¿Winter Park quarterback and USF commit Asiantii Woulard, who has yet to play his second full season of varsity football as a quarterback, pulled off an impressive feat Sunday on the last day of the Elite 11 finals by earning MVP honors at Redondo Beach, Calif.
“It feels good, I prepared for it,” Woulard said. “A lot of people thought I couldn’t do it because I didn’t have enough experience. But I showed that it can be done and if you put the work in, it doesn’t matter.”
The Elite 11 — a quarterback competition that is comprised of a series of regional events throughout the summer, from which participants are selected to attend the week-long Elite 11 finals — brings out the who’s who of the nation's rising-senior QBs.
Woulard (6-3, 205) was one of 24 finalists and dazzled Elite 11 head coach and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer with his arm strength and natural mechanics.
“Trent said that it was making the hard things look easy,” Woulard said. “I guess that pretty much defines everything.”
The week got off to a rocky start when Woulard aggravated his groin muscle on Monday. He pushed through the discomfort, however, established himself as a top performer and then clinched the MVP award by putting on a clinic in a two-minute drill, the final event of the week.
“I went in with confidence, I felt like I could do it,” Woulard said.
A gifted passer with a quick, silky-smooth release, Woulard was expected to hold his own in a competition that was judged by throwing motion and accuracy.
But to be named the best of the best? Most didn’t see that coming.
“I think I surprised a ton of people,” Woulard said. “People weren’t expecting me to do it. I came out kind of slow, I hurt my groin and I couldn’t really finish Day 1. So after that, I had to come out and compete that much harder.”
Last season, Woulard's first as a quarterback at any level and his first year at Winter Park after transferring from Orlando Freedom, he showed his accuracy by completing nearly 60 percent of his passes (120-205) for 1,570 yards and 15 touchdowns. He did have 10 interceptions and struggled in pressure situations, but exhibited enough raw ability to rack up double-digit scholarship offers.
He committed to USF in February, then decommitted from the school in April to test the waters and see what else was out there. He added a handful of offers in the spring but opted to stick with his original commitment and re-pledged to USF on June 15.
Will winning MVP at the Elite 11 convince Woulard to again open up his recruitment?
“It may open up the eyes of a lot schools, but I’m solid with USF,” he said.
This season holds even bigger expectations. As a senior, it is expected that Woulard will take over a squad that underachieved a year ago.
The Wildcats were 6-5 and lost in the first round of the Class 8A state playoffs.
Woulard's top two receivers have moved on — Xavier Amerson and Dvario Montgomery — but an impressive summer that has also included guiding the Orlando Top Recruits Now 7-on-7 team, and now the Elite 11 MVP, has placed even more expectations on his shoulders.
He started the summer as a Top 30-ranked player in the Sentinel's 2013 Central Florida Super60, but he now sits just outside the Top 10 at No. 12. He is also ranked as the No. 62 prospect in the Sentinel's 2013 Florida Top 100.
He'll likely move up again before the season starts.
Nationally, 247sports.com has Woulard ranked as the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback in the country, while Rivals.com ranks him 13th. His athleticism makes him a dual-threat in the eyes of scouts, but he is a rare runner for Winter Park. He carried 71 times last season, less than seven carries a game, for 426 yards and nine touchdowns.
Woulard returned to Central Florida early Monday morning and will not rest long, as he will join Winter Park in the final round of the ESPNHS KSA 7-on-7 passing tournament at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista.
Coming back with Woulard is an abundance of knowledge he learned from Dilfer and college quarterback camp counselors, like FSU QB E.J. Manuel, as well as some memories he will always keep with him.
“That was a great experience,” Woulard said. “I got to pick their brain a little bit and see how it is in college football, how it’s different, the physical aspect as far as playing and the mental aspect … The whole week in general, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.
Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun