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Eugene Smith is off to California

All summer long, Eugene Smith had talked about the opportunity he was given to represent South Florida in the Elite-11 Passing event in California. Today, the Miramar senior will become the first ever Broward County quarterback ever to appear in this prestigious gathering of elite passers from all over the country.

"I have worked hard, stayed in shape and put my arm through plenty of tests this summer," said Smith, who expects to show the country plenty over the next three days. "I have looked forward to going to California and proving that I am as good as any of the quarterbacks in the country."

In addition to Smith, others expected to make an impression include Tajh Boyd (Phoebus High School -- Hampton, Va.), Richard Brehaut (Los Osos High School -- Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Allan Bridgford (Mission High School -- Viejo, Calif.), Raymond Cotton (Meade High School -- Fort Meade, Md.), Garrett Gilbert (Lake Travis High School -- Austin, Texas), Andrew Maxwell (Midland High School -- Midland, Mich.), A.J. McCarron (St. Paul's High School -- Mobile, Ala.), Zach Mettenberger (Oconee County High School -- Watkinsville, Ga.), Bryn Renner (West Springfield High School -- Lorton, Va.), Tom Savage (Cardinal O'Hara High School -- Springfield, Pa.) and Tampa Plant quarterback Aaron Murray, who is headed to the University of Georgia.

In 2007, Smith passed for 2,222 yards and 25 TDs with just three interceptions while rushing for seven more scores in just seven full games.

Notable Elite 11 alumni include current NFLers Vince Young (Tennessee Titans), Matt Leinart (Arizona Cardinals), Kellen Clemens (New York Jets) , Brodie Croyle (Kansas City Chiefs), Derek Anderson (Cleveland Browns), Kyle Orton (Chicago Bears), Troy Smith (Baltimore Ravens), Trent Edwards (Buffalo Bills), JaMarcus Russell (Oakland Raiders), John David Booty (Minnesota Vikings), Andre Woodson (New York Giants) and many more.

The Miami Herald will continue to provide exclusive reports from the competition over the next three days, tracing the progress of Smith, who has Boston College, South Florida, Florida State, LSU and Louisville on his list of over 30 offers.

LARRY BLUSTEIN
lblustein@miamiherald.com

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