Now that National Signing Day has passed, we basically are finished with the 2015 football class and turn our attention to players in the classes of 2016-18 because it is time for them to begin competing in
… the Underwear Olympics.
The Underwear Olympics? Those are high school football combines, and before you shell out your hard-earned money for these things, you should know the people putting them on are perpetrating a fraud on parents and players.
These combines are the latest rage, made popular by people trying to figure out a way to make more money off these kids in what should be much-needed downtime for them.
Kids arrive at these combines where no one is wearing pads; it’s just shorts and T-shirts. They are timed in the 40-yard dash and the shuttle run. They are tested on their vertical leap, standing long jump and other things.
They run around the field catching and throwing passes, and this is all part of the process of being rated by recruiting services such as Rivals.com and Scout.com.
If you think college coaches pay attention to anything that happens at these combines or where the recruits are rated, you are delusional.
The self-proclaimed recruiting gurus are the ones assigning stars, which has kids all over the country going out of their minds, obsessing over whether they will be a five-star recruit or a four star or a three star or — heaven forbid — a two star or lower.
One of my questions: What did these recruiting gurus major in while in college to qualify them to rate kids? Astronomy?
If these recruiting gurus are so good at their jobs, why wasn’t there a five-star recruit starting in the Super Bowl? Why were there only seven four-star recruit Super Bowl starters? According to 247Sports, 20 starters were two-star players or lower.
Since these recruiting gurus claim their ratings are based on college potential and often mention likely NFL careers in their evaluations, how do they mess up so bad so often?
If we have learned anything over the years it is that recruiting is an inexact science. That is proved every year when someone like Jimmy Clausen is a five-star recruit and J.J. Watt is a two-star recruit, or when two-star recruit Eric Fisher of Central Michigan and Rochester Hills Stoney Creek is the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft or when Scout.com didn’t list Kirk Cousins among the top-100 quarterbacks in his senior class.
Next on the agenda for high school kids after the combines is seven-on-seven All-Star teams, which are a bigger joke than the combines.
A year ago after their junior seasons, Brian Lewerke of Phoenix, who eventually signed with Michigan State, was rated a four-star recruit, and Birmingham Brother Rice’s Alex Malzone, who has enrolled at Michigan, was a three-star recruit. But when the ratings were adjusted before this season, Lewerke was dropped to a three-star recruit and Malzone was elevated to a four-star recruit.
The explanation given by a Rivals.com recruiting guru was their ratings were changed after seeing them in combines and seven-on-seven.
How could someone say that with a straight face?
In other words, after seeing Lewerke play a season full of actual football games, they thought he was a four-star recruit, but after seeing him in the Underwear Olympics and in seven-on-sevens where no one is rushing the quarterback, no receiver is being hit off the line of scrimmage and no scrambling is required, he lost a star.
But there is an alarming aspect to the seven-on-seven All-Star teams. They often take the kids all over the country to the point that they miss seven-on-seven opportunities with their high school teams.
The poster child for seven-on-seven All-Star teams should be Warren De La Salle grad Shane Morris, who admitted he wore himself out traveling with his All-Star team and contracted mononucleosis, missing three complete De La Salle games and having a disappointing senior season.
But even after completing only 62 of 119 passes for 766 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions, the recruiting gurus elevated Morris to a five-star recruit.
The most important thing parents and kids must understand is college coaches pay no attention to any of this garbage.
If you think college coaches check how many stars a kid has next to his name before they recruit him, you are mistaken.
On signing day, U-M coach Jim Harbaugh said he judges a quarterback solely on what he sees in 11-on-11 football.
So does every other coach with a lick of sense.
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or firstname.lastname@example.org.