Regardless of what did or didn’t happen at the Elite 11, what Jett Duffey has done to even be invited to the Elite 11 is nothing short of a little hard work and dedication.
1. I had no idea who Jett Duffey was. Before this recruiting machine was started this summer, Jett Duffey was a little known recruit from Mansfield Lake Ridge. In March of this year I took a look at ten possible quarterback options and not one of them included Duffey. I scoured the internet to find quarterback options and at the time, Tristan Wallace was just about to flip to Ohio State and Texas Tech had only offered Jalen Hurts in addition to Wallace.
2. Top five in Dallas. So, while I’m looking for options, Duffey is headed to his own backyard in Dallas to compete in the regional competition at the Elite 11. Keep in mind that at this point, Duffey is just a guy. He’s not even rated and he had a pretty good junior year and the best offers he has are Stephen F. Austin and McNeese State. Duffey ended up competing with other Elite 11 quarterbacks, like Nick Starkel, Shane Buechele, Seth Green and Dillon Sterling-Cole, and finished in the top five.
3. MVP in New Orleans. Up next is a trip to New Orleans where a top five finish isn’t good enough, but how about winning the MVP of the competition? Over fifty players competed and Duffey finished first. Duffey’s best offers after finishing top five in Dallas? Still just SFA and mcNeese State, but now, Wake Forest, Kansas and North Texas start checking out Duffey. Brian Stumpf is the director of the Elite 11 and Student Sports and he had this to say about Duffey:
“Jett was really close to being MVP in Dallas, as well. He’s a Texas kid, and there’s a multitude of quarterbacks in the Lone Star State. Jett doesn’t fit in the cookie cutter of the measurables in terms of being 6’2″ and 210 pounds and running a 4.6 [40-yard dash], but he’s close on all those. He’s a hardworking kid. Nobody’s going to outwork Jett. He’s a guy we’re going to look at really closely going down to the final selections of the Elite 11 finals. We love his makeup and everything about him. We think he can throw with anybody in the country.”
4. MVP in Charlotte. Duffey isn’t done just yet as he then heads to Charlotte to compete after taking a month off and won the MVP again in Charlotte and picked up additional offers along the way. By this time, Duffey now has offers from Nevada, Air Force, Southern Illinois, McNeese State and Stephen F. Austin. As a result of that performance, Duffey received his Elite 11 invite to Oregon, where he’s been all week. After the Charlotte competition, Duffey said that it was a long road, but you appreciate things a bit more when you have to work hard:
“It was a long road, and I don’t mind taking the long road,” he said. “That’s how you appreciate things more, and that’s how you learn to take things step by step. It feels great to finally get the invite.”
That B/R article from Charlotte was published on May 11th and the Charlotte Elite 11 competition was on May 10th. On the 11th, Texas Tech offered Duffey. On May 13th, Duffey committed to Texas Tech.
5. Duffey embodies what Texas Tech and West Texas are About. This past week, Duffey has attended the Elite 11 and by the end of the quarterback competition, he failed to make the top 11.
That’s not the story. Or at least, that’s not what it should be. Earlier this month, SI’s Andy Staples wrote a piece about what is and should be each Power Five team’s brand. The idea here is that a brand is something that you sell to the public and are known for. Staples suggested that Texas Tech’s brand should be the air-raid and my suggestion was not of a style of play, but of an attitude. We’ve talked quite a bit here and over at VTM about how we take a lot of pride in how West Texans treat each other and how we created something out of virtually nothing.
There’s no right or wrong here, just an opinion, but if Jett Duffey is who I think he is, then he’s a lot like what I think of when I think of West Texas. He works hard and isn’t afraid of that hard work. When he does achieve a goal, he doesn’t stop, he just keeps going. Duffey really was never supposed to be at the Elite 11. He was virtually unknown just a few months ago and now he’s training with some of the top quarterbacks in the nation. That doesn’t just happen by coincidence. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what Duffey did or didn’t do at the Elite 11 competition because he’s already done so much just to get there. No one who is competing this week has lept as far as Duffey has. Which makes me think that he’s really only scratched the surface. I’m sure that better things are on the horizon. I don’t think this because I’m being optimistic, but because I know that Duffey has worked hard for everything that he has and I can’t imagine that he’d stop because he’s just getting started.