ALISO VIEJO — Many 17-year-old high school students head off to camp in dog-days of July, perhaps to hike through the woods or swim in the lake. Not many spend a week sharpening their interview skills on ESPN, modeling new Nike gear and tossing footballs at targets alongside NFL quarterbacks.
But that is just part of the process for the 12 high school quarterbacks chosen to take part in the EA Sports Elite 11 camp at Soka University, where Mission Viejo head coach and quarterback guru Bob Johnson is putting a crop of new prospects through workouts this week.
Johnson’s previous protégés at the camp include Heisman winners Carson Palmer, Jason White, Matt Leinart, Tim Tebow and Troy Smith and NFL quarterbacks Mark Sanchez, Matt Schaub, Matt Stafford, Drew Brees, Jay Cutler, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, JaMarcus Russell and Trent Edwards, many of whom roam the Soka campus during the four-day event, alongside ESPN camera crews and EA Sports promoters.
“The camp has changed over the years into something more national and big-time because of some of the guys we have put through here,” Johnson said. “Over time all the years run together and it is beautiful. Just the relationships with others, their families, the kids. It is good stuff to be around.”