Thursday, March 13, 2008

Irish Recruiting Recap: Secondary

NOTE: This is the last in the series of articles I have written recapping the 2007 Irish recruiting class. With spring practice around the corner, it is time to look ahead and get fired up for Irish football again.

It has been a looooooooong time since I have been able to say that the Irish secondary is a STRENGTH of the team. However, we can say it now. One of the strength of Charlie's recruiting since he arrived has been the secondary. With the infusion of talent in the form of guys like Darrin Walls, Raeshon McNeil, Harrison Smith, and Gary Gray, the Irish have some tremendous athletes in the secondary. This recruiting class will add 3 more players to that mix.

Robert Blanton: I am extremely excited about Robert joining the program because he is a very different type of player than the Irish currently have in the secondary. While he could play either CB or S, I think Robert is best suited at corner. He differs from other CBs on the roster in that he is a little bigger, a little stronger, and better suited for being physical with receivers at the line of scrimmage. Robert is not going to blow you away with his speed and I don't think he is the pure athlete that a guy like Darrin Walls is, but his instincts are off the charts, his footwork is excellent, and his attitude is infectious. In many ways, Robert reminds me of a guy like Shane Walton. When you take the measurables, you question whether this guy is a big time player. Then you watch him compete and he just makes play after play. Robert is also a talker who is going to bring that swagger onto the field. Robert has an awful lot of quality talent to beat out if he wants to see the field this year, but of the 3 prospects, I think he is the most likely to get on the field at some point this season.

Jamoris Slaughter: I don't know whether Jamoris will wind up at S or CB, but I know that wherever he winds up, when he is on the field, he is going to hit someone. Anyone. Jamoris is a hitter and on film, he delivered some big time shots. While he is not the biggest guy, Jamoris is always willing to stick his nose in there. As he matures, Jamoris will learn better when to go for the bone jarring hit and when to use form and technique to just make the sure tackle. I am really hoping that the coaching staff figures out Jamoris' best position and then plants him there to learn it well. Jamoris has a lot of work to do on his technique and he would really benefit by being able to focus on 1 position and learn it well. If the staff needs him, Jamoris could be a solid special teamer this year.

Dan McCarthy: First off, I just want Dan to be healthy. During the season, Dan suffered a fairly significant neck/back injury that ultimately required surgery. While I have read that he plans to be healthy for next season, I think the surgery and resulting loss of strength and inability to work out will set him back. The kid has tremendous talent, so first, I just want him to be 100% healthy. Any time a football player suffers a neck/back injury, you always worry that it will remain in the back of their mind. That is just extra reason to make sure the player is really 110% healthy before you let him back on the field. As a player, Dan is a hard nosed kid, just like his brother Kyle. He plays the game the right way and is fundamentally sound. He does not get enough credit for his athleticism, as he is extremely good with the ball in his hands. As a matter of fact, I think before he graduates, he has a real good chance of returning some punts or kicks. He is that good with the ball in his hands.

As with the previous classes in the secondary, the Irish have done a fantastic job upgrading the talent at the position. I am absolutely thrilled that gone are the days where secondary recruiting involved little more than bringing in athletes or RBs and trying to force them to be CBs (seem Ambrose Wooden, Vontez Duff, etc.). Secondary is a unique position involving unique skill sets and it was a huge flaw of previous coaching staffs to believe they could simply create CBs and safeties out of guys who either didn't know the position or didn't want to play the position. Thankfully those days are long gone.

Your thoughts????

2 comments:

Sir John said...

Nice report, i am glad we have improved some. But then I am desperate to look for any improvement after last year. I hope I am not grasping at straws or into the kool Aid. Just Concerns.

wsmitheGH said...

I think recruiting this year is fantastic and I can't wait to see what happens in September! GO ND!!!

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