Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Man in The Middle

One of the most beneficial positions to recruit on a yearly basis is offensive lineman. If you think about it offensively speaking running backs are in surplus, you can usually find two or three solid ones. Receivers are also a pretty hot commodity. And if you get a prized quarterback your first responsibility is to keep him protected an upright. So when you find a good offensive lineman who is a bulldozer in the running game and has good feet and a solid base for pass protection time should not be wasted in acquiring his talent.

Saying that Georgia Tech did an excellent job of offering offensive lineman, Thomas O'Reilly, out of Pope high school in Georgia. Thomas stands at 6'3 315lbs. and in my mind will be an excellent offensive guard. The way he attacks defenders and waste little time putting them into the ground is exciting for a running back. And he has really good feet and hands in rerouting defenders in pass blocking.

I would still consider his specialty run blocking, and it will only be a matter of time before the SEC and more ACC schools begin to offer. This 2011 recruit is one of the better offensive lineman in the Southeast and if you do not agree check out his video.......

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Update On a Bulldog Getting a Lot of Attention

So often in the recruiting world one school picks out a great player before other schools even get a hint of their talent. That has never been more apparent then in Rajion Neal, a running back out of Tyrone, GA that I profiled a week ago. I profiled that Rajion was a special player and that the Mississippi State Bulldogs got a heck of player.

Well apparently other big time schools like Florida State and University of Georgia have gotten word on how good this senior running back real is. Rajion has lead his team to a 7-1 start and has amassed over 1,000 yards as well as 21 touchdowns. With those kinds of numbers its clear that Rajion's services will be coveted by more programs as the season rolls on.

Rajion remains committed to the Bulldogs despite Florida State's offer. University of Georgia will probably offer him in the near future especially considering their need for more solid running backs. In my opinion Mississippi is the best place for Rajion to not only get playing time, but also become the featured back. In the end where ever he goes will benefit from his talents.

Scroll below to check out Rajion Neal's film from last week's article.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If Only....

So much can be said for a solid player that lacks something whether it be ideal height, weight, or physical attribute. In the game of football you will come across a lot of players that will leave you saying if only...they had this or that. Those small things in some players make a big difference when colleges come to scout a player.

One player that I feel the scouts have somewhat overlooked is a linebacker out of Grayson high school in Loganville, GA. Terry Williams stands 6'0 240lbs. which most would consider slightly undersized for a middle linebacker. The thing about Terry is when you pop in a tape of this kid you see that he has a load of talent. Honestly I enjoy watching kids like Terry on film.

When it comes to his play between the white lines he brings a lot to the inside linebacker position. Terry has good range from sideline to sideline and has tremendous burst upon contact. Terry has really good explosion an pop in his hips that always jars ball carriers. Terry is also very sure tackler that does what it takes to bring a player down. Although, he does not have great lateral speed he always seems to get to the ball even when it forces him to turn his hips and run. He is adequate in pass coverage, but uses his smarts to position himself to win. The more and more I watch Terry he reminds me of a heavier Rennie Curran. Terry has really good instincts and is able to find the ball and get there on any play, he is rarely fooled by misdirection. Williams is just a very impressive player and knows how to play the game. A little amount of coaching will go a long way with this good player.

Check out Terry Williams film and see what you think.....

Monday, October 26, 2009

Never Too Early

Lately in my spare time I have been consumed by the game NCAA 2010 on Xbox. I mean I think the game is a great thing for college football fans who really love football. The thing I love most about it is the ability to recruit and make decisions on which players you will go after each season. Giving them the whole recruiting pitch and what not really makes the game realistic.

Well the same thing is going on across the country. In fact a lot of coaches are getting a jump on some talented juniors, and even more amazing sophomores, that will make an impact come their senior season. On of those possible impact players from the class of 2012 is Deion Bonner out of Columbus, GA. The 5'11 189 lbs. cornerback brings a lot to the table as a recruit. The attribute that sticks out to me the most when I watch Deion play is his ability to use his size and speed to his advantage. He has excellent technique of closing on receivers' hips when the ball is in the air. That coupled with his knack of high pointing the ball makes him into an instant offensive threat ever time he gets the ball. And with running back skills he usually does something positive when he gets it.

Deion being used often as a running back has created a sort of toughness in his game, and he shows it when he comes up and makes tackles on the edge. With continued improvement in that facet he will be a real factor against the run on the next level. The one thing I would like to see him do more of is press coverage since he is a bigger corner. But I must keep in mind that he is extremely young and the sky is the limit for Deion. Once he gets to college I see him developing into a solid corner, if he doesn't grow into a safety, and I think he is comparable to Javier Arenas from Alabama. Check out his highlights and see what you think.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Something Special....

Its not often that a talented recruit in a state that is well known for putting out talent gets looked over, but heck it happens. You have your late developers, the kids who need proper coaching, and sometimes kids just don't show much until given the proper opportunity.

Well down in Tyrone, GA I think a very talented running back by the name of Rajion Neal is being overlooked. Now don't get me wrong this kid has offers from Louisville, Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, and he is committed to Mississippi State. But in my opinion this 5'11 200 lbs. kids has a load of talent. After watching the film its clear that with a little collegiate coaching he will be a force even in the defensive laden SEC. Neal is a big strong running back who has very nice feet, moves them smoothly and decisively in the hole. He does not tip toe in the hole, but makes short quick cuts much like Willis McGahee and Ricky Williams.

Rajion also possesses superior balance that allows him to absorb hits and continue down field. That balance coupled with a stocky thick frame make taking Rajion down extremely difficult. The grind it out type of mentality in the SEC will suit Rajion's game like a glove. I think it is only a matter of time before this kid really blows up and becomes a Matt Forte like talent, a kid not heavily recruited but does extremely well and carries the load for his squad.

Check out Rajion's video and pay attention to the ease at which he moves through the holes an his ability to make defenders miss effortlessly and with subtle jukes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Real Burner

There is one thing that cannot be taught on the football field and that is speed. Speed can beat technique, smarts, and a lot of other learned qualities. If I was building a team I would do my very best to put as much speed on the field as possible, and that is what big time programs like USC, Florida, and Alabama do on a consistent basis.

When I take a look at Martavis Bryant all I see is speed. A 6'4 190lbs. receiver who can flat out run and catch. Bryant a native of Anderson, South Carolina reminds me a lot of Ted Ginn Jr. but a receiver with more catching ability. Bryant does a great job of catching away from his body and tucking it away in traffic. He also does a great job of using his speed on deep balls creating separation as well as never being out thrown by his quarterback. I see Bryant making an instant impact either in the return game our as a receiver. He cannot be covered one on one without a jam and that is difficult as well.

Bryant needs to improve on coming in and out of breaks and running in traffic with a lower pad level to avoid the big hits. But if Bryant adds weight and does not lose speed I see him becoming like Brandon Marshall with college coaching. Check out his amazing highlight and see how speed kills.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Switch

Any coach that has dealt with recruiting dreads one thing once he gets a player to commit. Its the thought that one day he may get a phone call saying that a player would like to de-commit. It is a tough decision for the player and it usually because of changes in a program or a player feeling better with a different school. Regardless of the reasoning it is always important for a recruit to make the best decision for himself regardless of pressure, I mean its a decision a player has to be sure about in the end.

Well one of the best players in the state of Georgia officially de-committed from Stanford. Tai-ler Jones, a 6'0 185 lbs. receiver out of Gainesville High school, switched his commitment to Notre Dame. The switch came following Jones' official visit to Notre Dame for the USC game. The way Notre Dame spreads the ball around and gets its receivers open down the field seems like it would be a great fit for Jones' style of play. Tai-ler is an extremely quick and versatile player who projects as either a receiver or defensive back. I see him playing receiver because of his knack for getting open and his quickness to make plays in the open field. Jones has great hands and good route running ability. He has good strength and with a commitment to one side of the ball I think he has the ability to make plays much like current Notre Dame player Golden Tate. Jones even shows promise returning punts and kicks.

Check out this video that features highlights of Jones throughout Gainesville High school's game against North Hall. Jones wears #9 and plays both receiver as well as safety.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Simply Smooth

Over the years I have seen tons of video on different players throughout the country. Most film takes a second an third look to get a true evaluation of the player in question. But with some players you can cut on the film and within the first few plays you know you have something special on your hands. Their skills jump out at you and often they just have something that you cannot exactly explain.

Well when I cut on the film of Markeith Ambles, wide receiver from McDonugh, GA, it is clear that he has the "IT" factor. I would sum up Markeith as Simply Smooth. Markeith is a 6'2 185 lbs. receiver that has a unique skill set that makes him one of the best wide receivers in the country. I don't think that I have seen a receiver as tall as Markeith that has his fluidity on the field. The way he comes in and out of his breaks as well as making cuts to avoid defenders is simply effortless. Markieth has good quickness an speed that allows him to create separation from defenders.

What jumps out the most to me about Markeith is his sneaky ability to lull defenders to sleep with the fact that he does not appear very fast. His exceptional route running gives me the indication that he will get playing time early. He knows how to get open and has excellent catching skills. Markeith also does a great job when it comes to blocking, his long frame, with added weight, will be a force in the running game. The University of Tennessee got a great find in Markeith Ambles.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fitting a Team's Style

College recruiting in my mind is an art. It isn't just acquiring the best players for a team, you have to make sure they have the grades, the right work ethic, and in my mind a forgotten one of fitting a particular system. There are a lot of examples of players going to systems that just do not fit their particular style of play. Like a power back (example Emmanuel Moody at Florida) going to a spread offense or a pro style quarterback at an run an shoot system (Ryan Mallett when he was at Michigan- the reason he transferred out). The list goes on and on, but in my mind this problem is shared both by the coaches and the player.

Well I found a kid that fits perfectly at his school of choice. Morgan Bailey, a 6'4 285 lbs. offensive tackle, is a good player in the pro style offense that his high school runs. But in my opinion once he begins to learn the offense of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets he will be a great college lineman. My thoughts are based on the film I have watched on Morgan. He does a terrific job of running defenders off the line of scrimmage and making holes. Morgan has good pad level that allows him to really drive, that coupled with his quick get off make him a load for opposing defenders. His bread and butter is run blocking, but he needs improvement pass blocking. He is inconsistent and does not move his feet well enough to be a great pass blocker. That is why this offense is perfect for his skill set. It allows him to improve on pass blocking in a more protected scheme all the while being able to get playing time because of his strengths. I know Morgan will thrive in the system and I hope that more players pay attention to what schools benefit their style of play best.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Following Dad's Footsepts

It isn't often that pro players produce offsprings with similar talent. Often the child wants to make a way for themselves in another sport or just another genre all together. Well in the case of one highly touted basketball player, he chose to follow closely behind his fathers footsteps.

Raised in the suburban area of Canton, GA. Shawn Kemp Jr. does resemble his father in more than one way. Shawn has the size at 6'9 215lbs. and the determination to make a name for himself much like his father did coming out of high school. While the rules no longer allow for Kemp Jr. to make the jump straight to the NBA like his father, it is clear that Kemp Jr. is motivated to work hard and improve his game year round.

After watching a few videos of Kemp Jr. it is clear that he has basketball in his blood. The kid is pretty athletic for a big man, being able to get up and down the court on fast breaks, and knowing how to throw it down with authority much like his dad did on numerous occasions. I would love to see more use of his nice baby hook in the lane as well as some jump shooting from the blocks since Kemp has such a soft touch.

The biggest thing for Kemp is to face tougher competition that doesn't allow him to get to the rim so often despite him doing it so well. I think with college coaching Kemp will turn into a stud especially on the defensive end and grabbing rebounds. Also the addition of some added weight and bulk will serve him well against the pounding he will face against better competition.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Protested Play

I was checking out some highlights from across the country this morning and came across this interesting story from this past Friday night. Two schools in Michigan played a Homecoming game John Glenn v. Plymouth that turned out to be highly protested contest.

A bitter rivalry came down to the last play, with a 27-28 score John Glenn lined up for the game winning field goal. The ball was snapped and the Wildcats got a good surge and blocked the kick. As they ran of the field with excitement no whistle blew and the John Glenn players stood in shock. Then one of the John Glenn coaches ran down the sideline signaling to pick up the ball and run it in the end zone. With no Plymouth players on the field #87 jogged into the end zone and the stands erupted as the home team was signaled for a touchdown.

Apparently, the refs ruled that the ball did not pass the line of scrimmage, therefore the kicking team still had the ability to advance the ball. According to the rule book this is a dead on call. The only issue I had was #87 the holder had his knee on the ground, but considering the excitement during the play I am not surprised this was overlooked. Needless to say this says a lot for playing until the end of the whistle. Check out the video below and leave comments on what you think should have happened.

The Long Wait

Usually in the recruiting game you have two approaches....Either a player commits early and wants to get it out of the way for his senior season or a player waits to get all his visits in and make schools sweat it out. It has gotten to the point that some players hold big press conferences where media outlets televise the signings. A lot of the hoop la is determined by the individual player and how good he is.

In the case of Eduardo Clements schools may have to hold on to a scholarship and wait until the day of signing day for this prized recruit. This prized recruit out of Booker T. Washington high school in Miami, FL is no stranger to the public eye. A highly sought after recruit who has been in televised games because of his big name school has the skill set to warrant all the attention. Listed at 5'10 185lbs. Eduardo combines a nice blend of speed and elusiveness with the ability to stick it up in between the tackles when motivated.

The featured running back in a high powered spread offense has the ability to make quick decisive cuts and take it to the house out running most secondary players with his 4.4 speed. Eduardo shows great ability to not only catch the ball out of the backfield but line up as a receiver in mismatches against linebackers. What sets Eduardo apart from other running backs is his knack for breaking first contact with either shifty hips within the hole or his elusive spin move in the open field. With his home threat always a concern for defense I know that after getting into a college program and having big time blocking this kid will definitely be worth the long wait.

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

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A New Number 1

In the world of hoops there really is no down time. Even during the off season the team rankings change after different camps from month to month. Well now isn't any different and it looks like the state of Tennessee has produced another top talent that will help Memphis reclaim the number one recruiting class of 2010.

Tarik Black looks to be the newest edition that will put Memphis in the top spot. The Memphis native is a superior athlete who shows so much promise and upside that is understand why he has gotten interest from most schools around the nation.

After watching the film Black's soft hands and ability to run the floor really stand out. He does a good job of getting open in transition and always finishing strong. When in the post Black makes strong quick moves and shows the ability to get off a lot of clean shots. He also has the ability to finish with a right hand hook shot on a consistent basis. The best thing about Black's game is the ability to defend and the hustle he has on the court. He has great quicks, feet, and ability to alter shots.

Tarik is listed as a center, but once in college I think he will be able to play center out of necessity but flourish as a power forward. Black's raw skills make his acquisition a big pick up for any team especially since I feel he is underrated despite his 4 star ranking. He will become a true force once he refines his offensive game.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thursday Night Lights

It isn't too often that high school games are played on Thursday nights, but when its a nationally televised game that tends to be understandable. This past Thursday night Miami Northwestern faced off against the number 7 ranked team in the country Miami Central. Miami Northwestern two years ago was the best team in the country led by starting Miami University quarterback Jacory Harris as well as a host of other current Cane players. Although they lost a lot of talent the current Miami Northwestern program is led by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and receiver Michaellee Harris. Those two along with running back Corvin Lamb were potent enough to create big plays and score when their team needed it.

Miami Central who came up short in the 22-14 lost was plagued by early penalties having more than a dozen penalties by half time accumulating over a hundred yards of penalties. But once again I came away impressed with the ability of Jeffery Godfrey (Miami Central QB) to not only make plays moving around in the pocket and throwing down field but the intensity and passion that he plays with. I know a lot of schools are wanting to move him to receiver or possibly defense, but in my mind if he gets in a spread offense he can really do some damage. He has an extremely strong arm and just knows how to make plays and is smart with the football.

I think Bridgewater really made a name for himself especially considering he had to compete with the hype of Godfrey. I think after this game he is looking like a more mobile Jacory Harris with the ability to improve as a passer and on the intangibles. But regardless it was a great match up of talented and speedy kids.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Can't Forget Hoops

I know some of my die hard hoop fans are wondering if I have completely forgotten about the hardwood, and for that this piece is for you. Now although I cater to the season (it being the heart of football season) I was reminded by preseason basketball that in a couple of months some of the best high school talent in America will be trying to Make the Jump to the Next Level.

Well after searching through a few highlights and game footage I came across an amazingly gifted point guard out of Memphis, Tenn. Joe Jackson will not wow you with his stature (5'11 170lbs.) but with the ball in his hands his talent is evident. In my opinion this shoot first point guard if 3 inches taller would be the number one shooting guard in the country and possibly the best offensive player in the country. He reminds me a lot of a player out of NY by the name of Jonny Flynn with his energy and ability to score in bunches and create for others.

There isn't anything on the offensive end that Joe cannot do. He is a speedy guard who has the ability to create of the dribble not only because of his speed, but more because of the attention he draws as a scorer. Joe has one of the best mid range games in the country and he knows how to position himself to make plays effortlessly. Joe also does a good job of getting quality shots despite his small stature. His game from beyond the arch could use some work, but is consistent enough to cause havoc on the defense. On the defensive end Joe utilizes his speed and quickness to play the passing lanes. He also excellent bounce that allows Joe to cheat and make blocks from the weak side.

It is clear that Jackson is one of the premier talents around. With college coaching and a bigger and better players around I think he will become a more well rounded point guard and a fear among all opposing players. If you don't think so check out his video.....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A True Hog in Razorback Country

As I watch college and high school games through Friday and Saturday I make different observations that affect the things I write about here on my blog. After watching the University of Georgia battle LSU I noticed how the pressure that a QB feels throughout a game does somewhat dictate how that player plays. Now although LSU came out with the win, it was clear that UGA's front four created some problems for LSU's QB.

After combing through some recent film I found a kid down in Arkansas that could end up creating some havoc on opposing offensive lines in the near future. Through my experience I have found it extremely hard to project Defensive Tackles from high school. So often they may be big, but not as adapt at using their tools in order to make plays. Well Byran Jones (DT 6'3 310lbs.) knows how to use his tools. After watching Byran;s film its clear that even though his height might restrict him from playing offensive line the toughness and nastiness that he plays with just belongs on the D-line.

Jones uses his hands well when attacking the shoulder of the opponent. He is at his best when he lines up as a 1-technique over the center. Jones has excellent burst out of his stance and usually gets under the pads of offensive lineman displaying excellent leverage for a man his size. Areas for improvement are consistency and better use of hands for pass rushing purposes. But in my opinion Defensive line is one of the harder positions to play as a true freshman. But with a college weight program and good coaching I can see Jones Making the Jump to the Next Level.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Unconventional Receiver

As time ticks on through the season players will begin to show their talent and following the post season will be invited to the coveted All-Star games. One of the biggest of those is the U.S. Army All-American game. This game usually involves the best of high school talent from across the nation. Throughout the season I will be profiling talent that has either made the list or has ability to play in a game of this caliber.

As I continue to comb the Southeast region a player in the state of Louisiana caught my eye. Trovon Reed out of Thibodaux High School clearly has the talent in order to play in any All-Star game in the country. This wide receiver has some of the fastest wheels and best moves in the south. Reed also has the ability to return kicks and punts and has a knack for making tacklers miss in the open field.

The only issue that arises when finding an All-Star game for Reed to play in is what position will he play. He currently plays in a triple option style running offense that requires him to mainly receive handoffs and block on other running plays. Regardless of positioning once Reed makes it to college and has time to settle into the receiver position he will be able to refine his route running and in my opinion he will be one of the few to Make the Jump to the Next Level as a freshman.

Check out his video......

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Championship Match-Up

Friday Night games are always exciting and big when your a high school player. The crowd creating a buzz as the players warm-up for quick off. This past Friday there was a little more excitement and buzz around the stadium for the match-up between perennial powers Byrnes high school (South Carolina) and St. Thomas Aquinas high school (Florida). These two big time programs are known for there high profile players. Byrnes has blue chippers Marcus Lattimore (RB), Corey Miller (DE), and Brandon Willis (DE). All three of these kids are going to big time schools. And St. Thomas Aquinas is led by Cody Riggs (CB) and LaMarcus Joyner (CB) as well as another 12 or so division I talent players.

With this much talent on the field fans knew they were in store for something special. The contest ended with a score of 42-34 in favor of the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders. The Raiders had numerous big plays off of the Byrnes Rebels turnovers. Lattimore, who is still undecided of a college choice, ran for 122 yards and 2 tds but had 3 lost turnovers. Miscues like those led to points for the Raiders. The game was an offensive shoot out with the Raiders having big plays of 40, 52, 73, and 93 yards. Not to be outdone the Rebels offense was pretty potent itself. The Rebels QB Chas Dodd threw for 416 yards and 3 touchdowns and probably could have made the game closer if it hadn't been for the Rebels 6 fumbles. Nonetheless the capacity crowd of 15,000 plus enjoyed the game.

Regardless of the outcome both schools will vie for state championships in their respective states and even more scholarship offers for their players. In the end the tradition and strong foundations will lead to more successful jumps to the next level for players as well as coaches.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Night Lights

There are some big match ups going on across the Southeast region when it comes to high school football. I will be sure to update all my readers on the big upsets and big individual performances.

I will also be looking for more collegiate players proving that they have successful made the jump to the next level. And to all of you that have sent in questions, comments, and suggestions I appreciate it and hope that you will continue. I am always interested in what my readers think and want to see more of.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Who Hasn't Offered?

The recruiting process is an interesting things to fully understand. You have your kids who get noticed late in the recruiting process, then there are the camp junkies who get noticed while performing in t-shirt and shorts, and then there are those few kids that everyone wants.

In the case of James Vaughters everyone wants him. This 2011 defensive end/linebacker has so much going for him its clear why he is so coveted. James is 6'2 220lbs and has a 4.0 GPA. Not only does he look the part, but he comes from a tradition rich football high school. Probably some of the more famous Tucker high school alumni are Brandon Lang and Thomas Brown.

When it comes to on the field James can do it all. The kid is quick and shows strength that translates beyond the weight room. When taking on bigger players he has great leverage and pop from the hips. And when tackling players he explodes through ball carriers a rarely misses. He reminds me a lot of a larger version of Rennie Curran. He has the speed to chase down ball carriers from the backside and moves his hips well in pass coverage.

I think when it is all said and down Vaughters will commit to the Georgia Bulldogs and play middle linebacker. At that position he will excel and eventually barring injury make the jump to the NFL.

Check out his highlights from Sophomore year and see all the potential.