One of my friends whom I respect was telling me about the NIKE camp this past Saturday. I am always amazed how much stock high school football player evaluators put in shorts and t-shirts. I see it college football camps for high school players every year. Is it easier to block or ruch the passer with no pads on? Is it easier to pass when no one is rushing? Is it easier to catch when no defender is going to hit you? Camps are good for intial evaluations, but wearing pads does make a difference.
A big offensive lineman from Ohio was having trouble blocking one of the best DL guys in the country. (At least that is what people say). Since I have not seen every high school DL guy in the country, I really do not know.) First, that OL guy from Ohio is putting the shot and throwing the discus in the OHSAA State Track Meet this weekend. I wonder how much time he has worked on pass blocking this spring. Secondly, without pads and doing the same technique everytime, how easy does the DL have it. I guess what annoys me is all of the experts' comments out there.
Last summer, Mitch Trubisky (Mentor) and now quarterbacking at North Carolina did not do well at the Elite 11. Big deal. But the experts were quick to be negative. Mitch did not have perfect technique. Plus it was May and not November. But Mitch could move the chains and make big plays. He was a tremendous leader. But he was not good enough for the Elite 11. Was he an O-State QB, no, because he was a big runner/passer. But will he get a chance to play on Sundays, of course.
For some reason, I have always liked Taco Charlton. Honestly, he is a character, but he is going to be a very good college player. People told me he was terrible at the "Opening." For one thing, he could not wear shoulder pads.(OHSAA ruling). Everybody else did. Did that leave him at a disadvantage? Also, he went through the "recruiting crap," and could not handle it.
I am really starting to be concerned about an early commitment recruit to a big school in Ohio. Liked him alot on the football field. Really, really young for his class. Fast, but needs to be alot stronger. My big concern is when I see him now, he is playing the "swagger" game and he should not that. I thought he was offered too soon. He seems to be a "good cat," but right now he should forget about the recruiting process, and commit to being the best that he can be. Yes, I saw his show at the NIKE Camp.
I have tremendous respect for Toledo Central Catholic's DeShone Kizer. Watched him play QB as a sophomore. Watched him last year. Have watched him on the basketball court. Also saw one baseball game. Has not been offered by some of the schools in the Big Ten. They are evaluating him, but no formal offer. LSU and Alabama have. (I will not go there.) Talked to him briefly before the NIKE Camp. DeShone has to dedicate himself to getting stronger "core muscles." If that means no AAU basketball or summer baseball, then no AAU basketball or summer baseball. His choice. He has all of the tools, but arm strength. And, yes, I really do not care what the NIKE experts say. But, as from our conversation, DeShone knows how much I respect him.
Chayce Crouch QB from Newark Catholic threw some nice passes at the NIKE Camp last Sunday. He missed the Elite 11 on Saturday, because he was playing in the Regional Finals for Newark Catholic's baseball team. Is he there yet, heavens no, but he has a chance to be special. Like his accuracy in the short time that I watched him. What I like most is that he has worked on his footwork and will continue to get better. Leadership? just watch him play.
Finally, the NIKE stuff gives kids a chance to compete and also to see other players from all over. But doing well at a NIKE thing is just like being a five star or a four star. There comes a time when you have to put the pads on and compete at the college level. All of the marketing and recruiting sites stories are fun, but there will be a time when a football recruit has to "perform."
My uneducated advice is simple. Blot out all of the "noise." Work hard to get better. Smile when you read that you are a bigtime recruit, but consider the source. Do not get stressed out, if the phone calls start coming less frequently. Finally, only worry about things that you can control. What recruiters think, you cannot control. BUT how hard you work, you can control.