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Friday, December 7, 2012
Q&A: Readers' questions for Luginbill

By Kipp Adams

DawgNation took the time to set up a readers' Q&A with ESPN Senior National Recruiting Analyst Tom Luginbill:

chrisarnold09: How much higher do you think Shaq Wiggins would be ranked if he were, say, about 3 inches taller and about 25 lbs heavier?

Tom Luginbill: He’d be higher, but no way to say how much higher, but in the past generally a corner with his skill set if they are above 6-foot-1, 200 pounds (which is what you are proposing) would likely put him into the top 15.

spizzle1989: At their best, who measures up as a better prospect? Toby Johnson or Montravius Adams?

Luginbill: Well, Johnson is older and more experienced having competed at a higher level, but if we were to choose we would say Adams due to his explosiveness and agility with a higher ceiling to develop and more time to do it.

johnclark7373: Of the current commits, which five will have the biggest impact for UGA in 2013?

Luginbill: That is too many to list. Rarely do five, let alone two have a great impact on a team of this caliber as true freshman. I would lean towards the linebackers as this spot might get pretty lean with early departures to the NFL.

Bluejokr: Are there really eight safety prospects better than Tray Matthews?

Luginbill: Possibly. Could be less, could be more. He has been a streaky player. Has looked incredible and has underwhelmed. For example, he played great as a sophomore, was nowhere near the same as a junior, rebounded some as a senior. Consistency is a factor in all this too. All players have deficiencies. When he is on, he is very good and that goes for everyone, but you strive to see consistent production.

66lwill66: Which UGA receiver recruit has the biggest upside in your opinion?

Luginbill: To contribute right away we would say Jonathon Rumph, from the HS ranks probably Reggie Davis. Davis is very straight-lined, but also has very strong return-game skills. It would be easy to say Tramel Terry here, but he is more of a true utility player who could be a slot, scatback, return guy or outside receiving threat.

drewrichardson90: How does Brice Ramsey measure up against other SEC QB commits? Does he have the potential to be as successful as Matthew Stafford and Aaron Murray?

Luginbill: He is different from the standpoint of the background he comes from because he hasn’t had the luxury of slinging the ball all over the field and developing as a true passer. He has been hampered to some degree by the scheme he plays in. That being said, on talent he measures up with all of them and in terms of development ceiling he may be the best of the group. Time will tell how quickly he progresses. Stafford is a tough guy to compare anyone to because he had rare, elite tools and arm talent. Ramsey is taller than Murray with similar arm talent, but different style.

dawgsinchamp2014: From the film you have watched, who is the best 2014 prospect in Georgia and in the country so far?

Luginbill: Probably Raekwon McMillan or DeShaun Watson, but it's still very, very early in the process.

GAbread: In relation to the class rankings, how much difference is there in the top 15 - 25 teams talent wise? There are teams that are in the lower parts of rankings but maintain a good amount of on field success (VT) and then others on the opposite end with high class rankings and not as much on field success. So as a fan I've come to a conclusion that if your team is somewhere in the top 15 regularly and coached well then your team will be fine. Agree/disagree?

Luginbill: Agree, but I would extend it to 25-35 teams. More importantly as a fan you should pay little to no attention to class rankings and take them for what they are, an on-paper assessment of the NOW, not the future because there are no guarantees, no one has a crystal ball and you truly won’t know how good a player is until two or three years down the road on more than 80 percent of a class. If you are filling holes -- filling needs with not only good or great players, but with the right players -- you should be just fine.

carlybot: How are juco prospects factored into your ranking equations? Or, if they aren't, why not?

Luginbill: We will have our first juco evaluated class here shortly. How they are factored is if that player can fill the immediate need and be productive or impactful. How long do they have? 3 seasons to play 2? 1 for 1? 2 for 2? It is a very high-risk, high-reward proposition because with too many juco guys it can be difficult to develop depth in your roster.

beachbum81: There are other networks out there that have been covering recruiting for a long time, and another one that just started up from one of them. What makes the ESPN rankings more accurate/better and how much interaction do you have with other analysts and college coaches? Do you use their opinions to supplement your own for the rankings?

Luginbill: Great question. First off, if there is any edge that we have it is that our staff consists of only personnel that has coached or scouted at the college or pro level for a living. Those are the only members of our staff permitted to evaluate players, write reports and assign a grade. No writers, no bloggers, etc and most importantly nobody is an “expert” or “guru.” The key here is understanding the inexact science of it, especially with 16/17 year olds. I spent 11 years in professional football and it is hard enough to do it with a 28 year old -- and with those guys you have far more concrete, definitive information than you do with high school kids. Bottom line, you can’t be afraid to be wrong and take risks. No coach or scout is going to hit on every kid and often times you in the public as fans don’t know some inside info we are privy to on prospects but can’t publicly acknowledge, which leads to criticism. It’s part of the deal. Yes, we deal with many, many coaches and recruiting personnel across the country from various contacts we have garnered throughout our careers. It is a give-and-take of valuable info to try and make the wisest of decisions, knowing that you are going to miss on guys. Not saying we are better than anyone else, but we always put it this way: Would you hire a roofer to do your plumbing? Would you hire a football coach to rank the top 100 dentists in the country? We’d like to believe that having qualified personnel gives us more credibility and accuracy overall. And finally, at the very least we can tell you in great, written detail what a player is all about and it’s open to the public. None of our competitors can do that.

bigdawgfan84: What were the primary reasons for Reuben Foster dropping from No. 2 to No. 24? That's a huge drop. Granted, No. 24 is still great, but just curious what changed.

Luginbill: Simply put, production. He was not productive as a senior and we are really looking forward to seeing how he responds in Orlando, Fla., at the Under Armour game. He looks the part, but needs to play like it. Also, he is not a space player, which really puts him at a disadvantage against spread teams.

dawgtown50713: How high would UGA's class ranking be if we added Laremy Tunsil, Toby Johnson, Montravius Adams and Alvin Kamara?

Luginbill: Shoot, 1 to 3 maybe? That’s quite a few terrific additions if they come to fruition.

jeverett10: I was bored the other day and looking back at UGA's previous recruiting classes. Most of the names on there I knew but there were a few I had never heard of or forgotten all about, because they never panned out. What was intriguing to me was a lot of the players that we now call stars weren't very high in the rankings. Like last year and Todd Gurley slipping under the radar so to speak … looking at this year’s UGA class, who do you feel could have the same impact and become a very welcomed surprise?

Luginbill: Yep, happens every year. Part of the inexact science and the fact that some guys peak, some guys develop and it happens at different rates. If Reggie Carter is at 110 percent health wise, he could be a guy who surprises, same with Ryne Rankin.

conyersdawg72: How do you handle evaluating a player that will play a different position in college than he plays in high school?

Luginbill: He goes into our athlete category unless we know for sure exactly what position he will play. We will then outline in his player evaluation report his different roles and where we would project him to fit best. Malcolm Mitchell is a prime example, Tramel Terry too.