'Skill set that's beyond his years': Marana teen wows QB guru, pros

Bourguet, 13, shows off 'cannon' arm after rare invite to top HS camp
2013-07-07T00:00:00Z 'Skill set that's beyond his years': Marana teen wows QB guru, prosZack Rosenblatt Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer walked toward the camera crew that was waiting to interview him. Everyone else cleared out of the way, because Dilfer was livid.

But not for long.

Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and the head coach at the network's nationally televised Elite 11 quarterback camp, soon spotted 13-year-old Trenton Bourguet across the field.

Trenton jogged across the field, and Dilfer asked him what he had learned that day.

"I told him, 'I saw a lot of quarterbacks throwing deep, and they needed to start checking down and just going through their shorter routes,'" Trenton recalled.

"And he said, 'Exactly!'"

That was the second-to-last day of the "campetition," as Dilfer calls it. By then, Trenton, a budding quarterback and soon-to-be eighth-grader at Marana Middle School who attended the high school camp as a guest, had already garnered the respect of Dilfer, a 13-year NFL vet and one-time Pro Bowl player.

Dilfer wasn't the only one.

During Trenton's six days in Beaverton, Ore., he also caught the eye of Jordan Palmer, an NFL quarterback and the brother of Carson Palmer. With Dilfer's help, Trenton met Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers. Clemson's Tajh Boyd, Michigan's Devin Gardner and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M all now follow him on Instagram.

"He's just got a skill set that's beyond his years," said Palmer, who was one of the coaches at Elite 11. "But I was blown away by his maturity and his confidence."

Trenton said the trip was a dream come true.

The coaches at Elite 11 only invite a few youth players every year nationwide, and Trenton was one of three selected by George Whitfield Jr., a quarterbacks guru who has tutored the likes of Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Manziel and former UA star Matt Scott.

Trenton got there in part because of his connections to another former Arizona player: Gino Crump.

Crump, a former UA receiver, has been friends with the Bourguets since 2010. They met on a football field: During one game, Crump saw Trenton's then-6-year-old sister, Rylen, come up on the big screen.

Toby Bourguet, his wife Vanessa and their six kids have for years owned season tickets in the northwest corner of Arizona Stadium. When Crump was exiting the field, he saw Rylen again, and she was shouting "Crump! Crump! Please give me your glove!" which he did.

A few days later, Crump spotted Toby and Rylen Bourguet at a UA softball game and started talking to them. Since then, "we're pretty much family," Crump said.

"I've probably gone to about 90 percent of everything sports-related they've done over the last few years," he said.

Crump once brought former UA teammate Travis Cobb with him to one of Trenton's youth football games. Before the game, Crump challenged Trenton to score five touchdowns. Trenton laughed him off, then scored 11, each time looking to Crump on the sideline and saying, "That's one." "That's two." "That's three."

Trenton was taken out of the game early in the second half because, well, he was scoring too much.

The teen has always been a student of the game. At age 3, Trenton - then in preschool - had an assignment to draw in an art book for the entire semester. He drew a full playbook instead.

"His teacher handed me the art book," Toby Bourguet said, "and said, 'We're not sure how to grade this.'"

When running back Mike Bell left the UA for the NFL in 2005, he gave Trenton, then 5 years old, the video he was showing to scouts. Trenton watched the two-hour silent film over and over.

Now, Trenton said, "I can call every run he does and how many yards he gains."

And rarely will Trenton go a day without watching film, be it NFL, college or his own game tape.

"A lot of people just watch football to watch it: I actually focus on the routes wide receivers are running," he said. "The quarterback, where his eyes are looking at and if he's looking deep, how he tries to make the safety go over, or the (middle linebacker), and then see if he checks down to the running back."

It made sense, then, that Crump invited Trenton to accompany him to Arizona's annual pro day.

Whitfield, the quarterbacks guru, was there, too.

Throughout the Pro Day, Trenton didn't even touch a football. He followed Crump around, recording everything on a cell phone. Toward the end, a ball intended for receiver Dan Buckner bounced directly to where Trenton was standing.

"So I got it, and I threw it," he said.

Buckner yelled, "Look at that cannon!"

"He just cocks it back and rips it," Crump said. "Mind you, we're playing with NFL balls, and he just ripped it, and (Whitfield) noticed."

Crump asked Trenton to throw more passes, then pulled Whitfield aside and raved about his "little brother."

"I've seen him do things that grown men can't do," Crump said. "I've seen him run all the way to the left side of the field, juke a kid, run all the way to the right side of the field and then throw the ball across his body all the way to the left back of the end zone, and it looks like he didn't even look to the left!"

Following pro day, Whitfield approached Trenton and asked him if he wanted to attend the Elite 11 camp.

Trenton said, "Yeah, maybe one day if I keep working hard."

"Well," Whitfield said. "If it's OK with your Pop, I'd like you to come up this summer. Trent Dilfer only allows us to take three kids. I have my kid from Texas, and I just found my kid from Arizona."

Trenton was speechless.

It was like "a kid that just won the lottery," Toby Bourguet said.

"I've given gloves and gear away, and seen kids happy before," Crump said, "but never on this level where I helped a kid take the first step to greatness, to get the opportunity to realize a dream. It brought tears to my eyes."

"I just smiled," Trenton said. "It was awesome. It was, like, the best day ever."

On StarNet: Revisit the 2012-13 high school sports season at azstarnet.com/sports/high-school

Elite 11 on TV

• What: Highlights from the Elite 11 football camp

• When: Aug. 16, time TBA

• TV: ESPN

Contact reporter Zack Rosenblatt at zrosenblatt@azstarnet.com or 573-4145. On Twitter @zackblatt

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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