Tuesday, January 10, 2012

the recruit: Kelvin Rainey

Name: Kelvin Rainey
Position: CB
Hometown: Houston, TX
School: Houston Stratford
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 175

24/7: 81; three stars; #91 CB; TX #206
Rivals: 5.5; three stars
Scout: three stars; #115 CB

Other offers: Rice, local I-AAs

It seems evident that Mike London and staff have decided to make a concerted effort to recruit the state of Texas.  I can't think of any other good reason to give UTSA a home game against us.  Rainey is London's first success in this regard (Zach Swanson doesn't really count, as it was really Swanson that sought out the Hoos after Stanford kind of decommitted him.)  In the last ten recruiting classes, exactly three players before Rainey have come from Texas: Swanson, Riko Smalls, and Ian-Yates Cunningham.  That last name ought to give you an idea of how frequently we do this.

If you're really into this recruiting thing, Rainey's high school might ring a bell for you; it's where Stanford got Andrew Luck.  Stratford is a biggish school that holds its own in the tough Texas high school environment.  UVA also recruited, but didn't end up offering, Rainey's teammate A.J. Justice.

Rainey didn't really put up "stats" this year because opponents refused to "throw at him."  He came into the season with a good reputation, having earned Newcomer of the Year honors in his district last year, playing safety.  He's got bloodlines, too: two older brothers playing football at New Mexico (eldest Johnathan) and Arizona (next eldest Derrick.)  You might be thinking, though, that it's pretty rare that a Division I talent is a "newcomer" to varsity football as a junior; the explanation is that he transferred schools and had to sit a year.  (The source for that is just a random message board dude, but his brothers both have Northbrook listed on their bios as their high school, so it checks out OK.)

So with a little bit of history on the guy, and ratings that are all pretty consistent at the low three-star level, why was hometown Rice the only other school to offer?  You'd think he'd have at least a handful of CUSA deals.  TheSabre mentions an SMU offer - possible, since that's where his teammate Justice is going - but that's the only place I've seen that.  24/7 also says North Texas offered.  It'd warm my heart a little if those were both true, because it's hard to get too excited over winning a battle with just Rice.

Still, the relatively consistent guru ratings say something.  High school football in Texas is a little bit more psycho than the rest of the country, and talents are identified early; the fact that Rainey didn't even step onto a varsity field until his junior year probably delayed his evaluation by the college coaches.  And no offense to Rainey, but he's the #206 guy in the state according to 24/7; in other words, there's enough talent to fill the rosters of pretty much all the colleges in the region, so you might slip through a crack or two if you get a late start.  Normally I prefer to go by offers over evaluation, but if I did that here I'd view Rainey as a Sun Belt-level guy, and the consistency of the ratings are good enough to sway me.

There's no telling whether Rainey will redshirt or not; he joins a biggish cornerback group that enters in 2012 and probably includes Maurice Canady, C.J. Moore, and Wil Wahee.  Demetrious Nicholson has one side of the field to himself, but what happens after that is anyone's guess.  You'd think it might be Brandon Phelps with the first shot to replace Chase Minnifield, but Drequan Hoskey was the guy they sent out there on Florida State's almost-game-winning drive, and look what he done did.  That group of four all comes in on the same level playing field, and the best of the bunch out of that competition probably does not redshirt.  Could be Rainey as much as anyone; could be anyone as much as Rainey.  I usually like to offer predictions that are more specific than this, but the best I can say is that his ceiling could be anything from eventual starter to scout teamer, the same as anyone else in this cornerback muddle right now.  Perhaps the one thing that separates Rainey from, say, Canady or Wahee, is that Rainey is one of the more unlikely candidates for a position switch.  That's as specific as you're getting right now.


Anonymous said...

The nice thing about Rainey is that he does offer some size at the CB position.

Brendan, what do you think about sliding Rijo Walker back to corner and having a youngster slide in at safety? I'd much rather have the experience at CB than safety, and as of now, Rijo seems a better option at CB than Drequan or Brandon.

That said, a long way till spring ball, so maybe Drequan or Brandon step up there and make the decision easy, as ideally, having a veteran like Rijo at safety could help stabilize the back end.

Brendan said...

I'd rather have the experience at safety. This is after watching a Michigan team with none (a little while back), and what that meant for pass coverage. It was a nightmare. At any rate, if Walker moves to corner then we have literally zero experience at safety, and I can't think of a worse place to start completely fresh. Especially free safety, which Walker plays.