Recruiting 101 - Part 1

Each and every day we get questions regarding recruiting. Instead of answering them all individually we took the ten most common questions and put them all out there for people to take a look at. Part one: how important is size and speed when it comes to recruiting.

This is part one in a 10 part series dealing with aspects of recruiting.  Each and every week we get so many emails from parents and players asking why their son isn't being recruited and so and so is?  Instead of emailing them all individually we decided to take a look at the 10 most common questions we get and answer them in one big story.

Question #1: How important is size and speed?

The honest answer to this questions is that it depends.  Reason I say it depends, is because it depends on what position we are talking about.  If a RB is a high school stud but runs 4.7 – 4.8 than yes it matters a ton.  If a OL is a stud and he runs in the 5.6-5.7 range it still matters but it won't take him off the schools list.  In order to fully answer this question we will break it down into two parts.  Part one the importance of speed and part two the size ratio.

The game of football today is all about the game of speed.  Most coaches today would rather have a guy that may be 10 to 15 pounds lighter than ideal, if that kid is two or three steps faster than the other guy.  The reason for this change is because of the spread offense.  The spread offense is designed to get as many kids on the field that can run as possible.  So when offenses go to this scheme the defense needs to counter with just as much speed or they will get run out of the stadium.  Even defensive lineman need to be able to run.  Speed helps in rushing the passer and also getting the lineman involved in angle pursuit of the ball carrier.

So what is adequate speed?  Again it depends on the position and the scheme that particular school will use.  Defensive ends 4.8-5.1 depending on size.  The bigger they are than they can be in the 5.1 range.  The smaller in the 4.8 range at least.  Everson Griffen who is now at USC ran a 4.46 timed 40 at a combine in LA a few years ago.  That was impressive when you remember that he checked in at 6'3 260 as a defensive end.  For the linebackers 4.5-4.7 maybe, when I say maybe again depends on the scheme.  A true middle MIGHT get away with running 4.7 and that's a big maybe.  Most college LB's are running in the low 4.6 range maybe high 4.5 area.  You can take the most productive LB in high school and if he is only running in the 4.9 range, no way.  There is no way a major D1 school will take that kid.  Maybe invite him as a walk on or maybe see what happens, in all honesty a LB that runs in that speed may be asked to move to DE in college.  As for secondary players 4.4-4.6 maybe, again that depends on scheme and position.  A corner in the 4.6 range maybe if he is 6'2, if he's 5'10 no way.  Most cover corners are running in the 4.4-4.5 range and depending on size that may be good enough.  Legit safeties will run 4.5 tops and be a great hitter.

More and more colleges are actually recruiting high school safties and converting them to LB in college.  You won't see to many colleges take a LB and convert him to a safety because they very rarely want to move a player back in the formation.

As far as size goes, size does matter again depending on the position.  If a RB is a stud but is only 5'8 than that guy better be a thick bodied type of guy.  Think Maurice Jones-Drew.  Yes, he's only 5'8 but his legs are like tree trunks.  If a RB is 5'8 than he has to be so productive that it forces schools to take a look his way.  Mike Hart rushed for almost 10,000 yards in high school.  It's the reason why schools took a serious look at him despite his lack of size.  But if a 5'8 RB runs for 1300 yards that's impressive in high school but not impressive enough to warrant schools to take a serious look.  Size is important at other spots.  I've watched very impressive offensive lineman that are 5'10 230 and they won't get recruited at all, very few JUCO's will give them a serious look.  I went to one of the top JUCO programs in the country and took a look at their starting offensive line and took their height and weight, it reads like this.  Left tackle 6'4 305, left guard 6'3 295, center 6'3 265, right guard 6'4 315, right tackle 6'5 290.  Many times you can't go by what the roster says, but since the offensive line coach is one of my best friends I asked him to give me real stats and to be honest.

I guess the answer to this question is that it all depends.  The one thing I would always say is that in reality you don't need to have a ton of offers, you just need one.  I would also caution that recruiting is not an exact science and that one school may pass without any hesitation and another school may fall in love with that same player.

Lastly, don't play high school football because you want to get recruited.  I have no problem with making that one of your goals, but don't make it your only reason for playing.  Very few athletes around the country will get the opportunity to play in college, if that's your goal awesome, work as hard as you can and see what happens.  But, if it's your only goal than you may be playing for the wrong reasons.

Next edition of recruiting 101 – How important is a highlight tape?

If you have other questions you want answered ask them on the message boards.

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