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When one thinks of key games to attend in the south, big powerhouses like
Hoover (Ala.), Miami Northwestern, South Panola (Miss.), and Stephenson (Ga.)
come to mind. But last year's Brentwood Academy vs. Evangel Christian game in
Tennessee featured two small private schools with big time talent.
Alabama got the lion's share of talent from the class of 2008, inking seniors
Chris Jordan, running back for Brentwood, and Barrett Jones,
offensive/defensive lineman for Evangel. Notre Dame got key Brentwood junior
Alex Bullard who starred at right tackle in this game, and Brentwood defensive
end Thad McHaney is still in play.
Going back to re-evaluate seniors (Jordan/Jones) while evaluating juniors is
one of my favorite parts of this job as game film arrives daily at Scout.com.
I get the question from main-stream media types constantly about the changing
rankings of players that haven't played a down of football in months. They ask
me "what changed to make his ranking change."
There are two common answers to that question as to possible changes. With one
million high school football players in the country, the information isn't
always available all at once. As more information comes in on players, things
change. For example, Jordan and Jones played this game seven months ago, but I
am just getting a chance to watch it today while evaluating Alex Bullard and
The second answer to the question is, the players change. Take Corey Liuget
for example. Corey came to the Scout Elite Camp in May of '07 as a 229 pound
defensive end. The next time I saw him with pads on, he was a 270 pound
But back to the evaluations, we constantly evaluate players well into their
college and pro careers. The player rankings are locked down right before
signing day, but there's really no limit to how often we could tweak our own
rankings to adjust for hits and misses as players develop.
So taking a look back at Chris Jordan and Barrett Jones how do I feel about
their rankings in hindsight?
First, I'll start with Jordan. The first time I saw Jordan was when he was
a sophomore at Norcross High School in Georgia. He came to the Kennedy/CES
Combine, and was one of the most physically impressive performers there as a
sophomore. Already being over six feet tall with terrific speed, there was a
natural wonder to what position would he end up playing, running back or
In hindsight, I think this question of position is probably what held back his
ranking some. I made the same mistake with Darren McFadden in the Class of
2004. Believe it or not, there were a lot of people talking about McFadden
possible playing safety when he got to Arkansas, and while he was still ranked
high, I'm convinced that Adrian Peterson and Darren McFadden were the Herschel
and Bo of this generation. We may not see players like them again for a long
I'm not saying Jordan is McFadden by any stretch, just that at the No. 26
running back in the country, he was under-rated. He may end up at linebacker
one day, but he sure looks like a running back all the way to me. I looked
back through his recruitment to see what he was being told, and was glad to
see this quote from Jordan in an article by Scout's
Andrew Bone, “The coaches want me to come in
and play tailback," Jordan said. "I have a deep passion for
playing offense. I told them my heart wasn’t going to be in defense, and I
didn’t want to play it half-hearted. I feel great and confident about
playing running back at Alabama.”
I don't see any reason for him to have to worry about playing anything other
than running back in his career at Alabama. He has excellent vision, balance
and size. He breaks tackles and has more than enough speed to break a long
one. He sets up his blocks well and always seems to be falling forward. Like
previous Tide standout Shaun Alexander, he never seems to be working harder
than he has to; he just gets by the defense and makes it look easy.
Chris Jordan #1 RB
Barrett Jones played defensive end and left tackle for Evangel. He was rated 4
Stars and ranked the No. 18 offensive tackle in the country by Scout. Jones
started his senior season ranked a little higher than this, but players such
as Tyler Love and Antoine McClain moved ahead of them in the south. I think
Jones settled in to about the right spot.
He has a great frame and a good first step. He puts forth good effort, but
he'll need to work on his leverage and strength a bit before he's ready to
suit up for Alabama. He moved his feet and used his hands well, but sometimes
had trouble with bull rushes. His lateral mobility was advanced for a high
school tackle as shown by his ability to pass block and play defensive end.
He's farther ahead in the passing game than he is the running game. That's a
positive for Tide fans. It's a whole lot easier to teach leverage than it is
Barrett Jones #75 DE/LT
Notre Dame made its presence felt in Tennessee by obtaining a commitment from
Brentwood's highly recruited left tackle Alex Bullard. Bullard is currently
rated 4 Stars by Scout and the 27th best offensive tackle in the country.
Bullard chose the Irish over a host of offers including the home state
Volunteers, Florida, Alabama, Michigan, and more.
It doesn't take long to spot why Bullard was in such high demand as soon as
the game starts.
Bullard has a lightning quick first step off the line. He is a tenacious
blocker that locks on to the defender, and uses his ands and leverage to
control a would be tackler. His agility is terrific and it allows him to get
to the linebackers and even safeties on blocks. On one play he follows Jordan
roughly 40 yards downfield to keep making blocks. Most big men run out of gas
after 10 yards.
At offensive tackle, I think No. 27 is about right
for his ranking. However, I feel he is generally underrated there. Why? I feel
he is a more natural guard. Based on his height (listed at 6-4), excellent
mobility, and drive blocking skills, Bullard has the look of a terrific
pulling guard on the next level. If he's moved to guard, he should be moved up
in the rankings. I think it's a better position for him in the long run.
Alex Bullard #72 LT
The fourth highly recruited player in this game is Brentwood's Thad McHaney.
Listed at 6-2, but roughly the same height as Bullard, McHaney is rated as a 3
Star tight end by Scout. However, McHaney does the bulk of his damage on the
defensive side of the ball. Likely a strong side defensive end, McHaney plays
with good strength, and he is a long strider capable of making up ground in
pursuit. He needs to work on his anticipation and first step to get off the
ball a little quicker.
McHaney had a very productive game against Evangel including matching up well
with Barrett Jones, and I'd be surprised if he weren't being recruited for
McHaney is sorting through a handful of offers including Tennessee, Kentucky,
Oklahoma, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Oregon, and more.
Thad McHaney #99 DE/TE
I look forward to revisiting these evaluations as each player begins to make
his impact as seniors in high school or freshmen in college. With 12 more
months of information, any one of the four if not all of them could look
vastly over or underrated. That's the beauty of trying to predict the future,
right now, there is no right or wrong... only hope that each of them turns out
to be stars.
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