During this lull period of college football that every fan just detests and is left to fill their appetite with such alternative events as the World Cup; I understand your pain. The World Cup: Kickers gone wild and all together on a soccer field together. That alone is enough to make me run for the cable remote and scramble to watch the Oxygen channel as a better alternative to watching flopping in shorts. So why not use this dead period to do an article on one of my favorite topic: stars recruiting. BTW, I was unable to post any articles for a while as my day job needed my full attention. However, I never left the Georgia Tech fan base and will do my best to be more visible this season.
The amount of stars affixed to a player’s name are not the factors that go into a college coach actually evaluating players and their skill set by reviewing game films. These “pay for stars sites” are producing an opinion of a player based on which schools have offered and running with it like those players must be future NFL Superstars. Evaluating talent is how the NFL finds a player from Central Michigan who was picked # 1 in the 2013 draft after few wanted him coming out of HS. Apparently the NFL thinks he is a five star player after mauling everyone at the Senior Bowl and throughout his career in College.
Same holds true for the LB from Buffalo who was picked # 5 in the first round of this year’s NFL draft. He manhandled every five star Ohio State Buckeye when they played early in the season, couldn’t be blocked, and was a one man wrecking crew. However, coming out of high school OSU didn’t even give him a look. Does this mean the NFL doesn’t know how to evaluate talent? I think not!
Any Yellow Jacket fan has to look no further than the DT from Pitt, Aaron Donald who at 6′ 1″ 295 Lbs ruined every O-Line he went up against all season and was not only an All American, Outland, and Lombardi Trophy winner, but wasn’t highly recruited coming out of HS because he didn’t have NFL size. Yet he was picked before any other DT in the 2014 NFL draft with the # 13 selection in the first round. Apparently his productivity on the football field and against all of the talent that stood 6′ 6″ 325 Lbs. at the Senior Bowl weren’t able to block him regardless of the number of stars they garnered coming out of high school. This kid can flat out play some football.
The other flaw in this stars system ranking world is the performance of a player at a corporate sponsored pay your own way camp. Having been involved with the recruiting of a great player that nobody knew about because he did not go to any of these sponsored camps and therefore wasn’t stars rated, that doesn’t mean he isn’t an outstanding football player. The other hidden variable that nobody wants to point out and expose is that many players who go to these camps are nothing more than kids who will never play a down of football or rise beyond third string on their current HS team.
Using boxing parlance as an example, when a top ranked contender is getting ready for a Championship fight he generally schedules a bout with a lesser opponent commonly referred to as a tomato can. These corporate sponsored camps are Not the Senior Bowl! However, the results from many of these events spread faster than a tweet after some player trucks the kid he lined up against at these events. Unfortunately, many times the opponent is simply overmatched creating an even more dramatic impression on those who attend and report these jousting matches. So unless it was established that a good player outperformed at an event such as the “Senior Bowl” where there are no tomato cans, does anyone really know how good a player in high school really is beyond his game film?
So essentially when these know nothing “stars scouting services” report that Superstar Jones just ran over the competition at these camps, keep in mind who they were actually up against. Many times players that can’t even get PT at their own HS! So when the Yellow Jackets sign a recruit that has not been offered by the football factories, does that mean the GT football coaches don’t know what they are doing? Not at all, what it means is that they are evaluating players based on their athletic ability shown on actual game film, contacting the coaches at his high school, and reviewing his transcripts to ascertain if he can meet the academic requirements to not only get admitted to the Flats but stay eligible academically.
So the next time someone mocks the fact that GT was obtained an oral commitment from a kid that wasn’t highly recruited by a bunch of other BCS programs, just remind them that evaluating talent is not left to the stars. Go Jackets!