Canton, Ohio is home to the NFL football Hall of Fame. It's also the home of athlete Devon Torrence. The South high school native is also a two-sport star and has plenty of interest from Major League Baseball as well. With four offers under his belt to play college football, Torrence will likely be one of the top players in the country this season.
Watching Devon Torrence on film is quite impressive. No. 21 reminds me of another No. 21, former Irish wide receiver Javin Hunter. He's of similar size to Hunter (6-0, 200 pounds), and he runs a lot like him in the open field.
As a return man Torrence shows excellent instincts. He fully understands north-south running and the importance of getting up field. He chews up turf and yards in a hurry. He also doesn't waste time maneuvering through traffic and has an excellent burst to get by people. He makes quick moves left and right and this allows him to not slow down when trying to find daylight. He's an excellent return man and should find the field early in college in this capacity.
What I like about Torrence's running gate is he's not a long-strider. A long-strider would have a harder time moving left and right in the return game, this is not a problem for Torrence. This also will help him in playing other positions as well.
Torrence mainly plays running back on offense. As a running back he has a similar running style. He's not a dancer, but he makes quick, decisive cuts without slowing down. He explodes out of his cuts, which doesn't give defenders much chance to get a good hit on him.
I didn't get to see a lot of film of him running in between the tackles, but of the film we did have, he hits the hole fast and decisive. He runs with some power, but mainly his game is to make the defender miss and get passed him in a hurry. He didn't look afraid to run inside in the slightest and thrusts his body into the action with full force.
Torrence does have the tendency to run upright, but as I've said, I didn't have much film showing Torrence running inside, lowering a shoulder and delivering a hit. We'd probably need to see more film of him in this capacity to make any sort of judgment as to if he can be an effective running back in college.
He was used a lot on end-around type of runs and sweeps. He uses his speed to get outside and then he's gone.
He has excellent speed and burst. He has that extra gear to get away from people. Players that appear to have the angle to chase him down are usually left grasping at air.
Torrence also showed some nice hands in a few clips that I saw. He seemed to understand how to shield his body to get separation, and he seemed to be a natural catching the football. If he were to play offense, receiver might be his best position in my eyes.
There were also some clips of Torrence playing corner. Ideally I think this is where he'd really shine. I believe he could be an outstanding offensive player, but with his size and speed, he could be an ideal corner prospect on the defensive side.
In the limited clips he appeared to stick to his player like glue and moved fluidly with his opposition as the receiver ran his routes. He also appeared to break well on the ball when the receiver made his move.
What I didn't get to see is him backpedaling in a number of clips or defending the many routes receivers run. Without being able to watch him turn left, right, around, and explode out of his breaks on each route, it's kind of hard to say "he'll be a great corner prospect."
As I've said many times, highlight films can be deceiving. Most consist of 30 or so plays and most anyone should do something right 30 times during any given season.
But they can be informative in displaying athletic ability, speed and playmaking ability. It's obvious that Torrence is a fantastic athlete. It's also obvious that he can make plays on the offensive side of the ball. I'd guess he could do the same on the defensive side of the ball, but without more evidence, it's pretty much a guess. Still, I'd be salivating as a defensive back coach if Torrence came my way.
Torrence appears interested in the Irish, but Ohio State is likely the team to beat for his services—that's unless Major League Baseball comes calling.