In analysis of Scout & Rival ratings and correspondance to NFL draft picks, the biggest disparity (between high school and pros) is at the offensive line. It seems that there are guys that max out around their junior year of high school, and other guys that are just getting going, and haven't grown into their body yet. I was talking with the commissioner of the local youth football league, and he mentioned that there is a huge disparity between those who are good players in junior high and those who excel at higher levels. Basically, kids that are pretty strong and coordinated younger have a huge advantage, and once late bloomers catch up, the advantage is obliterated.
Which brings me to my question: can someone out there explain how you recruit for the o-line? Do you look at family history (for growth?) What is the relationship between size, strength, skill, speed, and coordination? Are there a higher number of 5 star offensive line recruits who were graded too high, and who flame out?
While the casual fan (of which I am one) focuses on the skill players who handle the ball a lot, I have thought for the last ten years that the guys in the trenches matter a lot more. This is partially borne out by where the NFL drafts offensive linemen (and also defensive linemen.)
It strikes me that you can uncover more "diamonds in the rough" on the line, guys that still need to develop, and if you have the ability to see and assess this well, it can give a huge advantage to your team.
One example I will be watching is Gary Yerden, a preferred walk-on coming from Parchment, Michigan, the kid who deadlifted 630 pounds. Doing a google search, I found the following:
I know a little background as my son plays youth football for Parchment. All I've heard is he didn't play football growing up due to religious beliefs of his parents. He finally was allowed to play his Junior year. He had some issues with the coach and quit after 2 games. That coach was fired a couple games later for challenging his players to fight him after a game. Really. Then he played his Senior season on a 4-5 team. He was All Conference.
He plays in a conference not known for producing D1 athletes in football. I don't think he ever went to football camps or combines. Just completely under the radar. He's a thick, massive kid with ungodly lower body and back strength. Hopefully the coaches can harness that explosive power and we'll have a hidden gem on our hands.
The more we can pick up guys like that, the better. As an aside, I found it fascinating that Mattison, the defensive coordinator, led the charge in recruiting, contacting his weightlifting coach within 30 minutes of getting a text. Mattison is a go getter.