Looks Like University Of Illinois - Carlos Sandy

Jun 24, 2017

What were we just saying about speed? Wait - when you hear that, I start sounding like any other lower-end-of-the-Power 5 fan, talking about a lower-ranked player and saying "but he has speed". I need to add some context here.

As discussed in the Jakari Norwood post, Lovie leans towards track guys. I swear we've recruited more track and field guys in the last 15 months than the previous five years combined. Some coaches only mine the top programs because they want a kid who has been taught great technique for a half-dozen years, others want the biggest football team on the planet with linebackers playing at 245 and linemen at 320. Lovie seems to want straight-line speed above all else.

Enter Carlos Sandy. Fast... and 153 lbs. One hundred and fifty three pounds. Most schools immediately dismiss a guy like that because, well, he'll likely get broken in half on a football field. But what's Lovie's default? Speed above all else.

How fast is Sandy? Here's a fun fact. According to this site, his PR this year in the 100 meter dash was 10.71. He ran that in the Florida district race, but finished fifth and didn't qualify for state. As someone who had a son who ran track and attended two dozen track meets in his day, let me tell you how insane "10.71" and "didn't qualify for state" sounds. Not only would 10.71 have won every track meet I've ever attended (going away - I'm not sure I ever saw someone go sub-11 seconds), but here's the results from the finals at the Illinois state track meet back in May (for Class 3A, the largest class in Illinois):

1. Declan Rustay (Jr.), Hoffman Estates (H.S.) 10.54
2. Marcellus Moore (Fr.), Plainfield (North) 10.65
3. AJ Henning (Fr.), Frankfort (Lincoln-Way East) 10.75

10.71 didn't qualify for state in Florida (it looks like 24 runners qualify, and he didn't make it)... but would have finished third at the state finals in Illinois.

Now, track speed doesn't always mean football player. As we just discussed in the Norwood post, there's such a thing as "football speed" (the ability to maintain speed while changing directions), and you can't really tell from film if Carlos Sandy is that kind of guy. He certainly has straight-line speed (track results, as-seen-on-TV), but there will be much to prove once he arrives on campus.

I've decided I'm going to add a Former Illini Player Comp (FIPC) to each of these. For Sandy, I'm going with Ryan Lankford. He was the skinniest player I can ever remember at Camp Rantoul (I believe he was 155 lbs as a freshman). Still, he had that high-end speed which he was able to use immediately (remember the bomb he caught as a freshman in the Texas Bowl?). Right now, Lank is with the Winnepeg Blue Bombers in the CFL. And, according to their online roster, up to 176 lbs!

Size will always be an issue for Carlos Sandy, I think. I can't see how it won't be. Wide receivers have to block - sometimes peeling down to cut a linebacker on a running play, Can someone who is 5'-8" and 153 lbs. cut a Penn State linebacker? I'd like to see him try, but I'll be watching through two fingers with my hand over my eyes.

Now, obviously, he will grow (like Lank grew). And he'll get stronger (and hopefully faster). He has the one attribute Lovie wants (plus speed), and now Lovie will attempt to build a football player around that. Syracuse offered Carlos Sandy because Dino Babers is attempting to build that Baylor offense up at Syracuse - a bunch of really fast backs and receivers who are imposible to cover - so there are other schemes and coaches who chase guys like this. But I'm still going to remain skeptical until I can see it happen on the football field. Size matters, and this dude is tiny. Here's hoping he can use that (lack of) size to his advantage and become a V'Angelo Bentley-type returner.

For Cruises, the size keeps it low. Love the speed, but man, that's a small football player.

Carlos Sandy - one and one-half Tom Cruises


neale stoner on June 24 @ 10:35 AM CDT

Robert, what do you know about the Australian punter Illini have apparently landed?

McAdoo on June 25 @ 12:10 AM CDT

I've been to give or take 15 high school track meets as part of my career travels jumping to and from jobs in the sports reporting and broadcasting business. I saw one sub-11 second 100-yard dash: It was run by Dorial Green-Beckham while he was going to high school in Springfield, Missouri.

MuckFichigan92 on June 25 @ 02:07 AM CDT

The pursuit of speed seems to counter Lovie's approach of extensive scrutiny of and established relationship with recruits. These seem to be TB-like. While not offering nine year-olds as Lane is, what gives with the prospecting, i.e. long-shots?

Bear8287 on June 25 @ 02:38 AM CDT

100 meter (~109.4yds) times are likely not great indicators of an athlete's chances for success as a football player.

The NFL combine runs a 40yd (~36.6m) dash to get a speed measurement and wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NFLScoutingCombine) even calls that into question as a usefulness metric.

If a player is 5'8" and running a 100m in 10.71s, they're probably running a pretty quick 40yd because after 40yds the longer legged runners are probably running faster.

Can someone who is 5'-8" and 153 lbs. cut a Penn State linebacker? I'd like to see him try...

Actually, I'd rather not see that. What are the chances that Sandy becomes a corner back?

CraigG on June 26 @ 09:11 AM CDT

We saw Dudek do it. It was my biggest concern with him when he showed up as well (and watched him get trucked in a special teams drill).

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