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Beware: Football Recruiting Information

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

By Dave Glenn, ACC Sports Journal
January 6, 2003 In a recent interview with the ACC Sports Journal, a prospect from Florida answered a seemingly simple question about the number of schools that had extended scholarship offers to him. He said more than 40, then carefully listed as many of them as he could remember. He talked about the reasons behind his recent commitment to an ACC school. He seemed like a nice kid. He obviously was trying to be helpful. Throughout the interview, there was no apparent intent to deceive on his part.

Ultimately, though, the information the prospect provided hardly could have been more misleading. In most cases, it was flat-out wrong. Yet the same (incorrect) information appeared on several prominent football recruiting websites, and it undoubtedly contributed to the prospect's ranking as a prep All-American. Perhaps he'll turn out that well, but the false information may create unrealistically high expectations in the meantime.

Nine of the 10 college coaches contacted about the prospect said their schools, which had been included on the player's self-reported list of offers, never offered a scholarship. Most said they had stopped recruiting him last summer, never even getting past the letter-writing stage of the process. The young man's own high school coach said that, at the time of his decision, he had only two Division I-A choices: the ACC school and in-state South Florida.

The moral of the story: While the volume of football recruiting information remains at an all-time high, its accuracy continues to be highly suspect.

In the overwhelming majority of cases, self-reported heights, weights and 40-yard dash times turn out to be inaccurate — and by more than a little bit. (Prospects routinely lose two inches, drop 10-20 pounds and gain 0.2 seconds when measured by neutral parties and electronic devices at camps and combines.) Players, and to a lesser extent high school coaches, often have little or no understanding of the enormous difference between a murky “we promise we'll offer soon” or a “we'll offer if you visit us in January” and a firm, we'll-take-your-commitment-today-if-you're-ready scholarship offer. The latter often is put into writing by the school; the former is not.

Many recruiting writers, especially those loyal to particular programs and interested in blindly glorifying prospects who commit to their favorite schools, do nothing to limit the massive flow of misinformation. Even those (including the Sports Journal) who specifically design their questions to generate more truthful replies can be led astray by players and coaches who are either intent on misleading (to maximize exposure) or don't understand the recruiting process well enough to be capable of complete accuracy.

With these realities of the football recruiting world in mind, the Sports Journal routinely cross-references information with players, their families, their coaches and college assistants. While the end result inevitably will include some errors, it's designed to be far more accurate than the current industry standard.

Prospects Select Area Programs

The following prospects committed to ACC area schools in December or early January:

Greensboro (NC) Smith WR Deon Adams, rated one of the top 50 seniors in North Carolina, switched his commitment from East Carolina to Duke. He committed to the Pirates in September but reviewed his options in December after the departure of ECU coach Steve Logan. A receiver for most of his high school career, Adams played quarterback as a senior for a 3-8 team. He's projected as a wideout for the Blue Devils. One of the top sprinters in North Carolina, he has posted official times of 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 10.8 in the 100 meters and 22.0 in the 200 meters. He is qualified academically.

Fork Union (VA) Military DT Robert Armstrong, formerly of Arlington (VA) Washington-Lee, committed to Maryland over Marshall, Pittsburgh and Virginia. A 2002 Virginia signee, he failed to qualify, enrolled at Fork Union, re-committed to the Cavaliers, changed his mind when the Cavs did not offer him the option of January enrollment, and finally left Fork Union — two days after playing in the military school's season finale, prior to the end of the semester. He benches 450 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 5.0 seconds. He reportedly met NCAA minimum eligibility standards while at Fork Union.

New Castle (PA) High DE Allen Billyk, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Pennsylvania, chose Virginia over Boston College, Michigan, Ohio State and Stanford. He also had offers from Cincinnati, Maryland, Michigan State, Purdue, Temple, Vanderbilt and West Virginia. As a junior, he had 130 tackles and 11 sacks. He benches 325 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds. He has a 3.8 GPA and an 1,110 SAT score.

Washington (DC) St. John's DT Conrad Bolston, rated one of the top 25 defensive linemen in the nation, chose Maryland over Boston College, Florida, Ohio State and Penn State. He also had offers from Clemson, UNC, NCSU, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia and others. As a senior, when he was coached by former Maryland assistant Elliott Uzelac, he led his team in tackles and sacks while earning first-team all-conference and all-metro honors. As a junior, he had 55 tackles and 13 sacks and was named second-team all-metro. A nationally ranked wrestler for the last three years, he benches 375 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds. He has a 2.8 GPA and a 1,090 SAT score.

Richmond (VA) Hermitage TE/DE Duane Brown, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Virginia, chose Virginia Tech over Virginia. He also had offers from Maryland, Northwestern and Richmond. As a senior, he was an honorable mention all-metro selection. As a junior, he had 10 receptions for 108 yards on offense, with 95 tackles and six sacks on defense. He benches 300 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.1 seconds. He has a 2.9 GPA and a 970 SAT score.

Kingston (PA) Wyoming Seminary DE Casey Camaro, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Pennsylvania, picked Duke over Syracuse. Maryland also showed interest. His coach at Wyoming Seminary, Bill Russo, once was the head coach at Lafayette. A post-graduate player originally from Tampa (FL) Jesuit, Camaro had 12 sacks as a senior. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds.

St. Petersburg (FL) Lakewood QB Pat Carter, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Florida, chose Georgia Tech over Florida, Michigan, Pittsburgh and Purdue. He also had offers from Central Florida, Clemson, Iowa, Iowa State, LSU, Minnesota, South Florida, Troy State, Tulane and West Virginia. A brother of former Auburn receiver Tim Carter (now with the New York Giants), Pat threw for 2,250 yards and 24 TDs and rushed for 400 yards and eight TDs as a senior. As a junior, he threw for 2,307 yards and 21 TDs while rushing for more than 200 yards and four TDs. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. He has a 3.0 GPA and a 970 SAT score.

Van Wert (OH) High OL Andrew Crummey, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Ohio, chose Maryland over Boston College, Cincinnati and Wake Forest. Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue also showed interest. A three-year starter, he was a two-time all-conference selection. Projected to play tackle for the Terps, he benches 335 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 5.0 seconds. He has a 2.5 GPA and a qualifying ACT score.

Lewisville (TX) Hebron OL Ian-Yates Cunningham, rated one of the top 25 offensive linemen in the nation, chose Virginia over Georgia Tech and Nebraska. He also had offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Colorado, Duke, Florida, Iowa State, Kansas, LSU, Michigan State, Missouri, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Penn State, SMU, TCU, Texas Tech, Tulane and Vanderbilt. Cunningham, who was born in North Carolina and has grandparents living in Virginia, is a second cousin of tennis legend Arthur Ashe. He benches 350 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.3 seconds. He has a 3.2 GPA and a 1,020 SAT score.

Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military LB/DB Corey Gordon, formerly of Gainesville (FL) High, opted for Virginia Tech over Louisville, Maryland, Mississippi and Wake. Florida, FSU, UNC and Tennessee also showed interest. In high school, Gordon was a third-team Class 4A all-state selection as a wide receiver in 2000 and a second-team pick in 2001. He played safety at Hargrave but may grow into a linebacker for the Hokies.

Tampa (FL) Jefferson RB Rashaun Grant, rated one of the top 25 running backs in the nation, selected Georgia Tech over Florida, Miami, NCSU and Notre Dame. He also had offers from Auburn, Clemson, Connecticut, FSU, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan State, Nebraska, UNC, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Purdue, South Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin. As a senior, he rushed for 1,003 yards and 18 TDs in seven-plus games before suffering a dislocated ankle and broken fibula in late October. As a junior, he rushed for 936 yards and 22 TDs and added more than 400 yards receiving. He benches 280 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds. He has a 3.1 GPA and a 1,020 SAT score.

Pasadena (CA) Community College LB/DB James Griffin, a consensus juco All-American formerly of Memphis (TN) East, chose Virginia Tech over LSU. He also had offers from Alabama, Arizona, Florida, FSU, Miami, Michigan State, UNC, NCSU, San Jose State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Southern Cal, Tennessee, UCLA, Washington and West Virginia. His best friend and former teammate at both Memphis East and Pasadena, defensive tackle Jimmy Williams, signed with the Hokies last year. Griffin signed with Middle Tennessee State out of high school, where he had 60 career sacks, but soon transferred to Pasadena. In 2001 he had 89 tackles, including 25 for loss, and was named national juco freshman of the year. This season, when he was rated by some services the No. 1 juco prospect in the nation, he had 89 tackles, nine sacks and 39 quarterback hurries. He benches 350 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds. He's expected to play the rover position for the Hokies.

Nassau (NY) Community College OL Robert Jenkins, formerly of Bronx (NY) Columbus and Milford (CT) Academy, chose Maryland over interest from Penn State and Syracuse. A Virginia signee in 2001 and 2002, he met NCAA standards both times but was turned down by the UVa admissions office. A two-year starter in junior college, he's projected to play center for the Terps.

New Smyrna Beach (FL) High OL Steven Justice, rated one of the top 150 seniors in Florida, selected Wake Forest over Rutgers, South Florida and Southern Miss. Clemson, Duke, Florida, Maryland and UNC also showed interest. His brother Doug is a redshirt freshman linebacker for the Tar Heels. Formerly of Port Orange (FL) Spruce Creek, Steven transferred to New Smyrna Beach before his junior year and earned first-team Class 4A all-state honors in 2001. As a senior, he had 53 tackles on defense and graded out at 91 percent on offense. He benches 320 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 5.4 seconds. He has a 4.2 GPA and an SAT score over 1,200.

Baltimore (MD) Mt. St. Joseph RB/WR Keon Lattimore, rated one of the top 10 seniors in Maryland, chose Maryland over Boston College, NCSU, Pittsburgh and Virginia. A younger brother of former Miami linebacker Ray Lewis (now with the Baltimore Ravens), Keon rushed for 702 yards and nine TDs as a senior. As a junior, he rushed for 642 yards and nine TDs and added 448 yards and nine TDs as a receiver. A three-year starter, he benches 250 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds. He has a 2.5 GPA but must improve his academic credentials to qualify.

St. Petersburg (FL) Hollins WR Kevin Marion, rated one of the top 200 seniors in Florida, chose Wake Forest over Connecticut, Rutgers and South Florida. A track star, he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, the 100 meters in 10.8 and the 200 meters in 21.8. He set the Florida high school record in the long jump last year, with a leap of 25-5. A serious knee (ACL) injury caused him to miss football season as a senior, but he hopes to participate in track this spring. He has a 2.4 GPA but must improve his academic credentials to qualify.

Pompano Beach (FL) Ely LB/DE James Martin, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Florida, chose Wake Forest over Missouri, Purdue and Rutgers. Florida, Michigan State (visit), UNC (visit), NCSU (visit), Ohio State and Penn State also showed interest. Several programs backed off after Martin's higher-profile teammates at state champion Ely (OL Andrew Bain, RB Tyrone Moss, OL Cyrim Wimbs) committed to Miami. As a senior, playing mostly defensive end, Martin had 70 tackles and 19 sacks. As a junior, when he was a second-team Class 5A all-state selection as an end, he had 68 tackles and 19 sacks. He benches 355 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.65 seconds.

Riverdale (GA) High WR/DB Cedric Mason, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Georgia, picked Duke over Georgia Southern, MTSU, USC and Western Michigan. Maryland and UNC also showed interest. As a senior, he had 31 receptions for 586 yards and six touchdowns on offense and three interceptions (two for TDs) on defense. As a junior, he had 24 catches for 450 yards. He posted a 4.4 time in the 40-yard dash at a Nike Camp last summer.

McAllen (TX) High OL Garrett Mason, rated one of the top 200 seniors in Texas, picked Duke over Baylor, New Mexico and Purdue. He originally committed to the Bears but changed his mind after the coaching change in Waco. He benches 300 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.2 seconds. He has a 3.5 GPA and an SAT score over 1,000.

Glenview (IL) Glenbrook South OL Zach Maurides, rated one of the top 75 seniors in Illinois, chose Duke over Navy. Bowling Green and Northern Illinois also showed interest. He benches 300 pounds and squats 450.

St. Paul (MN) St. Thomas DE Christopher Moore, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Minnesota, picked Duke over Iowa and Northwestern. Notre Dame and Stanford also showed interest. As a senior, he had 87 tackles and five sacks. As a junior, he had 55 tackles and seven sacks. He benches 300 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds. He has a 3.2 GPA and a 1,040 SAT score.

Matthews (NC) Butler WR Kenny Moore, rated one of the top 50 seniors in North Carolina, chose Wake Forest over Duke and ECU. UNC (favorite), NCSU, USC and Virginia also showed interest. His former teammate, Jason Anderson, is a sophomore wide receiver for the Demon Deacons. The conference offensive player of the year as a senior, Moore rushed 78 times for 1,137 yards, had 48 receptions for 827 yards, averaged big numbers on kick returns (32.7) and punt returns (20.9) and scored 28 TDs. As a junior, he rushed 110 times for 1,069 yards, had 42 receptions for 585 yards and scored 16 TDs. He runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds. He has a 2.8 GPA and an 840 SAT score.

Arlington (TX) High LB Nick Moore, rated one of the top 150 seniors in Texas, chose Georgia Tech over Colorado State, Iowa State and Wisconsin. He also had offers from San Jose State and SMU, plus admittance to Air Force and Army, which don't offer athletic scholarships. As a senior, he had 172 tackles and four sacks. He has a 4.0 GPA and a 1,070 SAT score.

Danville (KY) Boyle County OL Brodie Overstreet, rated one of the top 10 seniors in Kentucky, opted for Wake Forest over Clemson, Kentucky, Louisville and West Virginia. He also had offers from Cincinnati, Duke, Indiana, Northwestern, Purdue and Vanderbilt. As a senior, playing for a team that won its fourth consecutive state title, Overstreet had 56 tackles and six sacks. As a junior, he had 97 tackles, including 18 for loss. A two-way starter in high school, he's projected to play offensive guard or tackle for the Demon Deacons. Diagnosed with Graves' Disease (an immune-system disorder that attacks the thyroid gland but is treatable with medication once diagnosed) last summer, he dropped to 235 pounds but returned to his playing weight of about 265 this fall. He benches 300 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.1 seconds. He has a 2.8 GPA and a 22 ACT score.

Mesa (CA) Community College QB Mike Rathe, formerly of San Diego (CA) Rancho Bernardo, chose South Carolina over Kansas. After running the Wing-T in high school, he signed with San Diego and redshirted one season with the Aztecs before transferring to Mesa. This season he completed 160 of 304 passing attempts for 2,874 yards, 30 TDs and 12 interceptions.

Angleton (TX) High OL Matt Rhodes, rated one of the top 200 seniors in Texas, opted for Georgia Tech over Baylor, Houston, Rice, SMU and TCU. A three-year starter, he was a three-time all-district and all-county selection. He has a 3.8 GPA and a 1,210 SAT score.

Atlanta (GA) Washington DB Avery Roberson, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Georgia, chose Georgia Tech over Mississippi State. He also had offers from Cincinnati, Duke, Indiana, Wake Forest and West Virginia. A four-year starter, mainly at linebacker, he had more than 300 career tackles and 15 career interceptions. He benches 300 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds. He has a 3.2 GPA and a 980 SAT score.

State College (PA) High TE Jonathan Stupar, rated one of the top 10 tight ends in the nation, selected Virginia over Arizona State, FSU, Iowa and NCSU. He also had offers from Cincinnati, Duke, Maryland, Miami, Michigan State, UNC, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Southern Cal, UCLA and West Virginia. As a senior, he had 48 receptions for 511 yards and three TDs. As a junior, he had 30 receptions for 360 yards and eight TDs. He benches 300 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds. He has a 3.5 GPA and a 1,030 SAT score.

Garland (TX) High DB Brandon Tapps, rated one of the top 200 seniors in Texas, opted for Duke over Central Michigan and Louisiana-Monroe. Baylor, Houston, Iowa State, New Mexico, SMU, TCU, UTEP and Vanderbilt also showed interest. As a senior, he had 84 tackles for a 10-1 team. A two-time all-district selection, he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds. He is qualified academically.

Belleview (FL) High WR/DB Cody Wells, rated one of the top 150 seniors in Florida, chose South Carolina over Central Florida, FSU and South Florida. As a senior, he had 111 tackles as a safety on defense and 540 rushing yards as a tailback on offense. As a junior, he rushed for 1,205 yards on 108 carries. He benches 260 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds. He has a 4.0 GPA and a 20 ACT score.

Greenville (SC) High WR Noah White-side, rated one of the top 10 seniors in South Carolina, chose South Carolina over Clemson, Maryland and Pittsburgh. He also had offers from MTSU, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. As a senior, he had 86 receptions for 1,792 yards and 20 TDs. As a junior, he had 69 receptions for 1,393 yards and 16 TDs. Also a sprinter on the track team, he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds. He has a 2.5 GPA and an 18 ACT score.

Tampa (FL) Jefferson OL Donnie Woods, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Florida, chose Maryland over South Florida and Texas Tech. Earlier in the recruiting process, before Woods suffered a serious knee injury, the preseason All-American also had offers from Alabama, FSU, LSU, UNC, Oklahoma, USC, Tennessee, Wisconsin and many others. He benches 365 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 5.5 seconds. A December graduate with a 2.8 GPA and 980 SAT score, he enrolled at Maryland in January but will be unable (knee) to participate in spring practice.

Longwood (FL) Lyman WR/DB Travo Woods, rated one of the top 200 seniors in Florida, chose Wake Forest over Central Florida. Auburn, Duke and Iowa State also showed interest. As a senior, he finished with about 600 all-purpose yards after an ankle injury limited his playing time. He had more than 1,000 all-purpose yards as a junior, when he earned second-team all-conference honors. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds. He has a 3.4 GPA and a qualifying SAT score.

Dave Glenn, the editor and football recruiting analyst for the ACC Area Sports Journal, has been covering football recruiting and the ACC since 1987.

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