NCF On The Trail: #AskLoogs


With 2014 recruiting in the rearview mirror and 2015 evaluations ongoing, national recruiting director Tom Luginbill fields pressing Twitter questions from college football fans.

Video: #AskLoogs: Feb. 21

February, 21, 2014
Feb 21
1:14
AM ET


With 2014 recruiting in the rearview mirror, national recruiting director Tom Luginbill fields pressing Twitter questions from college football fans.

Video: #Askloogs

February, 7, 2014
Feb 7
12:30
PM ET
video
With signing day in the rearview mirror, national recruiting director Tom Luginbill fields pressing questions from college football fans and one curious anchor.

#AskLoogs: Virginia's future

February, 3, 2014
Feb 3
12:30
PM ET
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

This coming season is going to be a real telltale sign of where this program is heading. Remarkably, Mike London and his staff have been able to retain a very impressive class to this point despite a very disappointing 2-10 season. No. 1 defensive tackle Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Smith) and No. 1 safety Quin Blanding (Virginia Beach, Va./Bayside) are expected to make an immediate impact, but will it be enough to get them much-needed wins and ensure the staff remains intact? The biggest issue the Cavaliers have is at quarterback. They have not been able to settle in and find a dependable starter who can either make a difference or even just be a guy who doesn’t make mistakes. Until that happens, this program will continue to struggle.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

Likely DaVonte Lambert (Waynesboro, Ga./Georgia Military), the nation’s top-ranked junior college defensive tackle. He will be expected to boost the interior trenches immediately for the Tigers. A few other players could make their presence felt at positions of need, including ILB Tre' Williams (Mobile, Ala./St. Paul’s Episcopal), who is physically prepared to make the jump, and this is a depth-issue area for Auburn. We do not see the same type of defensive freshmen impact in the 2014 class that we saw with the 2013 class, as we expect the majority of Auburn’s defensive commits in this class will redshirt.

#AskLoogs: Penn State's future

January, 31, 2014
Jan 31
12:30
PM ET
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

Possibly yes, but it may not be for a couple of years. In order for Penn State to have a chance at top-10 classes again, it needs to get back up to a full complement of scholarships. It’s a complete numbers game. We’ve had Penn State ranked in each of the last two classes even with scholarship restrictions, which is a reflection of the state of the program Bill O’Brien left for James Franklin. The good news is that the 2013 class will actually be able to compete for a conference championship and be eligible for bowl games if they redshirted. The current class is in even better shape, which should help Franklin in his cause because there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not an oncoming train.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

Well, I would go with the most college ready player committed to the Buckeyes right now, and that is linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County). This is a significant area of need, maybe even the most thin group on their roster, so McMillan will be involved from the get-go. McMillan, who has already enrolled at Ohio State, is the type of player who is physical and mentally prepared for the jump to the next level. He’s a rugged, inside thumper who will be able to set the tone and he also has some leadership qualities that stand out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see wide receiver Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) get in the mix on offense, as he adds an explosive element to their skill positions that is needed as well.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

The answer to that question depends on what the criteria is for five-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover), the No. 15 player in the ESPN 300. What does he value most? Is it the school or the program or the academics or the social environment? Or, is it an individual relationship?

As much as we would all like to believe that there is proper substance to a prospect's decision of where to attend school, the reality is most prospects have married themselves to a particular coach throughout the process. Depending on Marlon Humphrey’s relationship with Jeremy Pruitt himself, in comparison to other established relationships that are still in place at FSU, this could certainly give cause for Humphrey to re-evaluate.

I would not believe at this time that Pruitt’s move has removed FSU from its status as a finalist. I think Humphrey is smarter than that and has liked FSU all along.

Time will tell, but relationships developed over the course of a player's recruitment do play a huge role.

#AskLoogs: Be patient with QB Heard

January, 28, 2014
Jan 28
12:30
PM ET
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.



Texas quarterback commit Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer) is very, very skilled. He is a much better runner and natural dual threat than Teddy Bridgewater was coming out of high school. Bridgewater, however, has more of a knack for passing at the same stage in terms of accuracy. Their skill sets and styles of play are very different. Bridgewater is blessed with more prototypical size and takes comfort in the pocket, while we feel Heard needs to develop his patience a little bit more. Heard prefers to be on the move and make things happen because that is what he has done in the spread offense until now. I am always very cautious to ever label a player as the next so-and-so because while you might see similarities, you don’t know how a player will adapt, process and develop until you have him entrenched in the program.

#AskLoogs: Talent in Washington?

January, 27, 2014
Jan 27
12:30
PM ET
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.



They really don’t. The issue isn’t necessarily talent, it’s quantity. It’s a numbers game with many states, including Washington.

Since the 2006 class we have only had 18 players sign letter of intents from the state of Washington that graded at 80 or above and only one has received a grade 90 or higher (Taylor Mays). Of course, there are the occasional Austin Seferian-Jenkinses and Jake Lockers but they are few and far between. This makes it critical for the Huskies to keep the best in Washington at home because they have to go into everyone else’s backyard to get players.

For example, look at Georgia. Both Georgia and Georgia Tech can build their entire rosters without leaving the state. Not to mention there are still enough players for Auburn, Florida and Alabama, among others, to steal players from there, too. Washington is like the Tennessee of the Pacific Northwest: Home to great programs with not enough in-state players to build a winning roster.

#AskLoogs: Wade can jump in at BC

January, 26, 2014
Jan 26
12:30
PM ET
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

Talented enough? Yes. Experienced enough? No. The competition for the starting quarterback job at BC is going to be wide open and Steve Addazio without question wants more athleticism under center. This gives everyone in contention a chance, including the three-star Darius Wade (Middletown, Del./Middletown), who has already on campus as an early enrollee. Wade is a more dynamic player than BC has had in the past. If Wade were bigger, he would likely have received more attention in recruiting. Tyler Murphy, a Florida transfer, will bring some live-game experience to the Eagles, which gives him a leg up in the competition, and I would anticipate he’d be the player to beat. It can be an awfully steep learning curve for true freshmen to play right away, especially quarterbacks. Wade might have more of a steep curve, as there will be a serious adjustment in level of competition.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

A rare, but great question. The art of long-snapping is a craft, and one that in my opinion should be learned by every tight end and linebacker at a very young age. If it was, prospects could have a legitimate shot at not only a scholarship, but a long career in professional football.

Long snappers are never going to be included in the ESPN 300 because they are not ESPN 300-caliber players overall. They have a very unique skill set that has been honed and developed over time, but these prospects would not contribute as an every-down player, outside of possibly being on cover teams in the kicking game. But even that would be a risk to losing them to injury.

The elite long snappers are few and far between and difficult to find. If coaches come across a high school prospect that can clock at 0.9 seconds, 0.8 seconds or even 0.7 seconds, which would be rare, they are going to jump all over them. We have had several long snappers in the Under Armour All-America Game that consistently snap in the 0.75-0.85 range, and all are playing on the college level. It’s becoming an art form that is often taught too late. This should be introduced in the ninth grade and crafted over time.

You might be surprised to hear I was a backup snapper in college. Just like throwing a football upside down!

#AskLoogs: Aggies 'building' on D

January, 24, 2014
Jan 24
12:30
PM ET
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.



Well, Texas A&M is not in a reloading mode yet. The Aggies are in "building" mode right now on defense.

This was a program that relied heavily on two freshmen along the defensive front in 2013 with defensive end Daeshon Hall and defensive tackle Isaiah Golden. This was not the positon coach Kevin Sumlin would have preferred to be in with these guys. In the 2014 class the Aggies currently have five defensive lineman committed, including No. 1-ranked DE Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/James Martin), so depth and an upgrade in talent are being built in College Station. There is no magic wand to wave, however, to speed up the process. Sumlin knows that in the SEC high-powered offenses will only take teams so far. It’s similar to Bobby Petrino while at Arkansas. The good news is that Texas A&M has the ability to lure top-flight defensive personnel along the front and Arkansas couldn’t. The Aggies' defense is in development and they need to grow up fast as breaking in a new offense next fall will mean that the defense is going to have to be better. In order for Texas A&M to truly be a championship contender, it will have to improve greatly on defense which is why last year’s class and this year’s class have been heavy on that side of the ball.

Video: #AskLoogs

January, 24, 2014
Jan 24
10:30
AM ET

With signing day less than two weeks away, national recruiting director Tom Luginbill fields five pressing questions from college football fans.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.



The answer, I believe, is twofold. First, schools don’t have to have top-10 recruiting classes to build a top-10 team, and second, player evaluation and development over time allows for prospects to be completely different two or three years removed from high school.

As far as Oregon is concerned, the most important thing it has been able to do is evaluate quarterbacks. If you hit on a quarterback or two, you give yourself a leg up on the competition. If you are signing quality top-20 or top-25 classes -- which Oregon does each year -- there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to have a top 10-15 roster if you have evaluated the player and the person well and, once again, don’t miss on a quarterback. Oregon also has not had to play freshmen very much. Maybe a player or two here and there, but the Ducks have enjoyed the luxury of redshirting players, which can make a huge difference in the rate of development of players.

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