NCF On The Trail: #AskLoogs
Very. In fact, the evolution of offensive football over the past five years has made ideal measurables in terms of height far more of a luxury than a necessity. Far more attention is being placed on the end result and scheme fits to mask and sometimes eliminate a lack of height. The shotgun, movement of the pocket, quarterback run game and an emphasis on timing and anticipation have provided the ideal environment for productive quarterback play for shorter prospects. With Kyler Murray it is all about production, and you could argue, there is no other quarterback in this class as productive as he is on the ground and through the air. He is a precision passer with timing and anticipation within the pocket to get the ball out of his hand, which also lets him see the field better. Keep in mind, when you have knowledge of where to go with the ball pre-snap and are able to quickly process post-snap to get the ball out, it doesn’t matter how tall you are. This is where Murray has an edge.
OK, I’ll use states as a whole here as well as regions.
1. Alabama: The entire state has been phenomenal going back to the 2006 class. Georgia gets more hype, but you could argue the state of Alabama has had a sensational success rate when compared to any of the other notable states, including Florida. Go back over the last several years and look at the guys who have come out of Alabama and how they have panned out.
2. The Carolinas: Both South Carolina and North Carolina might, at worst, be top heavy, but at best they’re becoming more stocked top to bottom over recent years, especially when it comes to offensive and defensive linemen.
3. Jacksonville: Miami and the surrounding counties get all the hype for the state of Florida, but Jacksonville has really begun to make a push in a wide range of positions.
4. Mobile: I know I mentioned Alabama as a state, but this is a hot spot for a smaller metro region. Nick Saban loved this area when at LSU and likes it even more now that he is in the state.
5. Phoenix and surrounding areas such as Tempe, Chandler, etc.: The numbers aren’t going to be high year in and year out, but the caliber of players has drawn interest from the entire Big 12 and Pac-12, among others. Brett Hundley, Andrus Peat and D.J. Foster come to mind recently, just to name a few as prospects from the area.
It's not that black and white. It is more of a combination of both. In today's college game, with as many freshman that are playing, there has to be some readiness involved in the equation especially if there is a need at the program they choose attend. However, over the longterm, I would lean toward saying upside and development over the course of 3-5 years carries a bit more weight for us in the big picture. Players develop at different rates and paces, but even with late bloomers talent is evident. Nobody has a crystal ball, but most players do not contribute early, most play later as redshirt sophomores or even older and that player is an entirely different player than the one he was coming out of high school. Our No. 1-overall ranked player Josh Sweat is a prime example of upside. He is 240 now, will be 270 in three years. He is playing multiple positions now but will only become even more of a force at DE once he settles in and plays there fulltime. However, he is ready as a designated pass rusher to make an impact early on passing downs.
@TomLuginbill How do you get the smaller high school kids noticed?— Mike Somerville (@MikeSomerville2) August 28, 2014
I am going to assume you mean kids from smaller high schools and rural areas? This is an area where the surge in regional and national camps and combines can really be beneficial. For some kids with exposure and hype there really is no need to attend camps and combines because they are going to get recruited regardless. For others, notably smaller school/rural area kids, camps and combines offer nothing but positive upside to try and enhance your profile. Also, you must be proactive and honest. When being proactive we mean creating a profile, film cut-ups and games (Hudl), academic progress, etc., and sending this information to college programs. There are also many online resources that provide this type of help. When we say be honest, don’t overestimate your ability level and waste your time trying to sell yourself to programs that have no interest in you or you aren’t talented enough to play at.
@TomLuginbill some prospects drop quite a bit in the rankings during the offseason. No playing but newer rankings see some lose a star/spots— Peter Adams (@LSUPETERadams) August 28, 2014
Player rankings are fluid and, with camps and combines being such an integral part of the offseason evaluation, it is only natural that you are going to have some tweaks to a report or grade after seeing a player in person for the first time once his initial film report has been written.
Keep in mind that the initial evaluation we are making is of a 15-year-old sophomore. The changes that are going to take place over the next two years for those prospects are enormous. Often times what you see in person with a prospect isn’t what shows up on film and vice-versa. Some guys don’t look fast on film, yet time really well and vice-versa. Some guys make huge physical strides during the offseason in terms of height and weight, which plays a role in their ranking.
There are no perfect players and player evaluation is subjective. Also, a prospect's play in games is the priority, but it's not the only part of the evaluation equation.
There are four positions we place a premium on, because quite frankly, those players aren’t standing on every street corner. Those positions are defensive line (DE over DT), offensive line (OT), quarterback and cornerback. These are the “championship” caliber positions. Wide receivers and running backs are everywhere, and there is enough to go around for everybody, but what separates the good from the great are those four positions listed above. Having a quarterback No. 1 overall at the high school level is a huge risk, and we try and use caution with that position as best we can. Defensive ends are also the position that can not only contribute early as designated pass-rushers, but also still have a high ceiling for development due to growth potential and improved run support to develop into a complete player over time. In other words, there is not as much risk or downside with that position as there is with others.
Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Smith) and No. 1 safety Quin Blanding (Virginia Beach, Va./Bayside) are expected to make an immediate impact, but will it be enough to get them much-needed wins and ensure the staff remains intact? The biggest issue the Cavaliers have is at quarterback. They have not been able to settle in and find a dependable starter who can either make a difference or even just be a guy who doesn’t make mistakes. Until that happens, this program will continue to struggle.
DaVonte Lambert (Waynesboro, Ga./Georgia Military), the nation’s top-ranked junior college defensive tackle. He will be expected to boost the interior trenches immediately for the Tigers. A few other players could make their presence felt at positions of need, including ILB Tre' Williams (Mobile, Ala./St. Paul’s Episcopal), who is physically prepared to make the jump, and this is a depth-issue area for Auburn. We do not see the same type of defensive freshmen impact in the 2014 class that we saw with the 2013 class, as we expect the majority of Auburn’s defensive commits in this class will redshirt.
Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County). This is a significant area of need, maybe even the most thin group on their roster, so McMillan will be involved from the get-go. McMillan, who has already enrolled at Ohio State, is the type of player who is physical and mentally prepared for the jump to the next level. He’s a rugged, inside thumper who will be able to set the tone and he also has some leadership qualities that stand out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see wide receiver Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) get in the mix on offense, as he adds an explosive element to their skill positions that is needed as well.
As much as we would all like to believe that there is proper substance to a prospect's decision of where to attend school, the reality is most prospects have married themselves to a particular coach throughout the process. Depending on Marlon Humphrey’s relationship with Jeremy Pruitt himself, in comparison to other established relationships that are still in place at FSU, this could certainly give cause for Humphrey to re-evaluate.
I would not believe at this time that Pruitt’s move has removed FSU from its status as a finalist. I think Humphrey is smarter than that and has liked FSU all along.
Time will tell, but relationships developed over the course of a player's recruitment do play a huge role.
How good is jerrod heard for texas is he the next teddy bridgewater #askloogs— Zack martinez (@BIGZACKATTACK17) January 9, 2014
Texas quarterback commit Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer) is very, very skilled. He is a much better runner and natural dual threat than Teddy Bridgewater was coming out of high school. Bridgewater, however, has more of a knack for passing at the same stage in terms of accuracy. Their skill sets and styles of play are very different. Bridgewater is blessed with more prototypical size and takes comfort in the pocket, while we feel Heard needs to develop his patience a little bit more. Heard prefers to be on the move and make things happen because that is what he has done in the spread offense until now. I am always very cautious to ever label a player as the next so-and-so because while you might see similarities, you don’t know how a player will adapt, process and develop until you have him entrenched in the program.