Student or Learner
"Is John a good student?"
If a teacher is asked this question, could he say "He´s got what it takes"? If so, would it mean the student is average, or could it sound like a compliment?
In the scenario you described, the teacher would be complimenting John. Sometimes, though, when a teacher says "John has what it takes" it is then followed by a statement like "but he just doesn't apply himself." Meaning that John is certainly intelligent enough to be a top student, but he doesn't always turn in his homework or he sometimes goofs around in class, etc.