What is a difference-maker and who are the biggest difference-makers in the class of 2010?
A difference-maker is a guy who can come in as a freshman and make an immediate impact on any team he chooses, someone who has the ability to change the game around with his play.
He usually is a quarterback or running back or wide receiver or a defensive end who can change the course of a game with a sack or fumble.
In the class of 2010, Seantrel Henderson of St. Paul, Minn., is a difference-maker because he is a 6-7, 320-pounder who can dominate at left tackle on offense. He is the No. 1 player in the nation, according to my evaluations at this time.
In my evaluations, there are more five-star players than difference-makers. A five-star player has the ability to start as a true freshman. Sometimes he is a difference-maker. But a five-star rating doesn't make you a difference-maker, just a very good player.
In the Chicago area, if there is anyone who rates as a difference-maker, it is C.J. Fiedorowicz of Johnsburg. He is a 6-7, 242-pounder with 4.65 speed who is the best tight end in the nation, without a doubt, based on his athletic ability and potential.
Fiedorowicz has been very productive in high school. If he goes to the right college program, he could be another Jeremy Shockey. He has an NFL body. But he needs to go to a college program that throws to the tight end, a program where the tight end is used heavily in its offense. He isn't a wide receiver. He will weigh 260 pounds in two years.
Proviso West wide receiver Kyle Prater also has the ability to be a difference-maker. The only thing he lacks at this time is breakaway speed.
Nationally, who are difference-makers? Henderson, running backs Marcus Lattimore of Duncan, S.C., and Lache Seastrunk of Temple, Texas, quarterback Jack Heaps of Sammamish, Wash., and running back/linebacker/defensive back Anthony Barr of Los Angeles, Calif.
Heaps doesn't look like a difference-maker at 6-1 and 185 pounds. He looks more like Joe Montana than Tom Brady. But he has been a difference-maker in high school. He is a precision passer who has led his team to two state championships.
Barr, a 6-4, 230-pounder with 4.6 speed, has the ability and athletic skills to be a difference-maker. He is the son of former Notre Dame player Tony Brooks.
More difference-makers will pop up as I continue my trips around the country. Normally, in any class, 25 to 50 players emerge as difference-makers. But some develop in college if they go to the right program. Some are no-brainers and surface in high school--but one thing they all must have is great athletic ability.