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Story Archives: Talent abounds at Manning Ca,p
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|Talent abounds at Manning Ca,p|
THIBODAUX - The Manning Passing Academy continues to amaze me.
The 2012 version easily boasted the most talent these eyes have ever witnessed on one football field. I never thought I would say that considering the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, Andrew Luck, graced the field a year ago, along with No. 24 overall pick, Brandon Weeden.
But this camp could have multiple first-round selections, starting with USC quarterback Matt Barkley. Barkley chose to return to the Trojans for his senior year, despite being a potential Top 5 pick in the 2012 NFL draft. And boy did he look the part. With his accurate delivery. Barkley was impressive during the annual "Air It Out" portion of the camp. But surprisingly, he wasn't the most impressive.
That award is split between two SEC quarterbacks. Georgia's Aaron Murray and Arkansas' Tyler Wilson looked even better than they did a year ago, and that's frightening for SEC foes. Wilson displayed a cool, calm demeanor and a strong arm, while Murray looked to be slightly more accurate of the two. Both look to be in mid-season form already, and though Arkansas' offseason has been full of strife, a successful season is still positive with Wilson leading the squad.
Surprisingly, neither guy won the "Air It Out" competition. Murray came close as he was one of the only four quarterbacks to hit all three moving golf carts, but he lost in the finals to Syracuse's Charlie Loeb.
Other notable quarterbacks that served as counselors were West Virginia's Geno Smith and Washington's Keith Price.
As for the surprises during the competition, Oregon's Bryan Bennett and Kansas State's Collin Klein took the cake. Bennett looked to have one of the strongest arms at the camp, while Klein proved to be a better passer than I initially gave him credit for. I knew he was a strong runner and durable quarterback, but his accurate delivery was truth-telling.
Although there was plenty to gawk at, there was a few underwhelming performances. The first was Tennessee's Tyler Bray. Bray never did anything to really stand out and separate himself from the pack. Going into the 2012 season touted as one of the best quarterbacks the SEC has to offer, his outing at the camp was less than assuring.
The other quarterback that disappointed was Alabama's AJ McCarron simply because he didn't participate in the "Air It Out" competition. Riding high after his impressive performance in the BCS National Championship 21-0 win against LSU, I wanted to see his progression at the position.
Nonetheless, the camp was still packed with great talented quarterbacks, with five to six of them making a strong case for best in the country.
And Cooper Manning once again served as a great moderator.
At one point, Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin had to wait on a golf cart being repaired before he threw, and Cooper took advantage. "Dang Ryan, you haven't ever had this much time at Tulane, huh?"
Oh and as for that Peyton Manning guy, he's ready to go.
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