Nebraska has its first ever Elite 11 quarterback. Following three days of competition in Redondo Beach, California, Bellevue West quarterback Daniel Kaelin emerged from the field of 20 finalists to become one of the Elite 11. The honor denotes him as one of the nation’s top quarterbacks ahead of his senior year of high school, putting the 3-star Nebraska commit alongside 5-star quarterbacks Dylan Raiola (Georgia), Jadyn Davis (Michigan) and Julian Sayin (Alabama).
Kaelin is the first high school player from Nebraska to make the Elite 11. Gretna native and current Oklahoma State quarterback Zane Flores made the Elite 11 Finals last season but not the Elite 11. Former Huskers Johnny Stanton and Patrick O’Brien are previous Husker commits to make the Elite 11. Twenty of the top quarterback recruits in the country are selected to the Elite 11 Finals each year through regional qualifying. They are then put through physical and mental challenges during a three-day competition in California. At the end, the top 11 quarterback recruits in the country are determined.
𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑 𝐄𝐋𝐈𝐓𝐄 𝟏𝟏 🏆
Listed alphabetically. pic.twitter.com/dg6phXgpGf
— Elite11 (@Elite11) June 17, 2023
“TRULY BLESSED AND HONORED!” Kaelin wrote on Twitter in response to finding out the news.
Kaelin won the accuracy challenge while in Los Angeles with 56 points. He beat Alabama commit Julian Sayin, the Elite 11 MVP, by 3 points. The Bellevue West quarterback also tied for fifth in the Pro Day portion of the competition. Kaelin never cracked the top 11 standings after each of the various workouts but stayed consistent across the three days and ultimately ended in the finals.
On Friday, before the final aspects of competition, Kaelin told national recruiting writer Steve Wiltfong that he hopes to improve all aspects of his game. Kaelin felt he could have been more consistent in the event’s first day. The T-Bird bounced back in accuracy, Pro Day and 7-on-7 competitions. He wants to get bigger, faster and stronger while striving to be more consistent. He’s also excited for a final year at Bellevue West before living his third-grade dream of walking the Tunnel Walk as a Husker. Kaelin spoke highly of Matt Rhule and the Nebraska coaching staff while in California. He’s optimistic about the Huskers turning their fortunes around in the upcoming season and beyond.
Kaelin was one of four 3-star quarterbacks invited to the event. The one-time Missouri commit is listed as the No. 33 quarterback in the country in the composite rankings and No. 541 recruit overall. He’ll likely move up the rankings and potentially earn a fourth star when the new rankings tabulate. He originally committed to Missouri in March. When No. 1 overall recruit Raiola committed to Georgia, Nebraska’s coaches fully turned their attention back to Kaelin. Within a week he re-opened his recruitment. He committed to Nebraska the next day.
— QBHitList.com (@QBHitList) June 16, 2023
Kaelin now stands at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds going into his senior season at Bellevue West. He planned to return to Lincoln early enough on Saturday to help peer recruit visitors on campus. He plans to visit Lincoln once again next weekend for the high-profile recruiting weekend. Kaelin is currently one of nine members in Nebraska’s 2024 recruiting class and one of two from Nebraska along with Elkhorn South lineman Ashton Murphy. His performance in California could also sway recruitment of targets like Carter Nelson and Gatlin Bair.
Kaelin and Bellevue West open their season at home against Creighton Prep on August 18.