Pool Talks Midwest Rankings

There has been a lot of discussion lately about Scout.com's regional and national rankings. Irish fans have wondered how this process is put together, and why certain players are ranked ahead of others. I recently asked a couple of Scout's experts how these rankings were put together. Today Chris Pool talks about the Midwest rankings.

With all the hysteria that we've experienced lately over rankings, I thought it would be interesting to find out how and why this process worked. Who ranks the players? Why are certain players ranked higher than other? Scout.com Midwest recruiting expert Chris Pool talks about the process.

How much input do you have in picking the Midwest top 100? Are you the only person who chooses the team?

I ultimately have the final say, but I lean on others on our team such as Bob Lichtenfels. Jamie (Newberg) and Allen (Wallace) will sometimes have a strong opinion as well.

What criteria do you us to decide how to rank one player above another?

It starts in February with recognizing the prospects……watching film and seeing them at camps and combines. The best criteria I feel is talking to his coach and coaches in the conference who have to play against him.

How much does seeing a player live in action factor into your rankings?

I feel that you can't put a price tag on seeing someone live. Even if you've seen him on film, it's always better to see someone play in person. So I'd say that seeing a prospect live is a big factor, but it's hard to see everyone in person…and my wallet isn't that deep.

Would you rank a player higher if you saw this player in action over another player you've only seen on film if they race were close on which player you would rank ahead of the other?

No, not necessarily. I'd rank the better player period, no matter if I've seen them in person or at a game.

Some curious rankings in your top 100. How could you rank Cedric Everson ahead of Dionte Allen when Allen clearly had the better offer list at this point?

I've never believed an offer list is what makes a prospect good. Everson also has an impressive offer list and an offer from USC has come in the mail so he's not doing to shabby himself. It's a matter of preference. I believe that Everson is faster, has better hips and is quicker that Allen. One thing that Dionte has on Everson is that he's more physical.

How could you rank Tyler Nielsen and Andrew Dailey ahead of Chris Colasanti when Colasanti has the more impressive offer list?

Again, I don't look to see who's offered whom. I guess the first thing I'll say is that Nielsen, Dailey and Colasanti play different positions. Nielsen is a SAM or strong, Dailey is Will or weak, and Colasanti is a Mike or middle. Nielsen is bigger and faster than both Colasanti and Dailey. He tackles just as well as both Colasanti and Dailey, and he could play tight end or defensive end. It's just a matter of preference. Seeing all on film and Nielsen and Dailey at our combines, I felt Neilsen was the best of the three. Nielsen also plays guard for Humboldt, and on some plays during his highlight film, you'll see him outrun his running backs to the end zone. He's really impressive.

How can David Molk be ranked ahead of Joseph Barksdale when Barksdale has over 60 offers and Molk doesn't have anywhere near that number?

See the two previous answers. I don't count offers, I scout. After scouting both Molk and Barksdale, I personally felt that Molk, Harland Gunn, Josh Oglesby and Darris Sawtelle were better offensive line prospects. All look better on film than Barksdale did. Getting back to Molk, he's more physical, his technique is better and his football mentality is off the charts. I can't count the times I've heard from coach that if Dave Molk were only two inches taller. Well, that leads me into Barksdale, I can see why 60 schools have offered. He's 6-5 and 315 pounds. He looks exactly like what you want an interior lineman to look like. Barksdale already has the physical tools and 60 schools are betting they can take him and mold him into a two-time All-American.

Can you please explain your reasoning behind switching Joe Barksdale to offensive line versus defensive line?

After watching Barksdale in San Antonio, I walked away saying offensive line all the way. Barksdale uses his strength to over power at combines but he's not sudden, he's a leaner and gives away too much of his body coming out of his stance to be a defensive tackle. Joseph would struggle with bigger, stronger guards at the D-1 level, and he'd struggle against double teams. Since this is a Notre Dame site, I'll use this analogy. Barksdale doesn't have the technique and instincts as Trevor Laws did coming out of high school. Barksdale is a North and South type player. If you watch film on him, on offense, he's able to get push and he can get out on linebackers, but he struggles to block in space and moving targets. He doesn't move laterally well enough to be considered a Trevor Laws type defensive tackle. Looking around the Midwest, Josh Brent and Antonio Jeremiah are the top defensive tackle prospects.

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