Recruiting: Evaluation Of Commitments

A post on the Premium Board showed some disappointment (doubt) over the rankings of some of OSU's verbal commitments in football recruiting. I'm not going to call anybody out for opinions or questions like this, but instead I have put my thoughts into words for everyone to read.

Always remember that these major recruiting services are in business to make money and ratings/rankings sometimes are political. They are also being determined by individuals that I personally would not trust to recruit my class -- I include myself in that because I haven't had any coaches call and offer me a job. But I have had coaches at four different Big 12 schools ask my opinion on players in the past month. That's a nice compliment, but it hardly qualifies me as a professional talent evaluator.

I have seen tape and/or seen in person (at least to size them up physically) most of the prospects that Oklahoma State has on its commitment list. The coaches have seen them all, either in a camp situation, during a May evaluation visit, and in the case of all of them video from their junior season. I have cautioned all of you about buying into rankings from Scout, Rivals, or any other source. I know the people that decide on the stars at both Scout and Rivals and most of them are computer junkies that rarely see high school games. I'm going to assume they view the video that they receive and put on line, but these are generally highlight tapes, and like coaches I like to watch entire games. You see the best and worst of a player by watching game tape. That said, here is my amateur rundown of each OSU commitment.

Kenny Alexander, LB, 6-1, 210, 4.55, McKinney (North), Tex.
This is one of the few players I have never seen in person or on tape. The speed, which is legit, is sensational for a linebacker and with his size he could be a big safety or an outside linebacker and certainly would contribute on special team coverage units. The shoulder injury (stingers) concerns me, but Alexander said he is 100 percent.

Jamie Blatnick, DE, 6-3, 250, 4.8, Celina, Tex.
I have seen him on tape on offense and he is a very aggressive player that I could easily see being a future starter at center or guard at the Big 12 level. He is a stretch right now as a defensive end because of lack of playing time there, but his senior season should give us all a good idea of his potential on defense. Great speed for his size, another huge plus for me is he comes from a monster winning program. I always like bringing in winners.

Damian Davis, WR, 6-5, 190, 4.5, Mart, Tex.
My favorite of the early commits so far, he has size, speed and unlimited room for development. I've seen him on tape and was blown away. I'll tell you a secret, I left him off the Texas targets we feature in the next issue because I didn't know if OSU could get him. I thought there might be too much competition. We added him right before the deadline when he committed. Davis has all the tools to be a star. Think Prentiss Elliott, only bigger and not quite as fast but just as elusive.

Jason Hannan, OL, 6-3 1/2, 280, 5.1, Waxahachie, Tex.
You'll love Hannan. After Texas raided the offensive line class in Texas this spring, Hannan was the next best OL available. He is athletic, tough, and dominating on tape. His strength numbers show he has the ability to come in ready to play on the offensive line if he can pick up all the mental neccessities and I believe he can. He is also impressive in person.

Tyrell Higgins, DT, 6-3, 255, 4.9, Schertz (Clemens), Tex.
Another player I have seen on tape and in person, Higgins is athletic and quick. The question is how quickly can he get his physical development up to 280-plus pounds, and how much, hopefully very little, will it impact his quickness. He is a very difficult to block from what I have seen on tape. He is also a very squared away, disicplined individual and that will accelerate his progress.

Ahmad Jones, OL/DT, 6-3, 310, 5.27, Silsbee, Tex.
I have seen him on tape and he can dominate as an offensive lineman. My reservation is his weight. He has to be able to keep from getting heavier and will need to really listen and obey Rob Glass. Still a question as to how effective he will be on defense.

Nick Martinez, OL/DL, 6-4, 291, 5.2, Floresville, Tex.
I have not seen him in person or on tape, but several friends in Texas tell me he is the real deal and one of the best sleepers that was out there. His school is small and off the beaten path, so this may be a huge discovery for the OSU staff. His size is legit.

Quinton Prince, DT, 6-3 1/2, 296, 5.1, Oklahoma City (Heritage Hall), Okla.
I've seen him in person both in camp and in a game. He is extremely strong and physical. I believe he will always have to be disciplined about his weight, but if he does that he can be really stout. His motor runs and remember he also plays tight end at Heritage Hall and watching him catch a pass and run is impressive. At defensive tackle he is nonstop as a fighter and has very good agility for his size.

Marcus Richardson, LB, 6-0, 215, 4.56, Seguin, Tex.
I have seen him on tape only but look out. His video reminds me of the Chris Collins tape at Texarkana. I don't know why he wasn't rated higher by the "star" people, but Texas Football had him second team. He is athletic, very quick, and a heat seeker on hitting. He likes to bring it, even going completely airborne on some hits. I saw him make plays on tape sideline-to-sideline, including a play where he came from strongside LB and went across the field on sweep play to make a tackle for a 2-yard loss. Very impressive!

Jonathan Rush, OL, 6-4 1/2, 271, 5.2, Killeen, Tex.
I have seen him in person and on tape and he is a very good prospect. He is not the close to finished prospect that Hannan is, but he has all the tools and should develop quickly into a contributor at tackle. I think he has such a physical advantage in high school that he sometimes takes it for granted and he will have to overcome that in college, but that shouldn't be a problem.

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