One of the ways I evaluate college football prospects is to watch them in another sport. Honestly, I really enjoy making the trips and always leave with a solid evaluation. The best way to evaluate a defender is to watch him wrestle. The best way to evaluate to skilled guy is to watch him play basketball or run track. Of course, track can tell you alot about a prospect. Actually, I have watched baseball games over the years. Probably, what I enjoy the most is watching big offensive linemen play basketball. Moving their feet is important. Catching and throwing is important. Running the court is important. Being competitive is important.
Over the years, Sandusky native Orlando Pace just stands out. He was very athletic and ran the court very well. More than anything, Pace was very competitive. Actually, he looked like a "teddy bear," but played really tough and was a beast inside. Of course, he went on to be a pretty good offensive lineman.
Two big offensive linemen playing basketball and more than holding their own this year are from high schools that most people are not familiar with. I first saw Ryan Kortokrax from Wayne Trace High School and Jared McCray from Minford High School at football camps last summer. Ryan at Bowling Green and Jared at Ohio State.
Ryan Kortokrax is a junior who is listed at 6'4-275. Runs the floor very well for a big man. Plays strong defense. Has good ball skills. Gets up and down the floor well. Best of all, he plays with toughness. This summer is important to him, because he missed most of last season with a leg injury.
Jared McCray could be one of the best offensive linemen in the Class of 2014.Many of the same skills as Kortokrax. Listed at 6'6-280. Very athletic and catches and passes the ball really well. Also like his aggressiveness in the paint. Really like the way he bends and finishes blocks on his football video.
Both players come from smaller schools and must standout at summer football camps. Both are scholarship guys, but at which level remains to be seen. For me, they have a really good chance to have recruiters visiting their schools this spring.
Another player who could be slipping through the cracks is Findlay High School's Joseph Davidson. Played both WR/FS on the football field last fall. Watched him play basketball last month and was impressed with his athleticism. Listed at 6'6-190, he changes direction well and runs the court well. Obviously, not an offensive linemen, but has potential to add much good weight. Potential to play many positions on the next level.
Taylor Decker, an Ohio State commit, was a basketball player first, in his younger years, but eventually grew into one of the best offensive line prsopects in Ohio this, his senior year. Basketball was really good for him, but if he continues to get better and better with his blocking skills, he could make money playing football.
Big, young football players who also play hoops should stay with basketball as long they can contribute. Upper body strength is important in football, but the ability to move the feet is really important. With the spread offense, moving the feet is essential. There are times when big guys have to "give-up" basketball to get better for football, but young guys - stay with hoops if possible.