Thanks for joining. We will try and focus this chat around our recently released ESPN150. By far William Campbell's ranking is the most talked about name left off our 150. While others seem to have anointed him as an elite player(without pointing out why or how) we have collectively studied this kid both in person and on tape and the consensus was that he is a big-bodied prospect that looks great on the hoof, but in our opinion isn't quite in the same class with the other DTs in this group and regardless of what anyone else says about him, we feel he is going to be an OT.
He reminds us of former Cass Tech DT Joseph Barksdale, a highly ranked prospect by others (not so much by us - we had him ranked No. 15 amongst DT's in 2007) who ironically will be playing OT this year for LSU and we stated many times on air, radio and here on ESPN.com that we thought he may be an offensive tackle in college. With Campbell, we have decided not to wait and just go ahead and project him as an OT now.
Dominating the combine circuit without pads during one-on-one drills (geared toward the defense) does not give an accurate description of a DT's ability to truly play the position.
Plus, there is a difference between a two-gap player and one-gap penetrating player. A one-gap guy who is good can be extremely disruptive in all phases of the game and be a force in pass rush. A two-gap guy is generally counted on to stop the run and keep blockers off linebackers.
From what we have seen, Campbell projects to be a two-gap guy if he stayed on defense. But he tends to play high and will not be able to easily overpower college offensive lineman like he does at the high school level. He is someone we feel offensive coordinators will not have to gameplan much around.
When comparing Campbell against the 10 DT's that made the 150, we felt he wasn't in the same class talent-wise. He didn't display the ability to be as explosive as the DT's above him. This does not mean he is not a good player, because he is, and his grade reflects that, and if he stays on defense he will be a steady two-gap guy. If he goes to offense, which we think he will, we feel he has a brighter future to excel at the game of football.
Sorry for the long answer but we've received several questions regarding William Campbell since the 150's release.
Wow the ESPN 150 was um...interesting to say the least. Where are William Campbell and Justin Turner on that list?
Turner is a valid question and a kid we really considered for the 150 -- has a good chance to be there with a consistent senior season and improved DB technique.
Shows good recovery burst but we question his true speed and hips to remain at corner.
Couldn't help but notice that Cody Green didnt make the top 150 list. Is he a guy that could climb his way up the rankings or is he just not an elite QB prospect?
A lot of questions on Green as well. He is a kid we like a lot and are really going to track this fall. More of an athlete now playing QB and will need to develop as a passer (if he stays at QB in college)
How can Willie Downs not be in in your 150 he is one of the more athletic receivers in the country!!!!
Downs has a great blend of size and athleticism but yet to see him use his great frame to his full advantage consistently on film
Our main concern is his lack of great speed and separation burst after the catch. A 79 is still a good grade.
Corner Gabe Lynn appears to be very low compared to some other sites and you guys have him listed at safety?:(
We feel Lynn is better playing the ball in front of him than opening and turning with faster receivers on vertical routes.
Lacks great transitional quickness. At the Nike camp in Texas he really struggled mirroring WRs out of their breaks (did say after he had hamstring trouble)
Billy, I just wondered if you can explain the disparity between how certain recruiting sources rank recruits.. Im a big Michigan fan and saw Will Campbell is ranked #16 overall by Rivals.com but he's not even in the ESPN150. Conversely, Isaiah Bell is ranked in the ESPN 150, but isn't in the Rivals top 250. Those seem like drastically different interpretations of top players. Anyway, in your opinion who's the most reliable source? Thanks.
We simply try an avoid any subjectivity when reviewing prospects (national offers, hype, big combine numbers etc) and look strictly at game film or in person evals for our grades/rankings
As far as Bell goes -- we feel this is a kid with tremendous upside and a great blend of size, speed and ball skills at the safety position.
He has a really long, rangy frame that has a ton of physical development left while retaining his good speed and athleticism.
Its clear to all Ohio fans that your rankings are biased against Osu. would you like to adress this fact?
A lot of questions on our OSU rankings and its lower number of 150 prospects. Great classes are made up of players in the 78-80 range and they currently have 10.
To go along with its 6 ESPN 150 prospects which is a great class in our opinion
You had the majority of Auburn's players on your Watch List and you didn't even list one of those players in your 150? What a joke.
Surprised at that question. We actually talked this morning as a staff about how the Tigers impressively have 15 prospects graded at 77 or higher which would probably be equivalent to 3-4 stars on other sites (which they are not)
They have a great core of system fitting sleepers we have recognized.
Still think you guys have Cierre Wood rated really low. Have you watched him?
He is still a top-25 prospect which is excellent. We question his competition , in-line running strength/skill and believe he will end up at safety in college.
A versatile weapon if he stays on offense but not a guy who can carry the load at RB in our opinion.
What are you guys missing with 5-star Donte Moss? The kid is freak!!!!!!!!!
Needs to polish his pass-rush skills and become a better run defender
Don't get me wrong he is a great athlete but just a bit raw right now at the position.
Jamarkus McFarland is one of the top overall players in the country but ESPN's 5th rated defensive tackle. How such a difference with Scouts Inc.?
We think McFarland is a very good player, potentially a great one, but we can only grade what we see, and at times looks very good and at others doesn't look like the same guy. This inconsistency concerns us for a guy who has received a ton of hype in this class. We feel at this time he is appropriately ranked. Definitely a top-50 player and maybe in time a top-25 guy. We have seen him in person too.
Many Osu fans believe John Simon's exclusion is political. would you liek to explain the thinking behind his absence?
While it is an election year -- there is nothing political about Simon not being in the ESPNU 150 -- I can't really even understand how it could be political. Simon is a good player and if you read the article by Craig Haubert about 'on the cusp' players he was in there.
At this time he was a near miss and a player debated about -- Plays very hard and is a tough hard-nosed kid. Can seem a little rigid at times on the move and needs to watch pad level. He will be a yard dog in the trenches - we don't doubt it, but at this point we felt there were a few more deserving players and he just missed the cut. He is a kid we will be keeping an eye on in his senior year though.
How do not include Orson Charles in the 150? He's projected as the top TE in the country on most other recruiting websites!
We don't think its a great TE class to begin with and have concerns about his size as an in-line blocker and speed/fluidity to survive as just a flex TE
Hey, where does Iowa stand with Brandon Wegher from Souix City, Ia. Any clues on where he could be leaning?
Matt talked to WR Keenan Davis an hour ago and he said he is talking to Wegher a lot about Iowa.
What happened with Dion Sims and Cameron Gordon of MI. Why are these players not evaluated and are we going to have to wait right up near signing day for an eval like Nick Perry or Mark Ingram. It really is disappointing.
Valid question. It is not always as easy to track down game film on players but we will get them done as soon as possible.
Do you think the irish have a good shot at either LB Teo or LB Jenkins?
Better chance with Jenkins. Talking with Jelani and dad, they take education very seriously, might depend on how ND bounces back this fall. I think USC will be tough to beat for Te'o
who's the best recruit coming on of the Northwest this year(WA, OR, ID)?
No players in the ESPNU 150 from those states, but so far we feel the best prospect is DT Deandre Coleman out of Garfield HS in Washington.
Billy, How good is Travis Hawkins? and Where do you have him going in the end?
I think this kid is a great player and very underrated because of his size. Has good instincts, athleticism and is very aggressive closing on the football. Think the Terps have a good shot at keeping him.
What do you think of Russell Shepard calling other top recruits and telling them "come play with me at LSU"? That's got to be a huge benefit to LSU to have a top recruit trying to get other great players to come along with him. This kid seems like a great leader in the making.
I think its great. He is a very mature kid aside from being a great talent. A lot of headline names help recruit, particularly guys who commit early.
Is Craig loston still a strong commit with clemson and what other 4 or 5 star guys are leaning their way,also where would you grade their recuiting class so far?
I know it seems like LSU may be making a push - (playing off the last question with Shepard recruiting hard for LSU) but right now i still think Loston stays with Clemson.
Why is Dan Fox ranked so low? The 61st OLB? I find it hard to believe there are 60 OLBs that are better than him.
He is a tweener -- lacks great size/hand technique sought after in an OLB and we do not see the hips/speed needed to remain at safety. Still a good football player
To build a championship contending team- ie either National or BCS conference, what kind of grade would be the cut off point. Like We don't want to take kids 74 or lower because they won't contribute to a championship level program?
Teams could have a 74 rated player but he fits their system and is successful as a full time/situational player.
Not everybody is going to be an All-American. Quality starters even backups are important. That's why we feel classes with a large amount of 77-80 guys are going to be more successful.
Thanks for the time everyone. Hopefully I gave some insight on our ESPN 150 rankings and remember its not an exact science. We have never claimed to have all the answers but try and use our coaching/scouting backgrounds to provide accurate/objective grades the best we can.