Prospect Evaluation #1: N. Davis & T. Harris

Our first two 2012 prospect evaluations from former Cardinal player and Bootleg scout Garry Cobb cover a couple of Stanford hopefuls who are on decidedly opposite ends of the recruiting spectrum.

Prospect Evaluations: Noor Davis & Tylor Harris

A Diamond in the Ring and A Diamond in the Rough

Our first two 2012 prospect evaluations are of a couple of Stanford hopefuls who are on the opposite ends of the recruiting spectrum.  Noor Davis is a consensus 4* outside linebacker prospect from Florida with scholarship offers from everyone.  We know who he is and what he can do, and that we are excited about having him on The Farm is an understatement.   On the other hand, Tylor Harris, a defensive end from Baton Rouge, LA, was a relative unknown to Stanford recruitniks until several weeks ago.  He is still unknown to pretty much everyone else who follows recruiting.  Read further as we delve into the ratings, evaluations and projections for these two 2012 defensive prospects. 

Noor Davis, OLB (Leesburg High School, Leesburg, FL)


Rivals Ratings – 4*, 5.9/6.1, #2 OLB, #46 National Prospect, #10 Prospect in Florida

Scout Ratings – 4*, #9 OLB

ESPN Ratings – 4*, 83/100, #1 OLB, #8 Regional Prospect, #3 Prospect in Florida, #17 National Prospect

Ratings and Rankings

Noor Davis may be the crown jewel of this 2012 class, and his ratings and video show it.  He might be a little underrated with regard to his star rating when you look at how he ranks at his position and at the skills he displays on the field.  Scout.com's position ranking for him appears to be a little low as some of the higher ranked OLBs fail to show the same college-ready skill set that Davis shows. Thus, it is somewhat surprising that he isn't a 5-star prospect in any of the three recruiting services.  

Evaluation

Noor Davis is a remarkably instinctual player with great speed in pursuit of ball carriers.  He avoids blocks well by either using his hands or cutting behind or around blockers.  His technique is evidence that he should have a quick transition to the college level.  The Florida prospect has the athleticism to be a very good pass defender from the linebacker position. Video from his junior year shows that he can rush the passer, but does not reveal his pass rush technique as he often is running unblocked to a very unfortunate quarterback.  Davis shows a great, natural feel for the outside linebacker position and its responsibilities, which further cements him as an edge player, though he does have the capability to play at inside linebacker if necessary.  He is high-motor player whose energetic play has been further exemplified after switching high schools and increasing his level of competition for his senior year.  His pass rush abilities also stand out on his senior film, and much like his play against the run, he uses his hands naturally and very well to get by pass protectors. Davis' athleticism allows him to shorten corners and create a direct route to the quarterback when rushing the passer.  Size wise, skill wise and instinct wise, Noor Davis is ready for Pac 12 football.

Projection

Davis should see playing time in his freshman year, a la 2011 LB James Vaughters. Like Vaughters, he shows great football instincts, great athleticism and great size which will make it tough for the staff to keep him off the field early . However, the stiff competition in the Stanford LB depth chart, which is now loaded with talented, game-tested players, will probably prevent him from winning a starting position going into his freshman season. However, if there is a key departure, such as OLB Chase Thomas, the door may be open for Davis to earn a spot by mid-season, much like Shayne Skov did back in 2009. Regardless of depth, expect to see Davis on the field fairly early and often for the Cardinal in 2012.

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Tylor Harris DE (Episcopal High School, Baton Rouge, LA)

Rivals Ratings – 2*, 5.4/6.1, No position, national, or state ranking available

Scout Ratings – 2*, No position rank available

ESPN Ratings – 3*, 75/100, #164 DE, #591 Regional Prospect,  #48 Louisiana prospect

Ratings and Rankings

Given the high number of "Not Rated" categories in his profile, Tylor Harris' 2* ratings may have more to do with his not being highly scouted than his actual play on the field.  He is a prospect who will need strong coaching and a strong work ethic in certain areas to reach his potential, but he shows flashes of attributes that should allow him to be a significant contributor at the FBS level.  That he would do so is far from a guarantee, but his ability and the fact that he comes from a very strong high school football state should earn him a solid 3* rating.  His offers from two BCS top-25 schools, Arkansas and Stanford, speak to his deserving of a marginally higher rating as well.  After focusing on what he actually does on the field, I feel Tylor is a tad underrated by the services.

Evaluation

The lowest-rated defensive line prospect on Stanford's radar just might be their most "athletic" defensive line prospect.  Harris' footwork, acceleration and ability to re-direct are very good for his size. However, as we all know, the most athletic prospect does not always develop into the best football player. In order to bridge the gap and meet his obvious potential at the college level, Harris will need to focus on fundamentals such as hands, knee-bend, and pad level. 

While occasionally showing the ability to effectively use his hands against blockers, Harris tends to get into too many wrestling matches with opposing linemen. What is impressive, however, is that he is strong enough to win those wrestling matches on the high school level against some rather sizable offensive linemen.  His highlights often show him engage and quickly throw off hefty opponents. But when he faces college linemen who are just as well-sized and can come closer to matching his athleticism, he will need to use his hands to keep those linemen away from his body.  Otherwise, they will get into his chest and take him out of plays. He will also need to use his hands to keep linemen away from his legs when cut blocks are attempted.  His video shows instances where linemen could have taken him out with well-placed cut blocks because he did not use his hands. He has both the arm length and strength to be able to ward off such blocks at the next level once he embraces the proper technique.  That aspect of his game will be key to his development.

Similar to his technique with his hands, Harris will also need to work on keeping his pad level down and maintaining a good knee-bend when attacking offensive linemen.  As with his hand technique, Harris flashes the ability to play with top-shelf technique, as he  occasionally plays with an ideal pad level. However, too often he shows too much of his numbers at the snap of the ball, which leads to the aforementioned wrestling matches.

Despite the technique issues, Tylor Harris is capable of beating offensive linemen with both quickness and strength.  Those two traits can allow him to be effective against both the run and the pass. He has the potential to be a 3-4 defensive end who can hold his ground and fight of blocks, or use his quickness to penetrate the backfield and cause disruption against the run or pass.  Further, his athleticism will allow him to chase down ball-carriers after penetrating, which can lead to tackles for loss and big plays.

Projection

We will see Tylor Harris in Cardinal red as a 3-4 defensive end, assuming he is admitted. Depending on how he receives college- level coaching, he could see some action after his redshirt year and end up fighting for a starting position by his third year on The Farm.  Harris is a prospect with a very high ceiling and would add a good amount of athleticism to the Stanford defensive line by the time he is finished his eligibility.


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