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.