Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Should UGA Start "Profiling" Recruits?

Recently, I heard an interview with Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane (I think it was him but I'm not totally positive), where he hinted that a new "scouting technique" many baseball teams are working on, is to try and determine which prospects are likely to be busts.

While teams look at on-field play and a bevy of advanced statistics, the feeling now is that if teams look at a new crop of characteristics about the player -- socioeconomic upbringing, parental situation, marital status, the climate of the player's hometown, etc. -- it's possible to label a player as a "keeper" or "likely to be a bust". (BTW, all of this is off the top of my head...but I think you get the point).

Another topic discussed was trying to determine if a player will be injury prone. By comparing a prospect to similar Major League players (i.e. players of similar height/weight/position on the filed/previous injuries) or players that "ended up not working out", some GMs believe it is a possibility in the near future to make a semi-accuate prediction about whether a player will stay injured. To my knowledge, these scouting techniques are in the infant stage, but it is certainly an interesting topic to explore.

You may be asking what this has to do with college football. Well, after perusing UGA's roster the other day, a somewhat interesting yet also somewhat depressing notion entered my head: it could be argued that Blake Sailors -- a walk-on from Oconee County High School in Athens, who is ALWAYS around the ball on the kickoff team -- is a more valuable player than Marlon Brown (pictured left) -- a heralded wide receiver out of tiny Harding Academy in Memphis.

And Brown isn't the only underperforming recruit we have had from very small high schools; how about former QB Blake Barnes, or current o-lineman Austin Long. Both of these guys were very highly touted recruits who played at very small high schools. It's almost like the jump is too much for these guys. And I hate to bring this up, but...Christian LeMay is one of these guys too (Oh wait, he didn't even play last year).

I guess I can't really "blame" UGA coaches for taking a guy like Marlon Brown. Everybody wanted him, and even if he never really "gets it", it's only one wasted scholarship (heck, I'm hoping he has a monster year, but I just don't see it). I guess my point is that players that played against adequate competition in high school seem to be ready as soon as they step on campus, even if they are lesser recruits. Maybe it's just my imagination, but I feel like I could be on to something here.

I haven't even got into the "injury prone" thing yet. Nor why seemingly EVERY offensive line recruit ends up not working out. Oh well...that's a study for another day.


  1. You may be on to something about those tiny schools.

    Former big-frogs-in-little-ponds suddenly find themselves in a much, much bigger pond with a whole bunch of big frogs.

    But then again, Johnson County High School is a little pond. And we all know how that one big frog turned out.

  2. Anon, 8:48

    Ha, yeah Johnson County is small, but they also play in a pretty good region considering they are single-A. Plus, there is a lot more attention/pressure to perform in 2011 than in 1980 for the players.

  3. The biggest factors are what's between the ears and under the sternum.

  4. While we want all of our players to be "Dawgs" in their heart and soul, we don't want anyone "dogging it". Want to know about LeMay and the "underperforming" crack. Substantiate what you say or be labeled an interloper from the 10th Ave Trade School.

  5. DT,

    Bulldogs coming in to UGA from tiny places probably face bigger adjustments to Athens life than metro-Atlanta dwellers might appreciate.

    A personal experience from my freshman year: my UGA dorm-mates laughed at me and thought it was the funniest thing when I referred to Athens as a "big city."

    I had been to New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Dallas, Los Angeles, and, of course, Atlanta, so I knew Athens wasn't a "big city" by such metropolitan standards.

    But Athens WAS a "big city" in comparison to the every day standards I was more accustomed, such as Royston, The Rock, Lumber City, Monticello, Union Point, Uvalda, Santa Claus, Doerun, and Ochlochnee.

    My family travelled quite a bit in comparison with other folks who lived in our small village. Still, fresh out of rural South Georgia, I saw things with tiny town eyes when I first landed in the Classic City.

    Kids from Rochelle and Camilla probably have similar adjustments to the "big city" that I did, notwithstanding that they are highly-recruited football players.

  6. Anon 1:22,

    Clearly I'm a Tech fan as I am a UGA alum, write about Georgia sports every day, and go to all of the UGA football and basketball games.

  7. Anon 1:46,

    Thanks for posting. Can you imagine if you had to deal with all the football stuff too?

  8. I believe the poster above is missing the point. Dawgola is not referring to the communities as being as small, but rather the programs and schools they attended. Small schools playing in subpar regions can be located in large urban areas. As for the comment about Lemay; Dawgola wasn't questioning his production, but rather inferring that he too went to a small private school. This article raises some valid questions about high school competition as it relates to readiness and production among college players.

  9. Pretty sure he wasn't referring to LeMay as an unerperformer, but rather "one of the small-school" brethren. TBD on him, but he could fit in that group.

  10. RE: Lemay....

    He didn't necessarily go to a "small" school, but it was a Christian high school in North Carolina, which is a slight downgrade from most big-time Georgia or Florida high schools

  11. Christian Lemay played his junior season in the largest classification, 4AAAA, in North Carolina, and led his team to an undefeated season, blowing out most opponents on the way to the NC state championship.

  12. If I'm not mistaken, he had a trainer for his entire home-schooled, non-playing senior year. That would imply higher training results than playing in a "small" or large school. I read the subject of the paragraph where you used LeMay's name as being about underperforming recruits. And you said that he was one of them. Could you clarify? Others have tried for you, but haven't heard from Dawgola Tesla. My question was directed at the underperforming gig when he hasn't played in a game for us as of yet. Is there team news that he is underperforming in practice? We all would be interested.