During the 2008 recruiting season, Terrelle Pryor was the talk of the town. Among many recruiting services, he was rated as the overall No. 1 prospect in the country.
A couple of others you may have heard about, Julio Jones and A.J. Green, were also highly sought after prospects.
During the 2008 college football season, there is absolutely little doubt that fans from Ohio State, Alabama, and Georgia were very pleased with the overall impact that these true freshman had on their team’s success.
Since 2002, Rivals.com has compiled a database of potential college football players and tagged ratings on them for all to view. (Yes, they have for a very long time evaluated talent, but only have a database that can be viewed online dating back to 2002).
There is no doubt that they have missed on many a talented player. But in the same light, they have also improved greatly as the years have progressed. One can also garner a pretty efficient prediction of how teams will project into the future by judging the rankings of said teams' recruiting classes.
Especially during the recruits' projected junior and senior years, respectively.
But that is another website in and of itself.
This entry is about the players in the 2009 class that look to have the 'it' factor when they step foot on campus for their eventual college of choice. I will simply highlight the people that I think will end up having sensational collegiate careers.
So who are these 'it' guys? I am glad you asked:
Russell Shepard, QB, Houston, TX: He may not be the highest overall rated player in this year's crop of recruits, but Russell Shepard definitely has that 'it' factor about him. Only 6'1" and 179 lbs., Russell doesn't enjoy the overall physical traits that one would label as a top QB prospect.
What he does have is an incredible ability to make plays—and a lot of them. During his senior season in high school, Russell nearly rushed and passed for 2,000 yards apiece, in gaining 1,946 yards on the ground and throwing for 1,843 yards in the air.
All told, he rushed for 28 TDs, threw for 20 more, and only threw four interceptions.
The knock on Shepard is his inaccurate and 'iffy' ability to throw the ball. That is not an uncommon trait that goes with being labeled as a dual-threat QB. When all is said and done, I definitely look for Mr. Shepard to have a sterling career at LSU.
The Tiger faithful have a winner, and I have no doubt that he will push this year's freshman phenom, Jordan Jefferson, for next year's starting job at QB.