Archive for category High School Football

Hungry South Florida Express Defenders Ready to Devour Unsuspecting Offenses

Devin Bush Jr. Holds 30 plus D1 Offers

Offense usually takes the stage during 7-on-7 games and tournaments as the rules are set up to highlight that part of the game of football.  However,  anyone who has coached 7-on-7 football knows that a strong defense will land you the trophy at any tournament.

This year’s version of the South Florida Express defense features a roster jam packed with very talented,  well coached prospects that are eager to make a name for themselves amongst the large group of high skilled defenders on the 7-on-7 circuit.  The physical gifts and football IQ will be on display by this version of South Florida Express stars as they are ready to dump ice water on the plans of overheated offenses.

2016 LB Devin Bush (Flanagan) is the #3 rated player at his position according to Rivals and is certainly a prospect that has earned it.  Programs like Florida St., Florida, Miami, Auburn and UCLA are hot after this agile defender and he’s ready to cause mayhem like he did during the regular season. Also joining Bush in the linebacking corps is talented and highly athletic Miami Central junior Wayne Steed.  Steed was a key member of a Central defense that led the way in their state title run.  Junior Christian Gomez (USF offer) also brings size and athleticism to the linebackers as does Miami Carol City 2017 prospect DeAndre Wilder.

The defensive backs will be spearheaded by highly sought after junior Cedric Wright (Miami commit) who is currently holding 15 major D1 offers with Alabama and Ohio St. amongst them. Booker T. Washington cornerback Dontye Carriere Williams showed his big play ability often during last year’s 7-on-7 season and he’s back again to make quarterbacks miserable. Williams has 17 Division I offers and is drawing even more interest from some of the top programs in the country. Sophomore cornerback Marco Wilson (American Heritage Plantation) is ready to become a household name and already holds four major division I offers with SEC power South Carolina being one of them.  Wilson’s big time athleticism and grit will aid the Express defense in drawing the line on offenses in every tournament.  Junior cornerback Deon Jackson’s length, speed and skill will be a problem for WRs looking to have their way.  Jackson is poised to capture the attention of college programs and media alike during this 7-on-7 season.  One of the more intriguing prospects this season will be 2017 safety Brian Edwards who has already secured offers from Miami, Clemson and Louisville. Edwards’ length will serve him well as will his ability to make plays deep down the field.

American high school defensive back Naytron Culpepper has been impressive in early practice sessions.  The 2017 prospect blends an athletic frame with great instincts to find himself around the football.  2016 junior defensive back Elijah Daniels holds multiple D1 offers as well as strong coverage skills to hold opposing WRs in check.  Hallandale junior safety Romelo Webster brings a high football IQ and great quickness to patrol the deep secondary and take away the ball from offenses all season long. 2017 University School cornerback Faion Hicks (FAU offer) is another prospect that turned heads during the season and has continued to do so early this offseason.  Look for Hicks to have a coming out party during the 2015 7-on-7 circuit.

Southridge defensive back Shawn Davis is a multi-talented prospect that can play any position in the secondary.  By the time the season is over,  media and colleges alike will know they need to take a trip down South to see this 2017 gem.  Sophomore safety Christopher Williams is another young defender that is hungry to show his worth as is American HS cornerback Joshua Dinson (2017) who holds offers from both Cincinnati and Kentucky.  2017 cornerback Donelle Thomas is another talented member of the American HS secondary that will make his presence felt in tournament play.  American Heritage Plantation freshman cornerback Pat Surtain Jr. has the size and athletic ability to give WRs fits and has already been offered by both Miami and Louisville.  Junior cornerback Isaiah Simpson (Cypress Bay) and 2018 prospect Michael Nesbitt (Stranahan) are poised to draw their rightful attention from interested onlookers while putting the clamps on the opposition.

South Florida Express has been a breeding ground for top defensive talent supplied to college football programs from coast to coast.  Look for this to continue with a talented group of defenders that are eager to grab their piece of the spotlight all season long.

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Talented Weapons Fuel South Florida Express’ High Powered Offense

Tyler Huntley is poised to become the next in a long line of successful South Florida Express QBs.

The 7-on-7 season is here and the madness has begun as teams have held their highly publicized tryouts to gather their talent for the 2015 season.  The most recognized 7-on-7 team in the country, South Florida Express has geared up for the new season and will feature many highly talented athletes that have garnered the attention of college programs from across the country.

The 7-on-7 game is an offensive game by nature and South Florida Express will have no shortage of weapons on that side of the ball this season.  2016 Hallandale quarterback Tyler Huntley will lead the way for the Express as their primary signal caller.  Huntley currently holds eight division I offers including Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida.  Also calling signals for the Express this season will be 2017 Cardinal Gibbons QB Jake Allen (Rutgers offer) and new Booker T. Washington HS transfer Eric Walker.

Wide Receiver is where the action is on the field and the Express has their usual array of talent at that position.  University of Miami commit Dionte Mullins (Gulliver Prep HS) will certainly be one to watch while Hallandale junior wide out Joshua Hammonds (15 offers including LSU, MIA, ND, Ohio St.) takes a back seat to no one.  St. Thomas Aquinas junior Sam Bruce (Miami commit) is one of the most electrifying prospects in the country and will be a force for the Express throughout the season.  Sophomore WR Emmanuel Greene,  who recently transferred to IMG Academy,  racked up a ton of offers during this past season from the likes of Miami, Florida, Ohio St. and UCLA.  Greene will be a tough matchup for the opposition in every tournament.  Not to be out done will be 2016 American Heritage Plantation WR Dredrick Snelson who won the Rivals 5 star challenge in 2014.  The University of Miami commit brings his speed and big play ability to the field and will create problems for defenses.

The excitement doesn’t stop there.  Miami High WR Keyshawn “Pie” Young will be one of the most intriguing prospects participating in the 7-on-7 circuit in 2015.  Young’s flair for the dramatic and off the charts athleticism promised to turns heads and open mouths at tournaments.  Southridge HS junior Freddie Pinder is an imposing figure at WR and has garnered the attention from several high profile SEC programs along with prolific offenses like Clemson and West Virginia.  The University of Miami is hot on the trail of this 6’5″ athlete that will likely take many a defensive back up top in tournament play.

You would think that would be enough for just one team but like the infomercials say “but wait, that’s not all”.  Cardinal Gibbons 2017 ATH Daniel Wright is ready to break ankles this 7-on-7 season and continue to draw the attention of schools like Auburn, Clemson, Miami and Michigan St. who are some of the 8 schools who have already offered.  Hallandale High School junior Chris Cotto made a name for himself last 7-on-7 season and carried that into the regular season.  Cotto is not as highly publicized as others on the roster but will wreck a defense as good as anyone.  2016 WR Demari Simpkins is much out of the mold of Cotto as he will use his quickness and playmaking ability to aid South Florida Express to many victories this season.

While the big names are doing their thing, several up and comers are ready to burst on the scene as South Florida Express players are known to do every year.  Junior WR Andrew Parchment (Cypress Bay) brings the length, speed and catching ability that many teams covet.  Cardinal Gibbons 2017 WR Leroy Henley did damage during the 2014 season and will continue that during the 7-on-7 circuit.  Henley already holds offers from seven schools including home town school The University of Miami.  Sophomore Laress Nelson (American Heritage Plantation) and  freshman Shaun Shivers (Chaminade-Madonna) promise to slice defenses with their cat-like quickness while 2017 prospects Jordan Merrell (Dillard) and Jonathan Moore (University School) will dazzle on-lookers with their A grade route running and catching ability.  Junior WRs Neru N’Shaka (Hallandale) and Elisha Daniels (Cardinal Gibbons) are ready to give people their money’s worth and show people why many high profile division I schools have taken an interest.

Rounding out the solid group on offense and ready to have their coming out party are 2018 WR Xavier Williams (Chaminade), 2017 WR Lavarus Tigner (Stranahan) who holds a Miami offer , 2018 WR BJ Alexander (Flanagan), 2016 RB Greg McCrea (Hallandale) and 2017 WR Mike Harley Jr. (St. Thomas).

South Florida Express founder Brett Goetz believes this can be the most talented team as he has ever had in his eight years.  That’s quite a statement since South Florida Express can claim NFL players, Heisman Trophy candidates, Bilenitkoff winners, Elite 11 Champions and Under Armour All American MVPs as part of their alumni.  No other 7-on-7 team in the country can make such a claim.  This will certainly make for a very exciting 2015 7-on-7 season.

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Dual Sport ’16 Athlete Justin Thomas Jr. Looking to Make a Hit

By: Chad Wilson – Editor – Gridiron Studs Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

There was a time when a high school athlete was just that.  In the Fall he played football, in the Winter he played basketball, in the Spring he would run track and in the Summer he’d play baseball.  Those days are gone.  Now,  coaches want you in their sport year round and only the finest of athletes can convince a coach to play another sport and leave a coach’s eye sight for a couple of months.  Chaminade Madonna High School’s Justin Thomas Jr. is that guy.

Thomas is one of only a few kids in South Florida that excel in both football and baseball.  On the football field,  the 6’1″ 185 lb. specimen throws his weight around like a FedEx worker tosses packages into his truck.  Thomas is that new breed of defensive back that has imposing size and athleticism.  He makes good use of it tracking down ball carriers and ramming into them full speed.  He also uses his speed to go get ball carriers that break free and believe they will find the end zone.  Thomas shows no fear on the gridiron and was one of the top players for the Lions during their 2014 season.  He will most certainly be the anchor of the defense in 2015 as the coaching staff finds a variety of ways to use his athletic talents.

Thomas’ size makes him available to play in the box versus run heavy attacks and his instincts give him an edge when they drop him back to the hash or deep middle of the field.  When the situation calls for it,  Thomas can also line up in the slot and handle anything from a jittery WR to an athletic TE.  His skills make him a utility knife that can equalize the production of an offense’s best player.  His skill set will be part Kam Chancellor and part Aquib Talib.  He’s really what college programs are looking for these days.  In the football offseason,  Thomas takes his toughness to the baseball diamond where he excels at the sport.  His hand eye coordination, balance and quickness are all developed to the max on the diamond and pay off dividends for him when he returns to the gridiron.  Thomas is a throw back that has developed a wide range of skills by being a two sport athlete.  His attributes allow him to deliver the hard hits on the football field and the base hits on the diamond.  He’ll definitely be a recruiting hit for the college program that signs him in 2016.

Check out Justin Thomas Jr.’s
Junior Season Highlight Video – Click Here

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’17 Prospect Wesley Butler Serving Up Mayhem Out West

By: Chad Wilson – Editor – GridironStuds Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

Go West young man they say.  There’s gold out there. Well I don’t know about gold but 2017 Wesley Butler has certainly found a home at Mater Dei high school after moving from South Florida this past summer.

After spending his time learning the ropes in front of talented athletes at the former Florida 3A State Champs University School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,  Butler took his lessons and applied them judiciously in 2014.  Butler plays that new hybrid position that many defenses crave.  It’s that outside linebacker spot where a guy can either put his hand on the ground and rush the passer like a mad man or stand up and make the offense guess what he’s going to do.  Clay Matthews was the poster boy for the position before moving inside this season. Florida Gators’ Dante Fowler is another strong model for that hybrid linebacker spot.  Butler is the young high school version of this key defensive position.  You will see him come off the edge and enter the backfield like an uninvited house guest.  There are clips of him doing Terry Tate office linebacker type stuff as he takes quarterbacks and running backs to the turf with violence.  Butler has a nice blend of size and speed typically found in Florida bred athletes.  His development at Mater Dei has been exponential and should lead to high dividends for the Monarchs.  Quarterback high school could be getting rather defensive in the near future.

Mater Dei is a perennial power in Southern California prep football and it’s because they get players like Butler to perform at a high level.  One look at Butler’s film and you can see that he is playing to the max.  Offenses have to account for him but even when they do,  the results are the same as Butler puts a kink in the play design and turns 1st and 10 into a future punting situation.  The sophomore defender is certainly going to be one to keep an eye on for the next two seasons as Mater Dei battles with the likes of Serra, John Bosco, Corona Centennial and the other heavyweights in California’s Pac-5 division.  As the high tempo Southern California gridiron action is taking place in 2015,  this Butler will be dressed and ready to serve.

Watch Wesley Butler Sophomore Year Highlights – Click Here

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2016 Dual Threat QB Eric Walker is A Baller

By Chad Wilson – Editor – GridironStuds Blog
Twitter: @gGridironStuds

There was a time when everyone was looking for the 6’5″ QB who could stand tall in the pocket,  see everything and rifle the football to his playmakers.  In this new era,  teams have learned that if the QB can see everything then everyone can see him.  A stationary target in the pocket may not be what the doctor ordered anymore so the proliferation of highly athletic QBs is in full effect.  Quarterbacks that can escape the pocket and keep a play alive or gut the defense for big yards is what is in demand.  2016 Miami Monsignor Pace High School quarterback is just what the doctor ordered.

Walker is reminiscent of Russell Wilson when you watch him on film.  He’s not a scrambler by trade but has the ability to pull the ball down and hurt the defense.  His initial instincts are to look down field for the open receiver and even move around behind the line of scrimmage to wait for someone to break open.  However,  when the situation seems bleak,  Walker is a great athlete that can not only go get a first down but beat the defense for a long touchdown.  With the recent success of Wilson and other mobile quarterbacks,  colleges have been seeking the services of dual threat quarterbacks not only for run based spread offenses but for both balanced and pass heavy offenses.  When all else fails,  quarterbacks like Walker provide that added dimension that drives defenses crazy.

You will observe Walker on film using his quickness to avoid the rush and buy time for the big play down field.  It’s an absolute killer for defenses that must cover for extended periods of time when Walker is at the controls.  Equally as dangerous are the zone read plays that Walker runs to perfection.  He’s a good learner, who has been well coached to come skinny off of the read when he pulls the football.  He gets North / South through the defense in a hurry and sets up the downfield blocks quite well to crank out big gains.  Walker is certainly one to keep your eye on in this next recruiting cycle as a dual threat quarterback who is also athletic enough to play any skill position on the field.  No doubt,  Walker is a baller.

View Eric Walker’s Junior Year Highlight Video – Click Here

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’15 WR Robert “Bam” Foy Has A Name That Sticks

By: Chad Wilson – Editor – Gridiron Studs Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

If you grew up in my neighborhood,  every kid had a nickname.  Some matched while a  hell of a lot of them didn’t.  There was the 200 lb. thirteen year old that everyone called “slim” and the two time left back 5th grader who was referred to as “brain”.  2015 Flanagan HS, Florida WR Robert Foy is all about action when he takes to the field for the Falcons so when you hear his nickname “Bam” you can see that 2+2  = 4.

I do not know the origin of Foy’s nickname.  I would suspect that he earned it before his days on the gridiron but at this point in time in his football career it suits him.  Foy is a well put together 5’10” 190 lb. prospect.  Watching him run around on the field,  you are going to quickly think “Steve Smith” after the Baltimore Ravens leading pass catcher.  Whether Foy is running a precision route to spin a defensive back around or he is navigating his way into traffic to make a tough catch for his team to extend a drive, Bam is a word that may come to mind.  If you are a lover of the craft,  you will find enjoyment in watching Foy catch the ball with his hands away from his body.  It’s a trait that is foreign to many high school level receivers but one that seems to be an after-thought for this senior prospect.  Foy’s low center of gravity gets him in and out of his cuts with extreme quickness.  He is equally deadly inside as a slot receiver as he is on the outside vs. top cover corners.  His strength shows up on film releasing off of the line of scrimmage but even more so blocking downfield for ball carriers.  You’ll run back several clips displaying Foy manhandling defenders until they are firmly planted to the turf.

Wide receivers mostly come equipped with the term “diva” but not this guy.  Foy is a football player who’s physical nature and ability to get the job done led to him filling in at both tight end and defensive end when the Falcons were hit with injuries.  Perhaps filling in was not the correct term.  Foy caught touchdown passes from the tight end position and racked up some sacks when called upon to play defensive end.  There’s a strong chance he outplayed the person who was originally in those positions.  Coming into his senior year,  Foy did not have much fanfare.  As is often the case,  some high school prospects are late bloomers.  Foy did not really grow into the physical specimen that he is now until this most recent off season.  Colleges are starting to take notice but recruiting is tough for seniors when it gets to December.  There’s little doubt however,  that the school that eventually ends up landing this solid prospect will continue to learn the true meaning of the word “Bam”.

Click Here To View Robert Foy’s Senior Year Highlights

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’17 RB Chance Bell Can Make a Fool Out of You

cb1By Chad Wilson – Editor – Gridiron Studs Blog

Twitter: @GridironStuds

Say the name Chance Bell.  It has a ring to it doesn’t it?  That sounds like the kind of football name that you would remember and one so perfect for a running back.  However,  there’s more to the prospect than the name alone. If you’ve had a chance encounter with Bell on the football field,  your ankles are likely still mad at you for it.  Bell is a cut master and we are not talking on two turntables.

Bell was a sophomore sensation for The Burroughs High School Indians in Burbank, California.  Moving from Las Vegas to Burbank,  Bell led Burroughs in rushing with 1,150 yards on just 15o carries (7.5 average).  In so doing,  Bell became the first sophomore in the school’s history to rush for 1,o00 yards. The sophomore prospect will dazzle you with vision, footwork and change of direction.  He flashes the elements that really excite college football coaches.  Bell will remind you of a young Edgerrin James who could slice an opposing defense like a butcher cuts meat.   For defenders it has to seem as though Bell has eyes on the side of his head as he makes moves on defenders that would appear to be outside of his peripheral vision.

Bell’s production will only increase as he adds size, strength and speed to his frame.  I can see him becoming a nightmare and three straight 1,000 yard season would appear to be a formality barring injury.  Watching Bell,  you realize instantly that he has likely been carrying the football for as long as he can remember.  Natural runners like Bell are what record breaking running backs are made of. I do not know the rushing records at Burroughs high school but I am fairly certain Bell will own them by the time he walks across the stage to grab his diploma.

Running back like Chance Bell is a problem for defenders in the open field as he does a solid job of setting up blocks and defenders for his myriad of jukes, fakes and escapes. Burroughs has not been a perennial power in Southern California but I suspect that their respect level will go up with Bell in the backfield toting the mail.  He is definitely one to watch out for in coming seasons as a top prospect in a hot bed of college football talent like Southern Cal.  Opposing teams and their defenders will spend the next two seasons trying to avoid wearing a dunce cap on Bell’s future highlight reels.

Check out Chance Bell’s Sophomore Highlight Video

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’15 RB Prospect Daniel Ramos III Will Take You Where You Want to Go

By Chad Wilson – Editor – Gridiron Studs Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

Football is a physical game.  How many times have you heard that?  Even with all of the new rules that have been implemented in recent history,  football,  at it’s core, is a test of manhood and power.  Physical is the word that comes to mind when you pop in the tape of Timberview HS, Texas’ Daniel Ramos III.

I love to see power in the game of football and most coaches do too.  So if you’re a coach or a fan of power,  Ramos’ highlight video will bring you much pleasure.  His quick steps will remind you of Darren Sproles but he is bringing more punch to the defense.  If you want a more accurate comparison you would have to look to former Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner.  Ramos will flash some subtle moves to avoid the big hit from a defender when necessary but when there’s no way out,  he’s going to punish the defender that made the poor choice of trying to tackle him.  You will classify many of his runs as nifty while others will be described as violent.  Ramos also possesses one of the more ruthless stiff arms that I have ever witnessed at the high school level.  Clip after clip will show him doling out the punishment and gobbling up yards like Pac-Man after he has eaten a power pellet.

Lovers of the running game will take a quick liking to Ramos’ style as it suits many different situations.  He can break out on an opponent and turn a game around and he can also close out a game with multiple carries to run out the clock.  Ramos’ strength is also on display on film as well.  Numerous clips will show him dragging would be carriers who think holding onto cloth will be a solution.  It’s a bus ride for some defenders and Ramos is the driver.  Ramos is the kind of running back that makes defensive coordinators say “we have to rally to the ball men”.  Tackling the 2015 prospect is not a job for one man,  maybe not even two.  College coaches should see a prospect in Ramos that can fill many different roles in an offense and give their team an edge.  Ramos led Timberview in rushing this year with 1,054 yards, 14 TDs and a 7 yards per carry average.  If production is what you want,  Ramos can take you there.

Check Out Daniel Ramos III’s Senior Year Highlight Video

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’17 RB Prospect Jahryn Bailey Is Hard to Hold

By: Chad Wilson – Editor – Gridiron Studs Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

Success as a running back requires a number important elements.  Vision, quick feet, balance, speed, toughness and more all go into a successful career carrying the pigskin.  It very well may be the most demanding position in the sport and perhaps all of sports.  2017 Lennard High School running back Jahryn Bailey has the potential to be all of those things.

The sophomore running back made his mark in 2014 rushing for 473 yards and five touchdowns for the Longhorns.  His hardcore brand of running was a chain mover and set the the tone often in games for Lennard. You’ll enjoy watching his quick feet as he navigates through traffic avoiding the impending doom all around him.  Bailey’s tough running style combined with the quick feet action will conjure up memories of former Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis who once rushed for 2006 yards in a season.  Bailey has a proto-typical running back build (5’10” 200 lbs) that allows him to hide behind blockers through the first level and then power through would be tacklers at the next level and into the secondary.

Bailey’s future is bright and one can fully expect with enough carries,  he’s a thousand yard rusher in his junior and senior seasons.  He is certainly, with his skill set, poised to take the Tampa area by storm in 2015 and 16.  This offseason,  Bailey will be a prospect to watch as colleges are looking for the next running back that will bring a tough man identity to their offense.  Another offseason of growing and lifting and we are looking at a potential beast on the West Coast of Florida.  The potential is dripping from the clips on his highlight video.  For now,  defenders are finding it hard to hold onto Bailey,  my guess is that college football coaches will be the next one’s trying to get a hold of this talented 2017 prospect.

Click here to view Jahryn Bailey’s Sophomore Year Highlights

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Have You Ever Seen a 6’6″ High School Football Player Without a College Scholarship Offer? Me Neither

How Height Rules the New Recruiting Landscape

By: Chad Wilson – Editor – Gridiron Studs Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

What’s the most important factor in obtaining a college football scholarship?  Is it tremendous footwork?  Is it a high football IQ?  Is it outstanding hitting ability?  How about great speed?  All of those things are nice and most definitely a part of any great player’s resume but if you want to be sure to play college football the most important factor is,  be tall.  There’s just something about a coach having to look up to see a prospect that makes an offer fall right out of their mouth.

Go to any high school football practice for any school, anywhere.  Chances are if there is a 6’5″ participant,  he has a college scholarship offer.  This offseason,  as you make your way to all the camps and combines,  check the crowd of reporters.  You can be certain they will congregate around a plus six footer.  There’s just something about having to hold your tape recorder above your head that screams hot prospect.  I’m not just talking fantasy here,  there is evidence to support this.  I am also not saying that tall prospects aren’t good players but there’s no denying that when it comes to height and college football prospects,  the numbers are trending up.

Take a look at the Rivals Top 100.   Here are the heights of the last five #1 rated prospects in the country:

Height of Rivals #1 Prospect 2011-2015
2011 6’6″
2012 6’6″
2013 6’3″
2014 6’4″
2015 6’3″

Looking beyond just that top spot,  from 2011-2015 ranked recruiting classes by Rivals,  only six prospects listed under 6′ have ever found themselves in the top 10.  That’s six prospects out of 50 that have been listed under 6′ tall.  For your math nuts out there,  that’s a mere 12%.

You should also note,  since it began producing a Top 100 list in 2002, has never had their #1 recruit in the country stand under six feet tall.  Bet you didn’t know that.

Well you say,  that’s probably because they’re always picking some quarterback or defensive end.  This is true,  the last three #1 players in the country have been defensive ends.  So let’s take a look at height as it relates to some individual positions.  First we will start with defensive ends.  If you’re standing at or under six feet,  playing defensive end is a tough way to go according to the recruiting numbers.

- Height of Top 10 Rivals WDE 2011-2015
- Height of #1 Player Height of Shortest Prospect
2011 6’5″ 6’2″
2012 6’4″ 6’3″
2013 6’2″ 6’2″
2014 6’4″ 6’3″
2015 6’5″ 6’2″

No surprises here.  Height is where it’s at.  When it comes to rushing the quarterbacks weak side,  college coaches believe a tall, long rangy player has all the advantages over someone who is not that.

How Tall is the Passing Game?

There are no surprises at the pro-style quarterback position either.  Absolutely zero sub six foot quarterbacks have been ranked in the top 10 over the last five years at  The average height of the guys that have been ranked number one in this category is 6’4″.

Ok,  we get it,  you “need” a tall guy to see over the line (that is till you realize the centers and guards are also 6’4″ but I’ll drink my tea now).  Perhaps the shifty dual threat quarterbacks are given some leeway on height.  Fat chance!  Over the last five recruiting cycles,  the average height of the #1 ranked dual threat quarterback in the country at Rivals has been 6’1.5″ and only one prospect out of a possible 50 listed in the top 10 over that time period has been listed under six feet.  That prospect is none other than Booker T. Washington High School’s and current Florida Gators starting quarterback Treon Harris.  That should surprise you.

Receiver’s Being Stolen from the Basketball Court

Surely,  receivers are not so much a part of this scenario.  Yes,  we have noticed that they have been getting taller but not across the board, right?  Hit the buzzer,  wrong!  No receiver from 2011-2015 recruiting classes listed under six feet has found themselves as the #1 receiver in the country.  Of the 50 receivers listed in the Top 10 over that time span,  a mere nine have been under six feet.   That’s 18%.

What About the No Fly Zone?

I didn’t take a look at the entire No Fly Zone.  I took an interest in cornerbacks.  When I was growing up,  it was rare to see six foot plus guys playing the position.  The thought was that they did not have the agility to mirror a wide receiver going through his cavalcade of direction changes.  That thinking has seen it’s way out with rotary dialed phones, VCR’s and other beloved amenities of my youth.  Take a look at the recent trends:

Height of Top 10 Rivals Cornerbacks 2011-2015
- Height of #1 Prospect # out of Top 10 listed under 6′
2011 6’1″ 7 out of 10
2012 5’11” 6 out of 10
2013 511″ 6 out of 10
2014 6’1″ 5 out of 10
2015 6’1″ 4 out of 10

Noticing a trend here?  Each recruiting cycle,  the number of sub 6′ cornerbacks in the Top 10 is shrinking.  Only the University of Miami’s Tracy Howard (2012) and the University of Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves (2013) has managed to find themselves in the top spot standing under six feet.  I guess we can all thank the Seattle Seahawks for this trend as they’ve dominated the air waves in the NFL the past few seasons with power forwards playing cornerback.

What’s the Reason?

Well there are a few theories I have.  First,  the field of exercise science has exploded in recent years.  The ability to turn seemingly any individual into a competent athlete has increased.  This now applies to taller athletes who were once considered to be awkward.  Physical development and training is turning tall athletes into agile beings that can survive out in space and change direction.  There was a time that the thought was once you passed 6’5″ it was time for you to go stand in the paint on a basketball court.  Now exercise science has turned those guys into tight ends and even wide receivers.

College coaching staffs can add weight to a prospects frame when they get on campus.  They can also make them faster and improve their IQ.  However,  we have not reached the point where medical science can make an athlete taller.  With that in mind,  the thought of a coaching staff is I can’t teach height so acquiring a 6’5″ player that can do what a 6’2″ player can do gives me a tactical advantage.

College coaches are also involved in a profession that does not offer a ton of stability.  Jobs are given and taken with light speed now in college football.  More and more,  jobs are lost over lack of production in the area of recruiting.  This means,  coaches are less likely to take chances on the recruiting trail.  Bringing in a highly productive high school player who was not the ideal height and having him struggle on the college practice field makes for some uneasy moments in the meeting room.  Coaches now are much more resigned to taking a tall athlete that “looks the part” and having him fail than the alternative.

You may ask why should we care about the Top guys or the top 10 guys?  We are just looking to get a scholarship to any of the schools, not necessarily Alabama.  Here’s the rub.  College football is very much a copy cat game and that means in recruiting too.  All of the schools are looking to imitate what’s in the top 10.  It seems they will take a poor man’s version of the Top 10 prospects before going after a highly productive version that does not resemble top 10 characteristics.  I have division II schools telling me they are looking for 6 foot corners.  Really man?

Few programs are willing to be trend setters it seems as the herd mentality rules.  Playing it safe is the name of the game and the bottom will imitate what’s happening at the top as best they can.

What Should the Little Guys Do?

Have no fear.  It’s not time to start watching the horse races and conjuring up a career as a jockey.  In the long run,  football is a results oriented business that holds many rewards for those who can persevere.  What is football if not a test of will?  If you are not the required height,  it just means you are going to have to dig deep, work harder and grind more than the next man.  It’s what you should be doing anyway but even more now since your are looking up to your competition.  The lessons and character you build in this pursuit will only yield dividends in every aspect of your life.

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