While it may not be the greatest, the one person that will always come to my mind when I think "recruiting tapes" is that of Noel Devine. This was the first time I remember a recruit really becoming a huge deal through YouTube. I was a Sophomore in high school for the 2007 recruiting class and will never forget how insane it was seeing this kid just score on nearly every play. His speed and shiftiness just seemed like it was gifted from a non-human species.
There is a bit of charm with the pixelation in the video all of these years later. I am not even sure the original viral tape even exists anymore, because I know that one, like most 2000s recruiting tapes, had obnoxious music over it. Devine would eventually commit to West Virginia and become an integral part of the Mountaineers being a dominant team in the NCAA Football video game.
The best, though? It is probably still Jadeveon Clowney.
That is just a preposterous amount of times to have a scoring highlight in your recruiting tape as a defensive end. If you didn't know what position he played and just scrubbed through the video, you'd think he was a running back. This is not only the most impressive, but it's also the most hilarious highlight tape. He is never challenged, not once. I know these are supposed to be his "best" plays and not all of them, but I refuse to believe he was ever actually stopped at the line of scrimmage by a tackle, guard, center, or literally anyone.
You could also put Leonard Fournette in the discussion as well.
His highlight tape is just a touchdown reel. He only gets tackled once in the video and it was on the tail end of a casual 70+ yard kickoff return. In fact, the best defense in the video is at the start where Fournette himself returns an interception 70 yards to the house for a touchdown. He finished his high school career with over 7,500 yards and 88 rushing touchdowns. The dude was a 6'1" nearly 230lb back in high school. Somehow, someway, his team managed to not win the state title every year… which is baffling.
NOTE: Another former LSU commit legend was Ryan Perriloux, the tape is far too grainy, but he accounted for over 150 touchdowns in high school before never becoming a big thing as a quarterback in college and being kicked off the team. He did win a ring with the Giants as a backup, though. He has an all-time badass football name and it's a shame he never became a big star.
I also think a lot of people would say Tavon Austin has the best tape.
Austin looks like he is putting full effort for about 50% of the video. He had two gears: jogging and hyperspeed. In his high school career, he had over 120 touchdowns and nearly 10,000 yards of offense. TEN THOUSAND!
Reggie Bush had a legendary tape, but also a tape that looks like it is playing out on a flipbook…
This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, especially if you have seen the tape, but Derrick Henry was unmatched in high school.
Look at his fucking stats!
How many state titles did they win? Zero! None! His teams went 33-16 over his four-year career at Yulee in Florida. Somehow he rushed for 4,261 yards and 55 touchdowns in his senior season and they went 10-4 and got bounced early in the state playoffs. He even had a game where he rushed for over 500 yards. Henry averaged around four touchdowns per game his senior season, how do you not go undefeated!?
Being a Texas kid (Cedar Park High School, two-time state champions from the Austin area… my friends played, I never played a down of football) I need to celebrate a few from the Lonestar state:
Dez Bryant was probably the best player I saw live.
Lufkin was one of those schools you'd consider top tier when I was in high school and Dez was a big reason why. He out-sized and out-jumped everyone. The program as a whole was just really fucking good. And if he wasn't the best player I saw live in person, his Lufkin teammate Jarvorskie Lane was.
He was 6'1" 240lbs in high school and he played fucking running back. Lane rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and over 35 touchdowns his senior season, which is even more insane when you know he faced off against the best-of-the-best in the country at the 5A level in Texas. At Texas A&M he had a pretty solid career, and he even had a little success sticking in the NFL, but he will most likely be remembered for this moment…
…which is a shame because he was truly an absolute beast of a running back.
And finally, I can't go without mentioning MCGUFFIE!
If you were old enough during the early days of YouTube and the MySpace era, you 100% remember Sam McGuffie. He was a viral sensation for this hurdle while at Cy-Fair in Texas.
His highlight tape is pretty solid as well, but hurdle over Cy-Creek was the moment for him.
Okay, I lied, one more: Saquon Barkley.
Crazy highlights as both an offensive weapon and a defender shouldn't surprise us after knowing how much of a freak he is, but imagine lining up against this kid back in his high school days? Barkley probably has one of the best college highlight tapes of all time too. His Rose Bowl (I can't fucking believe Penn State lost that game) highlight reel against USC is legendary.
If quarantine has done anything, it has forced me down some old rabbit holes early in the morning when I wake up. Today was high school highlight tapes, so I figured we should fill the void of no sports with a little fun. I am sure I missed someone, so drop below in the comment section a high school football highlight tape that was the tops for you.