We live in a world of rankings, ratings and lists. Nowhere is that more evident than in the World of college football recruiting. The entire industry is dominated by a star ranking system that coaches scorn, players desire and fans hold dear. Recently I asked my social media audience an interesting question.
The responses to this question ranged from the methodical to the comical to the downright sarcastic. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life playing, coaching and scouting defensive backs. Without a doubt the following three things, when combined, have overwhelming resulted in a defensive back being crowned a 5-star by the recruiting websites.
1. Stand 6’0″ or taller
Recruiting and scouting is all about potential these days and nothing say potential at defensive back like being 6’1″ or 6’2″. If you can show up at the off-season media recruiting camp standing 6’0″ or taller and not fall over yourself while doing drills, you have a good chance at being considered a top talent. If you aren’t deathly slow at that height while covering fleet footed wide receivers then a post camp interview could be coming your way. Your technique may be slightly off or at times completely missing and the giddiness of your height could effectively throw sand in the eye of the “talent evaluators” in attendance. Of course, having good speed, technique and know how can sky-rocket you to the top but this should be the case for all those playing the position provided you are not a Keebler Elf.
2. Play Early
Nothing says you da man more than getting playing time or starting as a freshman. Fans and media are always in search of the next great thing. Folks tend to get really excited about young bucks that can compete on the field with the likes of those who can drive themselves to school. Sometimes, the evaluators forget to check or even ignore the birth year of these early protégées. Sometimes their driver’s license is getting pretty close to renewal but hey what’s a repeated grade or two amongst friends? Sometimes, a youngster, in the proper grade just has it and is doing his thing on the gridiron with the big boys. Being good at anything at an early age will certainly draw attention to you. At times, a youngster has reached puberty sooner than others or gets a little too drunk off the early press and experiences a hangover in their junior and senior years. Nevertheless, playing early and often in high school football will get the 5-star train rolling through your station.
3. Also Play Offense
This one is the dash of Adobo on the recipe. Recruiting outfits love to turn guys who play both ways into stars. Perhaps it attracts more clicks and subscriptions or it’s just plain fun to watch. For them it must be like that time the chocolate bar accidentally fell into the jar of peanut butter. You can be a limited wildcat QB on offense but if you also line up at DB and you’re not terrible, please come to the stage for your 5 star medal. This is where I have seen the most mistakes made in scouting. Time and again, I have watch mediocre cornerbacks get highly ranked simply because their team also elected to have them play offense. Sometimes, the player is a better offensive talent than defensive talent but there he is on the list of DBs ranked as a 5-star or a 4-star. Recruiting outfits over the years have gone from ranking players in high school to downright trying to tell everyone what a kid should play at the college level. With that all in mind, if you are really into stars and not so much into team, have mom and dad storm into coach’s office and demand you at least run a jet sweep or two on Friday Nights. Nothing says 5 star DB like playing wide receiver.
There you have it folks. Now keep in mind, I am not saying that having just one of these elements or two out of the three elements make you a guaranteed 5 star. What I am saying is that when you combine all three of these elements in a high school defensive back, there is a Maury Povich show chance, meaning 99.9999999% chance that……. YOU ARE THE 5-star!
Author: Chad Wilson
Chad Wilson is a college football recruiting expert and creator of the GridironStudsApp which allows high school football players to gain exposure to college football coaches and fans. Wilson is a former college football player for the University of Miami (92-94) and Long Beach St. (’90-’91) and played briefly for the Seattle Seahawks (’95). He is also a former youth and high school football coach for over 15 years. Wilson’s older son Quincy plays in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts and his younger son plays cornerback for the University of Florida. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.