Identifying Prospects

Updated: Mar 14, 2020

Finding players across New York State is a daunting task. It takes a team to make it happen.

After last year’s Prospect NYS Power 50 Showcase, it was evident that other areas of NY were vastly underrepresented. How did Prospect NYS approach identifying players for the 2020 Showcase? We

reached out to coaches. The first coach I spoke with back in the summer of 2019 was Iona Prep Head Coach, Joe Spagnolo, who gave some honest and valuable feedback on what we were trying to

do in New York. He sent me a list of players and we added them to a “Watch Board”. This process

continued with other coaches who submitted names and it steamrolled from there. Nominations can come in the form of email or Direct Message (Twitter).

People have asked about what drives our selections. Obviously, there are certain baseline

measurables that colleges have in place to filter through players they are looking for. Yes, we

consider that in our selections. For example, a 6’0 High School Offensive Tackle certainly does not fit the baseline criteria for a Division 1 Offensive Tackle. Overall, coaches throughout NY have done a phenomenal job identifying players they feel will be successful at the Division 1 or 2 level. After a nomination comes in, we then use a 7-point rubric to grade players on Positional and Critical Factors that are important for success at the position. Each point on the rubric has an adjective associated with it to ensure we are using a common language everyone understands. For example, a “7” is considered “Elite”. We define “Elite” as a player who possesses unique/rare ability and who has the ability to dominate against a majority of D1 FBS Power 5 level players.

Let’s take a look at an example by looking at Running Back. Two traits that we feel are important for success as a RB are “Vision” and “Short Area Burst”. We may have a RB that scores a “5” on “Short Area Burst”, but then scores a “3” with “Vision”. We then compare those grades when looking at players. When you watch a lot of college tape, you begin to create mental catalogues for what particular players look like at certain levels of play at the collegiate level. This is a practice that all evaluators of High School talent should be doing. This is just a small peak at how we evaluate. It is an on-going process that will continue to evolve.

Brian Hawkins - Downstate Scout

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