Florida Football: Once again DJ Lagway proves to value film and games over camps

After dropping in recruiting rankings over the summer, DJ Lagway is now the Gatorade National Player of the Year.

Florida Spring Football Game
Florida Spring Football Game / James Gilbert/GettyImages
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Over the summer, Florida football saw a number of players that were committed at the time to the Gators have their recruiting rankings drop despite the fact there was no real football being played.

We chronicled at the time that skill players were the most prone to see wild swings in their rankings based on how their summer circuit went.

But after people started to doubt DJ Lagway over the summer, no one is doubting the Gatorade National Player of the Year anymore.

Florida Football: Games Got Played

Back in June, Lagway attended the Elite 11 camp alongside some of the other top rated QBs in the nation. The reviews for Lagway were fine, but there were definitely some doubts that were cast. Rivals rated him 8th at the camp, and 247 Sports rated him 9th, saying, "The good was good while the bad was bad. In our eyes, he made one of the best throws of the entire event on a deep shot Thursday, but was picked off twice and failed to score a touchdown Friday."

His ranking dropped across the board, only to climb back up as the season progressed.

Today, Lagway earned the honor of National Player of the Year.

So where is the disconnect from what we saw in the summer to what we are praising Lagway for now?

Well, as Lagway himself said "We'll see about it when the pads are put on"

See, these camps enable top talent to get together and are convenient for media members to attend to see all the top talent at once. And while these camps do enable recruiting gurus to see things they maybe can't pick up on film, these camps do no replicate real football.

Step one, QBs are at zero risk of being touched by an on coming rusher, if there is one at all. So things like poise or stepping up in the pocket are not replicated at these camps.

Step two, 7 v 7 coverage is not real coverage. Even if a team opts for zone coverage over a man coverage, the zone coverages are not what one would see in a real game. On top of that, QBs can get away with throws to their receivers because they know there is zero risk of their receivers getting hurt.

So one can get away with not having to read the full field at these camps and look like a star because they have a strong arm. Once the pads came on, some of these camp stars looked very pedestrian.

As the recruiting cycle is gearing up to head through its camp cycle for the class of 2025, keep Lagway in mind when players start having wild swings in their ratings based on what happens when no one is wearing pads.