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Combine Performance Descriptors for Top High School Football Recruits Across Position From 2001-2009: Is There a Relationship Between Recruit Ranking and Performance?

Ghigiarelli J
The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: March 2011
doi: 10.1097/01.JSC.0000395744.57804.26
Abstract: PDF Only

Combine performance descriptors for top high School football recruits across position From 2001–2009: is there a relationship between Recruit ranking and performance?. Several studies have documented the normative data for football combine performance and anthropometric measures in college and professional athletes. Subsequently, researchers have attempted to predict playing ability from extrapolation of these selected performance measures. Most researchers have targeted collegiate and professional athletes and have concluded that tests such as the 40 yard dash and vertical jump to have highest correlation with playing ability. However no study has examined this relationship in elite high school athletes. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to provide a historical basis of descriptive data on football combine performance and anthropometric measures in an elite high school subset. A secondary purpose was to explore the relationship between recruit ranking (star value 1–5) and selected measures. METHODS: Data for this study was extracted from a commercially available website Data was collected across 10 positions (cornerback (CB), defensive end (DE), defensive tackle (DT), linebacker (LB), offensive lineman (OL), quarterback (QB), running back (RB), safety (S), tight end (TE), and wide receiver (WR) from a sample size of n = 2560 players. Selected performance and anthropometric variables were height, weight, 40 yard dash, shuttle run (SS), vertical jump (VJ), angle drive drill, and broad jump (BJ). Means and standard deviations for all basic descriptives were computed and 10 forward stepwise regression models were calculated (position x variables) with statistical significance set at the p<0.05 level. RESULTS: Four of the 10 regression equations had one variable significantly contributing to star value. Forty yard dash (CB) (p = 0.035) and (OL) (p = 0.002), weight (DE) (p = 0.006) and height (WR) (p = 0.001) were significant predictors of star value while all other variables across all positions were excluded. A closer examination of the data shows a significant difference when stratified by highly recruited players (5 and 4 stars) and recruited players between 40 yard dash (WR) (p = 0.012) height (TE) (p = 0.001) and weight (LB) (p = 0.004). CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study support previous research that few conclusions can be obtained from subjective rating scales and performance measures. However, it appears physical size is a more significant predictor in subjective ranking for this subset compared to the collegiate and professional athletes, which report lower body power (i.e. vertical jump) to be a primary predictor. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Certified strength and conditioning specialists can utilize the descriptors of this data set as a benchmark for an elite population, which may assist in goal setting for their athletes in their respective strength programs. Coaches can also use this information to understand the physical and anthropometric profiles that facilitate an athlete to become a more attractive college recruit.

© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association