Star Rankings. Yes, those star rankings. The ones that cause Georgia Tech comment sections to melt down into endless arguments as to their importance every single time. We aren’t going to talk about those for these players today. Today, we’re going in a different direction.
One of the most common complaints about Star rankings is the fact that they seem arbitrary. Why is one player projected to be better in college than another? Is it because they have offers to big name schools? Are they more athletic? Do they use better technique? Do they have elite size? The fatal flaw of star rankings lies herein. They don’t break down each player and rate his individual skills, making it difficult to grasp what sets each player apart. It would be unreasonable to expect the recruiting services to do this for every single prospect ever year. There are thousands of them. However, we at FTRS are only interested in players who have been connected to the program, so we can do these types of breakdowns.
Another flaw of star rankings is the lack of a well-defined and consistent meaning. What does 4-star mean, anyway? To help combat this, I will be ranking each player’s core attributes(Which vary by position) on a 1 to 5 star scale based on the following:
- 5-star: Attribute is Power 5 Elite
- 4-star: Attribute is Power 5 Above Average
- 3-star: Attribute is Power 5 Average
- 2-star: Attribute is Group of 5 level
- 1-star: Attribute is FCS level or lower
I won’t give 5 or 1 star rankings lightly. Elite needs to mean something, and that meaning will be diluted if 5-star rankings get handed out like candy in late October.
I also won’t be giving out an overall ranking for these players, just a ranking for each of their core attributes, and I’ll discuss my reasoning as well.
Core Attributes - Defensive End
With these core attributes, keep in mind there will be some projection. It’s not necessarily about where the attribute is now, but where it is projected to be when they step on the field in college.
Two main components: Frame length and Frame thickness.
This attribute primarily looks at first step and pursuit speed, but also encompasses a few other factors
How fluid is the player, can the dip under blocks while maintaining balance? Do they move smoothly in space?
Primarily a technique attribute, this attribute looks at the player technique such as stack-and-shed and anchoring. Playing strength is also a big factor here along with tackling ability.
First step is a big factor, but the player’s arsenal of pass rush moves is as well. Do they have developed pass rush moves, or do they just wildly run at the QB?
Run Defense: 4
Pass Rush: 2
Fulwider is a big , big DE. He’s listed at 6-7, 230, but was measured at the opening in Atlanta at 6-5.5 241. Despite not quite being as tall as listed, he still possesses elite length and may still be growing. At 241 lbs, he looks skinny on tape, and could get into the 280s in college. That’s elite for a 4-3 DE.
The first step isn’t particularly explosive, and his pursuit speed is a bit lacking, but it’s good enough for the power-5 level. Fulwider does struggle, however, with bend. He just isn’t super bendy, and has hitches in his movements when changing direction. This is usually typical of guys this tall.
It should be noted that Fulwider plays DT in HS primarily, so judging technique isn’t as straightforward as it would be if he did. That said, Fulwider stacks and sheds better than almost any prospect I’ve ever evaluated coming out of high school. He stays quite low for his height, and uses his length to absolutely dominate blockers. He doesn’t get to edge rush, so there’s limited film there, but he doesn’t have a well-developed arsenal of interior pass rush moves either. That will have to be developed in college.
Run Defense: 3
Pass Rush: 4
Georgia Tech has been on Ojulari early, but his recruiting has absolutely blown up since his showing at the Opening in Atlanta. Ojulari measured 6-4 224 lbs. He doesn’t project to add a ton more weight, but his length is good enough to get a 3 out of me. He’ll likely end up in the 240-250 range What really turned heads was his athleticism. Ojulari racked up the following numbers:
40 yard dash: 4.7s
Short Shuttle: 4.32s
Vertical Leap: 39.8 in <———!!!!!!
SPARQ Rating: 114.54
All of that is good. Really, really good. Especially for a 17 year old. Putting up numbers like that requires Bend and Explosiveness, and Ojulari gets a 4 in both areas. Both attributes show up on tape in a big way too.
Against the run, Ojulari is surprisingly good for his size. He doesn’t dominate blockers, but he sheds quickly and gets after it in pursuit. Needs to work on tackling form, as he leaves his feet too often. The pass rush is more developed. He utilizes both a dip move and an inside move that are still in development, but look promising. Needs to get his hands a bit more active in his rush. He uses his speed to keep blockers off balance, and knows how to convert speed to power. Overall, a very promising pass-rushing prospect.
Run Defense: 3
Pass Rush: 3
Enagbare measured 6-4, 257 lbs at the Opening, but didn’t run all the drills. With a long frame that has already filled out well, Enagbare gets a 4 for size. His drill numbers aren’t available, but he displays a decent first step and great leaping skills on tape, and looks natural and fluid in pursuit. He’s not quite at Ojulari’s level, so he gets a 4 and a 3 here instead of two 4s.
In both the run and pass game, Enagbare excels at shooting gaps, but needs to use hands a bit more. He is quick-twitch and smooth around the corner, however, so there is a lot of potential for pass rush development. Overall, a well-rounded prospect who has garnered a ton of attention from big programs
All 3 players would be excellent fits at Georgia Tech, though we won’t land all 3. They all have been getting huge amounts of attention from big name Power-5 programs, so it will be an uphill battle to get commitments from any of these 3 outstanding prospects whose last names I cannot pronounce.