4 Questions with football recruiting analyst Rusty Mansell

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Today’s interviewee is Rusty Mansell, a football recruiting analyst for 247Sports, Dawgs247 and CBS Sports Network. Mansell is a former Georgia high school player at Pepperell and a member of the Dragons' 1990 state championship team.

Rusty Mansell, football recruiting analyst

1. The Rabun County-Prince Avenue Christian game last week drew national attention and an ESPN television audience because of the five-star quarterbacks on each team. What were your takeaways from that game? “I think people realize now that Gunner Stockton can hurt you with his legs just as much with his arm. The addition of Adriel Clark to this team at WR gives them a big option on the edge. He was the difference when he was in the game. Prince had no answer for his size. I thought Brock Vandagriff did what I thought he would, and that is lead his team all the way until the end, and he almost pulled it off. Both QBs are special and love the game of football more than recruiting. I think a lot of people want to see Stockton on tape this week against Jefferson. This will be the best team on paper he has faced in high school. I think this will be a very good game to see this week.” [Clark, who had 11 receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns, transferred from Riverside Military, which canceled its fall sports seasons because of COVID-19. The Jefferson game will put Rabun and Stockton up against a five-star quarterback for the second consecutive week. Jefferson’s Malaki Starks, recruited as a running back or defensive back, is the No. 16 overall junior prospect nationally, according to 247Sports.]

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2. Who is the most underrated prospect in Georgia this season? “I am pretty set on this one. Ahmad Walker at Warner Robins is a two-star prospect on 247Sports. He will not end up there as a ranking. He is also verbally committed to Liberty at LB, and they will have to fight off others to keep him, in my opinion. He was lights out against Valdosta, and he comes with bad intentions every play. Love watching his tape, and that team will be a hard out come December. If he plays on TV late in the year, a lot more people will realize how good he truly is.”

3. You’ll sometimes hear that a player is underrated as a recruit because he hasn’t attended combines or showcase events? How true is that? “That is very true in this day and age. I am always clear on every camp I run or attend. The biggest thing you will do in the offseason is getting a verified height and weight. We [247Sports] will not change a profile unless we have it from a camp and we know it was done right. Measurables are so important with evaluations for colleges [offers] and for us [rankings]. When you hear of a camp offer, a school will ‘offer’ a prospect, but it is not committable until they can see you and verify measurables etc.”

4. What is a common question that you get, or something that fans or players or coaches might not understand about recruiting rankings, the process of evaluating, or anything along those lines? “I am a parent, and I had two of my girls play sports in high school, so I get it and I was very proud of their accomplishments. That is something to be very proud of, to watch your children excel in sports. On the flip side of it, I have a lot parents ask me why their child is not ranked higher because of stats or making an all-region or all-state team, etc. It has little to do with it on our side. It is all about how you project on the next level. Some schools run the ball, some schools throw it every down. I’ve never had a college coach call me and ask me how many yards a player had in a game. I have had them ask me if I have a 40 time or height and weight for a player. It is tough, but again, that is the reality of this. It is all about projection on the next level.”

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