Some thoughts on 71% of the guys we got up to today.
Garrett Gilbert - Garrett is a tough nut to crack unless you watch all his games. Highlights on YouTube aren't the best way to judge a QB, because you learn more from watching his failures, and how he manages drives than worthless highlights of him tossing fades down the sidelines. That's how Chris Weinke won a Heisman he didn't deserve.
The things that concern me about Gilbert at this time are things I shouldn't really be worrying about, because he's 16 (actually 15 in the video, I think). He has kind of awkward, loopy mechanics that take velocity off his throws, and he doesn't have that big an arm to begin with. When he throws on the run it looks like he puts a lot of effort into his windup for no real reason. In three years, with Colt's arm strength regimen and hopefully some good coaching, he'll be perfectly fine in both areas. I'll worry if in three years he still throws flutter balls from the hip.
On the plus side, I am very impressed with his lower body mechanics, namely his footwork and how he squares himself up to throw. I like the way he steps up in the pocket instead of doing the Chance Mock rollout, and stands tall to throw. Usually if the footwork is there, then the rest will follow. He leans into his throws, and is athlete enough to find a spot in the pocket to throw under pressure.
Honestly, I think the reason I'm higher on Shepard than him is because he is exactly the kind of player whose strengths don't translate to highlight films. He doesn't have the big arm that Mallet had, or the amazing accuracy Jimmy Clausen had, so the only real way to scout him would be to watch his games all the way through, which I have not done. I promise I'll do that next season. Typically the people that put together highlight packages opt for big plays, regardless of who is actually responsible for the outcome. I want to see his decision making abilities, how he reacts under pressure, whether he hits his dump off if nothing is open downfield. For now, I'll put my trust in every single person that swoons over him.
Epilogue - I went to Rivals profile to see if they had new film on him, and they did. He's already filled out a lot more compared to his sophomore video, and his arm and mechanics are much improved. He throws higher and his spirals are tighter, and there is a little more zip on this throws. Plus he doesn't run like a gangly teenager going through puberty anymore. It's like Rivals read my mind and set out to prove me wrong. I'm sold.
Marcus Davis - Good size, and played corner in Houston so you know he's athletic. He's being projected to FS here, and boy can he play. Great closing speed from the secondary in run support. Anyone who has seen Bob Sanders stop runs on his own knows how important that can be. Accelerates well and finishes when he gets there. Great in coverage at the high school level, and has more than enough ability to play FS here. He won't be another Michael Huff, but who is?
He came off his guy a couple times in the highlight packages, showing great anticipation. The players who react first always play faster than they are, and he's plenty fast already. He also has superior ball skills, like Michael Griffin, and I expect he'll be a similar player. Seems like a natural. He's got the range and closing speed to succeed in coverage and the size and physicality to play against the run. He's a good student fro ma good family, too, so there is nothing here not to like.
Chris Whaley - I don't know what to think. He's got great feet, but there are parts of this tape where he takes a lot of steps and doesn't get very far. He's got great size, but I haven't actually seen him run over anyone. So he could show up and be just like every other big back we've had since Ricky Williams, a soft-shoed pussy-footer who would rather be Barry Sanders than Jerome Bettis, or he could show up and be a better Ron Dayne.
These highlights in particular, if you didn't know who it was for, might fool you into thinking someone was pimping the OL instead of the running back. Count how many times he's touched. You can't learn anything about a RB from that. 95% of the carries a RB get will be into a pile of defenders, so the effectiveness of said RB will depend on how well he can pick 4 yards out of a crowd before he goes down, not how he runs around a 3A safety 15 yards downfield.
He seems to be plenty fast once he gets moving but I have concerns about how long that will take him. He gets compared to Cedric Benson a lot but I think people forget just how fast Benson went from his set position to the hole. Whaley spends and eternity in the backfield relative to Benson, and I have no idea how he'll fit in here like that. He does have a great dead leg move so he's surprisingly adept at cutting back, so he's got that part of the zone game down. I think we're going to have to take great care in not letting his stretch out the zone, because nothing about Whaley suggests he can survive without moving forward, like a shark. If we get to nicknames, there is my suggestion.
He's obviously got potential, but I want to see him against good competition before I start throwing around words like "best." If he can get to that top gear when he doesn't have as much time, then count me in.
Greg Timmons - The surprise of the day, a commitment from the typically anti-orange Aldine Eisenhower. How exciting. Even better if we can turn Loston. Timmons and (hopefully) Shepard will help there. Anyway, to the one we actually got.
He's good. Really good. There is size, and then there is good size. He's 6'3 but he plays like a 5'10 RB. He's the closest thing to Roy Williams with the ball in his hands than we'vehad since . . . well, Roy. Probably not as fast, but Roy is a freak afterall. Like most tall players, once he gets a head of steam he has trouble moving laterally, but when he's under control there isn't anything he can't do. He really has great balance and it shows. We could play this guy anywhere, and do anything with him. He takes nothing off the table. He's got the quickness to play in the screen game and the speed and size to go deep, and everything in between. Catches with his hands and isn't afraid to take a hit. Limas Sweed took three years to become as good as Timmons is now. I love him.
Even though we're jammed up full of young, talented WRs, he should have no problem getting on the field after a redshirt year. Best WR in the state I've seen so far and I like him better than Buckner. And I like Buckner.
Side note: Blue jerseys with a yellow stripe up the side, like Cal. Fine. But white pants with that? Really, Eisenhower?
Side note 2: EHS's QB is pretty good. I'd take him if I was Baylor or Iowa State or someone.
Paden Kelley - I cannot find on shred of film. He's the reason I went to Gilbert's Rivals site, to see if maybe I could see him there, but everything is filmed in close ups. Oh well. His interest list is impressive and he's 6'6, so there you go.
Garrett Porter - Also nothing. He's white, which was surprising to me.