Shedeur Sanders is an electric talent for his father Deion Sanders’ Jackson State football team, but is he NFL ready? NFL superstar quarterback Michael Vick visited the electric college passer and gives his thoughts about Sanders’ physical talent and why the mental aspects of the game are what really sets him apart.
Editor’s note: Robert Smith, a product of Ohio State who played eight seasons in the NFL, explains how and why it’s the elite college programs that best prepare players for the next level. Smith has seen the growth of elite college programs up close as a college football analyst for FOX Sports and the Big Ten Network.
Players know that when they go [to one of these elite schools], that’s part of what they’re going to get from that school. It’s something that’s going to prepare them for that next level.
The coaches understand what it takes to prepare players for the next level — the attention to detail that they give the individual drills, and understanding, physically, what each individual player needs. I think one of the biggest aspects of it is the level of competition that you have every day. For players that are uninitiated when they get into the NFL, a lot of times they don’t understand just how competitive it’s going to be.
Yeah, it’s the highest level of the game, but they don’t understand that everybody is an All-American level talent. Everybody’s got that speed. Everybody’s got that strength. So, it’s those smaller things that become the difference between being able to simply make a roster and being a good player. Then, the next step is being a good player and being a great player.
These programs are elite from top to bottom in everything that they do; from the way that they prepare players for interviews to the way that they prepare players nutritionally and mentally on the field. Also, it’s the competitive aspects, like understanding that you’re always competing for your job every single day.
These players understand when they get into the league, it’s the exact same thing.
I think all of those elements combined are the reasons why programs like Alabama, Ohio State, and Clemson have done such a great job with these players. That reputation really feeds on itself. Once a player sees that there are a number of players from a university that have gone into the pros, they expect that to be a part of what they’re going to get from that school.
It’s something that’s going to prepare them for that next level.