In a much awaited decision, Princess Anne High School, VA cornerback Tony Grimes, the #1 rated player at his position in 2021, chose the North Carolina Tar Heels on Tuesday afternoon. Grimes becomes the 17th commit in Mack Brown’s 2nd class in his return to North Carolina. He is also UNC’s first 5 star commit in this class. If Brown and the staff are successful in securing Grimes’ ink to paper he’d be the first 5 star signee in a long time. North Carolina did not have a 5 star signee in the last decade (2010-2020).
If it looks like a football player and it looks like a football player that looks like a football player then it’s a football player. That’s not exactly how that saying goes in the rest of the World but it does hold some truth in the world of college football recruiting. Allow me to show you.
The eyes are a powerful thing. Even before you can touch or smell something, the eyes are at work making 1,000’s of computations about a person, a place or a thing. It’s why most believe that the sense of sight is the most powerful sense of all. In that vain the first assessment a college football coach will make about you upon seeing you is whether or not, through his eyes, you look like a football player. You may have grown up on the old adage never judge a book by it’s cover, nobody told a college football coach that.
There are hotbeds for high school football prospects in the country. Off the top of your head you can name a few like Florida, Texas and California. No matter how long I let you think about it, you won’t ever mention Utah but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good prospects there.
Case in point, 2020 defensive back Keilen Washington from Dixie High School. For starters, his GridironStuds profile says he runs a 4.37 forty. Now we all know that high school 40 times are to be taken with the utmost grain of salt. The good news for Washington is that he moves fast enough on film for you to believe it. Washington patrols his corner position for Dixie HS in addition to handling return duties for the team. It is in the return game where he show off his speed. His film will reveal his ability to see a gap in the coverage and hit it with passion launching him through and onto the other side in short order. When no hole is present, Washington can run around a defender as good as anyone else. Schools love defensive backs that can contribute on special teams, especially the return game.
If you learned one thing about recruiting from me on this blog it’s that self awareness can be your biggest asset or your biggest weakness. Failing to have it will undoubtedly lead to you making a series of bad decisions that will likely turn your college football career (if you even have one) into a nightmare.
In that same vain, today’s discussion in this blog post is directly related to having good self awareness. Football is a sport where quitting is frowned upon. A never say die attitude is needed in training and certainly on Friday nights when things aren’t going your way. It’s a strong life lesson that every football player should stuff in their pocket and carry with them. However, there is quitting and there is steering yourself in the right direction.
I was in my senior season at the University of Miami. As luck would have it, the Super Bowl was in Miami that year. The San Diego Chargers were taking on the San Francisco 49ers. Even more luck was upon me as the 49ers were using our facilities to prepare for the big game. What I learned from that experience stayed with me for a lifetime.
We weren’t allowed to see the 49ers practice as those things, for the most part, were top secret. However, on one day, a couple of us players stepped into our head coach’s office where we could see the practice field. Already legendary for his work ethic, I expected to see Jerry Rice working up a sweat. I did not expect to see a maniac. Rice sprinted to the end zone on every pass he caught and as you could imagine, he was thrown many of them. He would then turn around and run back down to catch his next rep. When the first team came out, guys grabbed Gatorade. Rice grabbed a trainer who threw him balls continuously until the first team was back in again. It was insane to watch. Rice was in his 11th year as a pro and nowhere close to getting cut but was behaving like he was told he was on the chopping block.
You were finally coming around. Things were starting to fall in place. You had a plan for your spring semester as well as summer trips planned to the colleges. The only thing that could mess this up would be a virus that affects the entire World and causes our entire country to shut down putting the football season in jeopardy. There’s no chance that could happen. Oh well guess what?
With the college football season being an uncertainty and the 2020 high school football season in many states being on life support, the 2021 class is getting one heck of a raw deal as it pertains to college football recruiting. Those highly ranked and with solid offers in place are not feeling the pinch. However, prospects who are on the bubble and still waiting for their first committable offer have their hands nervously hovering over the panic button.