How good is Prater?

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I've been evaluating high school football players for 30 years and some critics still don't think I know what I'm talking about. Every year, they compare my ratings to other recruiting services. If you do, I think you'll discover that at some point all the evaluators finally agree on who the top 100 to 200 players are.

But there are major disagreements from time to time. I wouldn't describe Kyle Prater as a "major disagreement" but I'm sure some folks wonder how I came to rate the Proviso West wide receiver as the No. 35 player in the nation while Rivals tapped him as the No. 4 player in the country.

In fact, while Rivals singles out Prater as the best wide receiver in the nation, I rate him no better than No. 3--behind Darius White of Fort Worth, Texas, and Jeremy Richardson of Springville, Alabama.

Here is my explanation:

I have seen Prater play. In fact, I discovered him. I was the first analyst to see him in person and on film. He had no scholarship offers when I began to talk about him last October. He ended up with 40 offers and is about to announce his college decision--either Illinois, USC, Notre Dame, Alabama, Tennessee or Oklahoma.

All he lacks is pure speed. He has great hands and great size. But he lacks the speed of the two guys I rate ahead of him. He doesn't have great burst. For example, Randy Moss ran 100 meters in 10.4 seconds. If Prater is the No. 4 player in the nation, he better run the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds. At the combine in San Antonio last January, he ran 4.7.

But who's complaining? Prater is a great prospect, whether he is rated No. 4 or No. 35. Recruiting analyst Randy Taylor of National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) rates him No. 17. If he improves his speed, he'll be as good as everything thinks he can be.

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8 Comments

KEEP YOUR EYE ON DANIEL DAVIE, BEATRICE HIGH SCHOOL, BEATRICE, NEBRASKA,, HIS COACH IS COACH SEXTON!
P.S. PRATER IS THE REAL DEAL,HE IS A YOUNG MACKLIN FROM MISSOURI, NOW WITH THE EAGLES OF THE NFL!

Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back Tom, do you actually think you "discovered" this kid??? Your ego has no bounds....plenty of people knew about this kid

The difference Mike is that while you may have "discovered" Prater, Tom has the credibility and the forum to influence college coaches to look at Prater as a top recruit. Unlike most of us who watch our favorite teams and their opponents, Tom watches and meets as many players as possible. His credibility is based upon that, the accuracy of his evaluations and the long time he has been in this business.

Top end guys are easy enough for guys like you and me to pick out. Watch Prater right now and you know he is the real deal at receiver. The real key is that Tom has discovered a great number of players that are not the top end players. It's that he has been correct on lower ranked (think 2 and 3 star) players. Those are the players that fill most college rosters once you get outside of the top 25 programs.

Scott

The difference is I never claimed to "Discover" talented kids, and as far as credibility goes I would be careful throwing that term around with Tom Lemming. Remember Jimmy Claussen was the top QB he ever saw....until he didn't work out so well and then it was ND didn't use him right. This guy has an out of control ego, he consistently says he was the first one to notice some of these kids, when they don't work out he claims "everybody else had him ranked". Pick a lane, thats all, either you have an opinion or you don't, and don't shortchange a kid by saying Tom Lemming put him on the map!!!

Discovered him?

Getting lists from college coaches and then getting film isn't brain surgery.

You didn't discover Kyle. That's laughable.

College football thrives because of you, Tom. Thank goodness you travel around the US finding players that no one else has seen play.

Please give us more updates.

Is your 1-800 # still working where I can pay $3.99 a minute to hear your latest discoveries?

Thanks.

I do know for fact that Taylor Bell, who works closely with Tom Lemming on this blog, went off line and told me early last fall that Lemming had Prater as top 2010 WR in state and likely fair very high nationally. This was only part way into last fall season.

Don't know Lemming other than all the good and bad I hear. However, as other poster pointed out, some kids were bound to be discovered sooner or later, some not without help. But it is matter of credibility related to entire body of work. Not whether some local HS football fan, like me or others, finds a diamond in the rough .. or not. If I'm wrong, noone cares and I can hide in obscurity.

I'm for anything that helps HS kids who work hard, have talent, and deserve to get noticed, get noticed.

As for Lemming's ego, I could care less. It does not affect any of us really.

Please keep doing what your doing, most kids appreciate it .. not that you weren't going to anyway.

DANIEL DAVIE FROM BEATRICE HIGH SCHOOL IN BEATRICE, NEBRASKA RAN A KICK-OFF BACK 99 YARDS IN HIS TEAM'S OPENER FRIDAY NIGHT AGAINST RALSTON, HE STARTED AT SAFETY, AND HE CARRIED THE BALL OUT OF THE BACKFIELD AS WELL, HE IS ONLY A JUNIOR WITH 4.4 SPEED, SOMEONE YOU SHOULD KEEP YOUR EYE ON IN THE FUTURE!

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This page contains a single entry by Second Season published on August 15, 2009 10:25 AM.

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