Posted: 4:00 a.m. Wednesday, March 20, 2013
In the field of economics, there exists a concept known as the "positional good." A positional good is essentially an item whose economic value is determined not by its absolute worth, but rather by the value which others place on it. A Rolex watch, for example, has positional value beyond the value of the components of which it is composed. You could buy a watch with an equal amount of gold or platinum or diamonds. But it wouldn't be worth the same amount as an identical watch with Rolex stamped on it.
What in the blue blazes does this have to do with college football recruiting? More than you'd think. Take for example Buford linebacker Korie Rogers. You can take a look at Rogers's junior highlights over at Hudl.com. (You may have to download Microsoft's Silver Light plug-in in order to view video.)
Among the things that are obvious from the get-go about Rogers are that he is a good tackler, his coverage skills and open field pursuit are above-average, and he finds the ball in a hurry. All of those are great skills for a linebacker to have. And those skills have not gone unnoticed. Rogers currently holds offers from not only the home state Bulldogs, but also Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Nebraska, Penn State and West Virginia. That's an awful lot of good football coaches who believe that Rogers is good at football.
It's not all positives, however, and that's where my brief economics geek detour above comes into play. At 6'1 and 210 pounds Rogers does not have the prototypical size to play either inside or outside linebacker in Georgia's 3-4. Physically I'd liken Rogers to Christian Robinson, another athletic linebacker who likely would have struggled less with Georgia's transition to the 3-4 if only he'd been 20 pounds heavier. Especially at the Mike and Mo inside 'backer positions a little heft is critical to stopping the run.
Rogers may be able to put on the necessary 25 to 35 pounds to fill one of those spots, but looking at his frame I'm just not certain of it. Also, coming from a program like Buford with a top notch strength and conditioning program there's a real chance that he's closer to his physical ceiling than a guy with comparable measurables coming from a less regimented program.
Add in the fact that Georgia signed a veritable gaggle of linebackers in the 2013 class, and it's pretty clear to me that Georgia doesn't strictly "need" Korie Rogers. I think Rogers is going to be a good collegiate player, but I don't expect he'll be head and shoulders above Johnny O'Neal or Tim Kimbrough, for example. He is not, for example, Liberty County standout Raekwon McMillan, who could very well start as a freshman for most SEC schools.
Rogers is a sure-tackling, smart, quick 'backer from a perennial powerhouse with whom we've established good relations. He already has offers from most of the SEC and will almost certainly be rated among the top 10 players in the state of Georgia regardless of position. As a result. losing Rogers would likely hurt recruiting fans more than getting him will actually help the team. That's the siren song of positional goods as applied to college football recruiting.Korie Rogers is valuable to a lot of other programs. He could be the top linebacker on the board for many base 4-3 and 4-2-5 teams. But his value to a 3-4 team with a lot of young linebackers already on the roster is just not as high.
With the Bulldogs set to sign a much smaller class than the 2013 group, there are going to have to be some tough choices at several positions, including linebacker. Will I be pleased if Korie Rogers ends up in Athens? Absolutely. I like Korie Rogers as a prospect and think he's got the potential to be a productive, SEC-caliber linebacker, with the athleticism to contribute on special teams as a freshman. I just don't know that his value to Georgia in the 2014 class is as high as his value to others. Until later . . .