Alex Carter, CB 6'1" 195lbs (Briar Woods High School, Ashburn, VA)
Scout.com Ratings – 4*, #9 S
Rivals Ratings – 4*, 5.9/6.1, #5 CB, #66 National Prospect, #2 Prospect in Virginia
ESPN Ratings – 4*, 80/100, #16 ATH, #15 Regional Prospect, #3 Prospect in Virginia, #113 National Prospect
Rating the Ratings
Alex Carter is rated evenly across the board as a prospect. His positional rankings don't vary much despite the fact that none of the services have ranked him in the same positional category. That speaks to the enormous value that Carter has as a versatile prospect. He is one of the top five football prospects in a state that has been recently known for producing some of sports' greatest high school athletes. The ratings and rankings look to be in line with the following evaluation with respect to Carters' standing as a prospect.
Speed, ball skills and smoothness as an athlete are traits that are evidenced throughout Alex Carter's video, whether he is playing defensive back, wide receiver or kick returner. Carter's video shows that he can run with anybody. He has good quickness and agility which he will use on the college level to stay in the hip pockets of smaller, quick wide receivers. He also has the size and arm length to be very effective in bump and run coverage. As a defensive back he has very good closing speed that he uses whenever he is not in ideal position a receiver. That aspect of his game is accentuated by his solid, natural technique in breaking on the football. Such allows him to close ground quickly on passes thrown his way.
Carter is very good at judging the ball in the air and adjusting to its flight path. Those skills are complemented by his terrific leaping ability. Carter, at 6'1" with a 38-inch vertical will be a very formidable opponent for taller receivers, especially on underthrown passes. He shows no difficulty playing and intercepting passes regardless of the trajectory at which it falls.
The aforementioned ball skills are also evident from his play at wide receiver. Carter can be expected to win the majority of his battles for jump balls. He catches the ball very well with his hands and outside of his frame. He hasn't had to run many college-style routes as a receiver, so it would take him some time to learn that aspect of the game. Once he does learn, he will be able to run precise routes and be a very good receiver. He has a very strong build and would be a challenge for any college-level defensive back to bring down after the catch.
Though there is much speculation as to whether Carter will end up as a receiver, cornerback or safety at Stanford, he projects best at the cornerback position. He does have the skills to be a very good and dangerous wide receiver, but Stanford would do best to use him there for spot duty, if at all, rather than full-time. Carter has the size for safety, but his natural ability, playing style and explosiveness fit way too well at cornerback – a position for which Stanford struggles to find exceptional talent – for Stanford to use him at safety. His size is an added bonus for a cornerback that is too much to pass up. Carter should see action as a freshman at cornerback and be a major contributor by his second season at the latest, barring injury.
Deante' Gray, WR 5'9" 170lbs (Westside High School, Houston, TX)
Scout.com Ratings – 3*, #75 WR
Rivals Ratings – 3*, 5.6/6.1, #98 WR, No National Ranking, No State Ranking
ESPN Ratings – 4*, 79/100, #43 WR, #73 Regional Prospect, #58 Prospect in Texas, No National Ranking
Rating the Ratings
There is a pretty wide range of views on Gray, with Rivals and Scout having the 3-star, low-end views as opposed to ESPN which has him as a 4-star prospect. Given Gray's special skills, ESPN's ratings and rankings seem much more accurate than those of the other services. What likely holds him back in Scout and Rivals ratings is his size, which is listed as tall at 5'10" and up to 180 pounds , but looks to be a little smaller. However, many wide receivers have succeeded at his size which actually creates some advantages that most taller wide receivers do not have. Overall, Gray is underrated by two of the three main scouting services.
Deante' Gray's speed and acceleration are exceptional for a high school prospect. In his video, in which he plays against very good Texas high school competition he repeatedly out runs defenders' pursuit angles. Long strides that are uncharacteristic of a player his height allow him to quickly eat up yards after catching short passes and screens. What is surprising is that he stops and starts so well despite his long sprinter strides. He reaches top speed after only a few steps and thus pulls away from defenders who are in very good position to make tackles. His strength to pull away from tackles his also above average given his size. Gray can be a yards-after-catch nightmare for defenses.
The Texas speedster also displays very good hands. His video shows his ability to pluck passes out of the air before they reach his body. He adjusts very well to balls that are behind him and he plays difficult long passes very well in the few instances shown in his highlights. It will be interesting to see how his long strides will or will not affect his route-running on the next level. In the end, that aspect of his running will not likely be an issue given that he easily stops or changes direction while at a full sprint. He shortens his strides when necessary to make cuts after catching the ball. What will be interesting is how well he will be able to run by defenders on deep routes, which is something that he was not asked to do very much in high school.
Deante' Gray will likely be a slot receiver if/when he ends up on The Farm. His explosiveness and play-making ability can bring too much to Stanford's offense to keep him off of the field, especially given that he plays a position with a very shallow depth chart. He should see action in his first year, mostly being used on simple plays that put him in space, similar to what was done with him in his high school offense. He can also expect to figure in the kick-off return game as well, possibly giving Ty Montgomery, who figures to be the #1 receiver next season, a break from special teams. In the end, Gray will be a player from which the team seeks "big" plays. If he adds some more size and takes well to the intellectual aspects of the game on the college level, he can be much more than that by the time his college career is over.
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