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Better Know a Freshman: Dare Rosenthal

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Gifted athlete oozes potential.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a recruit quite like Dare Rosenthal.

Upside versus production will forever be the debate in evaluation circles. Realistically, the best players showcase both, but advocates of the two poles will push their opinions like gospel. The great promise of potential is the elusive ghost that coaches will forever chase. Behind every failed super athlete is a lengthy line of coaches who believed they would be the one to untap that potential.

And so we have Dare Rosenthal, a recruit that lived an entire hype cycle all the way through to being potentially underrated.

The Story

Emerging on the scene as a rising sophomore, Rosenthal immediately became a national recruit with hype that he could be a potential No. 1 overall recruit in the country as a senior. That spring, he verbally pledged to Alabama, much to the dismay of the LSU faithful. An LSU offer poured in a month later and off to the races went Rosenthal’s recruitment, on the fast track to five-star fame. A year later, FSU offered and Baylor next.

Early in 2016, Rosenthal opted to move to Florida and attend IMG Academy. A month later, he returned home. Most viewed that as exceptionally positive news for LSU. Later that Spring, Rosenthal took in LSU’s Boys from the Boot event, and a couple months later decided to de-commit from Alabama. More offers rolled in. He camped at Bama. By the Spring of his Senior season, he stacked up a list of offers that would rival anyone in the country. Auburn, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Oregon, Miami and Ohio State. Rosenthal sported all the earmarkers of a true difference making recruit.

In June, Rosenthal decided he had enough with the recruiting process and gave LSU his pledge. He would take only one official visit, to LSU, and sign his papers five days later during the early signing period. He was not selected to any All-American teams, but he did make 2A All-State in Louisiana.

The Numbers

110 - 101 = Franchise Player. One of the best players to come along in years, if not decades. Odds of having a player in this category every year is slim. This prospect has “can’t miss” talent.

100 - 98 = Five-star prospect. One of the top 30 players in the nation. This player has excellent pro-potential and should emerge as one of the best in the country before the end of his career. There will be 32 prospects ranked in this range in every football class to mirror the first round of the NFL Draft.

97 - 90 = Four-star prospect. One of the top 300 players in the nation. This prospect will be an impact-player for his college team. He is an All-American candidate who is projected to play professionally.

89 - 80 = Three-star prospect. One of the top 10% players in the nation. This player will develop into a reliable starter for his college team and is among the best players in his region of the country. Many three-stars have significant pro potential.

79 - below = Two-star prospect. This player makes up the bulk of Division I rosters. He may have little pro-potential, but is likely to become a role player for his respective school.

247 Composite Rating: ****
247 Composite Ranking: .8992

Rosenthal ranks as four star but only barely crossing that threshold. In fact, he spent much of the year ranked as a three star and therein lines the great mystery of Rosenthal. The prospect one time heralded as a potential No. 1 overall, the guy who stood 6-foot-7 since his sophomore season, the guy wanted by Bama, Michigan, LSU, Ohio State, Georgia and others... that guy is damn near a consensus three-star? It’s not one service whiffing on him, this is every major recruiting service looking at him and not seeing much. And I can’t exactly figure out why.

Plenty of services rank recruits speculatively based entirely off athletic potential. You can glance around 247 or Rivals and see them gush about Rosenthal’s size and athleticism. Frankly, he looks like a prototype of the first guy off the bus. So I think there’s some combination of Rosenthal not doing the national camp circuit, playing at a small school and not being purely dominant on the field until his senior year. About that year? Yes, he registered 60 tackles, 30 TFL and six sacks on defense while racking up 43 pancakes on offense. /hubba hubba noises

The Film

Look, a 6-7, 300-pounder sticks out like a sore thumb up against 2A athletes. So you expect that kid to just be bigger and badder than everyone else. But the first clip is truly shocking. Frankly, he looks like shit off the snap, but it’s the magic that happens after he picks up the fumble and suddenly is able to keep distance between himself and other athletes. That’s next level stuff.

What transpires over the next eight minutes after that is really just that: bigger and badder than everyone else. Dare doesn’t at all look like a refined football player. He’s sloppy. He stands upright off the snap, but it doesn’t matter because he can slap away offensive linemen like they are common house flys. He can get moving on a pull block and do nothing to win the leverage game and still knock a guy five yards backward. He can utterly mistime a snap and then still somehow knife through for a TFL.

The athleticism sticks out. He can really move. Whether it’s pulling as an OL, chasing down a ball carrier or just generally being explosive, those tools are all in the box.

The Future

Rosenthal has thus far insisted on playing defense, but just as I felt Chasen Hines may be a better fit on the offensive line, so too do I see Rosenthal as LSU’s future left tackle. At 6-7, 320 pounds, he could be a dominant defensive end or nose tackle in an odd front. He’s more explosive than you suspect most guys that size, so he may give you pass rush too. But I can’t help but look at this kid and think, “That’s Orlando Pace.” I recognize it’s completely absurd to suggest Rosenthal in the same sentence as one of the greatest left tackles in football history, but the potential. is. all. there. He’s long and lean, not carrying a ton of bad weight. He’s naturally strong and immensely athletic. He’s aggressive and physical.

The other side of the coin is that almost all of that potential is untapped. Rosenthal is simply a dominant athlete dominating inferior athletes in high school. That strategy will not fly in the SEC. He needs to be coached up in a really bad way. He’ll need to refine his technique and learn the finer points of playing the game. The longer he spins away on defense, the further I fear he will be set back. How long does it take Rosenthal to know his future is on offense? Will he put in the work to become great? I have no reason to think he won’t. But I don’t have any reason to think he will, either.

So here is the great unknown. If he hits, he’ll outperform his rating in spades, I’ll guarantee it. If he doesn’t, he may never contribute and ultimately leave the program.

High End: All-American, top 5 draft pick
Low End: Transfer
Realistic: All-SEC, future Left Tackle