It is national signing day, and while in the class of 2017 really only Jordan Goodwin was recruited at a high level throughout his high school career in both football and basketball, there are plenty of top hoops players who would excel on the football field. Here is a look at numerous athletes who could have been making headlines today had they chosen a different path.
Maybe the two guys in this class who have the highest football upside would be on the offensive line. Florida bound Isaiah Stokes and Colorado bound Evan Battey each have the look of an elite offensive tackle. Battey especially would be an insane prospect as a football player.
Battey is around 6-foot-7 and 280 pounds with very long arms and tremendous feet. His athleticism at his size and ability to move his feet would translate in a big way on the football field.
Stokes isn’t quite as athletic as Battey, but he is also around 6-foot-7 and 275 pounds and is as strong as they come. Also Stokes has extremely long arms and moves pretty well. With his power and nimble feet, Stokes would be wanted by nearly all football teams.
Another potential high level offensive lineman would be Kentrevious Jones. Jones isn’t the prototype that Battey and Stokes are, and he is a bit taller, but he is huge, has long arms, and has pretty nimble feet.
The most traditional way that basketball players have impacted in football is at the tight end position, and a trio of players really fit that bill in this class.
P.J. Washington who is headed to Kentucky, Ira Lee who is headed to Arizona, and Hasahn French who is bound for Saint Louis all possess the athleticism, size, and frame to project at the tight end position.
French might be the most logical for that as he is one of the toughest kids in the class and at about 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, he is exactly what colleges love in tight ends.
Washington and Lee both are high level basketball recruits, but both would have NFL and college coaches drooling. Each can really run at their size, and have the broad shoulders and long arms to be effective as pass catchers or potentially blockers.
Not surprisingly there are also a few wing players who could easily project as wide receivers given their freakish athleticism.
Current Kentucky enrollee Hamidou Diallo has the size, long arms, big time leaping ability, speed, and ability to change direction to be an impact wide receiver. Also on the basketball court he catches all sorts of ally-oops and passes, so one would think his hands would be acceptable.
Also there is Arkansas signee Darious Hall. Hall is an elite, elite athlete who can and jump with anybody in the country, and is 6-foot-6. Because of his size, strength, and athleticism, Hall might fit at a multitude of spots on a football field, but he’d likely be given the first chance at wide receiver.
Finally there is Oregon bound wing V.J. Bailey. Bailey has the traditional look of a wide out. He is the son of former NFL pass catcher Victor Bailey as well as former Olympic sprinter Tonja Buford-Bailey, so the genetics are there, and so is the athleticism.
V.J. Bailey is 6-foot-4, is an elite leaper, can really run, and shows excellent coordination. There is no reason to think he wouldn’t be an impact level player on the football field.
Weatherspoon is around 6-foot-2 with good length, but he also changes directions incredibly well and is as fast as anybody. Weatherspoon has the size NFL teams love in a corner, and likely would run a blazing 40 yard dash.
When evaluating a safety, Virginia Tech bound point guard Wabissa Bede would excite a lot of scouts. Bede is already 6-foot-1 and in the neighborhood of 185 to 190 pounds, and would add weight. Also Bede is a good athlete who is as tough as nails. Beyond that Bede has incredible leadership qualities and he would be the captain of a defensive secondary.
Along with good secondary players, in order to stop a good passing game you need kids who can get after the passer.
UCLA bound power forward Cody Riley looks like an ideal defensive end. He is around 250 pounds with great length, and wide shoulders. He also is a very good athlete who is tough and physical. Riley likely would have a great first step out of a three point stance and could get after the passer as well as showing the ability to be a base end against the run.
In terms of a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end who can rush the passer, Butler bound forward Jerald Butler is one to watch. Butler is about 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds. He would likely profile best in a 3-4 scheme as a pass rusher, but he has the athleticism and frame to be effective on the outside.
Finally there is Auburn bound point guard Davion Mitchell. Mitchell, who comes from an elite talent producing high school on the football side, could be an outstanding running back. In fact college coaches recruiting his friend and Georgia bound four-star safety Richard LeCounte, have told Mitchell he could be the better football prospect.
Mitchell could play as a corner, but the thought is with his aggression, speed, and skill with the ball in his hands, that he would work at running back. Mitchell has great athleticism, is tough enough that he could run in-between the tackles, and likely would also be a homerun threat when he gets into the open field.