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The Chicago area has been good to Syracuse University when it comes to quarterbacks. Granted, the Orange haven’t gone to that well very often in the past, but they struck gold in the ’90s when Mount Carmel gave the program its greatest signal caller of all-time in Donovan McNabb. The Syracuse coaches are hitting the recruiting trail in preparation for the 2017 cycle, and another Chicago area QB, Tommy Herion, is very much on their radar.

I mentioned Herion last week when talking about some potential targets for the Orange to pursue in the 2017 class, and the 6-foot-1, 180 pound signal caller from Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois looks to be a player on the rise in the Midwest. He was recently singled out as a standout performer at the EDGYTIM/EFT Underclassmen Showcase, earning praise from 247Sports recruiting analyst Tom Loy for his strong arm and accuracy.

Herion sat out the 2015 season after transferring to Loyola Academy from Notre Dame College Prep, but this season he’ll be hitting the field alongside some other talented class of 2017 players that Syracuse has also targeted, including big-time tight end Jake Marwede, wide receiver David Terrell, Jr., and cornerback Ian Swenson. The Orange staff has been in touch with Herion, and is hoping to get him to come to one of their camps on campus this year to get a better look at the strong-armed quarterback.

Today, Herion tweeted out that he’ll be competing for a spot in the Elite 11 competition, featuring some of the top talent in the country. He was good enough to take a little time to talk to me about the Elite 11, his recruitment, and what he brings to the table as a quarterback.

What’s it mean for you to be able to compete for a spot in the Elite 11? 

It’s a great opportunity to compete against some of the best QBs in the country and I’m just extremely grateful to be able to show what I can do. I will be attending a regional in Los Angeles on February 28, then plan to compete in the regional event in Chicago in May and possibly Columbus as well. I’m just trying to get out and work as much as possible right now.

You sat out last year due to transfer rules but have caught the eyes of colleges anyway through camps and 7v7 competitions. Who are you hearing from so far?

I’ve been hearing from some schools like Miami of Ohio, Central Michigan, a little from UNC and Syracuse. I have a rare case due to the fact that I had to sit this year so a lot of coaches want me out at camp in the spring and summer just to get to see some more of my game.

It’s still early but have you set any sort of schedule for attending any camps?

I’m planning on coming out to a camp at Syracuse but I’m just not sure of the date yet. I haven’t done much planning yet on which camps I’m going to attend.

How much familiarity do you have with the Syracuse program?

Overall I’m not too familiar with the program, but have learned a lot recently. I know the new coaching staff has had great success over the past and are expected to have the same success there. My 7v7 coach Scott Hoffman has told me that it’s a great school and program. Especially now with coach Babers.

What’s your overall impression of Babers and his offense?

I have only had contact with coach Sean Lewis. I know his offense is based on a system extremely similar to Baylor and that it’s a spread, which is the type of offense we run at Loyola Academy and that I would see myself running at the next level.

What would you say are your strengths as a QB, and what have you been working to improve on?

I would say my biggest strength is my arm strength and reading defenses. Last offseason I really worked on my speed and agility and dropped my 40 down from a 5.0 to a 4.75. I plan on just touching up on everything this offseason, and I’m planning on gaining anywhere from 15-20 pounds as well.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including Cracked.com, Spike.com, TheSportster.com, Gunaxin.com, and TopTenz.net, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish