Sunday, June 2, 2013

Recruit Breakdown: Madre London



Ceiling: 8               Ranking: 5.5               Floor: 4


School: St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

Size: 6'1" - 200 lbs.

Composite: 3 Star, #103 RB

247: 3 Star, 81, #92 RB

Rivals: 3 Star, 5.5

Scout: 3 Star, #77 RB

Favorites: Boston College, Florida State, Michigan State, Nebraska, Wisconsin

Other Notable Offers: Cincinnati, Illinois, Kansas, Purdue, Rutgers, South Carolina 

Strengths

Good initial burst, quick to get up to full speed. Good stop/start quickness, pushes defenders past him and gets back up to speed with good burst. Plants foot solidly in ground and gets running north/south with strength behind his shoulders. Has a good shoulder lean upon contact. Keeps feet churning when still square to LOS. Falls forward when going down. Uses his left hand well to stiff arm defenders and scrape away tacklers hands. Big body that can add weight. Willing blocker. Great feel for running routes out of the back field. Very comfortable with hand placement a feel for screen blocking.

Weakness

Not great top end speed, will be a between the tackles type runner. Long strider, making it difficult to cut behind LOS and leads to him getting tripped up in the open field. Lacks elite vision. Doesn't protect his legs well with high knees or low center of mass. Bends at waist and doesn't get great knee bend. Not very fluid in the hips, lacks lateral mobility. Only holds ball in right hand, would like to see him use his outside arm so he could utilize his hands running to both sides of the LOS. Needs to improve balance (this would be greatly helped by better COM).

Comments

Though some like to compare, he really does not run much like Laveon Bell in my opinion - very different running style. Is a long strider rather than the quick footwork of Bell, but gets up to speed surprisingly quick for someone that has such a long stride. Not great top end speed, will probably be a between the tackles runner at the next level. Would like to see him shorten his step a bit, especially initially, as he isn't going to get those gaping lanes at the next level as often. Very good initial cut, plants his foot strongly and gets his momentum going north/south, can stop quick and get back up to speed. Not much for lateral movement, and his hips seem a bit stiff, which is why he appears to lose balance sometimes and get tackled easier than a man his size sometimes should. Not great balance, but is able to fall forward consistently. Uses his off arm very well to move tacklers, but only holds the ball in his right hand, making it more difficult to run him to the left side of the line. Does a good job holding it high and tight usually, but you'd like to see him hold it in his outside arm. Has a good shoulder lean upon contact, but needs to follow through with more consistent leg drive (especially when he gets his shoulders turned) and use his arms to shed/lean-on tacklers and keep momentum going forward.

I would like to see him get a little better knee bend and get his knees a little higher. I think if he combines that with better hand use, he will break a few more tackles, have a little better center of mass, and not get chopped down so easily (he seems to go down fairly easily when taken down low because he doesn't protect his legs as well as he could). He also seems to get shoe-string tackled a bit because of his long stride.
As far as blocking, he has quite a bit of work to do technique-wise, but I don't really think that's an issue for a high school back (the fact that he has any technique is more than a lot of HS RBs can say). The big thing that shows is that he has a willingness to block and to work on getting better at it, because he does put a lot of effort into it. That's something, along with blocking schemes, that would get taught to him as soon as he hits whatever campus he chooses.

Very fluid running routes and catching the ball out of the backfield, London is fully capable of being an every down back down the road. If he can pick up blocking schemes, could start out as a 3rd down guy before moving into a starting role. Has a good feel for when to leak in the screen game as well and a good feel for how his blockers are setting up on second level defenders.

Lastly, I like the touch of lightning at the start of the video, but I once saw a highlight video that made it appear the recruit was dodging the lightning bolts. Would like to see him up his video production capabilities in future highlights.

Projection

I think he could range anywhere from 220 - 235 lbs, depending on what they want to do with him. At his size and height, he's going to be a big back type.

I think his best fit is in a predominately under-center zone running scheme, think Wisconsin before their coaching change or the Houston Texans. This would allow him to threaten the edge a bit more with the zone stretch play. That type of offense would allow him to make a simple read of the OT/TE, if they reach or kick out just cut off their butt either way. This fits his one cut north/south style. It also utilizes his ability to quickly accelerate to get that stretch while not having to be extremely fast or elusive to threaten outside, and also allows him to hit his gap quickly rather than have to be more patient to allow blockers to pull around. The only area I think he would struggle in this type of offense (though more-so in a shotgun based zone scheme) is is vision and ability to laterally cut to hit the backside on over aggressive defenders flying to the playside.

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