There are many recruiting services and hundreds of college recruiters and everybody has their own method of evaluating and rating football prospects. But you can take one thing to the bank. You can't rate a kid based on the number of scholarship offers he has received. Or, in my view, you shouldn't.
For example, Fremd offensive lineman Christian Lombard had 32 offers as of Jan. 1, far more than anyone else in Illinois. Then he chose to commit to Notre Dame. He didn't opt to continue his recruiting, as some do, and visit more schools. So he didn't receive any more offers. If he had remained uncommitted, he would have more than 60 offers by now.
But he didn't so he doesn't. Instead, he was dropped off the chart by some recruiting services while uncommitted players received more attention. It's all about the political games that are played on the Internet. The recruiting websites get mad when kids commit to someone other than themselves or they choose not to play footsy with them.
To determine how good a kid is, you can't go by offers. When he makes a commitment, he is almost forgotten. Normally he will slide down a recruiting list. Last year, for example, quarterback Matt Barkley, the consensus choice as the nation's No. 1 player, slipped on some websites after he committed early to USC. It didn't matter that he had an outstanding season, more than enough to confirm his No. 1 ranking.
Watch how the Internet websites operation. If a kid is a one or two-star player after his senior year, he will be elevated to three or four-star status is he commits to Notre Dame or Florida or USC. Even after he has completed his senior year. He didn't do anything to earn the move. He just made a commitment.
In my view, kids should be judged on production and projection and talent, not offers. I've made a lot of mistakes in 30 years of evaluating high school players but I have learned the key to making a good decision is production on the field, not performance at combines or one-day camps or interviews to the media. How good does he look on the football field, in game situations? That's what really matters.
Even the NFL makes mistakes by drafting workout warriors who excel at combines even though they didn't play that well in college.
Always take production at a high level over everything else. But keep an eye on the caliber of competition because some kids will dominate in a weak conference.
That's why going in person to see kids and the players who compete against them is the most sensible and rational way of evaluating talent and making fewer mistakes. You can't just talk to kids on the telephone and make evaluations, as many recruiting analysts and recruiting services do, paying the players for their input.