This story appears in the June 16th issue of ESPN The Magazine.
FORT WORTH, Texas — Sixty-seven high school quarterbacks, many with parents, coaches and receivers in tow, file into the indoor practice facility on the TCU campus. With the exception of a dozen or so kids, most look remarkably similar: around six feet tall, slender and sporting buzz cuts. It's not easy to identify 17-year-old Matt Brown as he warms up, tossing passes to a pair of his receivers from Allen (Texas) High.
It's an hour before the Fort Worth EA Sports Elite 11 regional workout, where quarterbacks from Texas to Missouri will compete for invites to the weeklong, national Elite 11 Competition in Southern California in late July. These prospects know the value of membership in this exclusive club: The Elite 11 portfolio includes three of the past five Heisman winners. But even if only a few of the Fort Worth prospects make it to California, there's a tangible benefit to the regional combine: While NCAA rules forbid college coaches from attending, scouts from Internet recruiting services are prowling the sidelines. If players boost their stock with these talent arbiters, interest from big schools may follow.
To read the rest of this ESPN The Magazine feature, please sign up for ESPN Insider.