The Best I Have Ever Seen

I have been covering college football recruiting since 1992. In that time, I have seen a lot of great high school football players and this season is no different. Earlier today, I got to watch offensive line prospect Jeff Byers on film and he is the best OL prospect I have ever seen.

That's right. Jeff Byers is the best offensive linemen I have ever seen and the best high school football player I have watched among the Class of 2004 thus far. Byers, from Loveland High School in Colorado, plays center, offensive tackle and defensive tackle. The first thing you notice is his amazing speed, quickness and footwork for a 6-4 and 270 pounder. This kid can flat out move and once he gets going he is like a tank destroyer everything in its path.

According to Byers he runs a 4.8 forty but he looks faster than that. Byers mainly plays center and is an outstanding drive blocker. He drives defenders 5-10 yards off the ball on a consistent basis before burying them in the turf. When he is not drive blocking, he pulls from his center position and destroys anyone in his path.

On one play I saw, he pulled to the left and pancaked three separate defensive players on one play. You got to love the prospects that always have their motor running until the whistle blows and that's Byers. He is nasty, physical, and strong (bench presses 385, squats 515 and power cleans 330).

As good a run blocker that Byers is he is equally dominating in pass protection. From his center position he actually can execute a double read. This means after the ball is snapped, he instantly reads the middle linebacker. If the MIKE is not coming, Byers will slide over to the tackle position and pick up the pass pro there. I have never seen a high school center do that.

As you can imagine, Byers is very advanced in blocking schemes and technique for a high school player. Part of that is do to coaching and the other part of that is Byers's amazing athletic ability, smarts (3.96 GPA and 25 ACT) and instincts.

Defensively, he is also a super defensive tackle. He uses his hands very well and fights off blocks to make the play. He can stuff the run, rush the passer and chase plays down. There is no doubt in my mind that he could play that position at the next level too.

I believe that Byers will be a center or offensive guard at the next level but he could also play on the other side of the ball. Simply put, Jeff Byers is a super overall football player and one of the best I have ever seen.


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