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Coaches must evaluate far more than 40-yard dash times in college football recruiting

College football coaches must evaluate more than just 40-yard dash times and tackling technique when they decide whether to offer a scholarship. A player's success often rests as much on whether he works hard in practice and stays out of trouble off the field.

On Wednesday, high school stars around the country will sign their letters of intent to play college football, as fans breathlessly await the final decisions and pore over the rankings. Yet look back four or five years, and many of the highly rated recruiting classes will have produced more busts than All-Americans.

Sure, in some cases it will turn out that the player wasn't fast enough or strong enough. A hazier task is seeking to predict how a teenager will mature over the next several years.