Whenever I get together with my friends and family for Thanksgiving, a recurring conversation takes place. Since Turkey Day is synonymous with football, our continuous debate centers around the following question:
Who is the greatest RB of all-time?
My brother grew up a Cowboys fan, and will always stick by Emmitt Smith. My friend, as with most others, will adamantly choose Barry Sanders. And then there's me. For as long as I can remember, the player I chose makes people scoff and dismiss me fairly quickly. For me, it's gotta be Jim Brown. In my opinion, Jim Brown is not only the best RB of all-time, but he's also the best football player of all-time.
Arguments can be made for all three of these guys, and that's one of the best things about the conversation. None of us are wrong.
Usually, I wait for Scout.com to announce when a player verbally commits. I saw last week that ESPN and Rivals had both reported De La Salle running back Joseph Te'o pledged his allegiances to the crimson and grey. Since Scout seems to be taking their time, I figured I might as well post this now. Also, h/t to bliznair for FanShotting this and reminding me to do it.
Te'o also plays safety, but I'm fairly confident Coach Paul Wulff has his powerback. Te'o measured 5'11, 208 in his junior season, and has room to add weight. He's not afraid to block, so I could see him making holes for Rickey Galvin. His best attributes, however, are his vision and patience.
Emmitt Smith may not have had Barry Sanders' god given talents (who did though?), but where Smith was in a class of his own were patience and vision. First, no, I'm not comparing Te'o to Smith. What I am saying is sometimes we get enamored with speed. Speed kills, and it's extremely sexy. However, what happens when a speed back like Galvin outruns his blockers?
Te'o's biggest asset is easily recognizable in his video. He doesn't try to run over people (like Jim Brown did), he doesn't necessarily try to out run everyone or juke people out of their cleats (like Barry Sanders did), he simply takes what the defense gives him. That's not to say he doesn't outrun people, or that he doesn't juke defenders. For Te'o, something clicked. Perhaps that's what happens when you play for a powerhouse like De La Salle. He understands that by being patient, larger holes will open up, and then he can hit that second gear.
Te'o doesn't have world class speed, but he does have a quicker than you'd imagine short burst. I don't think he'll win many foot races on long runs, but his speed is deceptive.
Overall, I was really impressed with the maturity that comes with patience and vision. That's usually reserved for older players who understand the game more. All too often in high school, talent trumps all, schemes be damned. Te'o is a really solid back who I expect to challenge for playing time his first year on campus. I'm not saying he'll win the starting job or anything, but we're woefully thin at RB, and his presence only helps.
Good get, Coach Wulff. He must have eaten Te'o's dad's gumbo.
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