Looks Like University Of Illinois - Evan Kirts
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Hopefully Palcho II. That's the angle here. The staff earned all kinds of evaluation credibility when they landed Alex Palczewski in their first class. They offer a guy with basically zero offers, ranked in the middle of nowhere in the rankings, and now he's probably going to be the best offensive lineman at Illinois in the second half of this decade.
That always gets mis-used, of course. It gets twisted past hope to a correlation - "Palcho didn't have many offers and he's awesome, so this kid will be awesome as well". That's not how it works. Should we go through "how it works" again? Yes, let's go through how it works.
5-star offensive lineman Wayna Morris from Georiga has chosen Tennessee. In the composite rankings, he's the #9 player in the 2019 class. There is a 93% chance that Wayna Morris will be a great college player and move on to the NFL draft.
2-star offensive lineman Luke Harmon from Michigan has chosen Bowling Green. In the composite rankings, he's ranked as the 2,991st best player in the country. There is a 3% chance that Luke Harmon will be a great college player and move on to the NFL draft.
If the 2024 NFL Draft arrives and Luke Harmon is projected as a second round pick while Wayna Morris isn't on any draft boards, it will be used to say "SEE? Rankings are useless. The guy ranked #2991 is better than the guy ranked #9." But that will not be the case. That means 3-in-100 odds hit while 93-in-100 odds missed.
It's the same argument I use when people rant about the weather. "80% chance of snow and it didn't snow - these weather people don't know what they're doing". No, that means that 8 out of 10 times when that kind of system is approaching, it's going to snow at your house. The eight times it actually does snow, you're not going to say anything. And the two times it doesn't, you're going to claim that they don't know what they're doing.
So not every recruit can be Palcho. Palcho had maybe 32% odds and it hit. Odds are, the next two Palchos we recruit are going to miss.
Hey, what a great way to break into discussing Evan Kirts! "Palcho hit so the next two Palchos will probably miss - let's now discuss a guy I'm saying is the next Palcho-level recruit."
Palcho's three best offers were Vanderbilt, Syracuse, and Illinois. Kirts' three best offers are Illinois, Virginia, and... Western Michigan? He's definitely a project recruit. He's listed at 250 lbs right now, and to play offensive tackle in the Big Ten, he'll need to be up around 305. There are a lot of meals (and weight room trips) between here and there.
Now, there's precedence here. This guy named Alex Palczewski was around 265 lbs in high school. He then got to 290 as a freshman (and started nine games) and is currently playing at around 300-305 as a sophomore. One can add weight quickly. But it's really hard to get from 250 as a high school senior to a Big Ten playing weight the next year.
Thankfully, there won't be any need for that. Let me cut-and-paste the future depth charts that I just typed out in the Jakai Clark post:
2019: Vederian Lowe (JR), Kendrick Green (SO), Doug Kramer (JR), Larry Boyd (SO), Alex Palczewski (JR)
2020: Vederian Lowe (SR), Kendrick Green (JR), Doug Kramer (SR), Larry Boyd (JR), Alex Palczewski (SR)
2021: Larry Boyd (SR), Kendrick Green (SR), Jakai Clark (rs-SO), Kievan Myers (rs-JR), Jordyn Slaughter (rs-JR)
So the really good news for Evan Kirts and his 250 lbs: he probably won't be needed until 2022. 2021 at the absolute earliest. He can eat the Tisdale Diet and spend months in the weight room between now and then. That's the Wisconsin Way. The Iowa Way. Recruit tall, athletic kids. Forget about them for three years. Open your present under the tree in three years.
But if we're going to truly evaluate this, we just need to look at who we were chasing as in-state offensive tackles. We offered Nick Broeker, but he picked Ole Miss. We offered JJ Guedet, but he picked Minnesota. We offered Dave Monnot, but he picked Purdue. And then we offered Evan Kirts, and he picked Illinois.
Does that mean we only offered because we missed on the others? Probably not. Kirts had a big senior year with Brother Rice, helping lead them to the state title game, and we offered and he accepted. This staff loves senior year breakout players, and that's likely how they view this. We watched senior film, this kid is undersized but growing into what they want, they offered, he accepted.
Still, I'm trying to do a fair evaluation of every recruit here, and the offer lists + the way this played out works against him when I'm "ranking" him. If I watch film of him, yes, not kidding, he reminds me of Palcho. Moves the same. Has similar potential. Does he fulfill it? I hope so, but the odds of it happening keep rumbling around in my head. So...
Evan Kirts - one and one-half Tom Cruises