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December 22, 2012
With the most recent ranking cycle behind us and just one more to re-ranking to take place after the post season all-star events, Inside the Gators asked Rivals.com recruiting analysts Mike Farrell and Kynon Codrington to share their thoughts on where several Florida commits and targets stand with regards to their personal prospect ranking.
Wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood fell outside the Rivals100 for the first time this recruiting cycle. Was his injury situation factored in here (he was hurt during the spring, had to sit out some of The Opening and then missed about four games as a senior)?
Farrell: Fulwood just hasn't shown any added explosiveness and that's what we were looking for. He's a big receiver and a good target who can use his body to shield off defenders, but his speed is not elite and other wide receivers have shown more of a jump from their junior to senior years.
Codrington: Fulwood has fallen because his senior wasn't as productive as his junior campaign. At The Opening he struggled catching the ball cleanly. He was double catching and trapping too much. He can pluck the ball and be a red zone mismatch, but he's not the fastest or most fluid. Gears down a little too much coming out of his breaks. He will need some refinement in that area when he gets to Gainesville. Joker Phillips should be able to develop his game.
When it comes time to come together as a team to put together the rankings, how much does overall senior season success play in the process? Someone like Nick Washington, who is projected on defense, but had a very good senior season on offense - does that hurt him that he didn't shine at his projected position, though he had a very good season?
Farrell: Senior film evaluation is always important, but for some positions its difficult and defensive backs are in that group. For safeties, we can at least see how they play the field, how correct their reads are, how they close on the ball and how they play in run support. Some safeties play a hybrid linebacker position in high school at times but we can still evaluate coverage skills, field smarts and how physical they are in the run game. Athleticism can come out on offense as well so that can always be a help. In fact, I like defensive backs that play offense and do well because it allows you to gauge their ball skills and speed.
Codrington: Senior film is very important. We want to see guys get better their senior year not regress. However, injuries, coaching change, schemes, etc. can alter stats so numbers aren't everything. I think Washington is a great player and dangerous with the ball in his hands. On defense he is very good and displays range and cover ability. The fact that he plays both ways and baseball is a plus for me. I like guys who are versatile.
Along those same lines, someone like Alvin Bailey wasn't quite as productive as he was as a junior because the dynamics of the offense at Armwood. How much does that hurt him in the rankings, or does it?
Farrell: A lack of production compared to junior year can impact a ranking, but we take into account many factors and we see if the player is still as explosive when given the opportunity as we thought he was. For Bailey his slide of eight slots essentially means we like him as we expected and nothing he did during senior evaluation hurt his ranking.
Codrington: Bailey's senior year doesn't hurt him. Like Harris we all know what he can do. He is the most explosive receiver in Florida's class and probably the biggest difference maker. I think he will be able to stretch the field and give the Gators a real home run threat.
Max Staver is no longer among the top 35 ranked pro-style quarterbacks. Why the drop and what is the consensus on him as a prospect?
Farrell: To me he's not a very good quarterback prospect. I don't know if he can or will play another position, but he's a project at quarterback and that was even more evident as a senior. Florida has reached on some quarterbacks in recent years (Jordan Reed, Skyler Mornhinweg, etc...) and I think these type of players have a chance to be solid at other positions like Reed is at tight end, but they just don't look like SEC-caliber QBs.
Codrington: Staver struggled in the games that Woody covered. I saw him at the Atlanta Elite 11 and he spun it well, but wasn't as consistent with his mechanics as other QB's in attendance. He has decent athleticism, so he can maybe slide to TE. He doesn't project as a capable SEC quarterback in my opinion.
Will there be a ranking of JUCO prospects? While 'purported' offers don't play a part in the rankings, Trenton Brown has as impressive offer list as any Rivals100 member (UF, FSU, Oklahoma, UGA, etc...), great size, academics, etc... but is currently rated as a three-star. Is there a potential move up or not?
Farrell: We are ranking JUCO prospects individually right now and once we have them all ranked we will determine if we do a national top 50 (same with prep). We used to do a pre-season JUCO ranking which made little sense and even the post-season national ranking ended up littered with prospects who ended up signing with no one or not making the grade, so we have stepped back a bit this year to re-evaluate a national list. However, Brown is a guy we are still evaluating, but offers never play into a ranking. Brown is a huge kid with a ton of upside, but he's a project which is why he is a mid range three star right now, offers or not. Also we don't value JUCOs as much in rankings because they have less time to make an impact in college and have more hurdles to overcome to be impact prospects (which is usually the reason they are at JUCO in the first place) so a mid to high-level three star JUCO is actually a guy we are high on.
Over the last two ranking cycles safety Keanu Neal has come from out of nowhere to place solidly inside the Rivals100. What is it that the analyst team likes about him?
Farrell: Neal is that guy who can hit like a truck, but also cover in space. We knew he was physical in run support and found out he could cover like a cornerback this summer and that combination is intriguing to us. He has shot up the ranks a bit from his debut in the Rivals250 in May to No. 81 now and we continue to love his upside each time we see him.
Codrington: Neal is the total package at safety. It's going to be hard to keep him off the field as a freshman. He hits like a linebacker, but covers like a cornerback. He has a great build and rocked out body. He has a high football IQ and understands defensive concepts. At The Opening he was the leader of the defense for team SuperBad. He has earned his new ranking with his performance this summer and fall.
In Part I of our Analyst Q&A Farrell and Codrington share their thought on Adam Lane, Caleb Brantley, Kelvin Taylor, Marcell Harris and Montravius Adams