The nation’s top football recruits generally share similar qualities: they’re faster, stronger and simply more talented than their high school competition.
But there’s more than meets the eye with the recruiting game according to Kynon Codrington, Rivals.com’s Southeast recruiting analyst.
“You also look at production, level of competition they play against and other stuff you don’t see on film,” Codrington said. “It’s a combination of these things plus character. A kid might not initially qualify for or move up in our rankings because of ineligibility due to off-the-field issues.”
Scouts watch closely from the time they find a young prospect to the day a school hosts him on a campus visit.
“It’s a long process,” Codrington said. “It usually begins with someone reaching out to us and providing us with information about the player along with film. We’re able to evaluate that film, talk to the player and see what kind of prospect he is and which schools he’s heard from.”
Fans across the nation look to websites like ESPN and Rivals to see how certain recruits are rated. Recruits are graded on a star system, with one star indicating a poor prospect and five stars marking a potential professional.
“These are the guys who are projected to be starters in the NFL and have long, impactful careers,” Codrington said. “The 4-star guys are going to be just as good, but may not have one element of what the elite guys possess.”
According to Rivals, LSU currently has two 5-star commits in the 2013 class. The program also has 16 4-star prospects preparing to join next year.
He and his fellow coworkers at Rivals scout hordes of players every year, and Codrington said one position is generally more difficult to rate.
“Quarterback is probably the hardest position to evaluate,” he said. “These kids nowadays are more college ready because they’re preparing and doing more of these camps at an early age, but that doesn’t always equate to success at the college level.”
Every player’s rating is simply a projection of how the recruit is expected to perform in college. Other outside factors, like personality, could make any former 5-star recruit a bust.
“There’s so many factors,” Codrington said. “That’s why you see some of these highly ranked kids not pan out.”