We last discussed the top 5 defensive difference makers and now it’s time for the offense. The offensive side of the ball only went after one junior college player or transfer, Ethan Carde, but I think even Carde is still a ways away from contributing. So these are more of a projection rather than immediate need, but given the right circumstances, you never know. Let’s go.
Tight End John Holomb (6-5/215)
The height is perfect and the weight is something that will need to be added. Holcomb’s highlights have been protected since he committed and the Wellington product is a lot more athletic that I originally thought. Holcomb says that he is a sub 50-second 400m and I think that’s probably accurate. The question for these high school players is if they have the athletic ability to create mis-matches and to the project athletically. The high school competition in Wellington is not that great, but I enjoyed watching his basketball Hudl highlights. The blocks are an indication that he’s at least got down the idea of timing and ability. Again, the competition isn’t great, but a relatively athletic tight end that’s already 6’5″ and is going to grow into a larger frame? Yeah, I’ll take some of that please.
Wide Receiver Loic Fouonji (6-4/180)
Unfair. The most complete receiver in the class and maybe the most complete receiver in a couple of classes. Maybe the difference between Fouonji and T.J. Vasher was that Vasher had to add weight to compete on the Big 12 level and still could add weight where Fouonji is already built pretty well, but maybe doesn’t have the leaping ability that Vasher had. At least it’s not on display from the highlights. But the way that Fouonji runs through tackles and is ready to play now. Well, maybe not now, but he’s pretty darned close.
Running Back Tahj Brooks (5-11/215)
By the end of the year, running back depth was a real issue, SaRodorick Thompson was the only healthy scholarship running back available and there was no depth other than non-scholarship running back Jax Welch. At 215 already and he’s got weird speed, like I’m not sure how that math works with his speed and ability to pull away from defenders. Brooks does a really nice job of running through would-be tacklers and he doesn’t have a ton of wiggle, Brooks is really a one-move sort of back, similar to Armand Shyne.
Offensive Lineman Larry Moore (6-5/285)
Moore has left tackle written all over him, incredibly athletic and long-armed and I’m always of the opinion that the more left tackle prototypes you can get, the better off that you are as an offensive line. If the athleticism or size doesn’t eventually pan out, then right tackle is always an option, but normally you just don’t see it going the other way.
Quarterback Donovan Smith (6-3/185)
Let’s see. Going from not playing quarterback at all at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas (he played receiver, catching 49 passes for 808 yards and 8 touchdowns) to playing quarterback for Frenship, completing 65% of his passes for 3,123 yards, 25 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 96 rushing attempts, 489 rushing yards, and 13 rushing touchdowns. So Smith averaged 9.5 yards per passing attempt and 5 yards per rushing attempt. Smith went from a receiver to an elite quarterback that led Frenship from a 3-7 record before he arrived to a 7-4 record this year. That’s quite the turnaround and it’s not only because of Smith, but I think he had a large part of Frenship’s success. There’s probably more polished players (which are detailed below) that can contribute earlier, but a quarterback with Smith’s measurables are incredibly difficult to find.
And just like the defensive players, here are the reasons why I didn’t choose the other players.
Offensive Lineman Ethan Carde (6-8/325): Carde may be the biggest project of the bunch, again, my dumb and uninformed personal opinion. Obviously has size, but I’m totally fine with offensive linemen being projects. Carde has a redshirt year available and definitely want him to take advantage of that.
Wide Receiver Ja’Lynn Polk (6-2/185): Polk is probably a notch under Fouonji, but it’s so close. Terrific body control and nice straight-line speed. Video in high school he’s blowing the lid off of two-deep coverage, which is what he’s supposed to do.
Inside Receiver Myles Price (5-9/170): Fearless and versatile and Price was actually the next guy on my list as a player that’s absolutely special. He can do so many things and he’s so fast, but I’d put Price’s ability to make plays with anyone. He just doesn’t have the dominating measurables that I think the other 5 players have, but he makes up for it in ability. Love his film.
Offensive Lineman Caleb Rogers (6-5/275): I think I may have written when Rogers committed that he might need to work on his hands a bit and I still think that’s true. He’s more than happy to engage with his body, but he’s probably got to be stronger with his hands. And he’s a right tackle in high school, so there’s a strong possibility that he’ll probably stay at that position, or maybe be a guard (he has good footwork).
Wide Receiver J.J. Sparkman (6-4/190): If Myles Price was 6, then Sparkman is 6.A. Sparkman has terrific ability to go up and get the ball, that’s a real talent, knowing how to use his body to shield defenders and still make a contested catch. One of those awesome red zone possibilities.