NCF On The Trail: #AskLoogs

#AskLoogs: Auden Tate's ranking

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25
3:00
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Auden Tate has been a guy we have gone back and forth on a lot. Wide receivers can often be the most difficult players to slot/rank because there are so many of them. So, in reality, what is the difference between the 59th and 74th or 105th 99th? We write more evaluations on receivers than any other position. With Tate and his measurables, we feel strongly that he could be a candidate to move inside to the slot or grow into an H-back, but top-end speed and explosiveness are a bit of a question when it comes to creating mismatches. Yes, his size makes him a mismatch on jump balls and as a red zone target, but he might not bring the same productivity after the catch in the open field. Keep in mind he will be coming off a knee injury as well.

#AskLoogs: Scouting Lorenzo Nunez

November, 21, 2014
Nov 21
3:30
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Lorenzo Nunez is a very talented kid who is also fairly raw, which gives him a high ceiling to develop over time. He will bring some athleticism back to the QB position that South Carolina lacked without Connor Shaw this fall. Nunez, like many young quarterbacks, is talented physically and has nice measurables, but will see most of his technical grooming come as a freshman and redshirt freshman. He is a run/pass threat on the perimeter and is pretty savvy when it comes to keeping plays alive. He's highly competitive and you can see that he wants to be good but he must continue to improve his ability to work through progressions and becoming a more true passer.

#AskLoogs: Martez Ivey's ceiling

November, 18, 2014
Nov 18
3:30
PM ET
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Just about as high as it can be when you consider the offensive system Martez Ivey plays in at Apopka, especially as a pass-protector. He has a Laremy Tunsil-type skill set. He is in a run-oriented scheme out of a 3-point stance and his athleticism is accentuated in the run game when asked to pull and work up to the second level, but he doesn’t have many pure dropback opportunities. Through coaching, technique, knowledge of the game and physical/mental maturity he has a chance to really blossom as much or more than any offensive tackle in recent years.
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Yes, when it comes to making an impression of the future at Miami and whether Miami is closing the gap. This is a young, talented Miami team and a performance in front of a big crowd (which it don’t often get at Sun Life Stadium) could make a big and long-lasting impression. Keep in mind Florida prospects are initially going to look at the big three and then begin to taper down from there which is why getting as many 2016 and 2017 prospects to this game is critical (over 100 are expected by the way). Environment and competitiveness are ultra-important because when these kids go on a visit to Gainesville or Tallahassee you don’t want the Miami home game experience to fall short in comparison. FSU is on top right now and if they keep winning it isn’t going to slow down anytime soon so it’s up to the competitors to find on edge either on the field or in other areas.

Some are expecting more than 150 prospects in attendance from the 2015-17 classes. Some of the headliners are Rasheem Green, John Houston Jr., Bar Milo, Jordan Scarlett, Sam Bruce, Jack Allison, Cedrick Wright, Brendan Loftus, Tyler Gauthier, Patrick Bethel, Michael Jackson, Charles Perry, Te'Von Coney, Calvin Ridley, Shawn Burgess-Becker, Da'Vante Phillips, Carlton Davis, Davante Davis, Saivion Smith and Devin Bush Jr.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.
Kendall Bussey is a compact and strong, low-to-the-ground strong runner. The reason we haven’t slotted him any higher is because we don’t see a noticeable second gear or significant home-run ability in the open field. In our opinion, he is more of a churn-out-yardage, get-stronger-as-the-game-goes-on type of runner. He is short, but he’s not small, but given that stature you’d like to see a little bit more lightning in a bottle. We know he’s had a strong year and we did bump up his grade just below the four-star level. He reminds us a little bit of Devonta Freeman. Strong, stout and powerful.

#AskLoogs: Best underrated player

October, 31, 2014
Oct 31
4:00
PM ET
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Of course, this is a very difficult question to answer, so we’ll give you a couple of options that we think are very good. Wide receiver Brandon Martin at Prime Prep is a guy that nobody knows about right now. He is flying way under the radar and is still learning the nuances of the game. However, go check him out online even to just view a few clips and I think you’ll see what I’m saying. Another guy is Texas Tech running back commit Corey Dauphine. This kid really has some juice and we just entered him into the ESPN 300 on our last update. Athlete Deundre Pickett-White is another guy we are really high on; he’s just undersized. If somebody decides to take a chance on him as a quarterback, it could pan out. Otherwise he’s a good enough athlete to play another position.

#AskLoogs: Keith Mixon's ranking

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24
3:30
PM ET
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Statistically it would be easy to say yes, but there is more involved than that. Keith Mixon’s stature is limiting as a true running back or load-carrier, and he would be more of a utility/scatback-type at the next level of play. We see a productive player, but one who lacks game-breaking speed and size and is quicker than he is fast. To make a comparative analysis he would be similar to Jameon Lewis, but not as fast or big in terms of bulk. Our biggest concern is a lack of a second gear when he get into the open field, especially given his size. This is where we question how he would stack up with other Power 5-caliber prospects.

#AskLoogs: Scouting Cassius Peat

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
3:30
PM ET
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Cassius Peat is further along as an up-the-field vertical attacker and between-the-tackles thumper than he is a space/coverage player. We love his size/strength and upside for physical development. In our opinion he is the ideal candidate to redshirt and become more refined and polished technically with reads and diagnosis. In today’s game the ability to play in space is so highly valued and we feel Peat is strictly an inside guy from a stand-up position, but could serve on the edge with pass-rush responsibility. This is a position of need for the Bruins and a nice pick-up, continuing their presence in the state of Arizona.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

Once again the Vols are on a roll and hitting on significant needs necessary to building a championship-caliber roster. It starts from the inside out and it began with last year’s class in the trenches on both sides. Adding 2015 class players to key areas has been the goal and Jones’ staff is doing that. Six of the top eight graded players in this class are either on the offensive line, defensive line or quarterback. In a 48-hour span, Tennessee landed No. 5 DT Shy Tuttle and ATH Derrell Taylor (who will end up as a DE in our opinion) to join DT Kahlil McKenzie and DE Andrew Butcher. Don’t be surprised if Alvin Kamara makes a big splash with this offense out of the Juco ranks after transferring from Alabama. He brings an element they don’t have right now in terms of explosiveness. Given the amount of defensive tackles they now have in the fold it is not likely they land Tim Settle, but in our opinion probably could if they wanted to, but might have committed to guys in this class that they won’t take another one.

#AskLoogs: Alabama D-line crop

October, 14, 2014
Oct 14
3:00
PM ET
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Not really, at least not near the top of the class. Christian Bell will likely be a linebacker in the Tide’s scheme and Anfernee Jennings is the other defensive end. At this time it isn’t likely that Josh Sweat, Byron Cowart or CeCe Jefferson are a reality for this class. The focus of this class has been LB, secondary and WR and QB-DT Blake Barnett is the most important piece.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.



It is really easy to like Brian Cole athletically. He can flat out run and already possesses impressive measurables that are only going to get better. Defensively, he needs to become a little more football savvy, disciplined and show more consistent production. He is much more college-ready on the offensive side of the football, but his skillset will tempt coaches to play him on defense. He has ball skills and a natural feel for the game. We don’t know if he has natural RB instincts and can be too much of an upright runner, but Cole has the look of a wide receiver in his movement skills. The defensive side is where we feel he has the most upside because he can run and he has ideal size/strength/range combination. You are right, he stands out against this level of competition for sure.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.



The most important two commits in this class thus far are DT Hjalte Froholdt and DE Jamario Bell. The defensive side of the football is what will determine Arkansas’ fate in the SEC West, especially in the trenches. Arkansas can get skill, a quarterback and certainly running backs with their offensive identity, but continuing to build on defense is the key. Defensive tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter, out of the junior college ranks, should provide some immediate help along the front.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

 
This is a tough one for sure. The challenges are numerous, beginning with a state that does not produce top-level talent, forcing Darrell Hazell and Co. to go into other people’s backyards in order to lure players to West Lafeyette. The Midwest’s overall talent level has been down the last few years, and the Boilermakers program has been down since Joe Tiller left, making the job more difficult. When you are at a program like Purdue, I believe player evaluation is at a premium, especially when it comes to projecting two or three years down the road. You have to take some risks with late-bloomer types, similar to what Wisconsin has done (J.J. Watt comes to mind). Facilities upgrades, stadium upgrades and exciting schemes (especially on offense) would also help. Purdue has had terrible luck with quarterback injuries, which has slowed the progress of the program as well. Texas has always been a secret spot for the Boilermakers (see Drew Brees) and I believe they should get back into play more heavily in that state.

#AskLoogs: Questions of character

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
3:00
PM ET
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Absolutely, if we can confirm it or see it for ourselves. This is the challenge of player evaluation. Oftentimes the easy part is determining if the guy can play. The difficult part is finding out what kind of person he is. What are his red flags? Personality quirks? A player might be a four- or five-star player and two-star person. Quite honestly, we never saw any of this “foolishness” with Jameis Winston when he was a recruit. The way kids handle pressure, hype, exposure, success, failure, academics, social environment, etc. can often be impossible to project when a guy is 16 years old. You just don’t know what they are going to do until you have them in your program. You are always weighing risk and what you are willing to deal with in exchange for ability level, especially if you know going in there are some red flags. There is no crystal ball and too many unknown factors that are part of the equation with any recruit, but when coaches are on the hook is when they knowingly take a high-risk player. Coming out of high school, Winston was not in that category.

#AskLoogs: Adding up star rankings

September, 26, 2014
Sep 26
3:00
PM ET
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There is not often much of a correlation between statistics and projections. A guy can be voted first-team all-league or all-region or honorable mention all-state and be an FCS caliber player. For example, there are HS QBs who throw for 4,000 yards who aren’t even prospects for the FCS or FBS level of play. In our opinion, guys don’t go from a 2-star to a 4-star. There is too much of a talent gap that coaching and maturity can’t make up for. It is more realistic for a guy to bump from a 2-star to a low 3-star on occasion. One of the reasons we don’t just place a 2-star grade on a guy that we have not seen is because we never want to all of a sudden bump a guy up from a 2-star to a 4-star based on a verbal commitment. You will never see us do this. If we have not evaluated a player he will be NR (not ranked). If he commits, we will do our best to expedite that evaluation with the knowledge that where a player commits has nothing to do with what we think of him.

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