NCF On The Trail: #AskLoogs

#AskLoogs: Questions of character

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
3:00
PM ET
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

 
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.

#AskLoogs: Young Arkansas prospects

September, 23, 2014
Sep 23
3:00
PM ET
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

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Yes. Both McTelvin Agim and Austin Capps are in our ESPN Jr. 300 rankings. Initial player evaluations are done off sophomore film and will again be evaluated with full, more detailed player assessment when junior season is completed. Early impressions for both players are very strong. Agim is a physical, big guy who can anchor a defense and has a quick first step, but a bit straight-lined. As a result he is a stand-up rusher at times -- hybrid OLB/DE 'tweener with nice speed. He must continue to improve hand usage and must continue to develop as a coverage drop guy. With Capps, as a defensive tackle he is a powerful guy who is tough to move off the ball. He is more of a space-eater and two-gap player with a powerful first punch. He needs to be cautious of leverage, but is difficult to block one-on-one. Capps is a stout presence as a 300-pounder who is more advanced as a run-stopper than pass-rusher, but can collapse the pocket.

#AskLoogs: Kyler Murray's measurables

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
3:00
PM ET
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Very. In fact, the evolution of offensive football over the past five years has made ideal measurables in terms of height far more of a luxury than a necessity. Far more attention is being placed on the end result and scheme fits to mask and sometimes eliminate a lack of height. The shotgun, movement of the pocket, quarterback run game and an emphasis on timing and anticipation have provided the ideal environment for productive quarterback play for shorter prospects. With Kyler Murray it is all about production, and you could argue, there is no other quarterback in this class as productive as he is on the ground and through the air. He is a precision passer with timing and anticipation within the pocket to get the ball out of his hand, which also lets him see the field better. Keep in mind, when you have knowledge of where to go with the ball pre-snap and are able to quickly process post-snap to get the ball out, it doesn’t matter how tall you are. This is where Murray has an edge.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.



OK, I’ll use states as a whole here as well as regions.

1. Alabama: The entire state has been phenomenal going back to the 2006 class. Georgia gets more hype, but you could argue the state of Alabama has had a sensational success rate when compared to any of the other notable states, including Florida. Go back over the last several years and look at the guys who have come out of Alabama and how they have panned out.

2. The Carolinas: Both South Carolina and North Carolina might, at worst, be top heavy, but at best they’re becoming more stocked top to bottom over recent years, especially when it comes to offensive and defensive linemen.

3. Jacksonville: Miami and the surrounding counties get all the hype for the state of Florida, but Jacksonville has really begun to make a push in a wide range of positions.

4. Mobile: I know I mentioned Alabama as a state, but this is a hot spot for a smaller metro region. Nick Saban loved this area when at LSU and likes it even more now that he is in the state.

5. Phoenix and surrounding areas such as Tempe, Chandler, etc.: The numbers aren’t going to be high year in and year out, but the caliber of players has drawn interest from the entire Big 12 and Pac-12, among others. Brett Hundley, Andrus Peat and D.J. Foster come to mind recently, just to name a few as prospects from the area.

#AskLoogs: Understanding the grades

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
3:00
PM ET
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It's not that black and white. It is more of a combination of both. In today's college game, with as many freshman that are playing, there has to be some readiness involved in the equation especially if there is a need at the program they choose attend. However, over the longterm, I would lean toward saying upside and development over the course of 3-5 years carries a bit more weight for us in the big picture. Players develop at different rates and paces, but even with late bloomers talent is evident. Nobody has a crystal ball, but most players do not contribute early, most play later as redshirt sophomores or even older and that player is an entirely different player than the one he was coming out of high school. Our No. 1-overall ranked player Josh Sweat is a prime example of upside. He is 240 now, will be 270 in three years. He is playing multiple positions now but will only become even more of a force at DE once he settles in and plays there fulltime. However, he is ready as a designated pass rusher to make an impact early on passing downs.

#AskLoogs: Getting noticed

September, 9, 2014
Sep 9
3:00
PM ET
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I am going to assume you mean kids from smaller high schools and rural areas? This is an area where the surge in regional and national camps and combines can really be beneficial. For some kids with exposure and hype there really is no need to attend camps and combines because they are going to get recruited regardless. For others, notably smaller school/rural area kids, camps and combines offer nothing but positive upside to try and enhance your profile. Also, you must be proactive and honest. When being proactive we mean creating a profile, film cut-ups and games (Hudl), academic progress, etc., and sending this information to college programs. There are also many online resources that provide this type of help. When we say be honest, don’t overestimate your ability level and waste your time trying to sell yourself to programs that have no interest in you or you aren’t talented enough to play at.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

 

Player rankings are fluid and, with camps and combines being such an integral part of the offseason evaluation, it is only natural that you are going to have some tweaks to a report or grade after seeing a player in person for the first time once his initial film report has been written.

Keep in mind that the initial evaluation we are making is of a 15-year-old sophomore. The changes that are going to take place over the next two years for those prospects are enormous. Often times what you see in person with a prospect isn’t what shows up on film and vice-versa. Some guys don’t look fast on film, yet time really well and vice-versa. Some guys make huge physical strides during the offseason in terms of height and weight, which plays a role in their ranking.

There are no perfect players and player evaluation is subjective. Also, a prospect's play in games is the priority, but it's not the only part of the evaluation equation.

#AskLoogs: Why DEs at No. 1?

September, 1, 2014
Sep 1
3:00
PM ET
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.



There are four positions we place a premium on, because quite frankly, those players aren’t standing on every street corner. Those positions are defensive line (DE over DT), offensive line (OT), quarterback and cornerback. These are the “championship” caliber positions. Wide receivers and running backs are everywhere, and there is enough to go around for everybody, but what separates the good from the great are those four positions listed above. Having a quarterback No. 1 overall at the high school level is a huge risk, and we try and use caution with that position as best we can. Defensive ends are also the position that can not only contribute early as designated pass-rushers, but also still have a high ceiling for development due to growth potential and improved run support to develop into a complete player over time. In other words, there is not as much risk or downside with that position as there is with others.

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.

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