The term ATH refers to players who play multiple positions in football.
Having this designation means a player wants to be scouted by colleges for more than one position out of high school.
High school football teams often have a single player who is significantly more athletic than the rest of the team. Because these players are so valuable, they often play both sides of the ball.
Sometimes multiple positions are too much for a player, so instead of listing a single position, the team may state the player is an athlete.
What Is The Purpose Of The ATH Designation?
Playing Out Of Position
Athletes are often designated as athletes because they play out of position in high school. The quarterback position is the most common ATH designation.
ATH players are often dual-threat quarterbacks who gain yards on the ground and play as dual-threat quarterbacks.
As many of these athletes attempt to play quarterback professionally or in college, marking them down as a quarterback might prevent them from getting offers. Typically, they do not pass at the collegiate level.
When this occurs, a coach may decide to mark a player down as an athlete. This is to indicate to scouts that this player plays quarterback, but is capable of playing many other positions.
It is more or less a signal to a scout to evaluate.
Playing Too Many To Count
In addition, an ATH is usually a player who plays multiple positions. It is not uncommon for a player to play kicker, punter, quarterback, and off-ball linebacker.
This player may not be able to play every snap, but he often has the skills to excel at more than one position on the team. Limiting this player’s position isn’t a smart idea.
The coach may instead designate the player as an ATH to let scouts know he plays multiple positions, increasing his chances of being scouted.
The sad reality of top college football programs is that players need to fit a certain size profile to play. As a result, high school players who do not fit the bill must find another position at the level.
A 5’7″, 160-pound linebacker cannot play division one football, regardless of how well he played in high school.
Hence, some coaches may label their player as an athlete rather than use their high school position. This is because they know his measurements won’t get him a collegiate position he has already played.
In addition, scouts can use this as a heads up to evaluate the player at other similar positions that may be more compatible with his build.
What Position Do Most ATH Play
As we discussed earlier, quarterbacks are usually the most athletically gifted players on their teams, and they often play out of position as a result.
What position do these players play at the next level?
Playing as an ATH at the running back position requires a lot of athletic ability. It is very common for the running back to be the most athletic player on the team.
These types of players are comfortable with the ball in their hands, which makes them a capable running back.
Again, WR is another position that ATH’s commonly play. This is a very athletic position that requires a great deal of speed and coordination.
In addition, wide receivers are often the stars of a football team and are well compensated.
As a result, mantalentedat athletes switch to this position since it is one of the most lucrative to play. Also, as a high school quarterback, you know what is expected of your receivers.
In addition, you may not expect ATH’s to play DE. This usually occurs when a player is significantly taller or stronger than the rest of his high school teammates.
For example, Myles Garrett played several positions in high school because of his strength, size, and athletic ability. Once he got to college, Garrett picked a position in which he would have the most impact.
In addition, defensive ends are typically among the highest-paid positions in the league since the position is one of the most significant in the game.
Examples of the ATH position in football
Deebo Samuel plays football for the San Francisco 49ers and is a shining example of an offensive tackle.
As a college player, Deebo played primarily wide receiver, although he also took a few snaps at running back.
This player’s effectiveness with the ball in his hands caught the attention of NFL scouts during these college games.
After being drafted into the NFL, Deebo immediately became one of the most talented wide receivers on his team. In his rookie season, his coaches gave him some running back carries as well.
Running backs in the league could not match Samuel’s yards per carry average of 11.4 yards.
In his third year in the league, Samuel rushed for 365 yards on 56 carries.
In the same season, he amassed 1405 receiving yards as a wide receiver. This dual role of wide receiver and running back epitomizes the ATH position in football.
A stellar example of an ATH coming out of college football is Julian Edelman, the New England Patriots’ slot receiver and one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets.
Coming out of college, NFL scouts felt Edelman’s arm strength and accuracy were not sufficient for him to succeed in the NFL.
Edelman had athletic talent that could not be ignored. Many teams considered Edelman an ATH but weren’t sure how to use him.
Many NFL analysts initially believed Edelman would be used in a wildcat formation. However, he started his NFL career as a punt returner.
Due to his speed and agility, Edelman proved he could perform effectively as a slot receiver after Wes Welker’s injury.
By the end of his career, Edelman had played in two Super Bowls and led his team in receiving yards in all three games.
This change of position from quarterback to punt returner to slot receiver is the exact sort of thing an ATH football player can do.