Breaking Down the Highlight Reels

The G-man evaluates the game films of three BYU recruits. Steven Thomas and Scotty Ebert have already committed to play for the Cougars. J.J. Diluigi is considering an offer from BYU coaches. The three athletes are very similar in size, but very different in on-field aptitudes.

Steven Thomas

Thomas is a 5-foot-11, 180-pound defensive back recruit from Chino Hills, California. He recently committed to Bronco Mendenhall shortly after his visit to Provo for BYU's Junior Day. Thomas played a lead role in helping his high school team to an undefeated regular season record in a very competitive division in Southern California.

The first thing that jumps out from Thomas' highlight footage is that he could be playing almost any position on any given play. He will see time at quarterback, running back, linebacker or safety during the course of the game, which speaks volumes concerning his overall athletic ability.

Thomas has played full-contact football since he was eight years old and it shows. He is a play-maker with a great sense for where the football is going on defense. Thomas frequently read exactly where the play was going and jumped the play for an interception or tackle for loss.

While he did not have blazing speed, Thomas was easily fast enough to play the safety spot at the next level. On offense, he was able to split the gap running the ball out of the backfield as a quarterback or running back. He was impressive on offense, but defense is clearly his strength.

Although Thomas is not big in stature, he was a sure tackler as a linebacker. The bottom line on Thomas is that he is a well-seasoned football player who is at home on the football field. He possesses excellent instincts, which will make him a very good safety for the Cougars.

Scotty Ebert

Ebert is a wide receiver/cornerback recruit from Jordan high school in Sandy, Utah. He is the same size as Thomas at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds. Ebert committed to BYU shortly after being offered. He was the third Cougar commit of this recruiting class.

Many, including myself, felt that Ebert would be better suited for cornerback, but based on his film, he seems more apt to play receiver. Ebert's best days may be ahead of him if he grows at least another on to two inches as expected before he graduates. He should be one of the top receivers in Utah this year.

It is easy to imagine what attracted Cougar coaches to Ebert. He is the primary kick returner for Jordan and shows his playmaking ability there. Ebert has good speed and good, instinctive moves. He reminded me a lot of a Michael Reed or Margin Hooks while watching his film. Ebert also demonstrated some good ability to juke people in the open field.

John "J.J." Diluigi

Diluigi is a running back prospect from Canyon Country, California who recently received an offer from BYU. Diluigi measures out at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds and can flat out move in the open field as evidenced by his 1800+ yards and 43 touchdowns last season.

The first thing that jumps out when watching Diluigi's footage is that he does not waste time with unnecessary razzle-dazzle when he runs. He can juke guys out of their shorts, but he is judicious in his use of evasive tactics. His moves are always purposeful, meaning that he does just enough to keep moving downfield.

Like Thomas and Ebert, Diluigi has good football instincts. A lot of players only develop one side-to-side move going left-then-right or vice versa, but Diluigi proved able to make move to either side. Efficient open-field moves are only the beginning with this kid. Diluigi can shoot through a gap in the line and kick it into a fifth gear. He is a bit small, but he had several broken tackles on his game film.

Diluigi reminded me of a faster version of Reno Mahe. He seems to be the perfect back for Anae's scheme with its four receivers and one do-it-all running back.

Diluigi also demonstrated good pass-catching ability. He showed good hops going over defenders down the field to receive balls. Of all the running backs currently on BYU's radar, Diluigi comes with the most ability. It would be easy to label him as the number one running back prospect on BYU's recruiting agenda this coming year.


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