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Are you a "five star" talent? I hope not....


The entire "star" ranking system for high school athletes is by far the most illogical and misleading way to quantify a players ability.  If you have questions on why, leave a comment and I will address it in a blog later.  Anyway, here is a "3 star" recruit that I have spent some time with working on his on-field performance.  He's a hardworking, intelligent and tough kid that can't be summed up with a few lousy stars.  I'm sure he will land at a D1 program and do very well.



By Jared Shanker of ESPN

Three-star Solon (Ohio) center Austin Stock is still sitting on just one offer, but he hopes his improvements from offseason workouts with a former NFL lineman and an America's Strongest Man competitor will help catch the eye of a few more programs.

Stock has been working with Cleveland native and former Browns and New Orleans Saints center LeCharles Bentley, who now runs the LeCharles Bentley O-Line Academy out of Avon, Ohio. Bentley was a two-time NFL Pro Bowl selection and won the Rimington Trophy at Ohio State in 2001 as the nation's best center.

"I worked really hard with (Bentley)," said Stock, whose only offer is from Air Force. "I've trained with him a couple times, and we trained on being a lot more agile."

Stock, the No. 15-ranked center, has also spent time training with Jason Davidson, who competed in the American Strongman competition in 2009 and is a regular on the strongman circuit.

"Most days we would get into a rotation, and I would go with another teammate and push a weighted sled from one end of the gym to the other," said Stock, who measures in at 6-foot-3 and 270 pounds. "After that, we'd strap on three thick rubber bands (that were attached to Davidson), and he's 6-foot-5, 330 pounds and he'd hold us back as we ran.

"... I feel I can rock people so hard off the ball now."

Stock didn't make it to many summer camps this year, but he doesn't think that is the reason why more schools have been hesitant to offer him. He blames himself for that, saying he could have played better at times last season.

With all of his offseason work with his two trainers, Stock sais he's a lot more explosive and quicker coming off the ball. The biggest difference, he said, is that he's playing until the whistle blows.

"The one thing I didn't do last year that I am this year is I'm finishing blocks until the whistle, until the guy is on the ground," Stock said.

Air Force offered Stock before the summer started, and he's discussed with his parents the possibility of joining the service academy. Instead of jumping on the offer, Stock and his family are going to wait and let the process play out.

Stock is not going to rush into a decision, especially one as important and life altering as enrolling at a service academy.

"I've thought about it a lot, and I wouldn't say I'd rather go to a regular college, but (accepting Air Force's offer) would be a much bigger decision," Stock said. "If I did decide to go into the service, it'd put me away from my family a lot longer.

"It'd set me up for a great opportunity, too, but it'd be tough."

At the end of September, Stock will start sending his senior highlight tape to schools. He's been in contact with Michigan State, Stanford, Boston College, NC State, Penn State and a host of Ivy and Patriot League schools. The Spartans, Wolfpack and Nittany Lions top the list of schools Stock would most like to receive an offer from.

Stock visited State College for Penn State's game against Michigan last year and loved the campus and atmosphere. Stock hopes to travel to a college game every Saturday from September to November but doesn't have a schedule mapped out yet. He said he definitely would like to go see a game at Michigan State and NC State.

Jared Shanker
ESPN.com Midwest Recruiting Coordinator
Business Cell: (732) 710-5402
Midwest Recruiting Blog
Twitter: @JShankerESPN

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Comment by Adam Gutglick on September 2, 2011 at 6:10pm
I would like to understand your dislike for the star ranking system (I don't really know how it works, but I would love to read about it)

Dwight Stephenson

Kevin Gogan

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