Wednesday, October 28, 2009

All Everything Awards

With the high school football regular season coming to a close, the All-League, the All-District, All-City, All-County, All-Websites(?)and All-Ohio teams will soon be selected and announced in November. Also selected will the Player of the Year awards. Both defensive and offensive players will be selcted, culminating with the announcement of "Mr. Football."

Every year I get emails and player profiles from college prospects listing all of the awards that the young man received. I applaud the efforts of these young men. They have had a really good season and have been instrumental to the success of each ones team's success. But the recognition is just that. A post season award is not necessarily an indication he is a D1 scholarship prospect.

Height and weight are still important. Speed and footwork are important. Grades and test scores, obviously, are very important. As much as I hate to admit it, level of competition is important in some cases. I do not necessarily agree with all of this, but, as I often say,"It is what it is."

Detailed profiles and DVD's with music and flashing lights do not really influence many college recruiters. Save your money and time. Give college recruiters the basic information, but be complete. Do not put too much emphasis on your post season awards, but, of course, mention them.

Sometimes awards can be very political. When I was a head football coach many years ago, we were the northern most D5 school in the Central District. We were almost certain to get a first team All Central District player every year. Why? Because the AP wanted our area of the Central District represented.

If a team has had a really, really GOOD year, more than likely they will have a large number of players selected. Although they deserve the recognition, that does not mean that they are all scholarship prospects.

This is not meant to be a negative view point. Having high school football players "frustrated," is never fun for me. I try to be as honest, as I can be. Sometimes I am honest to a fault. If you, as a prospect, ever need advice please contact me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A True Fulltime Player

Last Friday, I stayed home for a little respite from traveling and watched my hometown Upper Sandusky Rams host Tiffin Columbian. The Rams played a really good first half, but lack of depth did them in the second half. Love the Rams, but really came away impressed with Tiffin standout, senior Derek Kneeskern. You see, he never left the field until the outcome was decided.

Kneeskern, 6'2-200, all purpose player may not a top D1 prospect, but he is a scholarship player. Solid speed, but needs to continue to get faster. His competitive speed combined with strength makes him special. On one TD run, he literally ran over three defenders. Needs to be more flexible with hip rotation, but he has long jumped 22 feet. Also carries a 3.3 in the classroom.

As a WR, he had 3 catches for 80 yards and 2 TD's. After TC scored he kicked the PATS(5). Punted twice for 81 yards. From his CB position, he had 5 solo tackles and 1 pass break up. Returned punts. At half-time, he sold raffle tickets(attempt at humor).

Alot of high school teams have a Derek Kneeskern, but I am not always able to watch those kind of athletes with level of competition I usually see. Very refreshing to watch a high school player do alittle of everything, but do it well.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Fight in the Dog

Former O-State football coach, John Cooper once told me, " It is not the size of the dog, but amount of fight in the dog." No more evident than as I watched Parma Normandy host Garfield Heights last night. Jake Suirek, 5'10-200, senior running back from Normandy has a lot of fight and determination. However, this has not caught on with the college recruiters.

Read about Jake's exploits during his sophomore and junior years, but for some reason I could never get any contact information on him. Last night, I made the trip to Cleveland to see him first hand.

Strong, second effort runner with solid speed. Deceptive quickness to get to the edge. Tough runner after initial contact. Good balance. Scored on short runs of 6 and 15 yards. Coming off an injury, so his DB time was limited. Though at times last night he was showing some of the rust from a tough season. I watched his highlight from last season. Although this year's OL is good, it may not be quite as good as last year's. All things considered there is a lot of fight in this old dog.

Also made the chance to meet Jake's parents. His dad is from Cleveland and played for the Oakland Raiders back in the day. A class guy who "has been there" and understands his son's strengths and weaknesses. Mom is a "football player's mom." Like many mom's, she does not understand the recruiting process, but is proud of her son. Tremendous mom, as well as a person.!

I wish there was a way that we could educate all parents and prospects about recruiting. I mean insert the "like it is," and "it is what it is," statements. Be realistic. Do not sugar coat everything. Jake's parents are learning like everyboddy else. With all of the media hype and pressure on college coaches, recruiting can turn into an ugly business. When I tell them that, parents just smile. Months later for some, those smiles have turnd into frustration. But things usually workout.

During my coaching and teaching days, I would say, "If the truth is negative, then sometimes I am negative." Hopefully, people do not consider me a negative person. I try to be brutally honest.

Honestly, I cannot say for sure what level Jake can play. Maybe not a big time D1 guy, but in the right situation, maybe he is a scholarship guy. I can say, however, that he has had a wonderful career, is raised by very good parents, and will play at the next level. Along the way, the Squireks have learned alot about the football recruiting process. Warts and all.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Big Weekend of Football

This past weekend I was able to get to five high school games. Of course, I was not able to watch complete games. But for what I do, my purpose is to evaluate players rather than games. Anyway, I saw some really good football players, both young and old and from both small and large schools.

One of the best prospects who I saw was a sophomore from an inner-city school in Cincinnati. The kid runs and hits. Played a number of positions on both offense and defense. At least 6'3-230. Most importantly, his motor runs all of the time. Liked everything about him, including his 3.0+ GPA. Plays hard and hurt.

The flip side: I watched a junior linebacker from one of the private schools in Cincinnati. He is on my early top list. Strong. But it stops there. I was not impressed with his effort. Did not play every down hard. I believe that he is a good run stopper. Needless to say I was disappointed.

The point: I always preach about if you are good enough someone will see you. This is the case. You do not have to play in an elite program. Play hard, make the grades, and take coaching. You will get found!

I wish could somehow provide insight to another situation. Watched a nice OL/DL on Friday night. Class of 2011. Probably 6'4 - 270. Excellent burst. Natural bender. Possibly a DT, but a definite OL guy. Problem: Team was down 21-0 after eight minutes. He kept playing hard, but wonder how he would play if the game was much closer. No knock on his team, because they played hard, but were outmanned.

No names need to be mentioned. Just trying to make a point about the importance of playing hard every down. College coaches watch highlight video, but they also watch complete games on video. Play hard every down.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Scouts Watch All Levels

Always amazes me when I see photographers and "self annointed" recruiting experts "slobbering" over a possible O-State recruit. Of course, I realize that is what sells, but what about the other D1 prsopects. Who evaluates them? When the overlooked recruit starts making the colleges' list, now he is termed "under the radar." Whose radar?

Now I am not "stroking my ego" but here is this weekend's schedule.

Leaving for Cincinnati about 1PM. Will be at Finneytown to watch Finneytown host Wyoming. Might get ugly. But Finneytown has a really good 211 OL prospect in Donavan Clark. Big and good feet. He matches up against a senior DL going to Indiana. Wyoming has a nice 211 QB. Also has a transfer from Lakota East, Troy Davis, who has bounced around three schoolsin three years. Thinks he is a big time basketball player. Need to see him. Finneytown has not won a game, but may have a blue chip junior.

North College Hill has an athletic QB(211). Also have two WR's(both 211). NCH is undefeated playing a team who has won one game.

Saturday will watch one of the top programs in Ohio- St Xavier- host St Ed's from Cleveland. St Ed's(year in and year out one of the better programs) is struggling
somewhat this year. Steve Daniels a 211 OLB prospect is probably the top junior. But St X does have some young guys, as does St Ed's.

On the way home to Upper Sandusky, I will catch Taft playing Dayton Dunbar. Need to checkout a DE(211 class) from Taft. RJ Williamson(211DB)from Dunbar has been one of my favorites. Needs to continue to play better, but I need to see him. Both schools have good young kids to evaluate.

I guess my point is that D1 college prospects come from all levels of schools and
competition. They need to be evaluated and get exposure, if warranted. Be patient high school players. If you are good enough, most of the time, someone will see you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just Some Recruiting Tidbits

Received a nice phone call from Andy Helms, head football coach at Dayton C-J. Reported that big Andy Jomantas(6'8-250) has received a verbal offer from Kansas. His first BCS offer, but has some offers from some MAC schools. Evidence that if you play hard and work hard your senior year there are scholarships still out there. Somewhat discouraging is this stuff with early offers. Players, parents, and even coaches sometimes get discouraged if no offers come in the summer.

To some extent, I see their point. However, I have been doing this long enough to realize that an early offer is good, but by no means is it the end, if a prospect does not receive one. I firmly believe if you are good enough someone is going to see you. Along with that, I watched the University of Findlay two weeks ago, and by no means is playing D2 football a big drop down. Many Oilers could be playing on D1 programs.

Coach Tressel is a good friend of mine, as is the OSU staff, so this is not a knock at the Buckeyes. Two years ago there were 11 players with Ohio high school backgrounds taken in the first six rounds of the NFL draft. One played at OSU. Last year, something like fourteen players were taken. Four from Ohio State. Even if you are not a Buckeye, you will still get noticed.

Finally, I read in the Lima paper a nice article about Ada HS wide receiver, Heath Jackson. In the article, both his coach Mike Fell and he talked about his offer from Bowling Green, but said that if the Buckeyes offered he would go. Maybe think it, but do not put it in print. On the flip side, one BCS program told me that they have offered 5 more prospects than they have scholarships for. A common practice.

No matter what I tell recruits and parents, they all nod their heads like I have no clue what I am talking about. Of course, many of them nod their heads in a different manner when recruiting is finished.

A poster on my office wall. "Integrity: If you have to think about whether something is right or is wrong."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Internet Recruiting Crap - Part One

One of my good friends who happens to be one of those "O-State football recruiting sillies," called me two nights ago with news that Braxton Miller missed last week's game, because he hit his girlfriend. Obviously, my first comment was "where did you hear that crap from?" One of his Buckeye Buddies read it on a website covering OSU football. The rumor mill was set in motion. Because I think the worl of Braxton Miller, QB from Wayne, I had to make some calls.

Braxton has a deep thigh bruise, and still not healed completely. Braxton had an argument with his girlfriend LAST SUMMER. Case closed. The person who put the word out said Miller had a fight( but not a Physical) with his girlfriend and was held out of the game. This same nationally known columnist(sarcasm) says that Braxton has privately committed to the Buckeye staff. According to my guys, NOT SO. The columnist and who happens to own the website has "lotsa of money." His evaluations are senseless. He has "lotsa money." I will not mention his name to avoid anymore recognition. Please do not believe that stuff.

The "Braylon Edwards" of the world can handle the negative publicity. Most college kids can handle the negative publicity. But do we need to "beat-up," high school juniors? Do we have to spread gossip about them? I know "tabloids" sell to a certain cult, be do we have to gossip about 15-16 year olds.

Football recruiting websites feed the fans. The object is to be the first one with the news. There is nothing I can say that will change that small cult's minds. Please do not believe everything that you read.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Under the Radar Seniors

I always become amused at the phrase,"under the rader," when used by the so-called recruiting experts. Rather than admit that they had no clue, they would rather say "under the radar." "Not under everybody's radar," I say to myself. Last week I saw some seniors who need to be evaluated by the college coaches.

I first saw James Flowers,QB from Parma Padua, while watching campers at the Gary Stevens QB Camp. Liked him as a 10th grader, but he was behind a junior who was pretty good. John played some "D," but not until this year, has he been able to show his QB stuff. Has put up some good numbers, but I am really impressed with his QB skills. At 6'3 he can see the field. Runs well enough. Stays in the pocket and has good presence. Becoming more and more comfortable with more reps. Like his arm strength. Moves the chains. Needs to get some interest.

Rashad Frazier, DE from Middletown, looks the part at 6'4-225. Good burst off LOS. Plays low. Room to get much bigger and stronger. Like his closing speed. Has some toughness and can be nasty at times. Rashad moved to Middletown from Maine this past summer. Never played football until this year. I have gotten name his out to my college coaches, and some schools like him already. Good kid who needs a chance.

I may have mentioned Tim Kendrick,DB-Benedictine in an earlier blog, but I will again. Free safety with good range. 6'0-185 frame. Very athletic. Understands coverages and had two picks when I saw him. Plays WR too, but best suited as a FS.

Will mention one junior who should be not be under the radar. Robert Mincey(DE-Fairfield) could be joining Kenny Hayes(Whitmer) and Steve Miller(Canton McKinley) as the top DE prospects in the Class of 2011. At 6'4-240, he can be overpowering at times. Plays pad under pad. Motor always running. Good leverage. Relentless on pursuit angles. Tough enough to do inside, if he gets bigger. Excellent prospect, but only a junior.

Planning to do more with recognizing top underclassmen prospects. I already do mass emailing to my college coaches, but I will try to include my blog readers. Busy time right now.