I've seen some comments on Cal sites about Cal fans being confused by Enwere's ESPN rankings. Looking at his vitals, Enwere appears to be the ideal running back prospect. 6'1, 215, who can apparently run in the 4.5/4 40 zone, even though ESPN has him at 4.61. One would think that those stats would be describing one of the best running back recruits in the nation. For comparison sake, Adrian Peterson shares almost the exact same physical stat. What's more, on Feb 23, Enwere was ranked no. 1 out of 1,200 participants at the Houston Nike SPARQ combine (a combine which measures speed and agility), an incredible stat.
It's also not like Enwere is a dud on the field. The man racked up a strong 1,600 yards, 16 TDs on the ground, in perhaps one of the most competitive high school football leagues in the country. He also hosts a bevy offers from a wide range of powerhouse schools. Michigan State, Wisconsin, Virginia, Wakeforest, Boise, CU, Kansas State, Minnesota, and more are sure to come as he progresses into his senior year.
However, Enwere is not even ranked within ESPN's top 300, and has only accrued a pedestrian 3 star rating. So why the low ranking? I touched on this fact a bit in the last GRW, but rankings really don't start formulating properly until early fall of next year. ESPN is hesitant to give out top 150 rankings too early. What if that player gets injured, or loses all his offers for some other reason? What if another player has a break out year and now every school is after him? They're going to have to bump him in and bump somebody else out. Only the real bluebloods end up having those 4/5 star rankings that persist for years at a time. Overall message, please do not be discouraged by any sort of ESPN ranking. These rankings are mostly an after effect of what players coaches are going after; if so and so is getting a ton of offers, ESPN feels pressured to give them a higher ranking. When Eddie Vanderdoes started becoming the obsession of the USC d-line coach when he decommited (apparently he was hanging out in Auburn for a long time trying to get him back), weeks later Vanderdoes was crowned ESPN's number one DT prospect in the land as a multitude of enticed schools came calling. Also, if you ever happen to check out Johnny Manziel's profile on ESPN, you'll see that ESPN definitely is not always right when it comes to their rankings.
Alright, now more about Vic. Why do I like this pickup?
Fit, Fit, Fit. The coaching staff has been preaching it since day 1. I've heard that Enwere's GPA is a 3.8, and that he scored an 1800 on the SAT. Every recruit we've gotten so far this season has a great track record in the classroom, which makes me extremely happy. I think this is the first step for really changing the academic culture of the football program. I always believe that athletes who take school seriously generally tend to be hard workers both on and off the field. It is refreshing to see major programs like ours and Stanford really start to care about academics, especially in light of how irrelevant academics have been revealed to be in some of the power conferences (see Arden Key's insight on South Carolina's academics). Furthermore, it seems like Vic maybe wanted Cal all along. The guy has gotten a ton of offers over his Junior year, but didn't get one from Cal until May. At that time, it took Vic roughly a month to commit to us after we offered, which tells me he was hoping for a Cal offer all along. It's always good to have a recruit who really wants to be a part of your program. For Vic to commit this early after his Junior year, and on such short decision time after the initial offer, it seems like he really wants to be a Bear.
The first thing that I like is once again, Fit, Fit, Fit. Look at the sets Enwere is running out of. Almost verything is pistol formation, and if it's not pistol it's shotgun. Each handoff is one of two styles. The primary one is a zone read like look (except it looks like the QB isn't designed to ever keep it). He merely steps to one side so that his shoulder's are perpendicular with the line of scrimmage, and delivers a handoff directly to Enwere. Pretty standard look- Nevada runs this a lot but employs the actual quarterback option.
The other kind of handoff is much more akin to the Cal offense. On this one the quarterback actually takes a reverse pivot, spins around, and delivers a handoff to the opposite side of which he originally turned. During our spring game, we ran most of our running plays out of handoffs like this. The fact that Enwere already has experience in an offensive scheme like our own is huge. Handoffs of this nature not only have different timing, they also have a different feel than your regular pro-style offense handoff. The running back is receiving the ball at different distances from behind the line of scrimmage, and at slightly different angles, so it takes some time to get used to if you've never run it before. The kind of blocking scheme that is run out of plays like this is also different from a normal pro-style offense. As a result, the holes open up in different ways, and the running back has different options in terms of whether or not he is allowed to cut back on any given play. I know that's a lot to take in, but bottomline is, it takes sometime to get used to the pistol, maybe an entire Spring, and it's great that Enwere already knows how to run it.
In watching the film, it really looks like Enwere is able to run in 4.5/4 40 range. He hardly ever gets caught from behind, which is impressive for a guy his size. At 1:40 he breaks through the middle of the line and all the defensive backs have good pursuit angles on him. He outruns both of them for the TD.
2:18. Enwere shows some excellent insticts. He identifies the hole immediately, runs through it at full speed, and then uses that nice top end speed to once again beat the pursuit for 6.
2:50, same deal. Great vision and fearless hitting the hole. The looks he's getting in this offense will be identical to the ones that he's getting in ours.
4:08, great demonstration of vision. Enwere is running a stretch play to the left. This is a pretty basic play that is run out of the pistol formation (see Redskins in 2012). Enwere sees the defense overpursuing to the playside, and decides to cut it back--this is a play where cutbacks generally work very well because of how much the defense is shifting in one direction. Enwere uses his size and strength to break off of several weak arm tackles, and then turns the play around and starts going the other way. Uses his speed to get a really nice gain.
7:02-- displays some serious strength and tackle breaking ability. Play looks like it's bottled up pretty well by the defense, but then Enwere breaks 4 tackles to make it over a 20 yard gain.
Overall, I am impressed with the tape. It looks great for an athlete his size. I can see Dykes and Franklin really wanting to go two separate directions with this guy. Since he possesses both great size and great speed, I could see Dykes either encouraging him to bulk up to perhaps 220-225, and become a real valuable powerback for his offense. Not like a Toby Gerhart exactly, but just a bigger back who possesses good speed and can be a good option at the goal line, something that our running back stable is lacking right now. Or, depending on how well Khalfani turns out, I could see Dykes wanting Enwere to remain at around 215, or maybe even drop down to 205, and really work to maintain and improve his speed, while of course getting stronger in his new college workout plan. If Enwere really is running in the 4.4 range right now, that might be the way to go. Regardless, Enwere has the characteristics of being a true every down back at the college level.
All in all, very happy with this pickup. Like Luke Rubenzer, I'd expect this kid's stock to rise as we progress into the Fall.