Michigan Football Recruiting: Scouting and Recruiting Wide Receivers

Posted at 7:00am — 1/26/2013

Michigan Football Recruiting: Scouting and Recruiting Wide Receivers

Once in a while, a high school prospect, like Julio Jones, pops up that is head and shoulders above the other few hundred receivers being scouted that particular year. And also once in a great while there is a high school wide receiver, like Randy Moss, that comes along that is head and shoulders above everyone in the past decade.

There are plenty of four and five star receivers that pan out as just average in a college career. There are also a fair amount of two star receivers that end up playing professional football. But overall the novice, let alone the astute scout can see differences in two star and five star talent.

Jan 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) catches a touchdown over San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown (25) during the second quarter in the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

So, the obvious question is who will turn out as the big find and who will be the bust? Coaches can see potential but there is no crystal ball to perfectly predict the outcome of a wide receiver’s future success.

Below is a short summary of how the evaluation of a wide receiver may occur.

First off, a coaching staff obviously looks for a recruit that fits what the program’s operation mode demands. Spread teams and power I teams need different skill sets. Some wide receivers are more integral in the blocking game and some are used to spread the field both vertically and horizontally.

Second, a coach evaluates fundamentals such as route running and other technical skills. Bad technique and route running may take one, two, or even more years to improve to a college level of competency.

Third, is the good hands eye test. If a receiver possesses a high level of talent but is very average or below average with hand skills, then the recruit is a risk, and the general thinking is at least one more year of preparation is needed to compete for the two-deep chart. Like hitting a baseball, catching passes of all types can be improved, but the athlete probably has or does not have that skill before hitting campus.

January 1,2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke high fives wide receiver Jeremy Gallon (10) against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the first half of the 2013 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Fourth, wide receivers may not need the work ethic of an offensive back or lineman, but the only way to beat out similar athletes is to outwork and outperform the competition. Coaches need to know this trait beforehand. Wide receivers must get better or they will rarely play.

Fifth, a coach needs to see how a recruit handles the pressure of making a must catch. This skill can be done through brute strength, superior athletic talent, focus, or a combination of factors. Some guys can make the second and five catch in the first quarter every time and disappear on third and ten late in the fourth quarter. This takes into account conditions beyond a receiver’s control.

Michigan has a bevy of wide receiver recruits that fall into the wait and see category. There is no Julio Jones to come in and light it up one day one. On the other hand, there is a good chance one or two in this class will contribute, the questions are who will ascend and how long will this take?

Clearly Michigan is going for the big, tough receiver that can make the routine catch. In sports making the routine play every time can outweigh making the spectacular catch on occasion.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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Topics: Football, Go Blue, Michigan Wolverines, Recruiting

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