the the top 11 quarterbacks overall, based on performance rating, earning spots in the Elite 11 finals in Nashville on June 29.
In 2013, prior to his senior season at Central Catholic, eventual Notre Dame and NFL quarterback DeShone Kizer qualified for the Elite 11 finals, which are featured each year on ESPN.
According to the Elite 11 website, the regional camps, which cost $50, are open to top high school junior (current class of 2022) quarterbacks, plus some select underclass quarterbacks. Participants receive a five-hour curriculum with testing and instruction by some of the nation's top quarterback coaches and mentors.
Those who show the highest level of skill, acumen, and desire are eligible to earn one of the 11 spots at the Elite 11 quarterback finals. Only the 2022 quarterbacks are eligible to qualify for the June finals.
The Indianapolis event had 70 quarterbacks from the Midwest, including 60 current juniors, eight sophomores, and two freshmen.
Of the 14 Ohio quarterbacks there, the 6-foot-0 1/2 , 195-pound Swiger was the lone sophomore from Ohio.
Swiger saw his first varsity action for AW during the 2020 season, entering as a backup in two games before starting the Generals' final three games.
He was 49-of-87 passing for 618 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions, and rushed 21 times for 150 yards and two TD's.
Swiger wasted no time giving the AW coaching staff a glimpse of his potential.
"His first snap as a varsity quarterback was against Maumee in the second quarter," Brungard said. "I asked him if he wanted a pass or a run play. He said, 'I want to run it.' I said, 'All right, I'm going to give you a quarterback power.'
"I was thinking we could get eight or nine yards. He took it 65 yards for a touchdown, and he probably shed about three or four tackles on his way in. I laughed because I said to our staff, ' I thought he was supposed to be a great throwing quarterback.' "
Brungard sees much potential in Swiger.
"This is a passion that Cam has always had since he was young," Brungard said, "and his dad has just helped him with his passion. It's really turned into a good skill set. He's got the strongest arm of anybody who's been through our program in the last six years.
"Right now, everything is coming to fruition. He has matured, his mental game has matured, and I think now he's just ready to prove how good he could be."
Swiger, who gave up basketball to spend more offseason time in the weight room, can bench press 305 pounds and squat 400. He also carries a 3.99 grade-point average.
"The first thing he has is arm strength," Brungard said of Swiger's QB talent. "He throws a tight spiral about 70 yards, and I have not had a kid before who could throw to the opposite hash or be a deep threat downfield and be accurate. He went to the University of Michigan camp as a freshman and won their accuracy challenge.
"As a kid with a really strong arm that is accurate, that opens your playbook to a lot of different things. He spent this entire year on footwork and hip speed, and he spent last year learning how to read a defense. I think he's kind of coming into his own to be a complete quarterback his junior year."
At just 6-0 1/2 , Swiger and his coach are aware that landing a Division I college scholarship to play quarterback won't be easy. College recruiters prefer quarterbacks be 6-3 or taller to allow for better downfield vision.
"We're trying to sell him as an RPO [run-pass option] quarterback," Brungard said of Swiger's expected college recruitment. "If you talk to some of the colleges now, that's where a lot of teams are going — to RPOs and run reads with the quarterback.
"We're trying to give him that advantage. At 6 feet, I think he kind of sees that height thing with a chip on his shoulder. I don't think he sees it as a weakness. It makes him work harder."
Added Swiger: "It's definitely going to be harder to get recruited. I have zero offers so far. I do pretty good at camps, but I think what it's going to come down to is my play-making ability at this height.
"You have to be able to make plays outside of the pocket, and you have to be able to run."
Swiger's QB pursuit has lasted 10 years so far.
"I started playing flag football in first grade," Swiger said. "I was the center. Second grade was my first year at quarterback. By third or fourth grade [in tackle football] I was just obsessed with the position.
"It's such a big role on the team. There's a lot of pressure, but it's a lot of fun, too. I've always liked throwing the ball. I was in fourth or fifth grade when I realized that I could throw a lot better than everyone else, and I had an IQ at the position."
Two weeks ago, Swiger participated in a camp in Louisville, where he was one of the top-rated quarterbacks, and earned an invite to participate in a 247Sports event in Tampa, July 9-11.
Then, he will prepare for his junior season at AW.
"That was a big moment for me," Swiger said of his Elite 11 experience. "I think it will help me at Anthony Wayne next year because we will be in some big games. We start out at Findlay, and St. John's will be a big game. The coaching was great, and I got to see how I ranked up against other guys."