Commit to Who? Commit to What? College Football Out of Control

Imagine a quiet romantic evening with your girlfriend at a restaurant,  followed by a walk into a crowded town square.   As you approach the waterfall during engaging conversation about the future,  you drop down to one knee and profess your love to her in front of dozens of strangers.  Fortunately she says yes and with glee you hug and kiss.  A bigger part of your future is now secured or so it seemed.

Months of planning would ensue after such an event and after all is said and done,  the date is planned.  You anxiously await the coming day but suddenly you receive a phone call a couple of weeks out.  Your fiance’s mothers is on the line.  She has informed you that “Kelly” is not going to be able to get married on that day but great news,  her cousin Anna is going to be your interim bride to be until the family finds you a new love of your life.  No worries though,  the family has secured a top notch search team to make sure the right one is found.  Ah yes,  what is love?

What I just described was not a Saturday Night Live script but the current state of our popular Saturday sport.  If you have been following me for any amount of time,  you have seen me lament the way we throw out coaches like dry erase markers.  Gone are the days of Haden Frye,  LaVell Edwards,  Don Nehlan,  Tom Osborne and the like.  You know guys who could keep their jobs even if they did not win “the big one”.  I have sounded the alarm like the haggard old man outside the stadium pleading with drunken fans to repent for their sins before Jesus Christ returns to claim his followers.

I carry a young face but the truth is that I have been around for half of a century.  It has allowed me enough time to see the way the river flows and predict the body of water it will end up in.  In this case,  college football is up to it’s neck in murky fluids.  I saw this day coming but like most things nowadays,  it has arrived even faster than I expected.

Don’t get me wrong,  I am not overcome with sorrow for the college football coaches.  How could I entirely be when I see how much they are given to skip town.  The numbers I am reading means their departure won’t be on a Greyhound.  However,  a part of me is sad for the coaches who are not given an authentic opportunity to make an impact in the lives of the young men they have been chosen to lead.  Instead,  they have been bastardized into coaching strictly for a check as the only point of view that matters is that of the rabid fanbase exploding on a social media account near you.

Precious little consideration is given to the young men who are trying their best to make a life decision and to those who have already walked down the aisle.  I know what the common masses will think.  What’s the problem,  you can just change your commitment or jump in the transfer portal.  I guess I can’t blame you for this line of thinking if you have never thrown your line into these waters.  Behind all of the offers, trips, social media posts, recruiting website hype and glorification are actual young men coming into their own.  Behind them are their families and a whole lot of emotion going into a decision.  For many,  this is the first real decision they are making in their lives and what are they learning?

For lack of a better term,  college football has turned into a real “pimp and hoe” situation.  Where there has once been a “Black Monday” where coaches who didn’t perform up to the often unrealistic expectations would be terminated by season’s end has given way to “Black Any Damn Day” where you could be fired at any moment,  at anytime in any place.  Yes sir,  you could get kicked out of that Buick with no clothes on.   Ask Scott Frost,  Herman Edwards, Geof Collins, Karl Dorrell and Paul Chryst who are all tasting the blood in their mouth from the pimp slap.   We don’t even let coaches make it to Halloween anymore.  The boogeyman comes in September now.

Left in the wake of all this “pimpitry” are the 17-21 year olds who now have their lives tossed Into chaos.  Whether you,  the fan,  like it or not,  people make decisions about places based on people.  The majority of the players on a college football team are there because a person convinced them that they should be there with them but them is often gone by the time they get settled.

At this point,  what is a college football prospect committing to?  Are they committing to a building,  a city,  a student union or perhaps a major that they may not be able to take because the classes conflict with the business at hand.  You know,  if you keep missing practice to take that afternoon class and the team loses to their rival,  somebody’s gonna be pounding a Coldwell Banker sign into their front lawn.

In this multi-faceted collision of entities in college football,  the ones least considered in virtually all decisions are the youngest,  most impressionable and hardest working,  the players.  The conduct of the “adults” have forced the youth to adopt a selfish mindset.  The recruit must think of himself and himself only as this will be the only one interested in his best interests.  When a coach sits on your couch during an official visit and stares into your eyes to tell you he’s not going anywhere it has to sound like the wayward father telling his son “I’m going to the store to get some cigarettes,  I’ll be right back.”  Come on college football,  we’ve got to do better.


University Miami Football Has to Stop Doing This

Lost in all of the drowning of sorrows late Saturday night after the University of Miami suffered one of the more embarrassing defeats in it’s history was the hollowness of the stadium during this dark moment in time.  Once again,  the team was on the field trying to do it’s best to restore the legacy while precious few people were in the stands witnessing it.  I was once a guy who blamed the fans,  I am not that guy anymore.

When you are in Gainesville, or Lexington or Lincoln,  Nebraska,  you might get pumped up to watch the local college football team go battle the Middle Tennessee St. What’s Their Names on a Saturday afternoon in the heat.  In those towns,  the local tractor pull,  rodeo or ax throwing contests can be pushed to a later date to watch the home team get it in vs. a team they had to pay to show up.  I don’t know if you’ve been down here to Miami before or not (judging by the skyrocketing home prices,  you’re lying if you say you haven’t) but there’s a lot to do on a Saturday in September.  You folks in Po-dunk can say all you want about loyalty but your overalls tell me your loyalty was not an option.

For some odd reason,  the powers to be at the University of Miami thought it a grand idea to feed their fanbase this glorious trio of home soup for the first three games of the season:  Bethune Cookman,  Southern Mississippi and Middle Tennessee St.  You should not be surprised when the customer says take that back to the kitchen.  I’m going to lay this at the feet of the admin.  For three weeks now,  the players have had to come through the smoke and clear their eyes to see a handful of people in the stands.  Football is an emotional game and a robust home crowd can feed the energy needed even against a team without a name like Middle Tennessee St.

How long can you keep playing opponents like this before you start becoming a team like them?  This scheduling phenomenon has been going on for quite some time and it kind of falls in line with the collapse of the dynasty.  It wasn’t always this way through.  It has been 21 years since the University of Miami has stood atop the college football World.  For those of you old enough to remember when this thing started back in 1983,  that would be thinking back to 1962 when this dynasty run started.  Think about that.  That is black and white TV’s,  rotary phones, full meals on an airplane and everyone going to church on Sunday.  Back then,  Miami was an Independent and could schedule anyone.  Fans back then would get treated to visits from Penn St., Notre Dame and Florida in the Orange Bowl.  Prior to 1983,  Miami was looking to get themselves on the map by scheduling these titans to try get their location services powered up.  Now we schedule games like we have something to protect?  Well,  like the rotary phones and $.25 per gallon gas prices,  our championship aura is gone.  What are we protecting?  We are very much the program that we were in 1980.  A has been with the potential to be once more.  We won’t get there scheduling like we have been.

No longer can we be afraid to take an L because a real opponent might show up on our home turf.  We are the underdog.  We can’t be the ones climbing on top of the car to get away from the savage canine.  We have to go bite people!  Players did not sign up to come duke it out with borderline division II football programs.  I was extremely disappointed when we joined the Big East in 1991.  I thought back then we should be in the SEC so we can face top shelf opponents more often.  Look at what the SEC has blossomed into.  For reasons I am not privy to,  we did the Big East thing and then pivoted to the ACC.   If joining the ACC meant we had to ink up these corny deals to play opponents more motivated than us,  I would have gathered the bottles and rocks up myself to throw in protest.

The Atlantic Coast Conference is not a juggernaut.  Furthermore,  it does not provide many, if it all,  matchups that would excite the South Florida locals.  Few of the born and raised or transplants have a connection to Duke, Virginia, V-Tech, North Carolina, Georgia Tech or even Pittsburgh.  People from those areas don’t move down here.  They think South Floridians are nuts.  Unless Clemson or Florida St. show up at Hard Rock Stadium,  you have no shot at getting to 75% capacity in the stands.  That means on most Saturdays,  there is no energy for the players to feed off of in their stadium.  Literally,  everything they get is off the muscle.

I remember Notre Dame coming to town in 2017.  I can’t blame any fan who was in attendance that night for thinking the U was back.  The emotion,  the atmosphere and the energy was enough to take anyone back.  It was like that 20 year retired NBA vet hitting a jumper and wanting to call up the Laker’s GM.  I swear the crowd pushed the team to the 41-8 blowout that night.  That was the last time the University of Miami has had a marquee non-conference opponent grace the Hard Rock turf.

How bad has the scheduling been?  There have only been three ranked opponents to play the University of Miami in Hard Rock Stadium in the last four plus seasons.  Zero of those three teams were outside of the ACC.   This is the worst such run on ranked opponents since 1980.  Here are the non-conference home opponents since the beginning of the 2018 season:

Savannah St.
Bethune Cookman
Central Michigan
App. St.
Michigan St.
Central Connecticut
Bethune Cookman
Southern Mississippi
Middle Tenneesee St.

Somebody pass me a puke emoji.  These teams will not get fans to the games.  It won’t happen in this town where the sun is always shining,  the liquor is always flowing and the ocean is always blue.

Memo to the University athletic department:  You’ve hired the right coach and you’ve started spending the right amount of money.  It’s time to add the last piece.  Start scheduling the right opponents.  The ACC Conference is not that.  It’s not tough enough to say you must go soft on non-conference opponents.  We,  the University of Miami,  currently are not that.  We have to go get people.  We must revert back to our pre on the map days by bringing the best to town and try to a) make a run at knocking them off and b) see where we are at.

In closing,  schedules these days are made well in advance.  Here’s a peek at what the non-conference slate looks like going forward


Miami of Ohio
Texas A&M


Ball St.


Notre Dame


Central Michigan

It’s a little better than what we are getting this year but still not where we need to be.  If the opportunity presents itself,  I suggest we get FAMU out of there.  We definitely don’t need to see them twice in a three year period.  One of those MAC opponents gotta go.  At most,  we should be playing only one sub Power 5 opponent non conference each year.  Yes,  load up and take on the challenges.  Be willing to lose and unafraid to knuckle up to best college football has to offer.  That will get us the attention we want and deserve instead of the type we are wallowing in this week.

Why is He a 5-Star? Brandon Inniss

If you had a chance to watch nationally ranked American Heritage take on Los Alamitos high school on ESPN last weekend,  you no doubt noticed wide receiver Brandon Inniss.  For people who pay attention to the South Florida high school football scene,  Inniss is an all too familiar name and one that seems to have been around for a decade.  In this article we will dig into why Inniss has achieved 5-Star status and why seemingly every school in the country is vying for his services.


Terrell Owens once yelled on the sidelines of a game “who can make a play? I can!”  Well that line suits Inniss so well.  Whenever you need one,  Inniss is there.  There’s something about this prospect and his ability to turn up big when the moment is huge.  Inniss is a fierce competitor that wells up with passion when it seems the outcome is in doubt.  It is this nature that put him on the scene and has allowed him to rise to the top of it.  Lined up against another top recruit in Malaki Lemon in the game vs. Los Alamitos,  Inniss surged by the two way athlete to settle up under a fade route from Heritage quarterback Blake Murphy.  Inniss,  matched up against a top athlete,  made it look easy and it’s something he has done time and again in his high school career.  When the moment is big,  his star shines bright.

Great Hands

Get the ball anywhere near Inniss and he’s hauling it in.  One of his biggest assets is his ability to win the 50 / 50 ball vs defenders.  He is also not one to alligator arm it across the middle.  This wide receiver wants all of the smoke.  Rarely do you see a drop from Inniss and it’s more likely you will see him rise up over a defender to rip away the ball as well as the defender’s pride.  Inniss combines the route running of a wide receiver with the dependable hands of an All Pro tight end.  This makes life easy for quarterbacks.

Great with the Ball in His Hands

Not only does Inniss do a good job of making the tough catches but he’s damn tough after making the tough catches.  His game film is littered with clips of him bullying his way down the field after getting the ball.  His ability to do things with the football went on full display his junior season.  The heavily recruited wide receiver had to take over at quarterback following a season ending injury to Murphy.  Out of his wide receiver spot for the majority of the season,  Inniss became even more dangerous receiving the ball on every play at QB.  I would dare say that this took him from 4-star to 5-star status.  Inniss put the team on his back and unleashed a diet of RPOs complete with QB runs, precision slant passes along with well placed post and fade routes for touchdowns.  Most impressive though was the juke ability and tackle breaking that Inniss showed on a majority of his runs.  This left coaches salivating about what he could do when the ball is thrown to him at their program.

Well Put Together

Receivers nowadays come in all shapes and sizes.  They can be bite sized slot guys that excel in short area quickness to tall rangy outside types that jump over people on long down field throws.  Inniss is listed at 6’0″ 190 lbs. but you would swear that he’s more than that if you saw him in pads. Along with the facial hair,  Inniss’ seemingly 200 lb. frame makes him look like a guy that already has a meal card and a 5 A.M. lift schedule at a major football program.  We all know that coaches recruit body types and when you see Inniss,  he’s screaming Power 5 from build he presents.  He’s a solid 190 if that’s what he is.  He will very much remind you of former NFL’er Anquan Boldin.

Been Around for a While

When you bust on the scene in 8th grade and meaningfully contribute,  the odds can be in your favor in terms of being rated high.  However,  what typically happens is early attention getters fall off.  A super young guy can be dominating because he reached puberty ahead of his peers. Many times a guy gets stuck at his height, weight and skill from 9th grade.  This was not the case from Inniss.  He caught they eye of recruiters early on and continued to improve with each passing year.  This is literally what all recruiters that hand out early offers are hoping for.  They don’t want to find themselves in the position later on of having to ditch guys in their junior / senior years.  Inniss did not present that problem.  As the years wore on,  more schools jumped on the bandwagon.  At one point,  he was committed to Oklahoma and Lincoln Riley.  However,  when Riley headed for the Pacific Ocean and USC,  Inniss backed off of his Sooner pledge.  Eventually,  he landed with top ranked Ohio St. as he committed to them this summer.

The only thing missing from Inniss’ game is blazing speed but with the amount of other stuff he brings at an elite level it’s easy to look beyond any deficiencies that may exist in the top speed category.  One should fully expect Inniss to arrive on the scene early no matter what school he ends up signing with.


Recruiting Law: Loyalty is a Two Way Street

You may have heard new Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables wax poetic on commitments in college football.  Full disclosure,  Venables is one of my favorite coaches in college football and a guy I have had the pleasure of meeting.  Venables has brought “the Clemson way” in terms of recruiting with him to Oklahoma.  A commitment,  is a commitment,  is a commitment.  There was a time where this didn’t need to be said but boy times are a changing.

It seems that in a flash we have gone from sitting out a year when you transferred to enter the portal now and play tomorrow.  We’ve gone from National Signing Day to National Signing Days and from free ride to NIL deals in the millions.  All of these things had been brewing for a while so no one should be surprised when the word loyalty has firmly buckled itself into the back seat of a extra long Suburban.  Venables is certainly right when he says “we ought to teach young men what commitment looks like.  However,  loyalty is a pot luck dinner in recruiting that requires everyone to bring a dish.  With that in mind,  allow me to give you a few things to remember when it comes to being loyal and commitment in the world of college football recruiting.

One of the biggest points Venables makes when speaking on recruiting is that when you commit to Oklahoma,  that’s the end of taking recruiting trips.  I realize that the way I just put that sounds like an ultimatum but it’s not quite that way.  Venables’ philosophy is that he doesn’t want you to commit to the Sooners until you are absolutely ready.  He encourages prospects to take all the trips they can.  He is adamant that student athletes and their parents do their research.  When all of that is said and done,  make your decision.   If your decision is his program that means no more looking around.  He draws comparisons to marriage and rightfully so,  in theory.  Not every programs operates the way Venables’ does.  Some staffs find themselves in desperate situations.  They also like the momentum that commitments bring.  Sometimes commitments get others on the fence to commit.  One guy’s commitment can create a snowball effect and thus will be encouraged by some college coaches.  Recruiting can be as tough a game as the sport that’s played in the Fall.

Once that commitment is made,  all coaches will frown on a prospect running around to look at other schools and potentially getting swayed by a number of factors are present on campus.  It would be nice if schools also ceased pursuing new prospects at your position once you commit but we all know that this is not true.  Call it a lack of integrity by the staff or paranoia but this phenomenon exists.  Even worse,  scholarship offers can get pulled days before it’s time to put ink to paper.  Yes,  that’s similar to the unblocked defensive end getting a free run through the T6 and T7 vertebrae.  It is best that you stop taking trips after your commitment as doing so will certainly keep the staff you committed to on the prowl for another prospect.

To avoid committing before you are ready,  I highly recommend that prospects avoid committing during their visit to a school.  I say this even if the school you are committing to is your last visit.  It is always best to remove yourself from the elements and the pressure of the staff to come to your final conclusion.  Get home from the trip,  discuss the decision with the important people in your life even if that only person is you.  This limits a decision that you regret and causes you to have to back track from slightly or fully.  Doing this erodes trust and guess what,  the next school you commit to will have in the back of their mind that you left someone hanging before you got to them.

As Venables says,  take all of your trips.  If you have the ability to do this,  then by all means please do.  However,  things aren’t always so cut and dry.  A prospect may take a couple of trips to schools who were interested.  We know that things get sped up in the recruiting game so there may be pressure to take a spot that is closing.  At some point beyond that,  a prospect may become more desired and new schools may come into play.  This a good but bad situation.  My advice on this is to ultimately do what is best for you but be honest in your dealings.  If new schools have come into play and you have trips remaining,  take the trips if you can even if you have committed to another school.  However,  be straight up with the school you are committed to.  Tell them what you are going to do because in this day in age,  there are few secrets.  We live in the camera phone,  social media,  breaking news era.  Sneaking off on a visit and expecting not to get caught is like going to the club when you told your girlfriend you were going to bed.  Good luck with that.  I would also suggest that you move quickly on the new interest.  Determine with speed if it’s for you or not.  If it is,  make your move and be sure the new school really wants you.  If it isn’t,  reaffirm with the school you are committed to that you are firmly in their class.  The staff will need that assurance.

A commitment,  though not binding,  should be a celebration.  It’s symbolizes the “potential” end to a long awaited and developing process.  What it should not do is make you blind.  This is where the recruiting process and marriage comparisons may have to fist pound and go their separate ways.  College football is a fluid situation.  Coaches leave and get fired as often as politicians get caught in scandals.  I am not just talking about head coaches either.  Part of your decision process was seeing yourself fitting into a particular offensive or defensive system.  Coordinators leaving can impact your future too.  Keep an eye out for the developments at the school you committed to.  Furthermore,  as I mentioned earlier in this article,  many programs keep on recruiting your position after your commitment.  Not all coaches went to the Brent Venables school of ethics and not all are in as comfortable a spot as he is either.  Pressure brings challenges to morals and not all men pass the test.  Maintain your relationships with other coaches and programs beyond your commitment.  Because things get murky in recruiting,  you don’t want to be caught without a clean pair of clothes to change into should mud get slung onto your blue jeans.  Have the discipline to maintain a relationship with the coaches that have recruited you while making it clear that you are committed to that other program.

Should conditions change in a significant way at your original school,  it’s best to have options.  You don’t want be left out in the cold in this once in a lifetime process that can affect you well into the future.  Be loyal but not to a fault.  Some call that being stupid.

GridironStuds Top 5 QBs in the 2023 Class

Recently,  247 Sports came out with their rankings for the top quarterbacks in the 2023 Class.  As expected,  Arch Manning was the top signal caller in the class as he has continued to gain momentum since the season ended.  Of course,  there is a lot of Manning hate out there at this point as people point to the Manning name being the major reason behind his lofty ranks.  I will address that below as I give my ranking of the top 5 quarterbacks in the 2023 class.

Before launching into this countdown,  I must admit that I have not seen all of the quarterbacks in the class.  Of course this would be quite impossible.  I must rely heavily on what is provided by the people at 247 sports, Rivals and Hudl for much of my research.  These companies,  the first two in particular,  catch a lot of heat for their rankings and star ratings.  There is no perfect science when it comes to this but I will defend these companies by saying it takes a lot of work by a lot of people to gather data and information on prospects all over the country.  My rankings below are based on the film I have been able to review,  the experience I have accumulated through the years and my knowledge of how the game works.  With that said,  here are my top 5.

5. Jaden Rashada – Pittsburg HS, CA – 6’4″ 185 lbs. – Committed to: Miami

Outside of Rashada’s stature in the pocket being a tall quarterback,  what really stands out with him is his long ball accuracy.  It’s one thing for a quarterback to have a strong arm but it’s quite another for him to throw a nice deep ball.  That defines Rashada.  He has the arm to get it there and the knack to put it where it belongs whether that is hitting receiver in stride,  over the shoulder when he is covered or dropping it in the corner of the end zone.  On top of that,  he moves well in the pocket and keeps his eyes down field to find open receivers.  When flushed out of the pocket,  he can make solid throws on the run.  He is a very confident player that is good under pressure which is a highly underrated skill set in high school quarterbacks.  That trait translates well to the next level because college quarterback is nothing if not pressure.

4. Christopher Vizzina – Briarwood Christian, AL – 6’4″ 207 lbs. – Committed to: Clemson

Vizzina is another big quarterback with a big arm committed to an ACC power.  His arm appears to be a tad stronger than Rashada’s but he is not quite as accurate.  Like Rashada he can move in the pocket but unlike Rashada he is more willing to take off and run with the football.  Inside of the pocket he has the accuracy and abilities to cut up a defense.  What sets him apart from other top QBs is his ability as a ball carrier.  He is athletic and a load to bring down.  While he is not going against supreme talent,  you can see the difficulties he presents to a defense when he tucks it.   He is going to mesh really well with what it is Clemson likes to do offensively and I see him having great success there.

3. Arch Manning – Isadore Newman, La – 6’4″ 215 lbs. – Committed to: Texas

About 13 months ago,  I graded the top signal callers for this class and ranked Manning exactly where I have him now.  Not a ton has changed for me in my opinion of his abilities.  247 Sports has him ranked first and I don’t see that yet.  I emphasize yet because I do believe he has a strong chance of being the best of the class when draft time comes.  I realize that a lot of what 247 and Rivals does has to do with NFL projections.  It allows them to steal attention during draft time as they opine on how they were right about a prospect as he shakes hands with Roger Godell on stage.  I can buy into that with Manning.  He is big, has the arm talent and certainly has the pedigree.  His access is better than any other prospect on the list so it stands to reason that he is likely to improve more than most.  For this he is hated which is nonsense to me.  No one gets pissed when a veteran UPS worker gets his son a driving gig with the company.  With all that said,  I don’t think Manning’s physical tools are where the two guys in front of him are.  He has an arm good enough to make all the throws,  he’s good enough to scramble for a first down and he definitely can read a defense.  He can certainly execute an offense and that makes his marriage with Steve Sarkisian in Texas one to watch.  If all runs smoothly,  I think Manning will most likely have the best college career.

2. Malachi Nelson – Los Alamitos HS, CA – 6’3″ 185 lbs. – Committed to: USC

There isn’t a more easy thrower of the football than Nelson in this class.  He is Aaron Rodgeresqe with his delivery and confidence.  He makes throws from various arm angles and fits into tight places.  He is calm under pressure and trusts his receivers.  He moves well in the pocket and looks to throw down the field when in these situations.  He doesn’t panic when forced out of the pocket and is accurate when throwing on the move.  When the situation calls to take off,  he can be frustrating for defenses if not flat out deadly.  He doesn’t face the best competition that Southern California has to offer but he does face his fair share of pressure.  We all know Lincoln Riley’s track record with quarterbacks . I am certain that with Nelson and what he will be able to put around him,  Riley will have Nelson on the ballot for that heavy trophy during his USC career.

1.. Dylan Lonegran – Brookwood HS, GA – 6’2″ 215 lbs. – Committed to: Alabama

I promise you I am not trying to be Dr. Contrarian here.  247 Sports ranks Lonegran 11th but when I cut the tape on and compare him to the rest of the field,  he stands the tallest for me.  If you are into height then he isn’t as tall as the others I have on this list.  However,  Lonegran plays big.  You can see the power in his arm when he throws.  His zip on the ball is apparent and it my be a function of his pitching acumen (90 mph fastball).  I find myself impressed by his ability to process quickly and make decisions.  I consider decision making to be my top trait and predictor of success.  While he does have a strong arm,  not everything is a fastball.  He shows nice touch on throws where that is required and not only is he accurate from the pocket but also when he leaves it.  When things break down,  Lonegran can tuck it and run like any other.  He has deceptive speed along with an ability to break tackles.  On film he just looks like a gamer that makes things happen.  He also appears to be quite confident.  Last month he committed to Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide two months after fellow 2023 class member Eli Holstein (ranked ranked 10th) did.  Now that’s ballsy.  Someone’s going to end up transferring out of Tuscaloosa and don’t be surprised if it ends up being Holstein.

That’s how I see it.  My focus was on the top 15 guys in the class.  Out of that group,  I found the top 5.  There’s always the chance that some overlooked and undervalued prospect becomes a gem.  I will likely catch some flack for keeping darlings Arnold Jackson and Nicholaus Iamaleava out of my top 5.  In watching the film,  they just did not stand above the five I named here.  Of course,  we will revisit this list at season’s end and definitely a couple of years from now.

5 Things Defensive Tackles Need to Show on Film

Defensive tackles can be the hidden factors on a football team.  When they are dominant,  offenses have a hard time operating but they can go unnoticed by fans watching the game.  You know who does notice them?  College football coaches do.  They know that the key to being solid on defense is being strong up the middle and that starts with your defensive tackles.  If you are are looking to impress college football programs as a defensive tackle to the point of being offered scholarships then there are five things that you will need to show on film.

1.  A Great Get Off

There are few things more impressive when you are watching film of a defensive tackle than one who can explode out of his stance at the snap of the ball.  I dare say that it’s the most disruptive thing in the game of football.  A guy breathing over the football who can get to the quarterback or wreck the ball carrier in two seconds is something no offense wants to deal with.  If you don’t have a great get off then find one asap.  College coaches know that a guy that can penetrate the line of scrimmage snap after snap causes the offense to change their plans.  When a college coach is out looking for defensive tackles,  that’s the guy he is looking for.  Get in the weight room and hit the explosive lifts.  Also spend some time working on your timing.  Studying centers and finding clues for when they are going to snap the ball will also help.  If you already have a get off,  show it on film even when you did not ultimately make the play.

2.  Ability to Get Off Blocks

Defensive tackles get blocked.  There’s no way around that.  They are the closest defenders to the quarterback.  So if you don’t block the tackles then we simply don’t have a football game.  However,  just because you get blocked doesn’t mean you have to stay blocked.  The best defensive tackles,  shed blocks and find the ball carrier.  This is something you must show on film.  Perhaps you don’t have the explosive get off but if you are a guy that can’t get off of blocks you can’t play and you definitely won’t get scholarship offers.  If you are lacking in this area,  learn how to use your hands,  use your leverage and develop your lower body strength.  Being able to push the pocket on pass plays is a great thing to show up on your highlight video as well.

3.  Handle Double Teams

If you are good at points one and two then you already know what is coming.  As I said before,  defensive tackles have to get blocked if the offense is going to move the football.  If your get off or ability to shed blocks is a great then the offense will honor that by devoting two men to block you.  If you have the ability to stall two men at the line of scrimmage or better yet,  split them then put that on your highlight video.  You can even include plays on your film where you didn’t make the tackle but you defeated a double team block.  Holding your ground against these types of blocks means other guys on the defense can operate at a high level and college coaches love that.

4.  Motor

You want to see a coach throw a visor?  Then have a defensive tackle cut off a big play near the sidelines.  If the biggest guys on the defense also hustle on every play then the coach calling offensive plays knows that it’s going to be a long day.  If you are a guy that can separate from a block to run to the sidelines to make a tackle on a sweep or stretch play,  put that on your highlight video.  If you are a guy that will rush the passer then turn around and go find the receiver when the ball is thrown,  put that on film.  Show your hustle on film even when you didn’t end up being the first guy on the tackle.  Hustling is a mentality.  If you don’t have that then go develop it.  Not only will it catch a college’s attention but it will help your high school team have a bad ass defense.  You have to love that.

5.  Pass Rush Moves

Last but certainly not least,  you have to get to the passer.  Football has become very offensive and pass happy.  Everything revolves around the quarterbacks so if you can make his operations difficult you bring tremendous value.  Defensive tackles must stop the run first.  However,  if you can make the quarterback uncomfortable by landing on him or making him leave the pocket frequently you are a scholarship worthy player.  The best way to accomplish this is by having a set of pass rush moves.  I am not just talking about a bull rush.  I am talking about martial arts type hand movement that makes you as slippery as an iPhone without the case.  If you have that ability,  display it.  If you are missing that part of your game,  start studying and acquire these special set of skills.  Failing to do so may result in your scholarship offers staring in the next installment of the “Taken” movie series.

So,  after reading this,  do you have these skills?  If so,  strategically place them in your highlight video to capture the attention of defensive line coaches and coordinators hitting the recruiting trail.  If you are lacking these things then you have stuff to work on.  Get busy.  Possessing all of these factors can aid you in getting on a school’s board even if you are undersized.  Control what you can control and see what results you get.