Deontay Greenberry: A Texans-Related Grain Of Salt For College Football National Signing Day
It is inarguable that the Texans' defense was one of the best in the NFL, statistically and situationally. They had one player selected to the Pro Bowl, one more go as a replacement, and three more selected as alternates. Several more can be categorized as "plus players" or solid contributors.
When the season ended, here is what the Texans' depth chart on defense looked like:
DT: Shaun Cody, Earl Mitchell
DE: J.J. Watt, Antonio Smith, Tim Bulman, Tim Jamison
LB: Brian Cushing, DeMeco Ryans, Connor Barwin, Brooks Reed, Tim Dobbins, Jesse Nading, Mister Alexander, Bryan Braman
CB: Kareem Jackson, Johnathan Joseph, Jason Allen, Brice McCain, Sherrick McManis, Brandon Harris
S: Glover Quin, Danieal Manning, Troy Nolan, Quintin Demps, Shiloh Keo
So, 25 players in all.
Now, before I lay out the Rivals.com grades on all of these guys, here is a little primer on what the star ratings mean in plain English:
FIVE STAR: Major impact player, probably immediately, and future All-American. Typically, there are only about 25-30 of these guys in an entire class across all of high school football.
FOUR STAR: Definite plus player, largely fits the physical profile of a five-star but needs to work on one or two things to get to that elite level. Typically, there are a few hundred of these players.
THREE STAR: Potential solid contributor or "glue guy." If a three-star blossoms into an All American, it's usually because of a position change and/or a physical change in body type. (Or Rivals.com's scouting group just missed on him.)
TWO STAR: Usually someone who is an inch too short, a tad too slow, and/or didn't play against great high school competition. For programs who aspire to be in the top 25 (both in recruiting and on the field), two-stars are basically like high school football lepers. If you're a coach and you land a two-star player at, say, Alabama or Florida or Ohio State, your fans are going to wonder what the hell you're doing.
So what kind of high school profiles did players on the staunch Texans defense have coming out of high school? Well, glad you asked (high school positions in parentheses):
Connor Barwin (TE)
Bryan Braman (DE)
Quintin Demps (S)
Tim Dobbins (LB)
Shiloh Keo (S)
Brice McCain (CB)
Sherrick McManis (CB)
Jesse Nading (DE)
Glover Quin (S)
J.J. Watt (TE)
Mister Alexander (LB)
Johnathan Joseph (CB)
Earl Mitchell (RB)
Troy Nolan (S)
Brooks Reed (RB)
DeMeco Ryans (LB)
Antonio Smith (DE)
Jason Allen (ATH)
Brian Cushing (LB)
Brandon Harris (CB)
Kareem Jackson (CB)
Tim Jamison (DE)
(NOTE: Tim Bulman, Shaun Cody, and Danieal Manning are not in the rivals.com database as the database only goes back to the 2002 recruiting class, and they were all recruited prior to 2002.)
Some observations from this little experiment:
-- There are exactly zero former five-star recruits on the Texans defense. The closest players they have to five-star recruits are Cody (who probably would have been one coming out of high school in 2001; he was a first team All-American coming out of Hacienda Heights, CA) and Cushing (who was considered a major stud coming out of New Jersey). Not surprisingly, both were part of some star-studded USC teams in the past decade.
-- Of the 25 players on the Texans' defense, TEN were two-star
lepers recruits, including Connor Barwin (who has become one of the top pass rushers in football), J.J. Watt (who should go to about six or seven Pro Bowls before all is said and done), and Glover Quin (who is evolving into a plus player at safety). Think about that -- TEN guys were considered fringe COLLEGE players, let alone future pros.
-- Among the most decorated players on the defense is Kareem Jackson, who recently lost his title of "most vilified Texan" to Jacoby Jones in a "loser fumbles the game away" match in Baltimore.
-- Cushing is probably the only one on the list who has played to his rating throughout his career. Literally, everyone else on the list has either vastly outperformed their rating or have gotten "Peter principled" to some degree once they've gotten to the NFL.
Earlier, I mentioned the other variables that factor into whether or not a recruit lives up to expectations. You can have a roster full of four- and five-star players, but if your coaching staff can't develop talent, your strength and conditioning coach can't get them in shape, or the pressure of college academically and socially (including the lure of criminal activity) becomes too much to handle, then five stars may as well be zero.
(Truth be told, a failed five-star recruit has a bigger cost than just the underperformance of one guy. It carries an opportunity cost of other recruits that maybe the coaches stopped pursuing once that five-star guy committed.)
So Deontay Greenberry is a Houston Cougar. Good for Houston. Honestly, this is a much bigger win for the Cougars than it is a loss for Notre Dame. After all, Rivals.com says Greenberry is the 49th best player in the country, which makes him the highest recruit ever for U of H.
How will I sleep tonight?
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