College Football's Legs Race (Part II)

College Football's Legs Race (Part II)

Lance Roffers
In Part I of my series on College Football’s Legs Race I outlined athletic markers that have shown a correlation towards success at the DI level. In Part II I am going to focus on the 2019 recruiting class and how Miami’s commitments look from an athleticism standpoint.

As a quick refresher: I am looking to show correlation to success at the college level and not the NFL. Much has been written about this topic for the NFL and the same traits are not always necessary for success at the college level.

Peer schools used for the study have remained the same (Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, USC) but I also added the entire ACC to the results for this class as well to gain a better perspective on where they stand within the conference as well.

I am adding the average metrics for All-Conference players at the P5 level for each positional group to add context. Certain combine events have shown a higher correlation to success than others and I will highlight those events for each positional group.

QB- 199 pounds, 4.86 40, 4.36 Short-Shuttle, 35’ Powerball toss, 30” Vertical, 84 SPARQ

Peyton Matocha- 193 pounds, 4.84 40, 4.33 Short-Shuttle, 37’ Powerball, 28.7” Vertical, 84 SPARQ, 70th percentile

Matocha hits every key metric for All-Conference QB’s and is a slightly above-average athlete among the All-Conference players. You can see from the average Short-Shuttle time that QB’s with slow feet don’t eat. The lone category where Matocha does not hit the average result is in vertical jump and that is the event that has shown zero correlation with All-Conference QB’s.

From an athletic standpoint, Matocha has the tools to profile as at least a starter at the P5 level.

Tate Martell- 205 pounds, 4.72 40, 4.03 SH, 37’ Powerball, 37” Vertical, 114.78 SPARQ, 98th percentile

Martell is a transfer QB so he won’t be in the team data section, but as a transfer to the roster I wanted to profile him. As far as tools for an All-Conference QB, Martell checks every box. His Short-Shuttle time is beaten by two QB’s in my database; Will Grier and McKenzie Milton. Having an excellent Short-Shuttle time has proven to be essential for QB’s as the worst time I found for an All-Conference QB was a 4.47 from Sam Darnold (still a very good time). The only two QB’s in my database with worse times who I would classify as “good” are Jake Fromm and Kellen Mond- both at 4.55. Martell should be at least 2nd team All-ACC in his career.

RB- 203 pounds, 4.57 40, 4.27 SH, 37’ Powerball, 36” Vertical, 110 SPARQ

Miami does not currently have a RB commitment in this class, but I will profile Asa Martin since he is transferring in from Auburn.

Asa Martin- 195 pounds, 4.76 40, 4.32 SH, 31” Vertical.

Martin did not complete the Powerball throw and therefore does not have a SPARQ score. If you give him the average Powerball toss his SPARQ score would come in around 92.01 just for comparison purposes. Martin’s athletic profile does represent a typical profile for an All-Conference performer as no All-Conference RB at the P5 level in my database ran as slow a 40 as Martin. The closest is Benny Snell, who ran a 4.75 40, but Snell weighed much more (212 pounds) and was significantly faster in the short shuttle (4.12). Martin has the profile of a complementary RB moreso than a star.

WR- 183 pounds, 4.64 40, 4.34 SH, 34’ Powerball, 32” Vertical, 91 SPARQ

Jeremiah Payton- 190 pounds, 4.74 40, 4.22 SH, 39.5 Powerball, 32.9” Vertical, 100.86 SPARQ

From an athletic standpoint, Payton hits all of the markers but pure 40 speed. He’s already a standout as far as the weight room and has the explosive movements to make his mark in college football. Athletic testing has stunningly shown the lowest correlation at the WR position, but Payton stands out among the best college athletes at the position.

TE- 223 pounds, 4.85 40, 4.46 SH, 37’ Powerball, 31” Vertical, 90 SPARQ

Larry Hodges- 231 pounds, 5.05 40, 4.41 SH, 43’ Powerball, 25.8” Vertical, 66.81 SPARQ

There are two distinct types of TE’s; an “H” TE that is sort of an H-back who can be a FB, motion-induced moveable chess piece type, and a “Y” TE. The tall TE’s you can split out into the slot and have them threaten the seam and out-jump defenders in the red zone. Hodges is a prototypical H-TE. A bit of a combination FB/TE he will be asked to block and be a possession receiver. His lack of height (6’1”) and relative lack of speed (5.05 40-yard dash) will limit his upside. He stands out with short-area quickness in the Short Shuttle and he has explosion in his core with the Powerball toss. He should settle in as a complementary player.

OT- 287 pounds, 5.35 40, 4.82 SH, 37’ Powerball, 26” Vertical, 81 SPARQ

Adam El Gammal- 270 pounds, (Did not Test)

Zion Nelson- 240 pounds, (Did not Test)

Neither commitment at the OT position tested in athletic events this year. I’ve seen El Gammal personally at a basketball tournament and I would call him an above-average athlete. Zion Nelson is said to be one of the best testing OL that Miami has put through their combine events. Obviously, both are developmental prospects, but they do seem to meet the athletic criteria to at least play the position. In a best-case scenario, Nelson would develop like Brian O’Neil (235 pounds former TE), Chris Lindstrom (235 pounds at Boston College), or David Edwards (225 pounds former TE at Wisconsin).

In my view, Dante Scarnecchia is the best OL coach in the world. His three criteria for playing OL for him are: 1. Toughness (hit somebody). 2. Smarts (know responsibilities). 3. Athleticism (he wants quick feet). Miami is starting to buy into the model a bit more at the position and are looking to upgrade their athleticism. An average of 81 SPARQ at the position was quite surprising to me, as I expected more of the 330-pound maulers to excel, but it’s truly more of the lighter types with quick feet who grow and gain size in college that make All-Conference.

OG- 288 pounds, 5.38 40, 4.85 SH, 37’ Powerball, 26” Vertical, 75 SPARQ

Miami does not currently have an OG commitment, though El Gammal could project there.

OC- 289 pounds, 5.38 40, 4.80 SH, 37’ Powerball, 24” Vertical, 78 SPARQ

Jakai Clark- 307 pounds, (Did not Test)

After reviewing Clark on tape he is more of an active player than an exceptional athlete. The hope is that he develops a similar path as former Alabama Center, Bradley Bozeman. Profiles more as a starter than an All-Conference type.

DE- 235 pounds, 4.98 40, 4.58 SH, 38’ Powerball, 33” Vertical, 94 SPARQ

Cam Williams- 225 pounds, 4.83 40, 4.75 SH, 35’ Powerball, 29” Vertical, 82.38 SPARQ, 50th percentile

Williams’ athletic profile would be unique to be an All-Conference performer. The main hope that you could point to would be a Carl Lawson, who tested very poorly out of HS but was much bigger and stronger than Williams. The Short Shuttle time is the area that really gives you pause as he is well behind the majority of previous All-Conference players. The only player I could find that fit this mold was Conor Sheehy from Wisconsin. Williams profiles as a starter rather than a star.

Jahfari Harvey- 213 pounds, (Did not Test)

Harvey did not test but on tape he profiles as a plus athlete. Combined with his production in Florida his profile is that of an All-Conference performer his Junior year.

A major target that Miami still has a chance with is Khris Bogle, so I will profile him here.

Khris Bogle- 207 pounds, 4.82 40, 4.38 SH, 36’ PB, 34.4” Vertical, 90.69 SPARQ, 65th percentile.

Bogle fits in very well as an expected regular starter with the traits to be an All-Conference player. He would be a solid addition.

DT- 279 pounds, 5.15 40, 4.72 SH, 38’ Powerball, 28” Vertical, 88 SPARQ

Jason Blissett- 271 pounds, 5.13 40, 4.40 SH, 38’ Powerball, 30” Vertical, 94.44 SPARQ, 85th percentile

Blissett has the athletic profile of the prototypical All-Conference DT. Where he stands out even among that elite group is in his change-of-direction skills. The Short-Shuttle time is elite. I’ve written this before, but:

Here are the players that weighed 250+ pounds who ran a faster short shuttle than Blissett and his 4.40 SH (my database started in 2014 when numbers became more available):

Derek Barnett- 1st round pick, All-American, and broke Reggie White's school sack record at Tennessee.
Solomon Thomas- 1st round pick and All-American at Stanford.
Joshua Paschal- Class of '17 player already starting for Kentucky and produced sacks against Tenn and Vanderbilt as a freshman.
James Lynch- ESPN freshman All-American last year for Baylor.
Gerald Willis- Miami's best DL and off to a crazy good start.
Rashan Gary- All-American at Michigan will be a very high pick this year.
Neville Gallimore- #11 on college football's "freaks list" at Oklahoma and looks to be a high pick.
Antonio Alfana- Freak show DT commit for Alabama. #1 in 40, SH, Vertical, SPARQ.

That's it. That's the list.

Jared Harrison-Hunte- 279 pounds, (Did not Test)

Hunte did not test but you can see from videos of him playing basketball he is a plus athlete and fits exactly into the athletic profile of other DT’s who have made All-Conference. His weight hits the average P5 All-Conference DT on the nose.

Jalar Holley- 282 pounds, (Did not Test)

Holley is more of a run-plugger type than he is a plus athlete. Holley wins with his explosive power and hand usage rather than pure quickness. He is the most college-ready of the three DT recruits due to his size and strength and profiles as an early rotational player.

LB- 216 pounds, 4.77 40, 4.40 SH, 36’ Powerball, 32” Vertical, 93 SPARQ

Before I get into the LB’s themselves, note that Blissett profiles as the average P5 All-Conference LB athletically but weighs 271 pounds.

Sam Brooks- 194 pounds, 4.62 40, 4.20 SH, 42’ Powerball, 36.2” Vertical, 116.91 SPARQ, 92nd percentile

From a strictly athletic profile standpoint, Sam Brooks stands out more than any other recruit in this class. Typically, profiling as a 90+ percentile athlete means you will become at least a starter at the P5-level. Brooks will be transitioning from more of a pass rusher role to an off-ball LB role, but his skill set, production, and athleticism profile as an All-Conference player.

Avery Huff- 200 pounds, (Did not Test)

If WR is the one position that athleticism testing doesn’t correlate at all, LB is the position that is second most all over the map. Most All-Conference performers were plus athletes with above-average SH times. Watching the film of Huff you can see he has the length, explosion, and movement skills to profile as an outstanding P5 LB.

CB- 178 pounds, 4.60 40, 4.28 SH, 34’ Powerball, 34” Vertical, 92 SPARQ, 65th percentile

Tecory Couch- 148 pounds, 4.51 40, 4.25 SH, 36’ Powerball, 36” Vertical, 96.45 SPARQ

Couch has everything that you look for in a CB prospect outside of weight. He’s a long player for his height and uses it well to get into passing lanes. His speed and athleticism profiles very well with the average All-Conference players. He most closely resembles Julian Blackmon, who was an All-Conference CB for Utah.

Miami desperately needs to add another CB in this class for depth purposes and the one they still realistically have a chance with is Christian Williams, so I will profile him here.

Christian Williams- 182 pounds, 4.74 40, 4.41 SH, 32’ PB, 31” Vertical, 76.14 SPARQ, 26th percentile

From an athletic standpoint, if you believe in Williams being a potentially All-Conference player you believe he can become a Greedy Williams or a Tre’Davious White. The only two CB’s in the database to make All-Conference with a 40 time anywhere near Williams (4.73 & 4.74 respectively). Both players were LSU players who utilized their length and strength to be excellent players.

S- 187 pounds, 4.64 40, 4.26 SH, 36’ Powerball, 35” Vertical, 102 SPARQ

Keontra Smith- 195 pounds, 4.55 40, 4.35 SH, 39’ PB, 36” Vertical, 103.95 SPARQ, 61st percentile

Smith is a prototypical All-Conference athletic profile. You would like to see him have a bit better Short-Shuttle score and his straight-line speed combined with his hitting ability might make him a best fit for the Striker position.

The last transfer I will profile is Bubba Bolden.

Bubba Bolden- 188 pounds, 4.57 40, 4.46 SH, 36’ PB, 32” Vertical, 91.96 SPARQ, 55th percentile

Bolden also checks every box for an average All-Conference performer outside of Short Shuttle. Excellent speed and power allow him to cover receivers and strike ball carriers. He should be a borderline All-Conference player.

Team Data

Miami has a small class in 2019 that has elicited a lot of negative reactions, but from an athleticism standpoint it profiles very well. Here is how Miami’s class profiles against the peer team group referenced earlier:

Ohio State has become known in this study for their love of athleticism, having consistently finished at or near the top of every recruiting cycle in SPARQ ratings. Miami comes in 6th overall in average SPARQ rating, with very little separating teams 4-6. From a variance standpoint- which looks to add context to the SPARQ ratings by indicating how far above mean the athletes are per positional group- Alabama moves ahead of Miami, who drops to 7th in the group, but still with very little separating teams 5-7.

Since 2014 Miami has finished in Variance: 9th, 9th, 7th, 8th, 6th, 7th

It’s clear the top SEC teams and Ohio State are still recruiting athleticism at a better rate than Miami is. How does Miami rate within their own conference though? It might surprise you to read that Miami has the most athletic class in the ACC this year, ahead of even Clemson and Florida State.

Louisville has a very small recruiting class currently and does not have enough athletes to register a representative sample size. Duke and Wake are bringing in fairly skill position heavy classes, but they are still surprising at the success they’ve enjoyed in recruiting this year. Clemson is brought down quite a bit by having a trench-heavy class, but even the athletes they are bringing in at those positions are fairly middling in their athletic profiles.

Miami is bringing in a smaller class. One that is disappointing from a ranking’s standpoint and the standpoint that several local athletes have chosen other programs, but if you look at the athletic profiles of the recruits that have chosen Miami, you can see it is a good group. A QB who profiles as a starter, a WR who profiles as a star, a TE who profiles as a starter, several athletic developmental OL, a star DE profile and a starter DE profile. The DT class is finally worthy of a program at the level of Miami, with two-star profiles at the position and one a borderline All-American profile. A third recruit who profiles as a starter. At LB they brought in an All-American level athlete and a productive player with length and plus athleticism. At CB they brought in a rangy CB who is a plus athlete for the position. At S they brought in a starter level athlete and a star profile at Striker. Adding in transfers gives you a star-level QB, a complementary level RB, and a starter level S.

Part III will be released after Signing Day and will profile the look of the depth chart and the team overall with blurbs about players in the database who have also left Miami (to give context on how those players actually fared at Miami in relation to their athleticism testing). Thank you for reading and follow me on Twitter @HurricaneVision

Comments (38)

Another reason why we should own the Coastal. Always and enjoy reading your breakdowns/analysis and what you bring to the site.
Interesting take on the O-linemen. I like the idea of recruiting athleticism, and smarts first and relying on your training staff to be able to add size over time. It seems like a lot of the bigger dominant-type O linemen in high school are just bigger and stronger than 95% of the guys they go up against. When you can just overwhelm your opponent physically, the technical aspects can tend to get ignored to an extent. I mean it's only natural. If I'm dominating much smaller guys, I'm naturally not going to be as concerned with footwork, leverage and hand placement. Whereas a guy who's playing tackle around 250-260 lbs isn't just going to overwhelm everyone. He needs to be quicker, smarter and more technically sound. Obviously you need to find the guys with a frame that can support gaining an extra 30 or 40 pounds but I'd prefer a guy who's got the fundamentals and has shown an eagerness to learn and adapt than a dude who's just bigger than everybody. Linemen tend to take a while to develop and it's rare for even the best recruits to come in and make an impact immediately at the college level. I like the idea of bringing in an athletic guy, giving him a shirt and hopefully by his third year in a college strength program he's big and strong enough to not just play but excel.
Thanks Lance! CIS should double your pay 0*0=0 but it's the thought that counts :)
Great stuff, Lance. Thanks.

Blissett at DT looks like our most athletic DT recruit since Warren Sapp. Anxious to see him and Hunte after a year in the S&C program.

K. Smith at Safety looks like the real deal.

Lastly, I like our developmental OL recruits. Hope we move more towards tough athletes there rather than taking 320 lb high school linemen. Want those multi sport athletes who can grow into the position.
Thanks, Lance . . . good to have some actual analysis on our actual personnel. Stronger, smarter, faster looks like the trend. Can't ask for too much more than that. Any analysis regarding action and trends to and from the Portal in the works?
Interesting article. This only makes me even more excited for sam brooks than I already was.
another GOAT post

manny is an analytics guy so hopefully this is an indication that the staff has people doing some analytics work with testing numbers
can anyone explain why sam brooks is ranked so low by recruiting sites? he was hyped as a possible 5 star recruit as a sophomore, was extremely productive throughout his career on one of the most well known high school teams in the country, and is an elite level athlete. we've seen plenty of recruits be rated as 4 and 5 stars even after suffering leg injuries in high school. so what's the deal?
can anyone explain why sam brooks is ranked so low by recruiting sites? he was hyped as a possible 5 star recruit as a sophomore, was extremely productive throughout his career on one of the most well known high school teams in the country, and is an elite level athlete. we've seen plenty of recruits be rated as 4 and 5 stars even after suffering leg injuries in high school. so what's the deal?

Somewhat a projection to off-ball LB since he was essentially a rush edge. Many people see him as a tweener.

Data sees his production and athleticism combination and sees almost no players with his combination who have failed in college.
can anyone explain why sam brooks is ranked so low by recruiting sites? he was hyped as a possible 5 star recruit as a sophomore, was extremely productive throughout his career on one of the most well known high school teams in the country, and is an elite level athlete. we've seen plenty of recruits be rated as 4 and 5 stars even after suffering leg injuries in high school. so what's the deal?

I think it was because he got injured before he got rated.

Let's say he finishes the 2017 season, wins the Dade DPOY, competes at the 2018 Opening, blows the doors off the testing and lands a fifth star. I don't think a spring injury would have knocked him down too far.

But since he got injured right before his class started getting rated, he was always treated as damaged goods.