As today's prep stars live up to every bit of the "bigger, stronger, faster" mantra, our concept of size and speed has dramatically changed in what we desire in a recruit. At linebacker, for example, we seek out those body types that matched the defensive ends of a generation ago, combined with the speed of a safety. But all too often, the best looking physical specimens may fall short when the proving ground in college shifts from posing to production.
NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper many years ago invented the adage "Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane" to encapsulate this phenomenon, but nothing quite as quippy has caught on in recruiting circles to describe the converse. That's a shame, because finding that animal playmaker who far outstrips your eyeball-driven expectations is a recruiting art. Those little guys who are dismissed out of hand as "too small" can come back and bite you down the road when you line up against them on Saturdays.
Palm Beach Gardens (FL) middle linebacker Pat Maynor may be just one such player - weighing just 195 pounds at 6'2", you might peg him for a receiver or a safety. But Maynor was the central man in his Dwyer defense and swarmed for 144 tackles, five INTs and six sacks, despite missing the final two games of the season with a shoulder injury. Maynor is a ferocious player on the field with great instincts and a nose for the ball, as well as the "football speed" that coaches laud despite his timed 4.64 forty. "I think I'm a pretty good read & react player, who gets to the ball very fast," Maynor opines.
The result has been a solid geographic spread of recruiting interest, with the South Florida junior hearing primarily from Colorado, Indiana, North Carolina State, Northwestern and Stanford. Maynor says he is also "hearing a little" from Florida, one of his favorite schools.
"My top preferences right now would be Stanford, Florida, Boston College, Brown, Northwestern and Colorado," he says. "I'm number one in my class, and academics are the most important thing for me in picking a school. That's why I have Brown on my list, even though the may not have the football program that Division I-A schools have. Colorado is on there because the location seems pretty cool, and Florida of course is Florida. But if I have my choice, I'd probably rather get out of the state."
Maynor says that he wants to check out schools over the summer at camps, but doesn't have any set up yet. Neither has he decided on any visits. Still, he says that if he could, he would like to commit to a school before the start of his senior season at Dwyer.
Stanford is certainly far away, but it helps the Cardinal in recruiting a Florida player if he already professes a desire to leave the Sunshine State. With academics #1 on his list, Maynor cites location #2 and the football program #3. But in looking to leave the state, what is he looking for in that nebulous location category?
"I just don't want to go to a place where I'll be in the middle of nowhere - like Kansas," he blurts out. "I haven't been to California before, but it seems like a really cool place to live."
Pat Maynor is a player who had a very good statistical junior campaign, but will see his recruitment defined by this May evaluation period and the camps he attends this summer. We'll keep abreast of his developments, particularly those with the Cardinal, and keep you up to date.
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