Looks Like University Of Illinois - Phifer Griffin

Jul 25, 2019

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I don't want to give away all my tricks, but I'll give you one watching football film trick: look at the field. If the field looks like the field that one time you went to see your cousin's son play at West Hicksville HS (population 788), chances are this recruit hasn't played against very solid competition.

And that matters. Football is a development sport, and if you have to start the development once they arrive (vs. some kid in Florida playing on select teams since he was 7 years old), it's a much longer road. I can recall offensive linemen in the past where it was the middle of their fifth season where I said "you know he's finally rounding into form". Maximizing the time where a kid is "there" is the whole thing behind college football. Get 22 kids who are "there" all at the same time and then go beat Bama.

For linemen, it also matters who you're lining up against. If you squint and get really close to your screen, you'll see Phifer Griffin (in red) near the 40 yard line. If you go past the number 40 it's one of Griffin's teammates, then the kid Griffin is blocking, then Griffin. The kid he is blocking is approximately 144 lbs.

I'm not joking. Squint and look again. It looks like he's playing against a 7th-grader. And when you're playing against 7th-graders, you're not getting the "development" you need. This does NOT mean that Griffin will never make it in college football (Tim Duncan was unranked with one major conference offer because everyone thought he was just a tall kid playing against zero competition in the Virgin Islands - and he was - yet Wake Forest took a chance and added a future NBA Hall Of Famer to their roster). Great players can come from small high schools. I'm just saying that it's much harder to read their film.

When I watch Griffin's film, I see a big kid dominating. A couple times he takes the 178 lb "defensive end" across from him and simply throws him to the ground. Those kids are pretty much helpless against a strong, agile, 295 lb offensive tackle.

Does that mean he's ready for Big Ten football? I'm skeptical. Especially given his offer lists. He did have a West Virginia offer, but that was last December when a different coaching staff was in place, so I don't think that offer was current. He did have an Air Force offer, but Air Force has no scholarship restrictions and regularly brings in classes of 50 players. So it's hard to get a read off of those. Dana Holgorson offering him at WVU in December is a data point, but so is Griffin going to Louisville's camp in June and them deciding not to offer him.

So we're left with film (where he tosses fools around, albeit tiny fools) + Illinois being the only Power Five school in pursuit. That doesn't add much to your Tom Cruise score.

BUT, we are talking about offensive line. OL is where grayshirt recruits start (Doug Kramer) and 4-star recruits bust (anyone remember Ryan Nowicki?). It's the hardest position to read. Which is why I usually default to an OL coach recruiting his "type".

And that's what this is. New OL coach Bob McClain going back to his Appalachian roots and adding an offensive lineman he likes. It's his recruiting area + his position, so this is our first peek into how he wants to build his lines.

I should also probably mention his ranking. He's in the composite top-1000 right now with a score of .8581. The closest players to that score in the last three classes: Lere Oladipo, Coran Taylor, and Kyron Cumby. That suggests a solid addition.

But... I'm just not seeing it. Gotta go with my gut on each one of these, and my gut is telling me this isn't the best fit. Which means that I always include the same sentence at the end: prove me wrong, kid.

Tom Cruises stay low on this one. I'm between 1 and 1.5, but I'll be nice.

Phifer Griffin. One and one-half Tom Cruises.


ktal on July 25, 2019 @ 01:29 PM

Your reasoning is solid. But I hope he proves to be an absolute jewel and just kills it here. Then in the NFL.

Good luck, Phifer!

orangejulius on July 25, 2019 @ 06:03 PM

So why are we off to such a terrible start for the 2020 class? Maybe it's because the "get in on the ground floor with Lovie" pitch, which had a long expiration date, has gone as stale as that carton of organic milk that I forgot about, in my refrigerator.

BexleyIllini on July 26, 2019 @ 08:07 AM

63-0. Can't regress and expect recruiting not to be affected.

Chukwuwumba on July 25, 2019 @ 07:21 PM

Checked in on Louisville...72 offers to OK, 35 to OT. 4 OL commits the same week in mid June. Crazy!! 2 had Lou offers before that week, 2 show no offers before commit, could have got it that same week. They also have 20 commits. Right now. That was a fun rabbit hole. So, adding to Roberts point, Lou probably selected the OL they liked best, and Feiffer was below 2 I would say. EditLooks like that was the week of camp, according to 247 griffin timeline.

Chukwuwumba on July 25, 2019 @ 07:24 PM

Edit looks like that was week of camp bass on 247 griffin timeline.

AHSIllini32 on July 26, 2019 @ 12:38 AM

Interesting take, I've seen most other people who think he’s a great fit for our system and a good get.

Not saying they’re right and you’re wrong. Just an interesting dynamic. Thanks for your work.

Norcal Illini on July 26, 2019 @ 12:53 AM

I'm curious how Griffin would compare to the endless list of Wisconsin linemen from small towns across the state that end up being good as fourth year juniors. Tyler Biadasz, all B1G last year is from a town of 1,000 people. He was probably blocking 178 lb DEs in high school, too.

Illinimac68 on July 26, 2019 @ 02:53 AM

Different position but Fred Wakefield comes to mind.

MinnIllini on July 26, 2019 @ 10:02 AM

Gawd I loved Freddy Wakefield. I tend to trust Roberts opinion more but Trieu and Wiltfong spoke glowingly of Griffin on their pod this week.

John Case on July 26, 2019 @ 03:16 AM

This is an impossible kid to rank. On the down side, he has some quick twitch and lower body range of motion issues. On the plus side, he's got 5 start compete on tape. If he gets in a college football program and the personal trainer fixes stuff, he could be a high, high end performer. On the downside, maybe he never gets quick enough for the BT? The reality is, go back and watch Nick Allegretti lousy HS film. He was really good here. He didn't look as good as this kid coming out of HS.

Robert on July 26, 2019 @ 09:11 AM

Totally disagree about Allegretti's film. That was before I did the Tom Cruise thing, but I had him as the #2 player in that class (behind only Jihad Ward). Loved his film. Here's what I said in my Signing Day Summary that year:

Nick Allegretti Center, Lincoln Way East High School, Frankfort, Illinois

I already talked about him a bunch up above. When I watch his film, I think he's a four-year Big Ten starter. I totally get why the Army All American Bowl offered him a spot even though he's 20th to 25th in his own state rankings. Go watch that film. He looks like the perfect Big Ten offensive lineman. Watch the plays against Bolingbrook - he's dominating college bound defensive linemen.

He probably has a 5% chance of hitting all the goals I have for him, but I'm setting it there anyway. Put simply, he need to be a future All Big Ten lineman.

AHSIllini32 on July 26, 2019 @ 02:24 PM

Here's the other thing re the picture you used as the header, I'm assuming that you pulled that from a clip you were watching where he blocked that kid the entirety of that play. There are certainly kids bigger than that young man on the opponent which can be seen in that picture as well so how did he look blocking kids who are much bigger than that young man in the picture?

Chukwuwumba on July 27, 2019 @ 10:19 AM

I think Allegretti was invited to us all Americayn game are

John Case on July 28, 2019 @ 02:44 PM

One of the things I look for in a HS Olineman is distance traveled to make a block. You don't have to be mobile in HS to play Oline. You do in college. Allegretti on film never traveled more than a yard to make a block. So, as I said, it was lousy film. It didn't show what he was capable of. This kid travels far and wide to go block people. Don't mix up bad players and lousy film. They aren't the same. Good film shows what players are capable of. Lousy film, doesn't show their range. Thats the way I look at it. With WR's, lousy film would be just showing them blowing down the field wide open catching the rock and running. Good film for a wide reciever is Casey Washingtons. Showing him making catches outside the frame. High pointing contested throws, blocking guys.

IBFan on July 27, 2019 @ 12:57 PM

Grades....no problem. Also on basketball team, not sure on pt. I think the number of times where he completes the play/plays to the whistle looked good.
Maybe a touch of "nasty" if you look at the way he finishes some of the plays. I hope he's one of those program guys, trains, learns, adds depth, and maybe becomes a star. Knows similar blocking scheme to Coach Rods so that doesn't hurt. His mom stated somewhere he's actually grown a little more, added weight...that's a Big10 lineman.

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