College Football Recruiting – Prospect Stats Or Athleticism? (6/23/17)…

All over the college football recruiting trail you hear about coaches who are only looking for high school players of a certain size or a certain 40 yard dash time. High school players are dropping out of other sports to focus solely on football with any offseason being used for lifting weights, getting faster or personal training sessions. Obviously there are some benefits to being both stronger and faster but you simply can not match up to a true athlete that plays multiple sports as he has so much more upside than a kid focusing in on only one sport. The State of Massachusetts has set the bar on this whole notion with extremely athletic players like Doug Flutie and Tom Brady reaching the pinnacle of success despite being written off as too small or too slow. The fact is that both Flutie and Brady were excellent multiple sport athletes that had a whole other level to their football abilities when they focused on only that sport. That is what college coaches should be looking for if they want to find the “difference makers” in their recruiting classes. Flutie was a three sport high school athlete from Natick who famously wore # 22 as he was recruited to Boston College as a defensive back before Head Coach Jack Bicknell put him in at quarterback in a lopsided game against Penn State. The Penn State coaches didn’t even know who Flutie was because he wasn’t listed on the BC depth chart that day. Everyone said he was too small to play quarterback but he was a tremendous athlete who had a unique competitive edge that you get playing sports. Tom Brady is another three sport high school athlete who also has this edge that pushes these type of well-rounded athletes to excel to the best of their abilities. Brady goes from a back-up quarterback at Michigan (and a sixth round NFL draft pick by the New England Patriots) to the greatest player to ever play the game of football. A prospect that plays football followed by basketball / hockey in the winter and baseball / lacrosse / track in the spring may not be as good at lifting weights or running a 40 yard dash but these are the kids colleges should be looking to recruit as they have so much more upside when they focus solely on football. Most college prospects won’t even play their freshman season so by the time they enter their second year these athletic players will have caught and surpassed the football only crowd in terms of lifting and running statistics. If we want a more current example let’s take a look at Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow who is 5’11” and 180 pounds and was a walk-on player who ended up being one of the best players on the field in the National Championship game against Alabama. Renfrow, like Brady and Flutie, was also an excellent baseball player in addition to playing football and just continues to improve as he plays more college football. This is also what led Boston College to recruit Andover three sport athlete EJ Perry in their 2017 recruiting class. Perry is a top quarterback recruit but he was also an excellent basketball and baseball player in high school. Perry was also offered a scholarship to play baseball at BC. So to all of those coaches evaluating recruits at their college camps this summer remember that sometimes the best players are not those you are watching today but instead are those kids who will be even better tomorrow because they are the true multi-sport athletes with so much more upside than some of the single sport players.

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