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Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown relishes Elite 11 camp as college decision nears

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REDONDO BEACH — Cameras of all sizes and scope, along with their nimble operators, dotted the sidelines, huddles and end zones Friday at the Elite 11 Finals, the annual camp that draws many of the top high school quarterbacks in the nation.

The targets for the skills competition were neatly arranged on a side field at Redondo Union High. Dozens of talented, skill players from across the country joined the quarterbacks for precisely-timed 7-on-7 sessions. Statistics were kept and shared within minutes on social media, and an MVP was selected.

Amid it all, Orange County’s winningest quarterback the past three seasons did what he does best. Mater Dei’s Elijah Brown smoothly absorbed the experience and calmly found values that don’t register on a stat sheet or a skills competition but make a difference.

“It’s been great just to see how some of these guys act,” he said of his fellow Elite 11 campers. “They’re cool people as well. Sometimes I think a lot of people get caught up in the football aspect of things and (forget) we’re just kids at the end of the day.”

Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown competes at the Elite 11...

Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown competes at the Elite 11 Finals on Friday, June 16, 2023 in Redondo Beach. (Photo courtesy of John Mattera Photography)

Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown, pictured second from the left,...

Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown, pictured second from the left, competed at the Elite 11 camp Friday, June 16 at Redondo Union High in Redondo Beach. (Photo by Dan Albano, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown competes at the Elite 11...

Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown competes at the Elite 11 Finals on Friday, June 16, 2023 in Redondo Beach. (Photo courtesy of John Mattera Photography)

Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown competes at the Elite 11...

Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown competes at the Elite 11 Finals on Friday, June 16, 2023 in Redondo Beach. (Photo courtesy of John Mattera Photography)

Brown’s roommate at the camp was Dylan Raiola from Pinnacle High in Arizona, a Georgia commit. He also hung out with Isaac Wilson, a Utah commit and the brother of New York Jets QB Zach Wilson.

CJ Carr from Saline High in Michigan, a Notre Dame commit, playfully called the uncommitted Brown “Stanford” as Brown assisted in tallying points during the skills competition.

Brown later smiled about the nickname, pointing out that others called him “UCLA.”

The players likely knew that Brown (6-2, 200) has narrowed his college choices to Stanford and UCLA, and that his announcement is expected on Sunday.

“I’m blessed to have both these offers,” said Brown, who carries a grade-point average just above 4.0.

Brown’s experience with his fellow QBs matched with what the camp’s leaders noticed this week. The Class of 2024 was full of character.

“You guys are the nicest, smartest, most talented, humble, respectful group we have ever had in 25 years,” Andy Bark, the Elite 11 co-founder with Bob Johnson, told the players.

Brown also soaked in the lessons from the camp counselors, some of which stretched beyond the field.

“We definitely had a lot of meetings on different aspects of life,” he said, “leadership, connections with our bodies and mind. That kind of stuff was great.”

Those subjects are in Brown’s wheelhouse. He has leaned on leadership and poise, along with his accuracy, to lead Mater Dei to a 29-1 record, a CIF-SS Division 1 title and state championship.

Other quarterbacks showed stronger arms Friday. Some threw more TDs. And Carlsbad’s Julian Sayin, an Alabama commit, took home the MVP award.

Yes, Brown flashed his accuracy in the skills competition. He posted a score of 46 points, which challenged Carr, who scored 50 one turn earlier and finished third overall.

But most of all, Brown remained cool and calculated. He stayed committed to winning in the fall and securing redemption for losing to St. John Bosco in the CIF-SS Division 1 final last season.

“We’re going to be loaded,” he said of Mater Dei’s upcoming season. “We were all juniors last year, so this is our senior year. We felt it was kind of our fault (last season) and we’re coming back even stronger.”

LOOK OUT FOR BROWN’S BROTHER

Brown’s brother Ezrah will be an eighth grader in the fall and plays plays quarterback.

“He’s doing good,” Brown said. “He’s growing like crazy. He’s about my height now.”

MISSION VIEJO’S TRAVIS ANDERSON COMMITS

Mission Viejo safety Travis Anderson, a skill position participant, committed to Boise State on Friday.

Anderson is the second Mission Viejo senior to commit to a college, joining offensive lineman Mark Schroller (UCLA).

MISSION VIEJO’S TREYVON TOLMAIRE SHINES

Mission Viejo cornerback Treyvon Tolmaire played well in the 7-on-7 sessions.

“I just like going against the country’s best, trying to see where I am amongst everybody else,” he said. “Just trying to prove everybody wrong and prove a lot of people right at the same time.”

Tolmaire holds a wide range of offers, from Michigan, UNLV, Air Force and Navy to Princeton, Dartmouth and Northern Arizona. Fordham was his latest offer.

Please send football news to Dan Albano at dalbano@scng.com or @ocvarsityguy on Twitter

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