When you hit the recruiting trail as a coach your goal is to get the best players available that fit what you want to do. It comes down to style. I honestly have no idea what Notre Dame is looking for at running back this season. I do know, however, who I would have at the top of my list if I were a Division I offensive coordinator. That player would be Darrell Scott. So keep that in mind as you read how much I'm going to hype him up, this is my kind of player, it in no way speaks for how Notre Dame views this years running backs.
Darrell has good height and a tremendous frame. On film he physically looks right now like a Division I running back. He's a big kid, but is solid and not a true "big back". Darrell should be able to take a 25-touch per week pounding. If you like power football Scott is your guy. He simply runs through defenders. The 6-foot-1, 2005-pound running back does a great job of quickly dipping his shoulder and exploding through any defender who attempts to take him on high or from an angle. What's nice about this move is it appears to be instinctual; he does it quickly, and keeps his stride.
One of the traits that jumped out at me was Darrell's vision. Vision is often discussed regarding a player's ability to read the hole at the line of scrimmage. Darrell appears to be very good in this department, although that is always tough to tell with certainty from film. The other aspect of vision, which is what I really like about Darrell, is a player's ability to recognize defenders once he has broken through the line of scrimmage. It's his ability to see linebackers closing in on the hole, and secondary players coming up for run support. In his highlight tape Scott did a great job recognizing these defenders and either running through their tackle attempts or cutting at an angle that made it difficult for them to break on him. This is the vision that usually determines the difference between a 10-yard run and a 60-yard run.
Power isn't the only strength of Darrell's game, which is what separates him from the rest of the backs I have seen up to this point. He combines his size and power with outstanding athleticism. You don't often see big kids as smooth on the football field as he showed. He's a very fluid player with very quick feet. He's a one-cut-and-go runner, explodes out of his stance, and gets to and through the line of scrimmage very quickly. He reminds me of a bigger version of Terrell Davis in this regards.
The Ventura, Calif. native doesn't have much wiggle to his game, but who cares? He doesn't need it. He'll make some nice cuts downfield to make guys miss, but he won't ever be confused for Reggie Bush. But again, who cares? He's a great back. There was something I saw on film, and I really am struggling how to describe it. When defenders come at Scott head on or go low, he doesn't really seem to know how to react. I have a feeling he gets tackled at the ankles quite a bit, and perhaps it's a reaction to that. Again, it's hard to describe, I'm not sure if it's a negative or not, but I thought I would mention it. I would you take a look yourself and see if you see what I mean.
The unfortunate aspect of watching highlight films on running backs is you rarely see him blocking, and when you do it's only one or two plays. So I have no idea if Darrell has any concept of how to block. I don't want to be presumptuous, but I doubt Darrell is opposed to blocking. He's a physical football player, so I don't see him backing down from the opportunity to deliver a shot to a defender.
Now, whether or not he has the technique or instincts to do it I simply cannot form an opinion either way. It's also hard to judge his speed. On the highlight film I saw he didn't break a ton of long runs. With his size and how smooth his game is it often appears that he has good speed, but not great speed. But I've read a couple of different articles that state he has legit 4.4 speed. It will be interesting to see how well he tests in the forty yard dash this summer. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to get some more film which will give me a better idea of his game speed. Don't get me wrong, in no way am I saying he isn't fast, I'm simply saying his running style makes it hard to gauge just how fast he is.
I also only saw Scott catch one pass. It would again be unfair for me to comment on this aspect of his game.
There are three backs who I really love on film. Darrell Scott is one, Milton Knox is another, and Sam McGuffie is the third. They are all very different players. McGuffie might be the most explosive player on this list. With his speed and quicks he is a threat to hit a home run on every play. Scott and Knox are absolutely the better overall running backs. You can't go wrong with either of those two players. Darrell Scott would look great in a Notre Dame uniform. Whoever lands this prospect is going to be getting a player who has all the tools to become one of the nation's elite college running backs.
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