Looks Like University Of Illinois - Snook Edwards
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Oh, right, the track thing. I used to write about it all the time ("Lovie recruits track kids like Gary Pinkel recruited wrestlers"), but I haven't done that in some time. Mostly because we've been a little light on DB recruiting in 2019 and 2020 after going so heavy in the 2018 class. But yes, this reminds me - for his defensive backs, Lovie loves track kids.
That can sometimes come off as a "well, duh" kind of statement - I mean, what coach doesn't want speed, especially at defensive back? Doesn't every single college coach recruit fast kids? Yes, but... I'll explain it this way.
If a kid is strong and fast and a great tackler and a fluid athlete he's headed to Clemson or Ohio State. Other schools have to pick and choose through the rest. Maybe a guy has excellent straight line speed but really doesn't have "football speed" (fluidity). Maybe a guy is really fast and fluid but super skinny and perhaps not ready to take on that block from the wide receiver. Maybe he's too short, maybe he's not strong enough - there are always a few flaws you have to live with. Only 6.8% of FBS players make it to the NFL, so that's 93.2% of all college players who have some flaw which prevents them from moving on to professional football.
Since most every college recruit is missing something, you have to err on the side of one of those things. Lovie, fairly consistently, errs on the side of speed. It's why, in my view, that 75% of the defensive backs on the current roster are more cornerback-y than they are safety-y. This staff prioritizes track kids, and track kids usually make better corners than they do safeties.
Daniel "Snook" Edwards is a track kid. In February he ran a 10.85 100m dash before Covid shut down his junior year track season. Using that chart I've quoted before from Reddit (fact: everything you read on Reddit is a FACT), that 100 meter dash time translates to somewhere between 4.4 and 4.5 forty speed (as a junior in high school). This is a fast individual.
Here's the chart from that link, by the way:
100m time -- Estimated 40-yard dash
9.79 -- 4.2
10.27 -- 4.3
10.64 -- 4.4
10.95 -- 4.5
11.21 -- 4.6
11.45 -- 4.7
11.73 -- 4.8
This is your reminder that Kyron Cumby ran a 10.28 100 meter dash his senior year.
Where were we? Yes, Snook Edwards is a fast individual. So, is he fluid? Can he flip his hips and go? Yes.
Playing cornerback is sometimes this simple: When you're ten yards off the line of scrimmage (like the play above), and it's a go route, that wide receiver has a 10 yard head start. Think about that - a friend challenges you to a race, but they tell you that they're going to start ten yards behind you and you can take off once they run past you. Also, you're facing them as they start to run so you have to turn and go.
To me, that clip is an "offer on the spot" clip. Flip the hips and go. And then hit the afterburners. I've watched this clip so much since I made the gif. Give me a second - I want to go watch it again.
Yes, he's skinny. So yes, all of the Tony Adams concerns ("can he stay injury free?") will come up. But still, I can't help but get excited when I watch that clip. That is legit, can-stay-with-every-receiver-in-the-B1G speed.
I like his film so much that I'm a bit surprised by his rankings on the recruiting sites. I expected him to be a little higher, especially with SEC offers (Auburn, Ole Miss). I'm getting that itchy "did anyone even watch his film before rating him?" feeling again.
(Side note: I have this other post, which is half-written, where I talk about the 2021 recruiting class and how these rankings will be the worst we've ever seen. Talent evaluators get so much of their information from April, May, and June camps (especially the regional camps in May where players from all over gather and compete next to each other in the same drills). Since none of those camps happened this year, the players ratings are going to be bad-bad-bad compared to other years. Ask anyone who ranks anything: the ability to see players in person next to other players in their class is the single best way to rank them. Watch six QB's at some regional Elite 11 camp and even the most casual fan could rank them 1-6. This year, it's just HS film, and that carries factors like "what was the competition like?" and "was he just on some monster team with three college-bound linemen?" which always mucks things up.)
With Edwards, we got a nice little "recruiting continues all the way until Signing Day" reminder yesterday. He commits on Thursday and then tweets "Blessed to receive an offer from Ole Miss" on Friday. That's encouraging - the more SEC schools who want your player, the better - but also a bit scary if his offers really take off. As it stands today, this is a defensive back who picked Illinois over Auburn, Miami, Ole Miss, Purdue, and Louisville. I'll take it.
If we look at the cornerback roster, I feel pretty good about the future there. This season it's Tony Adams and Nate Hobbs as seniors. In 2021, it's likely junior Devon Witherspoon and redshirt sophomore Marquez Beason. Edwards is probably next man up in 2021 and 2022 and would move into a starting role quickly if Beason were to declare for the draft.
Lots to like here. My comp is Tony Adams, and that feels right for the Tom Cruises as well. Adams only had Illinois and Missouri offers, and was a low-to-mid three star (which would generally translate 2.5 or maybe 2 Cruises), but I liked his film and went with 3 Cruises. Edwards is also a mid three-star, but I love the film and love the speed. That makes this easy.
Daniel "Snook" Edwards - Three Tom Cruises