On Thursday, MaxPreps released a list of 10 of the nation's best recruits, and the pros that national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming thinks they may become. Others may disagree, but Prep Rally thinks that was not a particularly good -- or fair -- idea.
The list was the brainchild of Lemming, a longtime recruiting analyst and the man who formerly sat as sole arbiter of whom is invited to the prestigious annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl (the game has since moved on from using Lemming's services). Rolling down his list player-by-player, Lemming name dropped current and former NFL superstars and earmarked them as future points of references for high school seniors who are currently 17 and 18-years-old.
No pressure, right? As if.
Just for a second, imagine being Dorial Green-Beckham (that's him pictured near the top of this post), the Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest High wideout who is ranked as the top overall prospect in the Class of 2012 by Lemming and Rivals.com. Right on top of Lemming's list of comparables, Green-Beckham is hailed as like the next Randy Moss.
Is that an ego boost for a high school senior? Sure it is. Still, think about what happens the next time Green-Beckham drops a pass in the open field. What do you think the odds are that he'll hear some sort of a "Randy Moss"-related chant?
The same goes for Austin (Texas) S.F. Austin High receiver Cayleb Jones, who was dubbed a potential Michael Irvin, or Geismar (La.) Dutchtown High defensive back Landon Collins, whom Lemming dubbed the next Taylor Mays. In fact, the rule of overbearing applies to all the recruits on the list, with the exception of number 10 Barry Sanders Jr. … who was likened to Barry Sanders Sr. You can't find any fault with Lemming there. After all, when you're named Barry Sanders, being compared to Barry Sanders kind of goes with the territory.
Is Tom Lemming the only person doing this? Absolutely not. Heck, Prep Rally is willing to bet that most of the people who watch Cayleb Jones in the stands mention how he reminds them of one receiver or another, be they college, pro or former high school phenom. That's just the nature of being a fan.
The difference is that those fans make that comparison under the breath while Lemming is broadcasting this list through the megaphone of a national column on a national web site. He also grouped all the top prospects in rapid fire, name dropped top pros (without any explanation for why they compare to that star) and then moved on, ratcheting up hype and pressure on a group of players who already have entirely too much of it.
At the end of the day, that's not fair to the players themselves, to their family and teammates, or even to Lemming himself. Green-Beckham is going to be a good player. He might even be a great one. But he's not going to be Randy Moss.
After all, he already got to see how the whole "mooning the crowd" thing worked out for Moss, and we're pretty sure Green-Beckham wouldn't try the same stunt himself.