Monday, August 31, 2009

Will This be a Successful Jump....

Two weeks ago I profiled a speedy high school QB out of South Carolina, who was converted to a cornerback and is currently penciled in as the starter for the South Carolina Gamecocks. As I continue to search for players who not only make a successful jump from high school to college, I strive to find those freshman who will have an instant impact from day 1 at the collegiate level.

Today I think I found another instant impact freshman. Tennessee wide receiver Nu'Keese Richardson out of the famous Pahokee, FL has immense talent and will be looked upon for an instant impact. Not only does his talent and pedigree, coming from a storied program down in the Muck region of Florida, speak for itself but injuries have thrust him into the position to make an impact.

Richardson is a very dynamic player possessing elite speed as well as quickness in an out of breaks. He plays very big considering he is only 5'11 172lbs. His fearless mentality to go over the middle and make plays on a consistent basis has shown his toughness and smarts to find holes in zone coverage. His quickness can also be utilized in the screen and pitch game considering he has done it so well on the high school level. Richardson also brings a facet of being a high school quarterback, so the possibility of the Wildcat is always present as well as being used on special teams to return kicks.

Nu'Keese basically has too much versatility and speed to not be on the field a considerable amount as a true freshman. And any doubters better check out the film before they make that assessment.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Making the Jump to a Different Level

Currently the NBA has a rule that prohibits players from making the jump from high school to the pros until they are 1 year removed from their graduating class. There have been plenty of speculations as to why that rule was put in place. I am going to look at both sides of the argument today.

As we all know basketball (formerly) and a few other sports such as tennis, golf, and baseball allowed athletes to turn pro as soon as their are able to compete on the professional level. In fact basketball has been doing it for quite some time. Moses Malone was probably the most famous high school player to go straight to the pros when he did it in 1974. He had a hall fame career and an NBA Championship ring. After that it was a while before another high school player was drafted in the NBA. Then in 1995 the trend began again with Kevin Garnett. This is when it seemed to become popular again. Then the likes of Kobe Bryant, Tracy MacGrady, Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard, and LeBron James continued the successful jump. In fact not only are these players productive on the court, but also in the community helping to bring the NBA a better name and more fans. All these different success stories make you wonder why the NBA chose to change the rule.

Despite the success stories there have been many players who have made the jump and fluttered. Sebastian Telfair and the likes of others come to mind. They may have never gotten in trouble of the court, but they did a poor job of producing on the court. Also, the affect was felt on college sports by not allowing these kids to get a year of experience in college and helping the collegiate sports rank out by lending their talents for a year. The counter argument to that is so many players make the wrong decision on jumping to the NBA weather it is before or after college.

Needless to say I think it is good to see NBA talent in college, even if its only for a year. It allows for more parody in the game, and I think it allows kids to adjust before entering the business side of basketball. With the rule change you have seen a lot of players deciding to take their talent overseas and get paid.

I think all the changes point to our society and the idea of instant gratification, where greedy and money are seen as the goal and players rush into it because of the culture. Hopefully, one day they will realize what Making the Jump is all about......That not being MONEY!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Even During Football Season, Hoops Get a Little Love

Unlike football basketball can be played year around and has few limitations when it comes to getting a game going. The idea that basketball can be played alone with little to no equipment and age does not prohibit players from playing at higher levels makes it a very popular game. That being said it is easy to see when young players are going to be good or even great. They always have the ability to play older more polished players.

Adonis Thomas, a 6'5 204 lbs. small forward out of Memphis, TN, has been afforded this opportunity at a young age and it shows. Thomas boasts an extremely polished game for someone who is currently in the 2011 class. Adonis is stronger than his build shows and that allows him to take his game down low in the post. Once in the post he has a wide array of moves on the block and knows how to use his body against bigger players. Adonis also has the ability to dribble and create for himself on the perimeter and uses his athleticism to finish strong at the hole. When he plays against smaller forwards/guards he has the skill to pull up and stroke a beautiful mid range jumper which most players rarely develop.

The only improvements to Thomas' game is his ball handling skills especially going to the left, and his shooting from beyond the arch. These improvements will only further the maturity of his game. Since he still has 2 years left in school look for him to improve his game both on the high school level and against better competition on the AAU circuit. Regardless, who ever gets this uber talented forward will definitely feel the love.

Check out his video below...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Last Line of Defense

To Conclude my key to building a defense I will talk about the safety position. This is a personal favorite, because the safety position has evolved into one of the more important position over the last several years. The safety can play deep and contribute in pass coverage as well as come down in the box in run support.

Today I am going to break down possibly one of the most physically gifted players to come out in quite some time. I put him on the level of Eric Berry, Austin Box, and Ed Reed as far as their impact on the high school level. Alec Ogletree is currently ranked as the number one safety out of Newnan, GA. He stands at 6'3 210lbs and he is a man child on the field. On the high school level he is as physical if not more than Taylor Mays and has the coverage skills to make plays on the ball. His size allows him to make up for mistakes when he gets beat.

There are not many flows to his game and I think for once I will let the video speak for itself. If you ever watch an highlight tape this should be the one!!!

Check it out

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bouns Post

Hey there readers....I know usually I don't do multiple post in a day, but since I have been absent for a couple of days I decided to make an additional post for my loyal readers. I will continue to talk about creating a strong defensive unit. And I said earlier that the key is having a strong defense up the middle; meaning having a strong defensive tackle, middle linebacker, and safety. After covering the defensive tackle position I will continue with middle linebacker which is near and dear to my heart as my former collegiate position.

This evening I will be featuring a young man that embodies what traditionally a middle linebacker is. Caleb Lavey out of Celin, Texas combines size and strength with an aggressive hitting style that breeds highlight hits often seen on games like Madden and NCAA Live. Caleb stands at 6'4 and weighs 215lbs. While he definitely can add size and strength to his frame he already has the hips and leverage to always square himself in the hole and make the big hit. He also is extremely good at taking on blockers and shedding blockers to make the tackle. Caleb's long stride and surprising speed make him ideal for making side line to side line plays. His speed will allow him to play quickly on special teams. The only improvements I see in his game beside adding weight and size is using his hands better. Since he is such big hitter he often uses shoulders when he could more easily disengage with hands. Also, in pass coverage he needs more flexibility in hips when turning and running with receivers.

Despite these things he is a phenomenal fit for a run stuffing defense, and could possibly play in a 3-4 defense as a pass rushing OLB. The kid has talent and OKL St. has a true gem in Caleb Lavey. Check out his film and see if you agree.

Starting Up Front

The other day I was asked a question that required more thought than I had originally presumed. Where do you start when coming up with a strong Defense? As I thought more and more I recalled some of the best defenses I had seen from both college and the pros. While I think cornerback is a highly regarded position, and so difficult to actual produce a superstar corner there are defensive schemes like a cover 2 can mask a lack of talent at that position. And Defensive End is another one that allows you to rush the quarterback without bringing a blitz. Both options are great ways to start a great defense. But in the end my ultimate decision came while watching the Ravens preseason game against the Jets. The Ravens key to defense seemed to be a strong defense up the middle. That meaning the defensive tackle/nose guard, middle linebacker, and safety.

Today I am going to talk about a defensive tackle that really make it happen up front. Louis Nix stands at 6'2 320lbs and comes from the Jacksonville, FL area. What jumps out at me as soon as I begin to watch his tape is his quickness off the ball and his natural power over all the lineman that he faces. Nix, along with his cat like quickness, has a natural low center of gravity for a big man that always allows him to be in good position and be able to push opposing lineman backward. Throughout his film he is constantly in the backfield pushing the pile and disrupting plays before they begin. He reminds me a lot of a Gerald McCoy who is down at Oklahoma right now. If Nix continues to improve he will resurrect the defensive tackle position down at Miami.

Check out his video below

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Raw Skills

So often recruiting is all about seeing the potential of a kid. That means finding someone who has a great frame to put on weight, or a kid who has speed and good hips to play defensive back, or a an athlete that projects well to other positions. Regardless, in each potential recruit there has to be something that gives a school the idea that hey this kid will be able to play on the next level as long as he improves in this area.

Today I have chosen to look at Linebacker Tyrone Cornileus out of Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, GA. Tyrone looks to have all the physical qualities of a top notch outside linebacker. First off he has a nice frame at 6'2 and only weighing 195 lbs. there is obviously room to add weight to his build. Tyrone also possess elite speed for the LB position and shows really well in coverage with great leaping ability. It is clear that given time and a college weight program he can add the size to really make a difference at an outside linebacker position. He already has great ability to sink his hips when taking on linemen and making tackles. The added weight will allow him to explode through blockers and defenders.

This three star backer has offers from most schools in the SEC and projects as a better player than his current ranking. I definitely see him as a potential pro player if he continues to improve his play as well as his measurables.

Check out some of his highlights below:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Slipping Through the Cracks

As I continue to explore the world of college football and the recruiting process the more I realize that its often a crap shoot. Sometimes coaches are dead on about a players potential like Reggie Bush or Vince Young who both were ranked as 5 star recruits out of high school. On the flip side there are always those players that slip through and get recruited by the smaller schools; like Brian Urlacher (New Mexico) or Jarrett Dillard (Rice) but end up showing that their talent was on par with the big schools.

In my opinion Jaron Miller out of New Orleans has the potential to be one of those players. The senior who is currently a 2 star prospect has committed to Tulane University. The same school that the current Bears running back Matt Forte attended. In my opinion Forte was the best wrong back I faced in my 4 years including the likes of Darius Walker of Notre Dame and Micheal Bush of Louisville.

When it comes to Miller it is clear that he has the physical tools to be a top flight receiver. Standing at 6'4 and 200lbs, he will be able to out muscle and out jump most defensive backs before stepping onto campus. Now, Miller does not possess elite speed, but does well enough to create separation. The other thing that Miller does extremely well is use his body to ward off defenders and make tough catches in traffic. He never seems to shy away from contact making tough catch after tough catch in the middle of the field. In my mind he is a possession receiver who can do some serious damage moving the chains and in the red zone. Needless to say time will tell on how this senior develops when he is Making the Jump from high school to college.

Check out his highlights and let me know what you all think.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Successfully Making The Jump...?

Today I am going to look at a player who is on the verge of successfully making the jump from high school to the collegiate ranks. What exactly is successfully making the jump, well its going from high school and making a name for yourself and having an impact as a first year player within a program.

South Carolina has a player by the name of Stephon Gilmore who looks like he is going to be able to successfully make that jump. Stephon, who is apart of the 2009 recruiting class, graduated high school early and was able to participate in spring ball for the Gamecocks. The coaches and fellow teammates raved about Gilmore's cover skills and he looks to be a big time play maker at cornerback, where he looks to be a day 1 starter.

After watching Gilmore's high school it is clear that he has the speed to compete. Gilmore played QB and safety and high school and was an impact player who could do amazing things with the ball in his hands. In addition to playing cornerback at South Carolina, the coaches have been looking at him to play QB in the wildhog formation which could add a new dynamic to one of the more lack luster offenses in the SEC last year.

As you watch Gilmore's film it is clear that he was a great pick up for USC and he is on the verge of successfully Making the Jump.....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Why the Jump from High School to College is So Great

Most days I like to profile great high school players in both football and basketball who are making the jump from high school to college. While scouting different kids for my blog I come across kids who do it all in high school. From playing multiple sports to playing multiple positions within that sport, its just amazing how talented kids have become.

While reading a recent article on I saw how much publicity Eric Berry out of the University of Tennessee has gotten, as being a potential Heisman candidate as well as being one of the top two safeties in the country. My real point goes back to when Eric was getting recruited out of high school. The kid was playing quarterback for his Creekside high school team. Despite that coaches and scouts at the University said he had enough talent to become the next Champ Bailey as a cover corner. Needless to say as soon as he got on campus and began playing safety it was clear that the sky was the limit.

And stories like this are why I think the transition from high school to college is so amazing. There are so many opportunities for athletes who have physical gifts. So many kids may be poor high school players, but have all the tools to flourish on the next level. From the Reggie Bushes, to the Tim Tebows and so on. For all those aspiring football and basketball players remember with hard work and desire to be better colleges will always find you. And thats what is all about when your Making the Jump.....

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Cats Get a Solid One

Villanova is known for its 3 guard set, and with its acquisition of James Bell that set got even better. The Florida native is a shooting guard that stands at 6'4 with a long wingspan. After watching film of Bell I have this assessment: He is an all around excellent player. He does a little bit of everything and at the end of the night he stuffs the stat sheet.

Bell does a good job of using his long arms to play the passing lanes on the defensive end. And at 6'4 weighing 210 pounds, he uses his muscles to rebound with authority and has the ball skills to lead the break. When it comes to shooting he has a nice intermediate shot with needing a little work on his 3 point range. Regardless, Bell knows when necessary he can take it to hole with authority and draw fouls. And with a nice stroke from the charity strip he is a guard that you want to have the ball in his hands at the end of the game....well next to Scottie Reynolds.

Check out his video and let me know what you think of the pick up by Villanova....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Will it Be the Hardwood or the Gridiron.....?

As I search for the best recruits in the Southeast I often come across kids who play multiple sports. I think this is great. Growing up I played baseball, basketball, soccer, and football. My parents always said I could decide when I was older what I truly wanted to pursue as my main sport.

Well a super-talented kid by the name of Bruce Ellington out of Moncks Corner, South Carolina has yet to make up his mind. Bruce has talents both in basketball and football. Today I am looking at this three star athlete on the football field. I think with his size and athletic ability he can truly be a terror if he fully commits to football. Bruce has a smooth running style that allows him to glide to the corners of defense and out run most defenders. Although, he does not have the best moves in the open field his basketball skills transition in that he often makes cuts on a dime in order to shake defenders. His speed and returning ability automatically make him an intriguing prospect.

Given Bruce's athletic ability and running style I could see him thriving in a spread passing attack that allows him to get in open space and use his speed to make defenders chase. Another part of me sees him being a great A-back in Georgia Techs option attack. He reminds me a lot of former teammate Roddy Jones who has great speed and cut back ability on the edges of the defense. Either way Bruce Ellington is a great recruit who will likely jump up in the rankings during his senior year.

Check out his video, and let me know what you all think.....?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Weak Class of QBs....I Think Not!!

So often you hear recruiters nit pick about this position is up or down within a recruiting year. My take on this is either recruiters aren't looking hard enough or the quarterbacks are not fully developed yet. As I comb through the Southeast region I have come across some capable QBs that with the proper coaching can flourish into outstanding players.

Trett Hardman from Fairview high school in northern Alabama is one of those low ranking QBs with a lot of promise. This pro style quarterback stands at 6'3 and 200lbs. After watching some film I have come to this conclusion, the Kid can Play. He moves extremely well within the pocket avoiding would be rushers and extending plays. He knows when to break the pocket and when in the open field makes something happen despite not being the fastest QB in the world. Trett has a capable arm and can make all the throws on the field. He can improve on his deep ball, but any ball thrown less than 20 yards is always on the money. Hardman also makes great decisions and would have even better numbers if he had a better supporting cast.

I predict that Trett will really do well on the collegiate level and will be starting in the next two years or so after some division I coaching. Check out his video and tell me what you all think......

Monday, August 10, 2009

Simply the Best.....

Very rarely will you see this blog revisit or talk about current college players, but I felt strongly about this situation. I was surfing the web and came across a video of what I believe to be one of the most talented guards to play college in the last ten years (besides Derrick Rose). His court vision and play making ability allow for not only him to be a critical part of the offense, but he does a great job of getting his teammates involved as well.

What I saw today solidified John Wall's star power. As he crosses over a would be defender Wall goes to the cup and dunks on Jerry Stackhouse. And the raw emotion afterwards is what I love the best. I already liken his game to D-Wade the way he gets to the rim and finishes. I cannot wait to see him lead Kentucky deep into the tournament.........

Here is the clip!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Defense Is Where It All Begins

So often young athletes think that if I can score then I can play. Well I know a lot of hard nose winning programs that are made up of just one or two scorers. The rest are defenders that make plays on defense that translate into easy offensive scores. Its a tough concept for the younger generations and novice fans to truly grasp. So often its the high scoring and high light reel plays that fans are enamored with. Regardless, defense is what is worked on over and over within a teams practice.

That being said it is essential for college programs to acquire athletes who can defend and stop their opponents. In my opinion Clemson got a gem in small forward Marcus Thornton. Thornton, a Westlake high school product (located in Atlanta, GA), uses his length and intelligence in playing the ball to frustrate would be scorers. He has an amazing ability and feel as a weak side defender and does a good job of rebounding as well. His long frame makes it easier for him to not always fall for pump fakes and rarely leaves his feet until the shooter commits. Along with his improving offensive game, Marcus runs the floor really well and is a high flying dunker who is rarely denied within the lane.

If your an up and coming ball player work on your defense to set your self up for success. An offensive player is nice, but defense can keep you in the league like Bruce Bowen.......

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Good Things Can Come in Small Packages

In the world of collegiate sports so much is based on potential and how recruits will grow or fill into their bodies. Colleges project and almost look at kids like specimens for a unique science project. Well so often those guessing games don't quite pan out. That is why I love when undersized kids play above the level of their stature. It is almost like beating the odds in today's game.

Well Tyler Owens does this to a T. The 5'11 183 lbs. Linebacker out of Douglasville, GA has been moderately recruited. Yet this linebacker does it all. He plays the pass fairly well, and excels in run coverage. His stature does play well when it comes to making the big hit. Throughout his film you see him attacking and blowing up would be ball carriers and basically anything that gets in his way. The way he uses his leverage and size to get to the ball reminds me of one of the best Linebackers in the SEC, Rennie Curran.

I think if Tyler continues to preform at a high level the sky is the limit when it comes to making the jump from high school to college.