Shane Buechele boarded a plane in Portland, Ore., flew to a 30-minute layover in Seattle and then landed in Austin around 5:30 a.m. Saturday. From there, he drove to College Station for a 9:30 a.m. game at the Texas 7-on-7 state championships.
The overnight trip was worth it, though.
Buechele, a senior at Arlington Lamar who has committed to Texas, finished second at the Elite 11 national quarterback competition, which wrapped up Friday at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
The four-star recruit started the week as one of 18 finalists, who qualified through regional competitions across the country and the Elite 11 semifinals in California last month. Mansfield Lake Ridge’s Jett Duffey was in Oregon, too, along with Argyle Liberty Christian’s Nick Starkel.
As the events began early last week, Buechele emerged as one of the best in the group, winning the “Golden Gun” target competition during the second day.
He entered the third day ranked No. 1 by the camp coaches, and he stayed there through Thursday, when he led his Mach Speed team to the 7-on-7 finals. Jacob Eason, the No. 1 pocket passer in the 247 Sports Composite, was Buechele’s backup on Mach Speed.
Buechele and Mach Speed lost in the finals to Lunar Blast, a team led by five-star Shea Patterson, who earned Elite 11 MVP honors.
But even as he narrowly lost the top honor, Buechele left Oregon satisfied with the “unbelievable experience,” which included coaching from former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer and TV time on ESPNU during Friday’s championship.
“I’m OK with reading coverages 1, 2, 3 and 4, but I’ve struggled in the past with seeing those beyond that,” he said Saturday from California, where he’s vacationing with family. “[Elite 11] really helped with that. They ran a lot of defenses that I could see what they were rolling into.”
Buechele said there was also a strong emphasis on handling mental situations off the field, like dealing with media and fans on social media. In some sense, the week was a test for that — the camp’s Twitter account sent frequent updates out to more than 33,000 followers.
“I tried to stay off social media as much as I could,” he said. “I probably checked it once a day, and Texas fans were supporting me.”
Buechele has learned to handle spotlight the last two years.
His own Twitter account has more than 3,500 followers, and his last name might sound familiar: His dad, Steve, is the bench coach for the Texas Rangers. He played for them for eight years from the mid-1980s to early ’90s.
Shane’s two brothers, Garrett (Oklahoma) and Tanner (Fullerton College) played college baseball, and Shane will have a chance to do so at Texas. But going into his senior year, he’s focused more on football, with the Vikings’ 7-on-7 schedule and the two Elite 11 events taking up his this summer.
As a junior, he was named to the Star-Telegram Super Team as the area’s top quarterback.
“Different people call me different things — I would probably call myself dual-threat,” he said. “I think I’m a little football fast. It’s just helped me a lot [to] evade the pocket first. I’m always a pocket passer first. I think over the last two years, I’ve really worked on throwing, throwing on the run when the pocket breaks, just being able to scramble when the pocket breaks down.”
Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7760