Elite 11 coach Trent Dilfer offers up substantial praise for 5-star Justin Fields
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BEAVERTON, Ore. — Elite 11 coach Trent Dilfer is impressed by 5-star passer Justin Fields.
Very. In a wide-ranging interview with DawgNation after The Opening, Dilfer touched on a lot of topics regarding Fields and where he currently stands at a prospect.
The Harrison High star was named the Elite 11 MVP and also led his 7-on-7 team to the team championship. He checked every box.
The most revealing query: What was the one thing Dilfer saw that everyone needs to know about what Fields did?
The former NFL veteran led the Baltimore Ravens to a win in Super Bowl 35. He chose to respond by focusing on Fields’ professionalism.
Dilfer would know.
“He handled this process from the time he was invited up to today as well as I’ve seen many NFL quarterbacks prepare for training camp,” Dilfer said “Many. Not just a handful. Many. Truly professional. His work, his note taking, his engagement and the questions he asked, the buy-in or whatever term that you want to use there.”
“We’ve never seen anything like it.”
Fields will visit UGA on July 16. The uncommitted prospect is the hottest prospect in America. There’s no question about that. His stock just continues to soar.
Trent Dilfer saw no need to rank Justin Fields
This wasn’t a conversation that saw Dilfer trying to crown Fields as the next-best everything. He chose his words very carefully.
Dilfer dropped that first eyebrow-raising statement but wasn’t trying to pile on the hot takes.
He politely noted that he gets frustrated by all the comparison questions.
“I just don’t like all the comparisons,” Dilfer said. “I get into this conversation all the time with NFL quarterbacks. Give me my soapbox here for 30 seconds. Why do we have to have a best? Why do we need to argue about Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees or whatever?
“I don’t need to win that argument when people try to get me into it. I think in high school it is even less fair because it is system-driven and it is who is playing around them and who they are playing against?
“It is also how much high-level football schemes have they been exposed to? It is not the kid’s fault if they haven’t been exposed to high-level quarterback training in football. …. Right now Justin is as professional as there is when it comes to the high school quarterbacks in this country. He is obviously as talented as anyone but his approach and his mindset, his thoughts process and his leadership are substantial. You take all that together and he is a very much a professional out there. If that equals the best there is out there, then that is awesome.”
He did have one clear ranking when it came to Fields.
“That I can rank,” Dilfer said. “Nobody has ever taken the approach [to this] that he took.”
Trent Dilfer’s rapid-fire thoughts about Justin Fields
- Can Fields compete right away in college football? “Yes.”
- Could he compete from the jump at a place like Georgia? “If he chose UGA, could he hang with 5-stars like Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm? Yes.”
- Is he now the best quarterback in the nation for this class? “That topic right there wasn’t easily qualified.”
- If there was an all-time Elite 11 squad would Fields be on it? “Yes. No question about it.”
Justin Fields really put on a show in Oregon
Dilfer wasn’t on an island in his praise. Veteran Elite 11 director Yogi Roth also had a telling assessment of Fields’ performance.
“Justin is the best quarterback I’ve seen in the nine years I’ve been here,” Roth told Chris Kirschner of SEC Country.
We saw Fields do nothing but operate in the pocket at the Elite 11 and The Opening 7-on-7 tournament. His legs were not even part of the equation, yet they are a big weapon for him. The 221-pound prospect can clock a laser-timed 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Dilfer had a word of caution about how his future coordinators should use him on Saturdays.
“As long as they don’t turn him into a runner that passes,” Dilfer said. “He needs to be a passer that can run. The way college football is right now, his potential is limitless.”