ESPN.com's Pac-12 recruiting reporter Erik McKinney posted a piece on ESPN's Recruiting Nation a couple of days ago where he talked to Cal head coach Sonny Dykes about prospect evaluation ($).
There's some really good quotes in the post from Dykes, including a nice tidbit on Wes Welker, but this is the one that stuck out the most to me:
"Everybody wants to sign the big, tall, fast guy," Dykes said. "But the important thing is if you sign a big, tall, fast guy, that's he's also a good football player. And you have to realize that there are lot of players that aren't big, tall, fast guys."
It's almost fitting that he said this and then received a commitment from St. John Bosco cornerback Traveon Beck the next day. As Cal Rivals pointed out on Twitter, he doesn't really fit with the size of the other defensive backs they have landed recently.
@jamieuyeyama agreed. He's smaller than the DB's they took last year, but quicker and more instinctive. Plenty aggressive too.— Cal Rivals (@CalRivals) May 21, 2015
Listed at 5"10" and 170 pounds, he does not have the typical shutdown corner size most programs are looking for. But he is a heck of a football player. He has the athletic skills to be very good in man coverage and plays with outstanding eye discipline in zone coverage that allows him to get involved with a lot of plays in coverage. At a camp, Beck might not look like the most impressive prospect at first glance. His film is the evidence that backs up that he is a very good football player that he's a really nice addition to Cal's future secondary.
Chris Petersen and Washington also ignored conventional standards for height and weight at running back with a commitment from St. John Bosco running back Sean McGrew. He's been an extremely productive player at the high school level, but it's tough to acknowledge the potential physical limitations of him being 5'8" and 175 pounds.
He shows other traits on film that make up for his lack of size, though. His burst and lateral agility are outstanding and make him a dangerous weapon when he has space. He also runs a lot tougher than you'd expect and is capable or running through initial contact. That's not something you could imagine if you took a look at McGrew at a camp setting, but he has shown that ability.
Both of these guys are perfect examples of valuing film over measurables and because of that, I think both are great pickups for Cal and Washington respectively.