Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Position Picking

This weekend I was speaking with a female friend of mine and I was laughing at the fact that her younger cousin was receiving scholarship offers for a position he did not currently play in football. She kept thinking that school must have gotten his name mixed up or something because in her mind there was no way he could play a different side of the ball.

The funny thing is coaches always try and project players based on all sorts of things from size, playing ability, to even potential growth changes. A perfect example is an outside linebacker by the name of Josh Harvey-Clemons out of Valdosta, Georgia. The 6'5 210 lbs. outside linebacker is a freak of nature physically. Harvey-Clemons is currently being recruited as a wide receiver by Alabama as well as a few other SEC schools. Although he shows very capable skills at the wideout position I think the true potential comes as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Harvey-Clemons frame is one that would allow him to bulk up 25-35 lbs. on the college level. Besides Harvey-Clemons potential, on film he shows great body positioning to leverage smaller players and the range he brings to the linebacker position is amazing. Harvey-Clemons has the raw talent and ability to play early especially on special teams, but given a year to improve physically I look for Harvey-Clemons to become a dominant force in whatever program he wishes to attend.

I urge anyone to watch Harvey-Clemons film and not see the potential oozing out of this star in the making.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Last Minute Visits

Well sports fans it is that time of season..... Yes, this is the time that the recruiting trail gets very hot. Players begin to narrow their decisions because of recruiting visits, team records, and even family pressure. So often the way teams end the season have a direct impact especially if recruits are able to witness first hand winning football.

This past weekend Jordan Jenkins a prized recruit out of Harris Count, Georgia may have become a little more intrigued by a particular program. The 6'3 245 lbs outside linebacker took an official visit to UGA for the drubbing they put on Auburn. Jenkins came away very impressed with his visit and apparently may have another legitimate school to pick from besides Alabama and Florida.

What I come way most impressed with when I watch film of Jordan Jenkins is his raw and natural talent. I mean he has a nose for the ball and plays extremely hard. Jordan plays a very aggressive style of ball that any defensive coach would love to have. Jordan does a very good job of maintaining low leverage in order to defeat blockers and has a very quick first step. I think that if a college coach continues to work on his hand work and technique that this young man can quickly make an impact on a college program. I think if Jordan will mature into a outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense and will get a lot of opportunities to get to the quarterback.

Check out Jordan's film and comment on what you think.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ahead of the Curve

In today's recruiting climate it is always important for schools to find and sign talent before the word gets out. Schools create great relationships with high school coaches, recruiting companies, and high school visits. Anything that can be used to get a jump on the competition is essential in getting potential prospects in the door and signed. Recruiting quarterbacks is often even more difficult because there are obviously fewer it isn't often that one goes without notice.

That has been the case for Quarterback Brice Ramsey out of Camden County, GA. The 6'3 190 lbs., 2013 has only started three games in his high school career. But because of the internet, camps, and word of mouth Brice has already received 4 division I offers. The recent Georgia Bulldog commit has all the tools to really develop into a solid quarterback. Luckily Brice has time to improve on his body of work and gaining experience is one of the biggest issues.

Brice currently can make all of the throws needed for the next level. Brice possess a great ability to deliver the ball accurately on the run and shows very sound mechanics overall. The zip that he has on all of his passes compensate for his immaturity and slight issue with staring down receivers. He has very good mobility and does a good job with footwork within the pocket to avoid defenders. Brice does need to continue to gain weight in order to deal with the beating that most college quarterbacks have to endure. I look forward to Brice Ramsey not only receiving more offers, but also taking his talents to a prominent college and having an impact on Saturday's in the near future.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Green Effect

Most people may think that when players graduate and go off to the NFL that their involvement with the recruiting process is over. Well that is far from it, often players who becomes stars in the league have a lasting impact. In the case of the University of Georgia players like A.J. Green are not only brought in to speak with incoming players, but their accomplishments and memorable moments are plastered throughout the football complex.

In the case of Georgia I have seen an increase in the amount of top tier wide receiver that have not only attended UGA, but also visit. Josh Abrams may soon be one of those future bulldogs that is a result of the Green effect. Standing at a stout 6'2 205 lbs., Josh is a physically impressive kid who has not been heavily recruited thus far. Despite this you can see from Josh's film that he is a very athletic 205 lbs. with extremely impressive body control. Josh uses this body control to shield defenders making it even more difficult to defend him. Josh also is very skilled in the return game, and uses his lateral quickness and bigger body to ward off defenders.

Although Josh Abrams is not being as heavily recruited as some other players it is clear that he can be an impactful player on the next level. Josh is the type of player that you have to evaluate on the field and not in drills. In the end I know Josh will begin to roll in with bigger offers.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Versatility in the Secondary

The game of football has evolved in so many different ways over the years. One of the biggest evolutions on the defensive side of the ball has come from the safety position. Whether it be a free or strong safety versatility and field savvy is key. Many of todays elite safeties have been compared to Swiss Army knifes because of all the responsibilities they are given on the field.

One player with a ton of potential and skill at the safety position in the 2012 class is Eddie Williams. The rangy 6'4 195 lbs., safety out of Panama City, Florida impresses me more than I originally thought. What quickly stands out from the film is Eddie's very aggressive and hard hitting mentality. For a skinnier guy you would think he would be a deep safety who is a ball hawk, but Eddie can really lay the hat. Eddie just has a knack for making big hits, but does a great job of deciding on wether to go for the interception or make that big hit.

Eddie reminds me a lot of a former UGA safety in Greg Blue. An un-traditionally tall safety that can really hit. Most coaches have slotted Eddie as an athlete rather than a safety. I think a lot of coaches shy away from taller safeties because the taller guys usually cannot turn their hips quite as well, a key in the secondary. The difference with Williams is he has a natural body lean, and has really good footwork that allows him to drop his hips quickly and with ease. Williams also possess great leaping ability that makes him very difficult to complete deep passes against.

The other great thing about Eddie Williams is his ability to play the wide receiver position. Although I think he has the talent and versatility to be an extremely talented safety he could always go to the other side of the ball and make catches.....

Friday, August 19, 2011

Beast Mode

Growing up around football I learned at an early age that the eye in the sky never lies. Well recently a friend of mine sent me a tape of a kid out of Florida that embodies the phrase "beast mode" on the high school level. And the eye in the sky definitely did not lie about this talent.

As soon as I turned on the tape of Derrick Henry I knew the kid had talent. After a little more research I found that Derrick is considered the top recruit in the state of Florida for the class of 2013. The 6'3 230 lbs., running back combines a skill set rarely seen out of an individual of his size. Henry really reminds me a lot of Michael Bush coming out of high school just a little more trim. Henry possess very good speed and an elusiveness that allows him to continuously break tackles and make defenders miss. That coupled with the ability to run over defenders in the open field is what leads me to describe Derrick Henry as Beast Mode on the high school level. One of the big things that I noticed watching Henry was his knack for cutting left. Henry uses his ability to cut going left to his advantage since most offensive plays tend to run towards the right side. Another thing is that observers may think that Henry is not running that fast, but when you see him continuously out run defender after defender regardless of position you realize he is very fast.

Although Henry still has another 2 years he has already committed to the University of Georgia. This commitment came during a Dawgs Camp at the University of Georgia. The commitment was something of a surprise since Henry had listed the hometown Florida Gators has his leading school. In the end I think UGA's lack of depth at the running back position as well as the pro style offense favors Derrick Henry's running style tremendously. Once Derrick has the chance to really get in a college weight room program and work on lowering his pad level to not run so upright the sky is the limit for this kid.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Prime Time Effect

As most football fans know Deion Sanders, often considered the greatest cornerback of all time, was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Deion was not only one of the biggest personalities off the field, but the physical skills that he possessed on the field are rarely rivaled. Deion can often be described as simply Fast, but his ball skills and ability to bait quarterbacks into throwing his way were a marvel to watch. I still remember thinking, "Man this guy is really fast.'

Not that a high-schooler could in anyway compare to Deion Sanders, but one of the best corners in the 2012 class is a young man by the name of Geno Smith. Geno Smith who is 5'11 178 lbs., is an extremely talented cover corner. Smith's ability to play off as well as he does in press coverage is very impressive considering his young age. So often kids will play more zone principals in high school considering the difficulties of man coverage. Smith also baits quarterbacks into a lot of throws by playing off and using his superior speed to make plays on the ball once it is in the air. One of the things that separates Geno from his peers are his ball skills. If Geno is around the ball it is most likely going to be his. Geno not only consistently makes tough catches, but with the ball in his hands he can return it all the way. Geno continues to separate himself from a lot of cornerbacks with his willingness to come up and make solid tackles. Smith is not your average corner looking to trip up ball carriers from behind.

With the extreme talent and skill set that Geno Smith possess, it is no wonder that he has challenged himself by attending a very defensively talented Alabama program. Alabama will do a great job of not only challenging Geno to improve, but also the chance of learning from such a great defensive mind like Nick Saban will allow Geno to one day have the opportunity to play on Sundays.

Check out Geno Smith's video and remember to comment.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Improper Propositions

With the NFL lockout lasting most of the off season college football seemed to be somewhat thrust into the spotlight. In turn die hard as well as casual football fans turned to the obvious second choice, that being amateur athletes. The ironic thing is that this summer, college football has been littered with headlines of players getting paid as though they were professional athletes. From unkown scandals at Miami to improper benefits at Ohio State the framework of the college game is coming to a real head way that must be addressed.

What has troubled me the most about the way violations had improprieties have been dealt with is the fact that so often the punishments do not penalize the true violators. In the case of Ohio State, Jim Tressel was aware multiple violations involving his starting quarterback, running back, and wide receiver (among others) yet the entire program was sanctioned. The main violators seem to have been Coach Tressel and Terrelle Pryor, and they are both no longer with the program. Tressel was still paid his entire salary for the year and Terrelle Pryor will possibly be allowed to enter the NFL supplement draft and earn an NFL salary. So in the end Ohio State's future players and future recruits are the ones being penalized.

The same outcome will probably come following the University of Miami investigation. It is alleged that upwards of 70 players received benefits from a booster by the name of Nevin Shapiro over an eight year period. The players range from current NFL stars to current Miami Hurricane players. Mr. Shapiro, who is a convicted felon for his involvement in a Ponzi scheme, has said that he provided cash, women, and access to his yacht among other benefits to Miami players.

In both instances scholarships will be taken and championships and wins will/can be taken away, yet in the end usually the individuals who commit these violations get off scotch free. My frustration stems from the fact that taking away scholarships from programs does not just hurt programs, but it hurts programs ability to recruit and give deserving kids an opportunity to receive not just a football scholarship but a free education. Instead of punishing future students why don't we try and penalize those directly involved. The NCAA should consider penalizing those who benefit from violating the rules like future NFL players and coaches who usually are not hurting for cash. If you hit these guys in the wallets especially coaches I guarantee the violations will drastically decrease. The prospect of being fired is not always enough and the abiltiy for coaches to walk away before things get too bad have always been an option. Getting out before things were uncovered was never more apparent then in the case of head coach Ron Meyer leaving SMU for the NFL prior to SMU receiving the death penalty for multiple serious violations. Violations went on during and after Meyer's coaching stint.

In the end I would just like to properly punish those who break the rules instead of hampering the potential growth of our youth. Coming across a scholarship to attend any university is a very huge accomplish and should be afforded as much as possible especially considering the current economic times of this Nation.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cane Classics

There are several programs we watch produce top tier talent year after year, and one such program is the University of Miami, also known as “the U.” The U may well resurrect the old days of playmakers and guys with swagger if they continue to recruit kids like Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield.

The funny thing about this kid is he is a 2013 guy and has already committed to the ‘Canes and he says that there is no other school for him. Levonte’s highlight tape shows a 5'10” 165 lb. slot receiver who has everything that the big school is offering. Levonte is a star player waiting get his break. I have not seen someone as shifty and in control of his body since Noel Devine. He is a proven playmaker who looks to score whenever he touches the ball and who has the skills to play any position on the field. Coaches will find Levonte appealing because his return ability on special teams will enable him to have an instant impact as a freshman.
As a slot receiver, Levonte will need a lot of screens and other short routes which will allow him to get the ball in his hands and make plays. Levonte also has the ability to run a lot of intermediate routes across the middle.

Overall, Levonte is a great player who will help to electrify the Miami crowd and continue to encourage big play individuals to bring their talents to the University of Miami in future recruiting seasons.

Check this short highlight out of #3 and let me know what you think.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Next Best Thing

College football has come such a long way, from the days of dynasties to the days of short coaching stints; the money that has been earned in the last decade is almost unimaginable. With that being said coaches are under extreme pressure to find the next best player. The interesting thing is this has a direct impact on the players. Long gone are the days where coaches continue the red carpet treatment following a recruitment. As soon as a kid is signed coaches are looking to replace him.

One of the biggest recruiting gets this past year was UGA signing Isaiah Crowell. And now UGA is looking to bolster its next recruiting class with more impact players. One of those players is Keyante Green, a running back out of McDonough, GA. The 5'8 185 lbs. running back is impressive to say the least. When you pop in the tape one of the first things I think is that he plays much bigger than his stature. Although he has a more upright running style he gets away with it because of superior vision and a nice one-cut and go mentality. One of the biggest things I like about Keyante's game is the fact that he plays defense and brings that mentality to the running game very rarely shying away from contact. Keyante's top in speed is not quite elite, but he rarely gets caught from behind.

Something about Keyante's running style and overall game reminds me a lot of the NFL's all time leading return man Brian Mitchell. Keyante has great returning ability and uses superior vision and simple quick cuts to avoid players and when necessary uses great balance and low pad level to break away and often punish would be tacklers. As the year continues I foresee this impact player getting more offers then the 3 he currently has. If he does not I guarantee him being a huge steal on signing day. Check out his video below and see what you think.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The I-Back Comeback

As the season has come to a close and the smell of spring has begun to show itself, college fans are reminded once again that the season is right around the corner. Soon college Spring games will be in the full swing of things, what does that mean for high school players; well its camp time. Combines, summer workouts, all of the hard work to impress scouts is now and here.

One of the positions that coaches covet the most during this part of the recruiting process has got to be a solid running back. You can never have too many quality running backs including a dominant one.

As I continue to scower the Southeast for talent I came across my personal prototypical type of running back. 6'2 205 lbs, I mean what else could I ask for? Matt Jones out of Seffner, FL. This quality back is a big tough runner who has deceptive quickness in and out of holes. Jones does a good job of using a forward lean after contact. I would love to see Jones do a better job of keeping his pad level lower throughout his runs, but that will come from more college coaching.

What sets Jones apart is his natural abilities and gifted size. He is the type of running back that bruising schools look for to wear out defenses and he gets stronger as the game goes on. All of the big Southeastern schools have offered and he has decided to go to Florida. Two years ago I would not have liked this move, but with Florida moving to a pro-style offense this is a great move for Jones. I see him being an impact player at least on short yardage situations his first year. He will be one of the few I-Formation style running backs on the roster.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring Preview...

The crazy thing about college football is as much as things change they stay the same. Every team retools, reloads, and makes a run at a National Title. Every coach is excited about incoming Freshman, promise of rising underclassmen, as well as exciting and fresh starts.

This anticipation can only mean one thing, Spring ball is here. Spring is probably one of the most important times for a college program. It gives coaches a chance to evaluate underclassmen as well as red shirt talent that may have not gotten a good look in the fall. New coaches get a chance to implement and adjust to player personalities and get a feel for what kind of team they will have.

The biggest impact though has go to be on the fans and young talent that is getting its first look at a new product. I hear football fans all around the country looking forward to what could and hopefully will happen. Especially considering the fact that the NFL is having such big issues.

Regardless I will be looking forward to more and more football and I will do my best to cover what is going on around the region.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Year of the Tigers

Unless you have been under a rock in the middle of the desert you know the type of season Auburn had this year. Whether it is because of Cam Newton or because of the National Championship, Auburn has been in the media all year. Well if a great season wasn't enough, the recruiting showed because of it.

The reason I really like Auburn's class is because of all the areas in which they improved, especially on the defensive lines and offensive lines. I think they also improved at the skilled position with a couple of underrated athletes.

My favorite of this class is linebacker Kris Frost. This high school wide receiver has the speed and skill set of a safety, but all the makings of an NFL caliber linebacker. Kris is excellent in passing situations which make him a versatile option that never needs to come off the field. With added coaching on solely the defensive side of the ball the sky truly the limit for Kris.

Another underrated threat I love is Quan Bray. This athlete who will play running back at the next level is an amazing athlete that can make an immediate impact at any spot on the field. I say just get the ball in his hands and watch out. The biggest thing for Auburn is that this is the perfect type of offense for Quan's abilities. The Auburn offense always seems to adapt to its talents! I see Quan having an immediate impact from day 1.

In the end I think that the biggest improvements are creating depth on the offensive and defensive lines, while continuing to attract athletes to fill other positions. To me this formula is the key to continued success in today's college world.

Kris Frost (Outside Linebacker)

Quan Bray (Running Back)

Christian Westerman (offensive lineman)

Gabe Wright (defensive lineman )

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tiger Team

One of the biggest surprises in my 5 team break down has been the Clemson Tigers. The Tigers who barely made the Top 25 last year, as far as recruiting, set the bench mark with four 5 star rated players. The guys who headline the class: are 2 linebackers in Tony Steward (6'2 225 lbs) and Stephone Anthony (6'3 220 lbs), Mike Bellamy (5'10 185 lbs), and Sammy Watkins (6'1 180 lbs).

Clemson pulled out all the stops by signing mostly in-state talent which is always considered first priority. I look at the talent and the defensive upgrades that the Tigers brought in to keep pace with the top recruiting class of Florida State. What I think will stand out the most for the Tigers from this recruiting class is Mike Bellamy. A few years ago we all say what a speedy C.J. Spiller provided. Mike Bellamy has that type of impact, he is extremely fast, and combines that with great vision and the ability to make quick cuts. Bellamy will make an impact from day 1 even if it is not in the backfield. As a return specialist, Bellamy will inject more excitement especially since Clemson has talent in its current backfield.

When it comes to impact overall, I think the biggest difference maker in the entire defensive freshman class will be the Tigers 5 star linebacker, Tony Steward. Tony is an amazing athlete that looks like and ideal player as well as playing like one. Tony is a speedy 6'2 225 lbs outside linebacker. Tony is one of the most talented linebackers I have seen since Ernie Simms. As soon as you put the tape on you will see the impact he has.

In the end Clemson had a huge impact recruiting wise and it will show in the coming future. If they can find some consistency at the quarterback position and protect the QB then they along with Florida State will be the two teams to beat in the ACC.

Tony Steward (outside linebacker)

Mike Bellamy (running back)

Sammie Watkins (wide receiver)

Cortez Davis (defensive back)

A Dream Deferred

As I continue to keep my readers up to date with all the biggest signings in the Southeast, the highly coveted Junior College defensive nose guard, Jonathan Jenkins has signed. Jonathan decided to join the Dream Team at the University of Georgia. This is a huge signing for the UGA defense, which has been looking to sign a difference maker on the defensive line than can play the first day. Well Jenkins can, and should have an immediate impact.

Check out this mammoth of a man's video and make sure to observe his quick and agile feet as he displays a knack for running the ball on his highlight tape as well as stuffing the run.......

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What A Day!

Like all major league sports the draft only comes along once a year. The difference with national signing day is that the players have all te say in what school they will attend. Today was a great day for these young men to decide their future's and have a chance to hand pick through tons of offers.

As I look at the Top 5 or so schools over the next few days I will make sure to highlight the instant impact players and what expectations we can see from the young men that look to make a successful jump to the next level.

I will start things out with my #5 team the University of Georgia. UGA really surprised a lot of people with the talent that they picked up today. The headliners were #1 ranked running back Isaiah Crowell, #1 weakside defensiv end Ray Drew, the top 2 defensive backs Malcolm Mitchell and Damian Swann.

This class is loaded top to bottom. UGA got help on the defensive line in order to solidify a pash rush for this new 3-4 defense. The secondary got a highly underated Nick Marshall who is one of the best athletes in the country. UGA bolstered the offensive line as well as adding talent to a wide recieving corp that losses the likes of A.J. Green. The biggest signing was Isaiah Crowell, who I think will start from day 1 and give the offense a running game that will further assist a very talented true sophomore Qb Aaron Murray.

The most impactful recurit may have yet to sign in Jonathan Jenkins. This massive man at 6'4 330 lbs is perfect for the 3-4 defense and essential in really making the 3-4 successful. His talent, if signed would pay dividends the very first game of the season.

I see this without a doubt beeing the best signing class in at least a decade for UGA. What I will be looking for is an infusion of talent on the defensive side of the ball with talented linebackers coming in as well as defensive line help and corners that are deference makers. Offense needed to add depth on the offenive line and get a game changer in the running back position. I see UGA being the under dog to win the SEC East as Florida transitions to coaching changes.

Make sure to click on the videos below of a few of the headliners and maybe some you have not seen.....

Jonathan Jenkins (uncommited but leaning towards UGA)

Damian Swann (Defensive back)

Kent Turene (Linebacker)

Jay Rome (Tight End)

Christian LeMay (Quarterback)

Signing Day Updates

Right now not much has changed with few signings thus far that were not expected. The power conferences are still leading in the Rankings. The SEC has 4 schools in the Top 10 (Alabama, LSU, Auburn, and Georgia). Yet, two of the more surprising teams thus far and coming into today come from the ACC; Florida State and Clemson. Clemson has a pair of 5 star linebackers and a wide receiver, that had a huge influence on their current position.

Despite these current rankings there is a lot of top talent that has yet to sign with a college. The big names that have yet to decide are Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina), Curtis Grant (LB, Virginia), Tony Steward (LB, Florida), Isaiah Crowell (RB, Georgia) to name a few. All of these players should sign today except Clowney who will wait until his birthday Feb 14.

I will continue to watch all the big signings and give an overall update later on this evening. I will give out my preliminary grades as well, and highlight a few individuals and signings that might surprise you.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Is There an "I" in Team...?

When I look at the recruiting process and see how much money is dumped into programs it blows my mind! When you see individual recruiting of big names it is even more amazing how much time and effort is dedicated in order to impress these 17 and 18 year old boys. As I look back at former top recruits I started to wonder if those recruitment's were worth it in the end, was the impact worth the effort. Recent recruitment's of top players such as; Micheal Dyer (2010), Marcus Lattimore (2010), Bryce Brown (2009), Matt Barkley (2009), Terrell Pryor (2008), Darrell Scott (2008). As I look back I see both pros and cons in all of these players. Most of the players have done well in college, but some don't quite live up to the high billing once on the college scene. As I look at this years top recruits I see a lot of players that can make an instant impact. One of the players that I am looking at today is Isaiah Crowell.

Some have this five start prospect a can't miss and a player that if signed at the University of Georgia could have an instant impact. Much like Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina, RB) and Micheal Dyer (Auburn, RB), who were the number 1 and 2 running backs in the country, Isaiah has a chance to start at a contending program in a power conference. Marcus Lattimore took an under achieving South Carolina ball club and put them over the hump by making them a threat to run and pass. Isaiah is a top flight running back that checks in at 5'11 210 lbs. and is a very versatile every down back. He does a great job of catching the ball out of the back field. I see him making an instant impact right now, and if he chooses UGA over Alabama then he will have a greater chance of starting day 1. Although, Isaiah is talented I do not see why he would be a make or break decision. Washaun Ealey and Caleb King are both capable backs that together can carry the Georgia running game. That along with improvements to the offensive line will improve the running game. The thing is Isaiah Crowell is that good that without blocking he will add a dynamic that will instantly improve the offense much like A.J. Green did.

When I see a can't miss prospect that is bigger than the (I) in team it is because they are well balanced and versatile player that can and should start from Day 1. Isaiah has that type of impact in my mind. Even if he goes to Alabama he will get playing time as a kick returner and spot duty at running back but I think the pro style environment of the University of Georgia is ideal. Crowell has NFL caliber talent and reminds me of Joseph Addai with his ability to jump cut and explode through holes. Either way I think he is a can't miss prospect that will make a difference if healthy. Check out his video and see if you think he is a can't miss player.

Stay Tuned

Tomorrow is the big day so stay posted for all the updates on Southeast moves that will be coming up. University of Georgia is making a push to go from being right outside the Top 10 to probably Top 5 in recruiting rankings with a couple of key pick ups.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dream Team

Advertising is all about grabbing your audience’s attention and appealing to them in order to get them to buy or become interested in your product. As the landscape of recruiting continues to develop, coaches have to find different ways of appealing to players. Conference prestige, campus life, academic rigors, and even football facilities are just a few of the devices coaches use in order to convince young athletes to choose their school over all others. Programs have also started implementing a new concept: recruiting themes, which actually is a very well thought out way of advertising. The University of Georgia and Coach Mark Richt have created a concept called “The Dream Team.” Coach Richt is trying to convince the best players in the state of Georgia to buy into the Dream Team concept because it allows the best players to keep their talents in-state and represent the state as a whole at the University of Georgia. Their recruiting concept recently has started to build a lot of steam.

With multiple Division I schools within a state, keeping talented athletes in-state and recruiting them to one specific university is very important and a difficult task to achieve. The University of Georgia has a strong trend of recruiting the majority of the top tier talent within the state of Georgia. In my opinion, there is a direct correlation between the number of talented in-state athletes a school can recruit and how successful the school will be in season. This is especially true in the talent-laden southeast where all of the states have huge talent pools. This is true in Florida as well. For the longest time Miami dominated the state's recruiting, until then the transfer of power went to Florida State when they were able to recruit more in-state athletes than Miami, and now Florida is on top. If a program can get higher in-state recruiting numbers, they will have to recruit fewer out of state athletes, which is usually a much more difficult task.

UGA’s Dream Team concept really is amazing because it allows athletes who have played for their state against other southeastern states, especially rivalries such as Georgia vs. Florida and South Carolina vs. North Carolina, to band together at a college level and continue to display pride in their state. The idea of playing for a team which has enough in-state talent to beat their rival state is a huge draw for a young athlete who is proud of their background. This concept has gained popularity with the top talent in Georgia and could allow the University of Georgia to bring in one of the best recruiting classes of its recent history. I have a feeling that other universities will adopt similar concepts to try to attract in-state athletes. Regardless of the actual recruiting themes they come up with, it is clear that every university’s goal is to obtain as much in-state talent as possible year to year. In-state recruiting allows a school to create pipelines and win rivalry games. This is just another significant concept in winning football games and building a solid program....

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Big Decision for a Young Man

The NCAA Football recruiting process always has been and will continue to be fluid, and this is especially clear now that we are only one week away from National Signing Day. The major reason behind the flexibility of this process is the fact that young, 17- and 18-year-old men have multiple schools telling them what amazing players they are, how wonderful their institution is, and how their program will make them better athletes. These young men also have other influential people, including parents, coaches, mentors, and peers, who often give them conflicting advice. All of these factors place a lot of pressure on these young men as they make their big decision.

If my son were struggling with this decision, I would encourage him to look at several important factors before choosing a school and program. First, I would encourage him to look at the school and the academic opportunities it provides. It is important that an athlete attend a school that offers a course of study which interests him. Ultimately, I would want my child to be academically successful and set himself up for something outside of football, so that he has career options other than football.

Second, I would consider the football program itself and the way it the way it prepares its athletes to perform both on and off the field. For example, although the University of Georgia has not performed well in the last couple of years, they have an excellent coach who has proven his talents and has sent many players to the NFL.

If your son dreams of playing in the NFL, then you have to research the type of system that each school runs, and encourage your son to find a program which will both improve and showcase his skills at his position. If my son wanted to play as a quarterback in the NFL, I would suggest he look at UGA, USC (Southern Cal), Tennessee, Florida State, and Miami, which are all schools whose programs run a pro-style offense. Professional teams love athletes who have played in these systems because they do not have to waste any time teaching them the basics.

As a receiver, it is important sign with a team that throws the ball a lot and gets its players involved. Schools like Texas Tech, Michigan, SMU (Southern Methodist University), Auburn, and Florida, will put their receivers into the best positions and showcase their skills well.

As a defensive minded player, the big thing to consider is whether a school plays with a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Based on his position and skills, I would want my son to play in a defense that not only will show off those skills but also will allow him to transition more easily to both college and the NFL. Ray Drew is a player who at 6’5” 250 lb. could grow into an ideal outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. If my son had similar developmental potential, I would want him to play in a 3-4 defense in college so that the NFL would see my son’s versatility and ability to play in both space and rush the passer.

Overall, it is much easier for an athlete to learn the skills that are necessary to play in the NFL as a young, developing player in college. If they don’t, they may be asked to learn a new position in a very short time after they are drafted. Tyrod Taylor is an example of an athlete who played solely as a quarterback for Virginia Tech, and now the NFL is asking him to develop as a wide receiver. Of course it is possible that the switch can happen, but it is incredibly tough to go from one comfortable position to a brand-new one. And at the highest level of football, in the NFL, that kind of switch often will put you behind the curve. So many young men forget to look at which aspects of a program will set themeselves up the most for success both in college and in the NFL as well. Winning is the end goal, but if a program does not use its players to the best of their abilities, then neither the individual nor the team will benefit.

I will continue to write posts concerning different aspects of recruiting and if any of my readers have questions, please feel free to ask, and I will address them in future articles.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ball Game!!

As college football gets closer and closer to National Signing Day, we will see the recruiting rankings for individual schools jump up and down. Recruiting is a very fluid process and within the SEC there still is a lot of talent that has yet to be signed. One of the better corners in the country, Malcolm Mitchell, finally decided on a school. The 6'1” 185 lb. cornerback from Valdosta, GA, announced his commitment to the University of Georgia on Thursday night. This is not a surprise to me because of the pipeline that Valdosta has created between itself and both UGA and Florida State.

Last year I had a chance to see Malcolm play in person and was very impressed. What most impressed me was his ability to utilize his size and speed for an impressive performance.Although he is currently a little small as far as build is considered, he has the frame to put some solid weight on. The thing that sticks out most is his ability to stick his nose into the action and make great tackles. His frame packs a bigger punch than most would expect. Malcolm has a lot of experience as a wide receiver, and this has given him extremely good ball skills which set him above other cornerbacks. Malcom is very dangerous once he gets the ball in his hands. Malcolm uses his extremely quick speed to be a skilled return man, and he is rarely caught in the open field.

The more I watch, the moreI believe thatMalcolm will play a lot of different roles at UGA. At his current size, he will have the opportunity to play early as a return man on special teams becausehe knows how to set up his blocks so that his opponents will miss every time. Once Malcolm begins a solid weight program in college and bulks up, I wouldn't be surprised to see him make a transition to safety. Malcom exhibits the same versatility I see in many safeties now and it is a perfect fit for his skill set. Just like Patrick Peterson does for LSU, I can see him adding weight while still keeping his speed, which will allow the UGA defense more flexibility. Check out Malcolm's video and let me know what you think. Don't forget to comment and follow.......

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Coach's Court

The height of the recruiting season immediately follows the bowl season. This is when impressions of a programs future are either at their highest or lowest. Players decide whether to stay in school or come out early, coaches finalize their recruiting boards, and signing day quickly approaches.

One aspect of recruiting that kids so often forget is the impact of a change in personnel on the coaching level. From position coaches being hired and fired to whole sale changes, these actions have a huge effect on players and their decisions.

One of the biggest coaching changes this year has greatly affected the state of Georgia's best linebacker, James Vaughters. The 6'2” 232 lb. linebacker is Stanford's biggest recruit to date and after Coach Jim Harbaugh headed to the NFL, Vaughters’ commitment to Stanford has come into question.

This highly skilled and highly intellectual player has high hopes for not only his football goals but for his academic goals as well. Vaughters is a 4.0 student and has always considered academics one of his biggest draws in a program.

Now that a coaching change has been made, it is up to Stanford to reassure James and his family that not only will he fit into the new system, if one is implemented, but also that the new coaches are capable of getting the most out of Vaughters’ talents, while still fostering a great environment for his future.

Regardless of what Vaughters decides, I think Stanford is the place for him. He will obviously get the academic challenges that he needs at that institution, as well as an improved program that will continue to compete on a national level. Check out the video below and see why James Vaughters is one of the most coveted linebackers in the country.

Monday, January 17, 2011

That Dude!

Football is a sport that mainly recruits players based on potential. After talking to a college coach from the ACC, I believe this even more. He said that potential is about 75% of the recruiting process. If potential alone is the reason why Ray Drew was recruited, that is good enough for me.

The 6'5” 245 lb. senior out of Thomasville, GA has all the potential in the world. Besides his huge frame that will easily add more weight once you put on the tape, it is clear that Drew is extremely athletic. Drew is an extremely hard-nosed player; he seems to always be around the ball, whether he is chasing it down from the backside or spilling multiple blockers. It is extremely difficult for tackles to get depth against Drew because of his speed. By the time they set up, Drew is usually turning the corner on the way to the quarterback. Drew's tremendous strength is apparent even on film. His ability to use great leverage allows Drew to remain in dominant and dictating positions of attack.

If Drew continues to improve upon his skill set, the sky is the limit. He will clearly get stronger and faster, and his technique is already pretty good when it comes to natural body position. The one thing he will benefit from the most is consistent competition and excellent coaching. Those things, along with a solid training program and barring any injury, will secure a place for Drewin the NFL someday.

Check out Ray Drew's video and see what you think........

The Comeback

As the Editor of this blog I wanted to take a second to explain what has been going on in and around my blog. I took a short hiatus because of moving out west for my jobs as well as finishing up training and school. I am back on the east coast for a few months, but regardless I am more focused on bringing my readers content that is relevant and unheard of.

I am still committed to finding not only the players that everyone knows about, but also the players that have not been highly recruited but should be. I would appreciate any an all feedback that any of my readers have had. I do my best to always read and respond to comments made on my blog. I also would appreciate comments on content and what readers might want to see more of. I will always do my best to give the readers what they want.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

6 Foot, 7 Foot, 8 Foot, 9!

Once again, I am jumping back into the past of former athletes who I have profiled previously. Today I am looking at a personal favorite, Greg Reid. This Georgia product has been criticized for wanting to go to Florida State because of the lack of talent at his position, and feeling that he would get a quick chance to start. In the end Greg found a program that fit his needs.

The thing that most impresses me about Greg Reid is the fact that he plays extremely well for his 5'9” 180 lb. frame. When he steps on the field he has an instant impact and he couples his ability with a little showmanship, which the home crowd loves.

When you put in the film of Greg Reid, you see instantly that he has the "it" factor. He is an instinctive corner who gambles a lot but is not often beat. He does a great job of driving on routes, and when something is caught he knows how to break on the ball and deliver a big blow. Greg isn't just a defender either. He is great on special teams and making good things happen whenever he gets the ball in his hand. During Florida State's bowl game, he made two different returns of over 25 yardseach. As I watched South Carolina kick to Greg, I just shook my head and thought of calling him ababy Devin Hester. Despite his small stature, Greg Reid has the talent to play in the NFL. I think he will end up becoming a better version of Antoine Winfield. Check out his video below and see what you think......

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Secondary Stunner

Once again I am reviewing previous players who are now contributing at the Division I level. One of the most athletic and versatile athletes I have ever posted about was a guy by the name of Stephon Gilmore. Graduating from South Pointe High School, Stephon was the number one rated player in the state of South Carolina even though he played out of position his last 2 years of high school. The 6'1” 190lb. standout for the University of South Carolina, played quarterback in high school prior to moving to cornerback, his more natural position on the defensive side.

Once Stephon stepped into spring ball, it was clear that he was going to have an instant impact. Two years later, after becoming a Freshman All American, Stephon's impact is still being felt. I made it to Atlanta during the bowl season and actually watched Stephon play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. As a true sophomore, Stephon has continued to improve his NFL potential. Lining up and shutting down opposing receivers is natural for Stephon. What sets him apart is his size and quickness. He is a very technically sound defensive back that understands both man and zone principles. Offenses will not see him gamble much on routes, yet he always puts himself in a position to make plays. Stephon rarely gives up the size that a lot of defenders do, yet he plays against speedy smaller receivers very well. I grade him as a very solid defensive back that is primed for the NFL. Stephon reminds me of a slightly taller Janoris Jenkins.

Seeing Stephon in person showed me what the films does not—people do not challenge him a lot. The one mistake that Christian Ponder made prior to leaving the game was an interception made by Stephon. In my opinion, if Stephon continues to improve at the same pace, he will not only be in the NFL in a year but will be a top defensive back in the SEC, which is always a difficult and prized title.

Check out this short clip on Stephon Gilmore and don't forget to check out his high school tapes which are on youtube.com ........

Friday, January 7, 2011

Remember Us.....?

The title of this post says something in itself. I have been away from my blog entirely too long and I am looking to start off 2011 with a more consistent product for my readers. As a way to remind my readers of what I have done, I am going to use the next few posts to re-visit former high school players who I have featured and who have in fact been successful since signing and joining college teams.

Today, I am looking back at a very talented but underrated quarterback by the name of Jeffrey Godfrey. The last time we looked at this 5-11 182lbs QB, most of the top schools who recruited him thought he was a highly talented player who just needed a position change. Wide receiver, defensive back, return specialist—all of these positions were well within Jeffrey's talents, but what he wanted was a real chance to play the quarterback position. UCF’s Coach O'Leary was the one to give Jeffrey that chance and he certainly has not disappointed.

Jeffrey is the starting QB at UCF as a true freshman, and he has really shown a special knack for making plays. The QB's statistics speak for his talent on the field: 67% completion percentage with over 2,000 passing yards and 700 rushing yards on the season. With those kinds of numbers, it is no wonder that Jeffrey has led his team to victory with a 10-6 record, the best season in the history of UCF football. The 10th victory came from a thrilling defeat of SEC powerhouse, the University of Georgia, at the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl. Jeffrey and the Knights will assuredly moveup from their current 25th placed ranking after the win. I see that a lot of the team’s success has come from Jeffrey's ability to make plays both inside and outside of the pocket.

This speedy freshman is only going to get better, and in my opinion, he will further strengthen the Knights’ program. Not only do the Knights currently have a cast of young and talented players and a proven winner as the head coach, but they are also located in a recruiting hot bed. I have no doubt that the Knights could reach if they continue to make choices like the one they made with Jeffrey.