January 2008 Archives

Evaluating isn't an exact science

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I've been evaluating high school football players for nearly 30 years and I can tell you that there is only one thing for certain: Nobody has all the answers. You do the best you can, judging a prospect's talent by whatever system you believe works for you, and hope you get it right.

The truth is someone always sees something different in an athlete. One coach says he's great while another says he's average. One recruiting service ranks a player among the top 100 in the country while another service doesn't rank him among the top 150.

I believe the only way to do it is to see a player in person, watch him on film, talk to him and his coach, get the human effect and determine how big his heart is.

How good is high school football in Illinois?

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There are many critics who argue that the caliber of high school football in Illinois is overrated, that it pales in comparison to the level of basketball.

But Illinois ranks among the top 10 states in the number of Division I scholarship athletes and NFL players that it produces annually.

It is generally agreed that Illinois ranks behind Florida, Texas, California, Georgia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. But it fits in nicely after them, along with New Jersey.

Looking ahead to Feb. 6 signing date

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The Feb. 6 signing date for college football is a few weeks away but most of the major recruiting stories have been written. What is left? Well, the top three players in the country remain uncommitted and only two super prospects are still considering Big Ten schools.

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor of Jeannette, Pa., the nation's No. 1 player, likely will choose Michigan or Ohio State. The 6-5, 225-pounder almost certainly will wait until signing day to announce his decision. He also is considering Tennessee and Oregon.

The rich get richer

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Illinois football coach Ron Zook figures to sign another outstanding recruiting class on Feb. 6. In fact, his crop of incoming freshmen likely will rank from No. 11 to No. 15 in the nation. But the Illini still won't rate ahead of Ohio State and Michigan.

That's because one of them will get quarterback Terrelle Pryor, the nation's top-rated player. If anyone had any doubts, they were erased in last Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

Pryor was a virtual unanimous choice as the game's MVP while leading the East to a 33-23 victory over the West. He scored one touchdown, passed for another and accounted for nearly 150 years in total offense.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2007 is the previous archive.

February 2008 is the next archive.

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