By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – A strong performance at the Opening Regional Event in Chicago last spring provided the spark that spread a recruiting wildfire for Oliver Martin.
As the offers piled up, the West High receiver became a regular on the social media accounts for the Opening, a nationwide Nike sponsored football event.
In the highlight clips of Martin that showed up on Twitter it was usually Evan Flitz that was delivering a tight spiral to the standout receiver.
A year after seeing Martin make a name for himself with a breakthrough performance at the Opening it is Flitz who takes his turn on the regional stage.
Flitz will compete in the Elite 11 Regional quarterback competition that is part of the Opening Regional event on Sunday at the Chicago Bears’ facility in Lake Forest, Illinois.
“When the opening tweeted some of Oliver’s highlights it was interesting because I had appeared on their page before so I took a little credit for that,” Flitz joked. “When I heard I was invited, it was something that I was super excited about”
There is an application process for the Elite 11 event that bills itself as the nation’s premier quarterback competition.
Flitz submitted game film and stats as well as a coach’s recommendation.
Two days later he received an invitation to the event that annually attracts some of the best prep quarterbacks in the country.
“There is going to be a great amount of coaching there, a lot of NFL coaches and a lot of college coaches so just a lot of experience and also a lot of great players so I’m trying to go in and absorb every amount of knowledge that I can get,” Flitz said. “I’m trying to take any tips from anybody that I can and get anything I can to work on and improve.”
Flitz quickly established himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the state in his first season as a starter at West High last fall.
The 6-1, 175-pound Flitz passed for 2,237 yards and 22 touchdowns with just five interceptions in 11 games as a junior.
Flitz completed better than 70 percent of his passes and also ran for 150 yards and two scores while leading West High to the Class 4A title game for the first time since 1999.
This weekend offers Flitz a chance to measure himself against some of the best from around the Midwest.
“It’s kind of a chance to compare myself against some of the competition around the Midwest and see how I stack up,” Flitz said. “You play 13 games in Eastern Iowa and you don’t really know what is out in the Midwest or even in the country.”
The Opening served as a s recruiting springboard for Martin.
Flitz isn’t expecting a recruiting whirlwind but was mindful of what Martin’s performance at the regional and later national Opening Event in Oregon did for his status.
He also took some confidence in knowing one of his high school teammates earned MVP status at the prestigious event.
“One thing that was really cool was seeing how important it was, it’s a camp but so many doors opened up for him when he performed well at it,” Flitz said. “It was a little bit of a confidence booster knowing that guys from our program had gone there and performed well. That gave me confidence that what we are doing here at West has prepared me for that.”
Flitz is already receiving his own recruiting attention.
Ivy League schools Princeton, Penn, Harvard, Yale and Cornell have all shown strong interest along with Drake and several area Division II programs.
Flitz took unofficial visits to both California and Stanford earlier this month and said he had good meetings with coaches at both Pac-12 schools.
“I visited Cal and Stanford while I was in California and I felt like I had really good meeting at both of those schools and definitely will keep them on my radar going forward,” Flitz said. “
Flitz plans to study Chemistry and finding the right fit academically is as important a factor as selecting a football program.
That adds another element to a recruiting process that Flitz said he would like to start narrowing down later this spring.
“I think talking with my family I don’t know if I’d ever go to a school just to play football I think it’s a requirement is to have both ends of the spectrum,” Flitz said. “I think the places I am looking at kind of show that is really important to me.”