October 2010 Archives

Nation's top guards/centers

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This isn't the most talented crop of guards and centers produced in recent years. Only two of them are ranked among the top 100 in the nation--and they aren't ranked very highly, either. But they show promise and the best of them are being recruited by the elite college programs. So maybe they are better than we think they are.

1. Matt Hegarty of Aztec, New Mexico, is a 6-4, 265-pounder who is committed to Notre Dame. He ranks as the No. 56 player in the nation. He plays offensive tackle in high school but projects to guard in college, a position that Notre Dame desperately needs to bolster. He has great feet. He is a two-time All-Stater.

2. Michael Bennett of Centerville, Ohio, is a 6-3, 275-pounder who is the No. 92 player in the nation. He is committed to Ohio State and is a very good athlete. He will play guard at Ohio State.

No blueprint for success

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A few readers were critical of my autobiography, "Football's Second Season," because they felt I didn't fully detail in a step-by-step fashion how I evaluate players, the fine points, what I see while viewing a player that makes the difference between a Big 10 player and a MAC players, or a Division I player and a Division II player.

Well, there is no blueprint for identifying a major college prospect. Every recruiting analyst or every college recruiter has his own system, his own instinct for judging whether a player is a big-timer, if he can play in the Big 10 or the MAC or no better than Division II.

It is all arbitrary. In 30 years of evaluating high school players, I have seen only one who I felt from the first time I saw him as a sophomore that he was a can't-miss prospect who was destined for stardom in college and the NFL, Randy Moss.

Who's next at Minnesota?

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Minnesota didn't give Tim Brewster enough time to turn the program around. But that's the nature of college coaching these days. If you don't make an instant impact, you are on the hot seat and the alumni are tossing gasoline on the fire and looking for a new coach.

Brewster got only 3 1/2 years. Four years is good enough at Notre Dame or Ohio State or Michigan but a school that hasn't been to a Rose Bowl in 40 years needs five or six years to turn the program into a consistent winner.

Remember, Kansas and Missouri and Iowa State and Virginia needed time to develop a winning attitude after they were down for so long. Brewster had the benefit of only two recruiting classes. He had eight new starters on defense this season.

Nation's top tackles

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It is a very good year for offensive tackles. Last year, Seantrel Henderson was the nation's No. 1 player. But then there was a dropoff in talent at the position. Not this year. I believe Cyrus Kouandjio is almost as good as Henderson, though 50 pounds lighter. There are several prototypical left tackles, athletic guys who can play that position in the NFL.

Here are the top 10 offensive tackles in the nation:

1. Cyrus Kouandjio of Hyattsville, Md., is a 6-7, 290-pounder who is rated as the No. 3 player in the nation. He is leaning to Alabama, where his brother is a freshman. He has great feet and didn't allow a sack last season. He also can run a sub 5.0 for 40 yards. He looks thin at 290.

Honeymoon is over at Notre Dame

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I agree with critics who argue that it is much too early to evaluate new coach Brian Kelly's success or failure at Notre Dame. Sure, some Irish fans are looking for an instant turnaround from the Davie/Willingham/Weis malaise. But Kelly needs three years to prove that he can make a difference in South Bend.

Remember, Kelly has been on the scene for only a few months. This is his first full recruiting class coming in. This year and next year will be most important. It will give Kelly an opportunity to show if he can recruit on an elite level against the likes of Florida, Ohio State, Texas, USC and Alabama, where Notre Dame used to be.

The trick is to recruit nationally ranked high school players and develop them into big-time college players. Already, Kelly's first recruiting class ranks among the top 10 in the nation. But Weis recruited nationally ranked classes, players that all of the elite programs coveted, but many of the players weren't developed once they arrived on campus.

Clayton Fejedelem deserves a look

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I recently attended a Lemont football game to see my nephew, Jake Lemming, a 5-8, 130-pound sophomore cornerback. He had five tackles and broke up four passes against Thornton Fractional South. He's a good high school player. But enough about him.

The best prospect on the field was Ethan Pocic, Lemont's 6-6, 265-pound sophomore tackle whose older brother Graham is a starter at Illinois. In two years, he will be one of the heavily recruited players in Illinois. But enough about him.

The best player on the field was Clayton Fejedelem, a 6-1, 180-pound senior safety who hardly anyone knows about. He has 4.5 speed and Division I skills. He has the potential to play in the Big 10 but he definitely can play in the Mid-America Conference. He hits like a ton of bricks, has great cover skills, great football instincts, isn't afraid of contact and makes plays.

The ABCs of recruiting

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One thing I have learned since I began blogging for the Sun-Times--and educated readers have pointed it out to me--is how ignorant many people are about the recruiting process.

There are so many myths and misconceptions. Some believe that if a player is good enough, he will be discovered by a college recruiter. They believe players don't have to promote themselves, send film to college coaches, attend one-day exposure camps or even meet academic standards.

What planet are they living on?

Nation's top wide receivers

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This isn't the greatest crop of wide receivers I've ever evaluated. A Julio Jones, there isn't. But it is a very talented group with all of the top 10 ranking among the top 100 prospects in the nation. That speaks for itself.

1. Jarvis Landry of Lutcher, La., is a 6-0, 195-pounder with 4.52 speed who is committed to LSU. He ranks as the No. 30 player in the nation. He doesn't have great size but he has great movement skills and strong hands. He can create in the open field.

2. Kasen Williams of Sammamish, Wash., is a 6-1, 200-pounder with 4.6 speed who is committed to Washington. He is the No. 38 player in the nation. He is a three-time All-State selection and the most productive wide receiver in the country. He doesn't have blazing speed but he makes up for it with great hands and his ability to run precise routes.

Nation's top tight ends

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The list of the top 10 tights in the nation includes five who have made oral commitments, four who ranks among the top 100 seniors in the country and the grandson of legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus who has been suspended for the remainder of the season for disciplinary reasons.

1. Jay Rome of Valdosta, Ga., is a 6-6, 240-pounder who is the No. 26 player in the nation. He reminds of NFL star Tony Gonzalez, big and very athletic. He is a good basketball player. He has strong hands. He is uncommitted but his father played at Clemson.

2. Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Gig Harbor, Wash., is a 6-6, 250-pounder who is the No. 27 player in the nation. He is the most prolific tight end on the list. Last year, he caught 64 passes for 1,200 yards. He is a good basketball player. He has a big frame and looks like an offensive tackle. He is committed to Washington.

Time is running out for recruits

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This is the first week of October, the end of the regular season is only three weeks away and the state playoff is just around the corner.

So what should seniors and juniors who are good enough to play at the next level--or think they are good enough--be doing at this moment in time? Has the recruiting process passed them by? Are they even aware of how the recruiting process works?

Here is some information that might provide an education for you and your parents?

If you are a senior who wants to play football in college but has no scholarship offers, what should you do?

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2010 is the previous archive.

November 2010 is the next archive.

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