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During this dead zone many Virginia Tech football fans fill discretionary sports time with recruiting, and some good recruiting news has trickled in lately. Virginia Tech today got a commitment from defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins (younger brother of current r-FR Antoine Hopkins), and a commitment from a (badly needed) quarterback in Ricardo Young from Washington DC. Young is a dual-threat type QB that the Hokies generally gravitate to, and we badly needed a quarterback. This is in addition to a few other recruits who committed after the spring game.
I don't know about you, but when the Hokies get a new recruit, I usually want to get their quick 'profile' so I can get to know the new member of the squad. When if comes to college football recruiting, this has become all about recruiting services and 'stars'. But like most things that get 'rated', there more below the surface than a rating, grade, score, or # of stars.
I follow Hokie recruiting closely, but no where close to the level I did in the past. Its easy to get constant streams of recruiting information as there are several good services out there that cover virtually every Div I-A team. But their breadth of coverage is also their challenge, it requires wide scale systems of rating recruits that hundreds of analysis must follow. The result is some sort of 'stars' or ranking system that groups recruits in broad categories based on potential so followers can quickly get a read on how the class is shaping up.
Ask any Hokie who's followed this stuff closely, and they'll give you an earful on the flaws of this star system and how it reflects on Virginia Tech recruits (in other words, why Virginia Tech recruits often get lower ratings than expected). In reality, its complicated and involves many factors. For example, a player of talent X may be of more value to the Hokies than he does to other schools, thus has a lower star rating according to services. Plus, judging talent is hard enough for coaches, more so for services who rely on tape and sources already stretched thin.
That doesn't mean football recruiting services aren't valuable, in fact they're incredible sources of information. Brian Mohr at Rivals does a tremendous job covering Virginia Tech recruiting and I look forward to his updates. Just don't get too caught up in star ratings in the Rivals network in general.
What do I look at with a new commitment? What are their measurables? What other schools have recruited the kid? What high school did he go to (what's the school's history with VT)? What VT coach recruited the kid and for how long? How's he look on video? What's the position story, i.e. is he being recruited for a different position or has he played multiple positions (I like QBs who can play elsewhere - think Kam Chanchelor) What do the guys who really cover Virginia Tech - Brian Mohr, Chris Horne (at TSL), - think of him?
Those details generally tell the story more than how many stars.
I spent 30 minutes or so reading up on Young and Hopkins. I'm thrilled with both.
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