Looks Like University Of Illinois - Xavier Scott

Apr 19, 2022

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Next up on the randomly-selected list of LLUOI articles I haven't written yet: Xavier Scott. Scott committed right around signing day in February (the second signing day in February - the "old" signing day). He has not been announced by the school yet which likely means he's a blueshirt.

I considered holding off on the blueshirt recruits until the summer. The school cannot announce blueshirts (recruits who count towards the next recruiting class, not the current one) until they enroll, and in the past, sometimes those recruits are walking the line between grayshirt and blueshirt. I should probably go through the shirts again:

  • Redshirt - Every recruit gets five years to play four seasons. So for one of those years, as long as they don't play in more than four games, a player can take a redshirt season. Last season, Tyler Strain was part of the freshman class. He played in exactly four games. This season, his second year, he's a redshirt-freshman with four years of eligibility to use.
  • Grayshirt - I'll use Jeff George Jr. as the example here. Illinois was completely full with 85 scholarship players in 2014. So Jeff George Jr. was offered a grayshirt spot. He enrolled as a student in the fall of 2015 but didn't join the football team until January of 2015. He was then a member of the 2015 class and counted towards 2015's recruiting class numbers. That meant that his clock did not start until 2015 so he was a sophomore when he went to class in the fall of 2015 but he was a true freshman on the field.
  • Blueshirt - This one is more or less a loophole. You can put "unrecruited" student athletes on scholarship when they arrive on campus and then they count towards the next recruiting class. And they can take an unofficial visit to your campus and still be considered "unrecruited" (just can't be an official visit paid for by the school). The point: when you're capped at 25 recruits in one class (this year, 32), you can add more players for the fall and count them towards next year's number by making them blueshirt recruits.

(There's also "greenshirts", but that's just a term for kids who graduate high school a semester early and join in the spring of their senior year of high school.)

Doug Kramer was going to be a grayshirt recruit (they didn't have a spot for him in the 2016 class so he was going to go to school for a semester and then join in January of 2017). Then, a few players didn't enroll in the summer, a line was open on the spreadsheet, and he went from being a grayshirt to a member of the 2016 recruiting class. There have been transfers who joined immediately in January after announcing in December (Luke Ford) and transfers who were blueshirts announced on the first day of fall camp (Chase Brown).

So I can't really say that Xavier Scott will be a blueshirt. The school didn't announce him on Signing Day, so blueshirt seems likely, but someone could leave the class (say someone doesn't get past the NCAA Clearinghouse, or whatever) and then Scott, like Doug Kramer, becomes a member of the 2022 recruiting class, not the 2023 class. No one is really anything until they enroll and they're assigned to one of the recruiting classes.

OK, so let's get to Xavier Scott. Wait - I should update the list and add a link for Tyson Rooks. Here's the order I'm going with as I try to get caught up:

  1. Gabe Jacas
  2. Kaden Feagin
  3. Tyson Rooks
  4. Xavier Scott
  5. Matthew Bailey
  6. Antwon Hayden
  7. Elijah Mc-Cantos
  8. Isaiah Adams
  9. Naivyan Cargill
  10. Raashaan Wilkins

Let's start with Scott's offers listed on his Twitter profile. It begins with Florida Atlantic and Pittsburgh offering him on January 15, 2021. Between February and May he follows that with UMass, Navy, Air Force, and Georgia State. But then the trail goes cold. He doesn't tweet any football anything - no camp visits, no "Marshall showing love!" tweets with things the Marshall coaches sent him - after the Georgia State offer on May 11th. Not a single thing regarding recruiting until the Illinois offer on January 25, 2022.

We've seen that before. For a variety of reasons. Louis Dorsey made a decision that he was going to be a college basketball player so all of his football recruiting activity shut down for a full year. Then he re-entered the race as a tight end recruit and Illinois was his choice.

We've also seen players who are right on the edge of qualifying (like JJ Robertson in 2012) who share recruiting information on Twitter when it appears they will qualify and don't when they are still needing to get past the Clearinghouse hurdle. There are players I've had on my list in the past who go completely dark on Twitter and sometimes it comes out that schools had delivered the message that the transcript wasn't there and they would await more updates from the classroom before re-starting the recruiting process. So it could be anything.

Let me see if I can find any hints out there.

OK, here's something. It comes from this Palm Beach Post article when he had the ceremony at his high school on Signing Day:

Scott played wherever needed for the Panthers football team over the past few years, often roving the secondary on defense or creating explosive plays on offense. Dwyer finished 4-6 in 2021.

Injuries limited the playmaker during his senior football campaign and he ultimately decided to step away from the Dwyer boys basketball team in December to focus on his football future. Scott was the starting point guard and "leader" in the Panthers' run to the state championship game last season.

Scott admitted the struggles had been hard on him over recent months, but said he leaned on his family and kept believing he'd find the right college opportunity.

On Jan. 25, Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters offered Scott, who committed to the Fighting Illini on Monday.

"I definitely doubted myself a couple times, especially to my dad," Scott said. "We talked many nights and he told me everything was going to be OK and to just follow my dreams."

So maybe this was a Louis Dorsey-like basketball/football thing? If you look at his Hudl profile, he's publishing his videos under a header that shows a basketball picture and states "Dwyer High School - Boys Varsity Basketball", listing himself as a point guard and shooting guard. I'm sure when coaching staffs go to look at Hudl film and they see a profile with basketball as the header and basketball highlights mixed in with football highlights they might wonder if he's all-in on football. Perhaps quitting basketball in December to "focus on his football future" was related to that. Or maybe it was "can't play basketball this year - gotta get my transcript in order." Or maybe a dozen other things.

Whatever the reason, football recruiting restarted in January. Illinois offered. He accepted. He might be a blueshirt, he might just join this class, but yesterday he tweeted photos from a visit to campus (unofficial, I'm guessing), so perhaps he was on campus this past weekend?

Illinois has had success with the "late offer DB from Florida." In fact, the likely starting cornerbacks this coming fall (Devon Witherspoon & Taz Nicholson) were both "added after Signing Day" recruits. I guess the guy I'm hoping wins a starting spot this fall at safety (Kionte Curry) would be in that category as well since he didn't verbal until last March (one of Bielema's first recruits). Maybe in 2023, after Syd and Quan graduate, the defensive backfield will be Spoon, Taz, Kionte Curry, and Xavier Scott. We'd then have a 100% "late-add defensive backs from Florida" defensive backfield.

Of course, I'm guessing at DB here. He might be a wide receiver. When going to look for film, one of the first things I landed on (I believe his dad had retweeted this) was video from 2016 when he was in junior high and was the superstar (wearing #1) on this team:

And his Hudl film is more offense than defense. He doesn't really show defensive back instincts on film (at least not like Kionte Curry did), but that's OK. This is a kid who played football and basketball, was the star of his junior high team, helped the basketball team get to the state title game as a junior, decided in December to quit basketball and declare that football was his future, and now he's headed to Illinois. There are ATH recruits and then there are ATH recruits. To me, he's the prototypical "take a chance on him because he's an athlete who needs to be funneled into one sport/one position" ATH recruit.

Which, honestly, reminds me of Kerby Joseph. No, I'm not saying "on film this appears to be a player who will burst onto the scene in four years and then declare early for the draft". Kerby Joseph was simply a recruit who fell in the "LSU and Oklahoma and Oregon don't need to take a chance on an ATH recruit who might turn into a football player... but Illinois does" category. Let me go look up what I said about Kerby when he verballed.

Totally whiffed on the Cruise rating (1.5). But totally nailed the eval:

He seems like the type of recruit who might be tried at all three "ATH" spots - cornerback, safety, and wide receiver. That's what we did with Trenard Davis. I saw him practice at corner and safety one year, then he went to quarterback after the Lunt and Crouch injuries during the 2016 season, and then this past spring moved to wide receiver where he caught 10 passes for 152 yards in the fall. Joseph might walk that same path - could end up at any of those spots.

Where do we need the most help, you ask? Probably receiver right now with Sam Mays and Dominic Thieman transferring out. There will only be six scholarship receivers on the roster during spring ball - Dudek, Smalling, Green, Reams, Davis, and Smith. Some help arrives next summer in the form of Carlos Sandy and Edwin Carter, but if more help is needed, Joseph might be the guy.

Or, he might end up at corner. We go into the spring with five cornerbacks: Hobbs, Adams, Watkins, Sumpter, and Jones. Oh, and juco corner Nick Walker if he enrolls early. But we have three cornerback spots (field, boundary, and nickel), so they'll want to go into the season with six corners ready to play. I'd guess that the starters will be Hobbs, Adams, and Watkins. But we have to find three backups.

Is Joseph the type who looks ready to play right away? I don't think so. In fact, I just don't see a corner when I watch his film. I think I see a safety (or maybe a wide receiver. He just doesn't seem to have the quickness for corner).

Actually, I don't think I really whiffed on the rating. Kerby was a project. For three years, while he was tried at corner, safety, and wide receiver, it didn't work out. Then something clicked with the Ryan Walters defense (and his instincts at safety) and boom, he's First Team All Big Ten and off to the NFL Draft. Not all of those projects work out - thus the "gotta keep this rating low because this is a project" - but this one absolutely did.

I mean, this HS film of Xavier Scott could be Kerby's HS film:

Clear athlete. Might be a corner, might be a safety, might be a wide receiver. When watching film, I see safety. Time for Walters to work his magic once again.

I was kinda leaning towards 1.75 Cruises here, but if Kerby got 1.5 Cruises, I want to be equally as wrong here. So...

Xavier Scott - One and one-half Tom Cruises.


Nashvegas Illini on April 20, 2022 @ 02:00 PM

Great article. The background of recruits and recruiting makes it hard to see how the team is getting better. I really appreciate the honest evals with background on the process.

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