For you old school football fans, Sam Young, OT, 6-8, 280-pounds, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., (St. Thomas Aquinas) is going to leave a smile on your face. He plays through the whistle on every play and physically dominates the line of scrimmage.
Pad Level - I honestly cannot remember the last time I saw an offensive tackle this tall with such a low pad level. Young does a fantastic job of staying low and gaining leverage, even against players that are just over six feet tall. He is even adept at power run blocking on the goal line when his 6-8 frame could be used against him when facing much shorter defensive linemen.
Pass Blocking - Why do NFL scouts covet left tackles? Because a left generally protects the blind side of the quarterback, assuming he is right-handed. Young is a left tackle that any college quarterback would love to have in front of him. He is quick off the snap of the ball, and he uses his large wingspan to fend off edge pass rushers. Young's fist step, often times called a "kick step", is good for a high school player when pass-protecting. He moves well laterally and even pancaked a few defensive ends on passing plays due to his quickness.
Technique - Young has been coached up at St. Thomas Aquinas to a level many young college offensive linemen are not currently at. It's not one of Florida's top high school programs for nothing. The coaching at St. Thomas Aquinas is probably the best in the entire state.
Flexibility - Watch any offensive linemen in a three-point stance that has his feet flat on the ground or at least close to it, and you just might have something. A lack of flexibility in any sport is not good, but in football it's simply going to be a big problem and often times leads to injury.
Young's feet are not quite flat to the ground from a three-point stance, but pretty close. This is a good sign. It helps explain why his first step is so quick and why he can stay with much quicker defensive linemen even in open space.
Upside - Some college coaches worry about taking offensive line recruits that have already developed fundamentally at the high school level. High school program like St. Thomas Aquinas fit that concern because there is a fear that there is no upside once the player reaches the college level;. That's simply not the case with Young. Even though his technique is good, it's still not perfect. He overextends every once in a while and his base becomes too wide. That's probably the only fault you will see on his film unless you are an NFL offensive line coach. Young will continue to improve with age.
And the truly scary aspect is that Young looks slim at 280 pounds. That's right, slim. He is going to fill out to well over 300 pounds in college. While he is a really good player now, he has the chance to be a truly elite player down the road.
SMITTY'S TAKE - Point blank: Young is going to be a top-notch college football player. He has the physical tools, the tenacity, and has even received superior high school coaching to boot.
It's rare that I would say this about any offensive lineman being recruited by the Irish, but I honestly think Young would play from day one at Notre Dame. And that's not just because Notre Dame is so thin at offensive tackle for the 2006 season. Young will be able to compete against much older offensive linemen wherever he goes to college. It's just that at Notre Dame there are no proven offensive tackles beyond Ryan Harris, who will be a senior during the 2006 season.