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Last Time about the “Star System”


Even though the NCAA seems to be putting more rules and regulations to slow down the crazy world of college football recruiting, the recruiting media marketing seems to be getting larger and larger.

Football recruiting is snowballing more every year. More offers. More camps. More pressure from the fans. More self appointed experts. More opinions by local sports writers.

A parent emailed me a few days ago about the “Star Rating System.” His son is a member of the 2018 Class. He asked about the program and just how a prospect could get “stars.” Good question. More parents, probably, want to know, but are reluctant to ask.

To be to the point, I do not really know what criteria analyst use. At one time years back, three reporters would get together and after they were in agreement, they would award stars. Of course, the major schools in the state had to be taken into consideration. Other schools recruiting him or what offers does he have would also be discussed.

Honestly, other than for marketing purposes and for possibly catching a college coach’s eye, the “Star system is silly and  not to be taken seriously. If anything, the listing of prospects who have stars provide for interesting reading.

Where do the analysts get their information? Some get lists from different colleges and cross check. Some get camp results. Some hold their own camps. Some look at HUDL video. Some go to games during the season. Some count the scholarship “offers” that a recruit has collected.

I have to use the word “analyst,” and for lack of a better word, analyst will work. On most of the media sites like – ESPN, Rivals, Scout, and 247 – the word -reporter- is best suited. Many of those media people just report and do not have proven evaluating backgrounds..

All football recruiting analyst should do this.

Some analyst have a football background, maybe at the collegiate or NFL. This sells, but so many times the name catches the attention, not necessarily ability. ESPN guy Tom Luginbill believes that a recruiting analyst should have scouted on the college of NFL level. Oh well, Dave Berk didn’t.

The best way to analyst a college prospect is to see them play in pads for real. This is best way. Stand on the sidelines and watch a prospect. Most analyst do not have the time to see that many prospects in person.

The next step that most analyst should do is watch HUDL video. The old saying “films do not lie.” Highlights video show a lot. QB skills. OL/DL bending and playing below pad level. WR route running ability. DB – back pedaling, hip turn, and recovery speed. LB playing downhill. RB – vision, plant and go, and burst.

Speed. Analyst watch speed, but video can be altered to make players seem faster. Not always a good indicator.

Attend college football camps to watch prospects compete in drills and position specific drills. Watch the effort that recruits put forth. Watch how hard they work when no coach is watching. I hate the OL/DL drill, because the DL guy should win every time. But I like to watch the toughness level that each one reaches for. Says a lot.

Get other analysts’ opinions on a prospect. See and listen to what they have to say about a prospect.

Finally, if I am evaluating a prospect, I like to chat with him for a few minutes. The best way is face time, but over the phone works. If a person asks the right questions and listens, they can learn a lot about a prospect. This is very important to me.

Who else is recruiting him? Although offers are everywhere, some analyst give stars by the offers he has. They say that they do not, but they do. If Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, USC, or Clemson have offered, do you think his stars will go up. Of course.

Analyst only look at HUDL highlights video. So often, they do not look at full games. Sometimes that is a mistake. Every recruit should have a really good highlights video. Games often tell the real story.

Highly unlikely that all football recruiting analyst at all four basic recruiting sites agree on each prospect and more unlikely, that they use the same criteria in evaluating.

Hopefully, The “Star System” provides some insight into who some of the better prospects are throughout the country. At least football recruiting followers will get names.

The answer to the parent’s question

The best way to get your name on a “Star ” list is to be talented and do well at camps. Get on a college list. These recruiting reporters talk to the college coaches and get names. College coaches and recruiting reporters share information.

If that does not work, contact a writer from Scout, Rivals, or 24/7. Go to their site and find a name. Tract that person down. Talk to him. Probably a lot of effort, but if the “Star” system is important to you, go for it.

Bottom Line

But the bottom line is “Getting Stars does really does not matter.” No college coach’s first question to a high school coach is “How many stars does the prospect have.” Does not happen. Colleges make a living on 3 and 4 Stars.

Just work hard and focus on what you can control.

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