Going into the final event at the National Football Academies’ Quarterback Duel competition, 11-year-old Benjamin Druckman trailed the leader by only one point. In front of the large crowd, Druckman said he was able to tune out the pressure and focus on the competition.
The Bellevue resident flew through the final gauntlet with all eyes on him, hitting targets while being scored on accuracy and time to take over the lead and win the quarterback competition’s 11-12 year-old group in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Duel is a prestigious two-day quarterback competition where select athletes from across the United States and Canada can test their physical and mental ability against one another, both on the field and in the classroom.
“I think the biggest part is how (Benjamin) closed it out in the final round,” Paul Druckman, Benjamin’s father, said. “(His mother and I) watched every move and saw how many people were out there watching. His mindset was clear and he was so focused, that’s what I’m most proud of.”
Benjamin, who considers himself a dual-threat quarterback, finished with a higher cumulative score than the 35 other contestants in his age group.
“It’s pretty much all the best (quarterbacks) being invited to that competition and some of them were 12-year-olds,” Benjamin said. “So it was a big honor.”
During the competition, Benjamin was tested on throwing accuracy and reading defensive coverages by watching game film.
“They have a screen and they show you a play and you have to write down what coverage of defense it is,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin, who recently started attending Chinook Middle School, plays for the Bellevue Wolverines Jr. Football Sophomore team in the Greater Eastside Junior Football Association. He said his coaches, Ray Kooner and Blake Bentz, have helped him grow as a quarterback.
One of the biggest football influences for Benjamin was his babysitter when he was younger, former Bellevue High School quarterback Timmy Haehl. Benjamin also works closely with multiple coaches and trainers, including National Football Academies quarterback coach J.C. Boice from Canada, quarterback coach Lavelle Durant in Seattle and Tracy Ford of Ford Sports Performance in Bellevue.
Benjamin, whose favorite quarterback is Tom Brady, hopes to someday be drafted into the NFL after playing football for the University of California, Berkeley.