What does it take top be a 5-Star on Scout? That's a question I've gotten a lot through the years, and never more often than close to Signing Day as the general public and mainstream media begin to tune in to recruiting season for the first time.
I picture a chart that plots physical athleticism against playmaking skills or talent. The higher a player scores on this hypothetical chart, the more likely he is going to be rated a 5-Star.
Rashan Gary of Paramus Catholic High School in Paramus, N.J. grades incredibly well on both scales.
Physically speaking, Gary is a freak of nature. In our world that phrase gets thrown around a little too often, but to be the No. 1 prospect in the country out of one million high school football players, one must have unworldly physical ability. Gary does.
As a rising junior at Nike's The Opening last July, Gary measured 6'4 and 287 pounds with a 4.74 forty yard dash, 4.38 short shuttle, and 32 inch vertical jump. Without context, those numbers might not mean a lot, so let's give it some context for a kid who still had two years of high school football left to play at the time.
Rashan Gary, DE, Paramus Catholic High School, Class of 2016
6'4/287, 4.74 forty, 4.38 shuttle, 32 vertical
Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh, 1st Round St. Louis
6'1/285, 4.68 forty, 4.39 shuttle, 32 vertical
Ra'shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota, 2nd Round Atlanta
6'6/310, 5.02 forty, 4.50 shuttle, 35.5 vertical
Kony Ealy. DE, Missouri, 2nd Round Carolina
6'4/273, 4.92 forty, 4.45 shuttle, 31 vertical
Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame, 3rd Round Houston
6'2/331, 5.42 forty, 4.94 shuttle, 25.5 vertical
Before entering his junior season of high school football, Gary had better numbers than Kony Ealy who was a first team All-SEC selection in 2013 and selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. It's not that Gary's athleticism is off the charts, we just have to go to the NFL combine to find players with similar size and athleticism.
OK, so the physical part is covered, we get it. He's a freak. But does that athleticism translate to the football field?
Well, you probably know the answer to that already being that he's the No. 1 prospect in the country. Gary isn't just the biggest most athletic player in the country, he's tenacious on defense. Even if he's not the first player off the ball, he's the first player in the backfield. He plays end for Paramus Catholic though he could grow into an inside player in college. Watching him use his quickness against a considerably smaller offensive tackle leads me to believe he could be one of those 300+ pound 3-4 ends if that's the scheme he's in.
He shows off a variety of weapons in his arsenal during a game. With quick hands and incredible strength, he can dispatch a blocker with finesse or a bull rush. He has the straight line speed to chase down a play from the back side. He can get better at everything of course, but there are no glaring weaknesses in his game. He's got speed, quickness, hands, strength, tenacity; Rashan Gary is No. 1 for a reason. A good argument could be made that he's the top prospect in the last two classes as he'll compare favorably to Scout's No. 1 prospect in 2015 Kahlil McKenzie.
BRO Note: For a little UCLA-centric snippet on Gary, go here.
See him in action from his junior season at Paramus Catholic.