Chase Litton said he went to Georgia with a “chip on my shoulder,” a desire to prove his three-star arm was the equal of – or superior to – the four- and five-star recruits at the Elite 11 quarterback camp.
He left the camp with the “Golden Gun” award, confirmation of his ample talent and a new proselyte and Twitter follower: former NFL quarterback, ESPN analyst and Elite 11 coach Trent Dilfer.
“You have to have confidence in yourself,” said Litton, a 6-foot-6 rising senior at Wharton. “And basically I went in with nothing to lose. I needed to prove who I am.”
Litton clearly made the case for his inclusion among the nation’s top quarterbacks two weeks ago at the Atlanta Elite 11 camp, one of the premier competitions for quarterback recruits.
Most online and social media reports from the camp identified Litton as one of the early surprises.
“Litton may be the best prospect in attendance,” read a SB Nation report from the camp. “One string of throws drew high praises from the coaches at the event and one of them even drew some exclamations from his fellow campers.”
Elite 11 hosts six regional camps from which several recruits will be chosen to participate in the final competition, a five-day event at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., in late June. Notable Elite 11 alumni include current NFL quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez.
Though Litton wasn’t named camp MVP or initially extended an invitation to the finals in Oregon, he left Georgia secure in the knowledge that he made an impression on the Elite 11 coaching staff and his peers.
“I had to show everyone that I’m right up there with those four-star and five-star guys,” Litton said.
The highlight of Litton’s performance was the “Golden Gun Challenge,” which includes a series of moving targets. The drill requires arm strength, accuracy, timing and concentration, as the targets are moving at varying speeds and distances.
Litton said he connected on all but one of his 11 throws.
“I just made up my mind that I wasn’t going to take any throws off,” he said. “I felt I left my mark there and proved to a lot of people that I belonged.”
Near the end of camp, Dilfer sidled up to Litton and told him “don’t leave.” After Dilfer made small talk with a few campers, he made his way over to Litton and talked with him for about 15 minutes.
It was then Litton learned that Dilfer, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first-round draft pick in 1994, had been watching some of his film prior to the camp.
“He told me that he knew I was good. But he didn’t know that I was that good,” Litton said. “And that really meant a lot.”
To cap the weekend, Dilfer started following Litton on Twitter.
Litton, who threw for an area-leading 2,732 yards in 2012, has built on that momentum with some solid performances with the Team Tampa 7-on-7 team.
He even notched his fourth scholarship offer earlier this week, from Florida International. Litton also has offers from LSU, USF and Western Michigan.
At this point in the recruiting process, Litton is reluctant to name any leaders or particularly desired offers.
"I’m not a fan of the list,” Litton said. “Anyone that thinks enough of me to offer me a scholarship, I’d just be honored.”
Joel Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jdhometeam.