8 Recruits Facing the Toughest High School to College Positional Transition
Just because a recruit is labeled as a 5-star prospect or sets records and dominates in high school doesn't mean he's going to translate seamlessly into college football. The jump from high school to college is tough on all recruits, no matter how highly touted they are.
As I observe recruiting this year, several recruits stand out to me as facing the toughest transition. Whether it's a physical or mental obstacle, the following recruits face the toughest high-school-to-college transitions on the field.
This should be an interesting read and give you an idea of how much even the top recruits still have to learn and work to be successful in college.
8. Darius James, OC
I love James as a prospect and have openly stated that he may be better than Laremy Tunsil. At 6'5" and 320 pounds, James has the strength and athleticism to play anywhere on the OL.
However, he faces a tough challenge at Texas because it appears he will be brought in to play center first. Playing the pivot requires that you know each offensive lineman's assignment on every play and make protection changes and adjustment calls with the QB while also keeping tab on the play clock.
James didn't have the wide range of responsibilities in high school as he will at Texas. Getting the hang of everything may be tough initially for him.
7. Marquez North, WR
North has been great in high school thanks to being 6'3", 210 pounds and blessed with excellent play speed. Being bigger and faster than people at high school works with ease.
But he won't have that same advantage in college. North is going to have to learn how to run crisper routes, get better at detaching from coverage underneath, settling in coverage voids and selling his routes better.
He'll get there in time.
6. Christian Hackenberg, QB
"Hack" should be able to come in and start at Penn State next year, but it'll be a challenge for him to transition into being "The Man" in Happy Valley.
He's a stud player, but the Nittany Lions are in a dark period right now. Hackenberg is viewed as the player who gives hope to the program and will be the face of the team.
Is he ready for all that and everything that comes with it?
5. Kendell Beckwith, DE/LB
Beckwith is kind of a man without a true position. He is 6'2", 225 pounds and a good all-around athlete, but what is he?
It sounds like he will play either DE or OLB in college. That's fine, but he faces a tough transition because he's raw in the nuances of being a front-seven edge defender. Once he gets coached up, Beckwith's athleticism will allow him to factor in a season or two.
Until then, he faces a bumpy transition.
4. Austin Golson, OT
Golson is a 6'6", 284-pound OT who is committed to Florida State. He's a great blocker, but he gets it done with snap quickness, technique and positioning.
He faces a tough transition initially because he's going to need to get stronger. He has quick hands, but he will need to get sturdier, firmer and more powerful to sustain blocks against college defensive linemen.
Golson probably will never be a mauler, but once he adds some bulk and strength he could be a multiyear starter in the trenches.
3. Cooper Bateman, QB
Bateman has all the physical tools that you want in a QB. He's 6'3", weighs 205 pounds, has a cannon for an arm and also can make plays with his legs.
Watching him at The Opening, I got the feeling he was a bit surprised at the speed of the game. With so many college-caliber athletes there, the speed at The Opening is basically at the college level.
Bateman is committed to Alabama, and the speed of the SEC is the best in the country. He'll need to use his practice reps to hurry up his operation to adjust to the speed of the college game as he transitions.
2. Laremy Tunsil, OT
Tunsil can move like a deer at 6'6" and 295 pounds. My concern with him is his strength. Right now, college pass-rushers probably will force him to catch them and walk him back with speed to power techniques.
Tunsil must get stronger, as catching blocks set after set is not the way to go by any means. He also will face a tough transition due to his lack of strength in the run game.
Once his strength is improved, however, you could be looking at a premier college LT.
1. Brice Ramsey, QB
Ramsey is one of the top QB prospects in the country and ranks in the top 10 QBs on my own board. He's a 6'3" guy who weighs about 190 pounds and can spin it very well.
The knock on him is that he just hasn't had as many reps as other QBs in this class have had because his team didn't toss the rock much.
Ramsey's transition to Georgia will be a little tough because he needs more reps at reading coverages, checking plays, adjusting routes and throwing the football consistently to attack defenses. In the end, he'll be fine and one day start for the University of Georgia.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.