Camps key for evaluations
Luginbill dissects top instant-impact recruits and importance of summer camps
We're back with another edition of the #AskLoogs Twitter mailbag. If you missed last week's discussion, check it out here.
This week, we're looking at the significance of the summer evaluation period, the uncertainty around Matthew Thomas' status at FSU and instant-impact recruits. No more delaying, let's get right to your questions.
The most important thing to take away from camps is perspective. Unlike basketball, the game of football can't be duplicated on a year-round basis in shirts and shorts. When it comes to combines, testing essentially measures an athletic trait or feat but does not necessarily reflect talent or the ability to play the game. Much like the NFL combine, oftentimes guys will test off the charts, but when you watch the tape, they aren't the same guy from a talent or production standpoint. With camps, these can be more revealing due to the fact that the drills are football and position specific.
When you speak with college coaches about the value of these camps, the answer is generally the same as they want to verify height and weight first and foremost. They would prefer to make evaluations themselves based on their own camps where they can instruct and make assessments, which is why many offers are now being made pending a camp attendance by the prospect. Essentially camps and combines are a tool, but they certainly are not the main deciding factor in the assessment of a player or the determination of whether to extend an offer.
I think it is a nonissue that got blown out of proportion. I know that Thomas was at the FSU spring game and everything was fine. As with all these situations, there is always false and misleading information out there that clouds the true issues of each case. I also believe that the mother and father are big factors in this particular situation and that FSU is working through that.
I would be shocked if Thomas is not in school and in an FSU uniform in the fall. I do not believe that FSU should or will release him from his letter of intent. You do that and you open Pandora's box for everyone in college football, which would not be good. Keep in mind that all prospects during the process can generally maintain control and manipulate it, and to some degree, the coaches are at their mercy. The coaching staffs pour their blood, sweat and tears into this for 18-24 months with no guarantee of a positive outcome. At some point, the accountability on behalf of the prospect needs to be honored and backed up after he has had plenty of time to make an educated decision.
I said on Twitter this week that a verbal commitment is like having a 500-pound marlin on the line but he's 500 yards away. While you're trying to reel him in, you have 30 sharks chewing at the line.
This is particularly true for verbal commitments that come early, such as Deshaun Watson, who has been committed to Clemson since he was a sophomore. The earlier these pledges are made, the harder it is to keep that player on the line. With 16- and 17-year-old kids, nothing surprises me. It's why we call recruiting a marathon, not a sprint, and why many are in favor of some form of an early signing period.
Keep in mind this could all be as innocent as Watson just wanting to take a trip, but who knows? The offensive scheme is almost identical, and I would imagine there is a high likelihood that Auburn's main recruiting pitch is that it has a greater need at quarterback and Clemson OC Chad Morris likely will get a head-coaching job. That can be a pretty powerful tool for a quarterback in today's recruiting world.
To see Tom's list of instant-impact recruits and which 2014 QB he'd take first, you must be an Insider.