Twitter Tuesday: Woody's top HS players he's seen in person
Twitter Tuesday is back again this week, as Southeast recruiting analyst Woody Wommack is answering your questions.
Obviously, Ryan knows I’m partial to Trevor Lawrence, having often referred to him as the best football player I’ve ever seen. Now, while I’m being a little hyperbolic, I can say that Lawrence ranks right up there with the best of the best that I’ve ever seen as a high school prospect.
But when it comes to my top pick, it would probably be Deshaun Watson. I felt very strongly about Watson in high school and there’s a bit of a long story to how I came to really fall in love with his game. I attended a wedding in Oregon in Aug. 2012 and while I was out there I decided to take in the Oregon-Arkansas State game in Eugene. That game was the debut of then redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota. I left that game amazed with Mariota, a quarterback I really didn’t know much about and didn’t know as a high school prospect.
After returning to Atlanta, I went to watch Watson play a high school game, knowing that he was talented but still getting familiar with his game as he just starting his junior season. After watching him play on a team that had limited talent around him, I came away floored with Watson’s ability and more importantly his calm under pressure.
The next chance we had we made Watson a five-star and ended up being the only network to do so. While he struggled with injuries at times during his career and some other analysts didn’t think he had the arm strength to be a five-star quarterback, all of that is in the rear-view mirror and I can say that Watson was the best I ever saw with my own eyes.
Because were short on questions this week, here are three other players that really blew me away as high school prospects to join Watson and Lawrence in my top five.
I covered Watkins in my pre-Rivals.com days and that’s probably why I was so blown away with his abilities. I was covering high school football in Southwest Florida and Watkins' ability on both sides of the ball was special to watch. I remember calling some of my friends in the recruiting industry early in Watkins career to make my pitch for his ranking and as it turned out Watkins finished as a five-star in the Rivals.com rankings and the person I tipped off only ranked him as a four-star. Watkins went on to star at Clemson and was a first-round pick in 2014.
During my first year post-college I covered Debose and his Sanford (Fla.) Seminoles' run to the Florida state championship. In addition to being one of the most explosive athletes I’ve ever seen, Debose was clutch and famously won the state championship by hauling in a touchdown in the final seconds to beat a loaded Miami Northwestern team, led by Teddy Bridgewater. Debose was a five-star and his college career was marred by injuries, but I will still argue that’s he’s one of the best I’ve ever seen in a high school game.
Is Ramsey one of the best players I’ve ever seen? As he would say, “you tell meeeee?!” I remember going to watch Ramsey play a game against a loaded Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth team during his senior year and I was convinced that he could have easily been a five-star wide receiver if he wanted. Ramsey and his Brentwood Academy team lost the game, but Rivals.com had him as a five-star at the time I started working here and that performance only validated that ranking.