The 90 Illini #15: Calvin Hart Jr.

Aug 14, 2022

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I'm always encouraged when I see the recruits of another non-elite program get the "just make him a low three-star" treatment. I'm not trying to say that 2022 NC State isn't an elite program. They're ranked #13 in the preseason coaches poll. They have a legitimate chance to win the ACC. I'm just saying that NC State doesn't get the "he committed to NC State? Bump his ranking up to low three-star or low four-star" treatment.

I ranted about this all spring (players ranked by the strength of the program they chose, not their film or offers). I won't go there again. I'll only reiterate that this is not true of all college football rankings. The top 400-or-so players are going to pick between (mostly) the power programs and the coaches who win those battles can legitimately think about the playoff. The other 2400-or-so FBS recruits are often just ranked based on the program they choose. And there's no NC State boost (and definitely no Illinois boost).

Calvin Hart had offers from Iowa, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Pitt (among many others). In late July (back in 2017) he visited Texas A&M and received an offer. Late September, he takes an official visit to NC State and verbals. Recruitment shut down. His final rating on Rivals: two-star.

If he picks Texas A&M, does he stay a two-star? No chance in hell. But he picked NC State, so his 247 Composite (adding in all the other ratings) says he's 1,394th-best player in the 2018 class.

This is why the coaches laugh at the rankings. A player with that kind of film and those programs interested is a two-star? No way. Meaning, no way anyone is watching film or dissecting offers. They're just... assigning rankings based on the program chosen.

It will forever bother me. Even when it happens to NC State.

15. Calvin Hart Jr.

Uniform number: 5
Year in school: Junior (without the Covid waiver, 1 year to play 1; with the Covid waiver, technically 2 years to play 2)
Height: 6'-1" -- Weight: 230 lbs.
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
High School: American Heritage
Transfer from: NC State
Five best offers: Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Iowa, Pitt
Tom Cruise rating:

2021 statistics: Played one game (Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week) before a knee injury ended his season.


We were very lucky that NC State recruited so many great linebackers. They'll have one of the top five linebacker groups in the country this season, and that's why Calvin Hart put his name in the portal after the 2020 season. He was stuck behind a lot of future NFL linebackers.

Their loss is our gain. After transferring in, he moved right to the front of the line immediately. And he was a massive revelation in the Nebraska game last August (winning the BTDPOW award), but after three-quarters of one game, a knee injury ended his season. He's rehabbed for a year and now returns to the starting lineup.

2022 Outlook

Like I said a few players ago, once we reach the top 20 here, the "outlook" section for these is basically the same for every player. Starter. Key part of the defense. CJ is on the Butkus Watch List so he needs to have a Butkus Watch List season.

And stay healthy. That's really it. Stay healthy, have a Butkus Watch List kind of season. The end.


Efremwinters84 on August 14, 2022 @ 02:05 PM

Sorta looks like #6 making the tackle in that photo......

BamaIllini on August 14, 2022 @ 07:10 PM

Sure looks like Tony Adams

Duce20 on August 14, 2022 @ 02:21 PM

NC State is the program I aspire to be like. They’ve been consistently good for a long time.

neale stoner on August 14, 2022 @ 02:51 PM

The intro to Calvin is the best version of your star rating criticism. Succinct. Hard hitting. “ If he picks Texas A&M does he stay a two star? No chance in hell.” LOL.

Eagle on August 15, 2022 @ 02:10 PM

The poor rankings are nothing other than lazy journalism which is rampant throughout our culture. We appreciate the time and investigation you put into your articles.

Is it unreasonable to expect Calvin to play every game like he did against Nebby last year? That was a hot game but we enjoyed watching Calvin stop everything in his path.

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