AUSTIN — Recruiting, Big 12 in bowls, and star-rankings. My three takeaways from this week in college football.
Look, I’m with Eric Nahlin and Justin Wells, who will both tell you that this recruitment is not over after Whaley committed to Arkansas over Texas and Georgia over the weekend.
With all due respect to Mr. Whaley, I’m trying to care about the RB position but I don’t. With two big runners (D’Onta Foreman and Chris Warren) and all purpose back Kirk Johnson, I would use the one running back that I am going to sign on a smaller, quicker speed back.
Whaley is a fine player but the RB position is filling out more so than finding impact players for next year. With Whaley still possibly making his official visit to Texas it is not over but not a huge loss if it does not happen.
Big 12 in Bowl Games
Oklahoma lost. Along with Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Kansas State. However, Baylor defeated North Carolina and TCU took down Oregon after being down 31.
The Big 12 had a great opportunity to make some noise on the national stage but the conference ended up taking on water and did not have a great showing.
It does not change my opinion of the conference, as a whole. The Big 12 will be just fine. Baylor and TCU should return to form in 2016. Texas Tech, Texas, and Oklahoma (yes, Oklahoma) could be better in 2016. West Virginia and Oklahoma State will hold serve.
The Big 12 should have 4-5 teams in the Top 25 and at least two in the Top 10. That’s just fine.
There are some rock star, high school recruits. The three guys that I think about that I knew would be really good coming out of high school were Derrick Johnson, Tommie Harris and Sergio Kindle. I thought long successful NFL careers for all three players and would have been right save for Kindle’s battle with ‘narcolepsy’ and personal challenges that took him away from the game after he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft.
The guys with that much impact are easy to see but are few and far between. The mixture of high school programs that are run like college programs that sometimes have a player tapped out in high school, a player’s desire to be great, a player’s management of the rigor of collegiate academics, and the player’s management of the party and ‘dating’ scene will largely determine the success of a particular player.
I spoke to an NFL personnel director recently and he said, “You’d be surprised at how many kids actually have the talent to play at the NFL level after you get past the special 1% that are just built for greatness as long as they don’t screw it up. It takes more than the talent. There are guys with NFL talent that never play college ball.”
He went on to talk about his thoughts on recruiters having to find kids that want to be great, can take hard coaching (which is hard to find with the way young people are so coddled these days), can be accountable and can stay focused on the task and manage the women.
He finished by saying, “Hell, we spend millions of dollars trying to research and investigate players before the draft and still get 50% of it wrong.”
My take from the conversation cemented what I already thought. Talent is the first characteristic but maybe not the most important. The drop off in talent cannot be much but everything from heart to commitment to accountability to leadership to fire have to be there too.
I was lecturing in a class at Texas one time and had a former five-star athlete come up to me after class (he was a junior at the time) and say, “I could have been so much better if I didn’t spend my first two years chasing girls.
They know what it takes and sometimes they make choices in the other direction.