1. Davey OBrien

    The one risk I have always felt in making offers to kids this far out is that of projection. There is the assumption that the player will continue to improve as they physically mature. Naturally so of this will take place, but there is no guarantee on things like arm strength which is important when a quarterback makes the jump in competition. Curious Sam’s physical changes between sophomore and junior year. One consistent thing I have read about him is that no one puts in more work during the off season.

    Additionally, as you point out very, very few high school defenses have multiple college caliber players as well as run complicated schemes. Very few defenses even at the highest level of high school football are physically equipped to face a spread offense with two-three quality weapons. Knowing some coaches who faced Russell Sheppard in high school they made the comment he really didn’t have to make decisions under duress because of the talent he had with him in the running back and the wide receiver. Those three put so much pressure on most defenses that Russell was basically put in a situation were success was damn near guaranteed against most defenses. They had success against them when the decide to basically go after Russell and force him to make quick decisions. Same comments from friends who faced DeSoto last year. Had success for over half the game until Robinson started making plays with his legs. In high school there really wasn’t a way to contain him in that offense for 48 minutes. Same for Sheppard, Sam, or Johnson. The tough part though is does that mean success on the next level? How do they react when they face a defense for the first time that is athletic enough and sophisticated enough to challenge them?

    • ianaboyd

      Great stuff Davey!

      Totally agree, that’s my main focus when looking at these HS QBs’ film is trying to figure out what happens when opponents aren’t overwhelmed by sheer talent. That was the tell with Jerrod Heard, which I sort of noticed at the time and really stood out later. If opponents could limit his running room (very rare) then he had the potential to just collapse. Obviously he won consecutive titles so that wasn’t happening much.

      Sam Ehlinger was the engine that drove the Westlake offense, the featured runner AND a guy that was being asked to execute a lot in the passing game. His skill set was mostly what was overwhelming about that team but he also had film going up against teams like Katy, Lake Travis, and North Shore (K’Lavon Chaisson and Eric Monroe) where they made him prove he could make plays under duress and he delivered.

      As far as physical changes, they listed Sam at 6-1, 207 for like all three years (SO, JR, SR). I don’t know how much he changed from soph to junior year but he was pretty sturdily built even as a soph and is like 215-220 now. He’s almost built like a fullback, really, and he runs like one.

      Roschon, as I detailed, faced a pretty stiff challenge in that Port Arthur D. They actually shut his team down for most of the game but he made some plays late. He’ll get some more challenges next year that should be instructive.

      • Davey OBrien

        The other variable of course that is almost impossible to measure in high school is how do they respond mentally to the responsibility/opportunity. Colt is the best example to me. Everyone points to his physical development from where he first came into the program and what he developed into by the time he left, but to me the bigger growth was on the mental side. He basically carried that offensive unit for two seasons to a 25-2 record and this was not a unit loaded with NFL talent in the offensive line like the 2005 team, a running back like Charles, a tight end like David Thomas nor a player with the explosive ability of Ramonce.

        They had solid talent at the wide receiver position overall and in the line, but for those two teams to reach the levels they did on the offensive side of the ball came in large part to the leadership, will, and execution of Colt. How you see that in a high school kid I am not sure, but I won’t need to work anymore.

        • ianaboyd

          Indeed. Colt is probably underrated, overall, by Texas fans even though he’s very well regarded. He followed VY, which was hard, and so we didn’t quite realize how freaking good he was. Or how athletic.

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