The spread, recruiting and the NFL

Bruce Feldman explores the question of whether the current crop of high school recruits are starting to get bugged out about the spread offense hampering their chances of playing on Sundays.  As usual, he makes it interesting, but gets to the point.

First, he came across something that indicates that Urban Meyer is meeting a little resistance on the recruiting front.

… Ted’s comments had me searching around the Web to see where the buzz was about recruits’ talking about being turned off by Meyer’s scheme. I did find some interesting stuff from The Palm Beach Post regarding standout WR prospect DeJoshua Johnson talking about this very thing:

“I dropped Florida and West Virginia because of the spread offense,” Johnson told the Palm Beach Post. “I don’t want to play in the spread offense. I’ve seen how it affected receivers in the NFL draft. They have to teach them to play in a pro-style offense.”

Then, The Post’s UF blogger Ben Volin followed up the point:

“Look at last weekend’s NFL Draft, which can only be classified as disappointing for the Gators. Receiver Louis Murphy fell all the way to the back end of the fourth round, and tight end Cornelius Ingram fell to the fifth. Murphy was the 18th receiver taken off the board, and spent three months between the championship game and the draft trying to convince people that Gators receivers do, in fact, run pro-style routes. Think Lane Kiffin isn’t going to remind prospects of Murphy’s draft value? Or Nick Saban or Les Miles? So don’t be shocked if the Gators don’t land Johnson, Chris Dunkley or any number of the top skill players for the class of 2010. You’ll notice that of the Gators’ current 12 commitments for next year, none play tailback or receiver.”

As Feldman points out, it’s a little early to read anything into that last fact.  But here’s the heart of the matter:

… Of course, in recruiting, rival coaches are going to try to use any perceived edge they can to convince a prospect why that other school might not be such a great fit for him. Bottom line is you need to win in college first. The counter to this is the impressive production Al Groh’s Virginia program has had with NFL talent. Three O-linemen got taken very high in recent years and a handful of others at different positions, but you don’t hear of all of these blue chips tripping over themselves to come to UVA.

Citing Virginia is interesting, because Groh is making a sea change at offense by bringing in Gregg Brandon, who was Meyer’s offensive coordinator at Bowling Green, to install the spread attack.  The program has had a surprisingly high number of kids selected in the NFL draft, considering the relative lack of success Groh’s had on the field (no conference titles, no division titles).  If the Cavs’ fortunes rise in the ACC while the number of draftees falls, I doubt there will be anyone associated with the program who would complain, but it’ll be worth watching to see if there are any ramifications down the road in recruiting.

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4 Comments

Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, Recruiting, Strategery And Mechanics

4 responses to “The spread, recruiting and the NFL

  1. Lowcountry Dawg

    The recruiting argument against the spread has some logic, but something tells me the meme will fade soon. Meyer & others will think of something to neutralize the point, or maybe 17 year olds aren’t that forward thinking as a group (the WR in the post notwithstanding). I’m not sure why, but I don’t see this lasting.

  2. MontgomeryAlDawg

    For another example, see Aaron Murray.

  3. I dunno, Harvin went first round and Crabtree was expected by everyone to be the first receiver off the board. Perception’s more important than reality, I guess, but I would think a) Johnson’s more the exception than the rule in the first place b) a talented salesman like Meyer should be able to convincingly point towards the spread’s successes over the failures, right?

  4. Left to Right

    Maybe this is why such a public effort is being made to “fix” the perceived problems in Tebow’s throwing motion. Should Tebow go low in the 2010 draft, it will look bad to recruits with a strong interest in the NFL, and could end up hurting UF’s recruiting.

    Bringing in a coach to “work on” a throwing motion that was good enough to win a MNC last year accomplishes two things for Myer:

    1) It may help Tebow get drafted higher and thereby dampen the “NFL doesn’t like to draft (our) system players” thought; and

    2) It publicly sets Tebow up to take the sotto-voiced blame should it come to pass that he is not drafted high (“Well, it wasn’t because of our offensive system that happened, he just has a bad windup”).