That's why we have all star games at all levels in sports, to help celebrate the individual achievements of players on winning and losing teams. It is also why we have some scouts that go out to a game to evaluate a player's performance irregardless of how the team does.
In high school sports, public high schools anyway, you draw on the talents of the kids that live in the neighborhood and attend that local high school.
Here's where I'm going with this. Vanden High School in Fairfield, Calif., has a great DL/OL player in junior Pablo Ryan. Vanden H.S. is in the Solano County Athletic Conference. Pablo stands 6-3, 301, at his latest weigh in. While the Vanden football program has struggled to achieve their first pre-season win for 2007, players like Pablo do their part on the field.
I've just watched Pablo face up with one of the highest ranked D-I recruits in the state. Pablo was impressive in holding off this player. Pablo's performance is backed up by the stats for that game. He was able to hold that high performing defender to ½ of the expected tackles for that game.
You would think someone that's 300 pounds would be a pretty static lineman. Pablo definitely breaks that perception by being quick and agile. He looked strong out on the field as he fended off the opposing lineman in protecting his quarterback, or as he punched a whole for a running back. Since he's only a junior Pablo has a little bit more growing to do.
Pablo received the Honorable Mention for Offensive Lineman by the Solano County Athletic Conference. As a sophomore, last year, Pablo had 17 tackles for the season. He's got that many tackles this season after only playing 3 games.
Pablo Ryan has his eyes set on attending Cal, Oregon, Nevada or Virginia Tech. Preseason is over in most areas and league play is underway. Hopefully Vanden H.S. will be able to start winning some games in league play. If not Pablo will have to wait until next year as the 4 and 0 J.V. squad graduates some of their players to Varsity. One thing is apparent with Pablo. He knows his role out there on the field and performs it very well.
Expectations of Pablo Ryan are high for this season and next. D1 colleges usually pick from the best of the best. Pablo will eventually find himself along side high performers like himself on the football field. He'll be standing side by side with other D1 players, and everyone knowing what their roles are on the field. Once placed in that setting Pablo will definitely be able to affect the tide, his team's outcome, for the better.
As the season progresses we'll keep an eye on Pablo. He's definitely a player to watch out for, this year and next. Hopefully Pablo will be able to attend one of the football combines next year so he'll be evaluated against his peers on an equal playing field – mano a mano (hand to hand – face to face).