The recruiting landscape has changed a great deal in the 15 years since I was a prep prospect. Some changes have been for the good, some for the bad, and it remains exciting to see young men and women having a chance to fulfill their dreams.
Of all the changes to the recruiting process, perhaps the one I dislike the most is how every year it seems to get younger and younger. Some schools nearly have their recruiting classes locked up two years in advance. In the chase to find, lasso and keep tomorrow’s stars, diamonds in the rough are overlooked because it takes them a little longer to be found, processed or develop.
One such diamond is Jordan Young, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound wide receiver from Heritage High School in Conyers, GA.
I was tagged on a Twitter post to highlights of him and saw he only had one FBS offer. He did, however, go from no stars to four stars overnight, showing a major problem in the ranking system in addition to other flaws in the recruiting process.
One, a high school senior going from no stars to four stars three weeks before National Signing Day shouldn’t happen if you’re a talent evaluator. If that’s your profession, you should be constantly developing and evaluating talent. This young man is from suburban Atlanta, one of the most well-covered recruiting hotbeds in America by media and college coaches. How does he slip through the cracks?
Two, it’s a disservice to all the prospects previously ranked as well. What do your rankings – of any player – mean when a situation like this is allowed to happen?
I don’t really know or care about star-rankings, but I do know talent working to develop college prospects in multiple sports, including football, on a daily basis at Boost Sports Performance in Jacksonville, FL.
I tell parents, kids and coaches alike that skill players must possess this major trait: the ability to catch it and stretch it. Separation is key. If you can create space you can make plays. If you can make plays, you can see the field.
The difference I saw between Jordan Young’s play his junior year and his senior year shows me that someone spent time in the off-season working on his speed, body control, routes and how to use his innate natural ability to win jump balls. One of the knocks on him was his slower forty-yard dash time registered at the Nike combine. He was raw, but from looking at this film he is somewhere around the 4.5 second range and with his size that is more than adequate.
What stands out most to me, from his film, is that he consistently running that speed. He’s not a 4.9 second player one play and a 4.5 second player on other plays.
When I watch a prospects’ high school film, I should see him dominate. I saw that from Jordan Young. He registered 66 catches for 1,562 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior. In his junior year, he was playing behind two 1,200-plus yard WRs.
He’s still raw. He didn’t start playing football until he was a sophomore. The kid is very competitive from what I was told also, anchoring the 4×100 relay for his track team – you need a dog in that leg of the race. He is also the defending state champ in the 110 hurdles.
He did all that despite injuring himself early in the track season last year and still finished strong.
He’s not the strongest when it comes to academics, but I see a lot of myself in him. I wasn’t as focused on my schoolwork in high school as I should have been, but fortunately I had great test scores. His test scores show that he has the intellect to handle his coursework in college and any kid who can improve his athletic ability like I saw in a year is someone who is committed to being great.
Naturally, Tennessee is the leader on him since the Vols were the first to offer, but pretty much everybody and they momma by now has probably been hitting up his coaches wondering what this kid is about. A 6-foot-3 receiver with a big frame and a ton of upside could be a monster in the SEC if put in the right system.
Again, I’ve got no idea what his ranking should be and I don’t care. I do know that he possesses all the qualities of other players who field a ton of FBS offers. I also know that 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns in one of the higher divisions in a football hotbed like Atlanta holds weight.
If nobody else jumps on him, Tennessee might have one of the biggest steals in the 2018 recruiting cycle.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/tennessee-may-found-diamond-rough-wr-jordan-young/