Looks Like University Of Illinois - Brody Wisecarver
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I never thought I'd say this, but I'm somewhat tired of writing LLUOI posts. It's all I've done in the last two weeks. This isn't some "we're rollin' now!" point I'm making. I mean, read my last post. I'm just saying that I'd like to write about some different topics. Which is right about the time I realize that there are no other topics to write about at this time.
So let's mix things up. Let's start at the end. I'll start by telling you how many Tom Cruises Brody Wisecarver is going to get. He's going to receive 3.5 Tom Cruises.
Why start at the end? To talk about how this is a very big get. Let's just put it in Tom Cruise terms. Thanks to a well-organized spreadsheet recently sent to me, here's the breakdown of Tom Cruises by class on the current roster:
Alex Palczewski - 3 Cruises
Vederian Lowe - 3 Cruises
Blake Jeresaty - 3 Cruises
Jake Cerny - 3 Cruises
(Doug Kramer was a grayshirt who was then put on immediate scholarship by Lovie in the summer of 2016 so he didn't get an LLUOI post.)
Kendrick Green - 3.75 Cruises
Verdis Brown - 4.25 Cruises
Jordyn Slaughter - 2.5 Cruises
Julian Pearl - 1.5 Cruises
Kevin Tyler - 3 Cruises
Blaise Sparks - 2.5 Cruises
Brevyn Jones - 2 Cruises
Josh Plohr - 1.5 Cruises
Evan Kirts - 1.5 Cruises
Phifer Griffin - 1.5 Cruises
Junior and Senior average Tom Cruises - 3.15. And that doesn't include Doug Kramer who will be a top-5 center in college football this fall.
Freshman and sophomore average Tom Cruises - 2.25. Danger, Will Robinson. That might not seem like all that big of a drop - 3.15 to 2.25 - but it's massive. You can already feel the "see, here's how Tom Cruises work" paragraphs coming...
I grew tired of several things from recruiting websites, the biggest being "everyone is a three-star". I just don't understand a rating system that gives everyone the same rating. Let me go look up the numbers for the 2020 class.
Oh man I wasn't expecting this. These numbers are... my goodness. The 2020 class:
TWO THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED AND NINETEEN PLAYERS rated with the same "rating". Just think about that. A rating scale for college football recruits exists where Marlon Martinez, an offensive lineman who chose LSU over Ohio State, Florida, Georgia, and Auburn, get the same rating as Cole Palmer, an ATH who chose Air Force over UNLV. They are both "three star recruits".
Is that not insane? I'm looking around the room needing acknowledgement from people. Is it just me? I don't understand why this is a thing.
I mean, I understand why this is a thing. Recruiting services are selling a product and they sell more of that product when someone can write "Oregon State lands 3-star linebacker" articles. Nobody is going to read "Oregon State lands 1-star linebacker". Everyone needs to be propped up a little bit.
But still - 2,619 three-stars?
That's (partly) what led me to start the Tom Cruises thing. The other main factor was what I perceived to be a lack of attention on Illini recruits. There's incentive for Rivals to make sure every LSU and Auburn recruit get a proper rating - why bother with some kid who picked Illinois over Iowa State? Just call him a low 3-star and move along. It's a safe bet - many of those players should be ranked at the bottom of most recruiting lists. But some of them are a lot better than the rating they're getting, and I wanted to catch those players and give them a proper rating.
So the Tom Cruise ratings were born. To try to keep them in line with star ratings (meaning, if I went with a scale of 1-20, people would laugh at a 17-Cruise recruit vs. a 12-Cruise recruit), I stuck with five being the most. But I also wanted separation, so I said I'd use the whole scale. If it's a recruit where I don't expect very much, they could get as low as 0.5 Cruises. If it's a recruit who will change the world, they get five Cruises.
I started doing this in June of 2013, so nearly seven years now. I believe I've only ever given out Five Cruises four times: Ayo Dosunmu and Adam Miller for basketball and Marquez Beason and Isaiah Williams for football. And I just gave out my first 0.5 Cruise rating for football and have only used 1 Cruise five or six times. So yes, much like the star ratings, I believe that the high end and very low end shouldn't be used very often.
That was kind of the whole idea. The star ratings say that if a player is a 10, he gets five stars. If he's a 9, he gets four-stars. If he's anywhere between 2-8, he gets three stars. And if he's a 1, he gets two-stars. The Cruise System [tm] uses every rating between 1 (0.5 Cruises) and 10 (5 Cruises). Landing a 7 is exponentially better than landing a 3 - saying that both of those players are "three-stars" is just dumb.
To be fair, over the years, Scout (now 247) and Rivals added numbers to their stars to differentiate. Rivals separates their three-stars with ratings of 5.5, 5.6, and 5.7. And the composite rankings I quote all the time assign a number between .7900 and .8900 for all three stars, so those TWO THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED AND NINETEEN players do have rankings that differentiate all of them.
But the thing I've always screamed about is this: there should be tiers. At the very least, use all five tiers. It's all I've ever asked. I agree with having 25 five-stars and around 100 four-stars for basketball, but since football has six-times the recruits, it should have six-times the stars. My proposal for football:
Players 1-150 - five-stars
151-600 - four-stars
601-1800 - three-stars
1801-3000 - two-stars
3000+ - one-stars
To me, that makes so much more sense. Use that system and here's the tiers for the 2019 Illini class:
Marquez Beason - five-star
Moses Okpala - four-star
Joseph Thompson - three-star
Griffin Moore - two-star
Josh Plohr - one-star
That makes so much more sense, right? Instead, Okpala, Thompson, Moore, and Plohr were all "three-star recruits". I just don't get it.
That's what I'm attempting with Cruises. Beason got five Tom Cruises. Okpala got 3.5. Thompson 2.5. Moore 2. Plohr 1.5. Okpala has a really good chance to be a high-end contributor down the road - Moore has less of a chance. Moore might end up an all-conference tight end and Okpala might flame out, but odds-wise, I believe Okpala has a much better chance of being successful.
Which is why an average of 3.15 Cruises for the juniors and seniors on the offensive line and a 2.25 average for the freshmen and sophomores on the offensive line is more or less "75% chance that the juniors and seniors will be a good-to-great line; 35% chance that the freshmen and sophomores will be a good-to-great line". Yes, 4-Cruisers will flop and 2-Cruisers will succeed, but overall, the higher the number the better the chance.
And THAT'S why a 3.5 Cruise offensive lineman is just what the doctor ordered. Go head-to-head with Kentucky, Michigan State, Louisville, and West Virginia for an offensive lineman from St. Louis and land him. Certainly a big boost to this all-important class.
Perhaps the best way to look at this is to look at the 2022 offensive line. There will still be more OL recruits added in the 2021 class and the 2022 class. And there will probably be some transfers coming in as well. But for now, let's look at the ten scholarship lineman who will be on the roster in 2022. It's a little difficult to answer "tackle or guard?" at this point - Jordyn Slaughter played both during camp last year - but here's my guess as to how they shake out:
Tackles: Julian Pearl (rSR), Brevyn Jones (rJR), Blaise Sparks (rSO), Phifer Griffin (rSO), Brody Wisecarver (rFR)
Guards: Verdis Brown (rSR), Jordyn Slaughter (rSR), Evan Kirts (rJR), Josh Plohr (rJR), Kevin Tyler (rSO)
(I'm assuming redshirts for everyone since every offensive lineman in the 2018 and 2019 classes redshirted as freshmen.)
Such an interesting transition. Alex Palczewski, Vederian Lowe, and Doug Kramer (and Larry Boyd) were just tossed to the wolves in 2017 and asked to sink or swim (I might have mixed my metaphors there). Kendrick Green redshirted, but he'll also likely end up with somewhere between 45-50 starts on the offensive line. And then, starting with the 2018 class, absolutely every lineman redshirts. Verdis Brown will be entering his fourth season in 2021 and will get his first start then. Palcho is entering his fourth season this year and he has 36 starts under his belt. Flip their years - have Verdis arrive in 2017 and Palcho in 2018 - and does Verdis have 36 starts while Palcho is waiting his turn in 2021?
Back to Wisecarver - I think most schools were recruiting him as a right tackle. A Palcho. Your best pass-pro tackle goes on the left side and your best run blocking tackle goes on the right side. I think Wisecarver excels on the run side, so I think he's a right tackle. (I also thought Vederian Lowe was a right tackle, and he ended up on the left side, so.. grain of salt.)
If both linemen in the 2019 class end up at guard (Kirts and Plohr), then I think we know our future tackle battles. Just looking at the 2019, 2020, and 2021 recruiting classes, I'm guessing it's Brevyn Jones (the Mississippi State transfer) and Blaise Sparks battling for left tackle and Wisecarver and Phifer Griffin battling for right tackle. Or maybe both Sparks and Griffin are more left tackle types and then Jones fights with Wisecarver for right tackle.
(It was then that Robert realized he was projecting things out to the 2023 season and he should STOP.)
Film looks great on Wisecarver. My comp is Hugh Thornton, so maybe he will end up bouncing between guard and right tackle. I mean, Palcho did. Palcho spent the 2017 season at left guard before moving to right tackle in 2018. But that's the kind of player I see when I watch Wisecarver's film. Hugh Thornton, ready to clear some running lanes.
The Metro Catholic is a good league to pull players from, too. And not just because we sent our boys to one of those schools. The five schools in that conference - CBC, DeSmet, Vianney, SLUH, and Chaminade - have all invested heavily in football over the last decade and have seen a payoff. CBC, DeSmet, and Vianney have all won state titles in the last four years. I guess it's not fair to say that Chaminade has invested in football - they've put their investment in basketball. And for good reason. Jayson Tatum, Brad Beal, David Lee - lots of NBA players have come out of Chaminade.
I already told you the Tom Cruises, but now I'll tell you why. Solid film, great offers, competitive high school conference, left tackle on a state title team - there's a lot to like here. More please.
Brody Wisecarver - three and one-half Tom Cruises.