Looks Like University Of Illinois - Malachi Hood

Jul 4, 2021

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I guess I'll just forever show my biases when writing these LLUOI posts. It's not really "biases" I guess. It's more the way I interpret certain bits of information. Wait, I think that could be a textbook definition for "bias".

Let me just get to what I'm talking about. One thing that typically eliminates any chance of me saying "found a sleeper recruit here" and moves me towards "project recruit" is someone being on the radar of other schools and not getting an offer. Especially MAC or Sun Belt teams not offering.

Going by his Twitter timeline, Malachi Hood got a fair bit of interest from MAC schools plus other schools like Dartmouth. He tweeted recruiting material he received over the last year from Miami (OH), Eastern Michigan, Dartmouth, Akron, Kent State, and Army. The most by far was Miami (OH), who sent him things like this:

But none of those schools followed up with an offer. Miami (OH) told him he was a "priority recruit" but then they offered other players at his position but not him. To me, that's the data point that moves to the front of the line. He was a known recruit, schools were sending him recruiting stuff last fall, he played this spring, his junior film was out there, yet his first offer didn't come until June. It was from Illinois, and he visited and then committed a few days later.

This is not to say "there's no chance he will be good in college". I always tell people there's about 30 different college defensive positions and each scheme employs 11 of them. Nate Bussey was a tweener (not a linebacker, not a safety), and he couldn't find a spot in the 2008 or 2009 defense, and then Vic Koenning comes in with his stinger safety (half linebacker, half safety) position and it's a perfect fit. Bussey goes from "isn't on the field anymore because we're not sure where to play him" to Honorable Mention All Big Ten.

This is why I give all kinds of room for new coaching staffs to rework the roster and find players that fit what they're trying to do. And why I've screamed for years about us overhauling our offensive scheme every two years while Iowa and Wisconsin have had the same offense for 20+ years. Keep the same scheme, only tweak and never overhaul, recruit specific athletes for specific roles, and win. The Big Ten West Way.

So when I point to this data point, please know that this is not "no chance this kid ever helps us". I'm still a bit in the dark on what this defense will do, so it's hard for me to see anything that says "yeah, this is exactly what they want at linebacker". Maybe there's a specific trait here (he does look like a bit of a hybrid safety/linebacker) that they're looking for. Or, maybe this is a reach and we offered someone Miami-Ohio was slow-playing.

Whenever there's a player who falls in the "safety or linebacker?" category, I usually look for a clip to see if he runs like a safety or runs like a linebacker. This clip here, to me, is "runs like a linebacker":

Again, that's not an insult. Just an evaluation. To me, that says linebacker. You'd want your linebacker to fight through #11 a little more ferociously, but that's what college strength programs are for.

The other thing I look for on linebacker film - sticks - aren't there. A "stick", to me, is a "forward progress was stopped almost immediately" tackle. I didn't watch all of his film (including the individual games), but I didn't see any sticks on the highlight film. Not a big deal - again, that doesn't mean "no chance he ever contributes" - I'm just going through my process to get to Tom Cruises.

Offers, well, that's easy: we were the only school to offer. He wasn't a recruit we discovered who was previously unknown - Twitter shows him on recruit radars for a year (albeit a weird year). None of those MAC schools pulled the trigger, though, so we were the only offer.

Which means I probably have enough information to make a Tom Cruise determination. This will be one of the shorter LLUOI posts in a while I guess. The lack of offers were always going to keep this one low, I'm not sure on the size, but maybe there's a Bussey-like role in this defense where he can shine.

Malachi Hood - One and one-quarter Tom Cruises


detlef on July 5, 2021 @ 06:18 AM

He's from Joliet!

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