How did TDS come up with the Elite 11?

August 26th, 2013 | by Andrew L. John | Comments

We are now more than halfway through our Elite 11 countdown of the top returning high school football players in the valley, so this may be an appropriate time to explain the process and reasoning being compiling such a list.

Over the past week, I’ve received a number of inquiries about how we came up with the list, and why certain players were selected ahead of others and what it means for the upcoming season. So here are some answers:

Preseason player rankings are about as meaningless as a preseason poll or team ranking. They’re simply a fun way to look at the upcoming season and highlight players and/or teams to watch. But in no way does it mean a certain player will have a better season than another. It’s simply a way to remind ourselves of the top players and which ones we will want to watch early on. It should be a great year, with evidently loads of talent returning to just about every team in the desert.

James Rodriguez is No. 6 on the #Elite11.

James Rodriguez is No. 6 on the #Elite11.

The number of players on the list from a certain team is in no way an indictment on that team one way or the other. For example, on the list you’ve seen a number of La Quinta players, and rightfully so. The Blackhawks have loads of star players returning this year, and that should translate to success on the field. But other teams could also be very successful. One example is Palm Springs. The Indians don’t have nearly as much representation on the list, yet they could be every bit as good and will be the team to beat in the Desert Valley League to start the season. From what I’ve seen this summer, Palm Springs will be super talented, yet many of their key players have not yet reach that star level.

On the flipside, other teams may have multiple players on the list though it’s yet to be determined if that will translate to team success. In short, the list is about the players, not the teams. If a deserving player did not make it but perhaps should have, well, there’s a little extra motivation heading into the season.

Lastly, how did we come up with this list? First and foremost, we looked at what certain players did over the last two seasons and how big of a role they played on helping their team win games. For example, La Quinta’s Kenyon Williams has been a major contributor for the Blackhawks over the last two years when healthy. Though he may not have been ranked as high as some might think because he is coming off a major injury and, while he’s now healthy, we do not yet know how much we can expect of him this year.

We also spoke to several opposing coaches about these players, and took their thoughts into consideration. We looked at these kids in the weight room and on the field this summer, and we factored in how much more physically prepared they are to dominate this year. Many players got bigger and faster, or will play a much more prominent role this season. We also looked at which colleges are showing interest, if any. That was all factored in.

As we’ve noted before, this is not an exact science. There are loads of players that could have been included on this list but for whatever reason were not. There are a lot of talented players in the valley, which is what makes the 2013 season so intriguing. Which players will show up and make the biggest impact for their teams? Which ones are most likely to put up big numbers? Which guys are most likely to get a Division I scholarship? We’ve already thrown out seven names, and we still have four more to go. Stay tuned.

The No. 4 player on our Elite 11 countdown will be released Monday at 6 p.m. To view all of the others, click here:

Check back each day to see the players in the top spots. The No. 1 player will be revealed on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Follow Andrew on Twitter: @SportsScribe1


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