Wednesday, September 7, 2011

LeCharles Bentley- Assistant Coach

Walking up to talk with good friend Coach Ted Ginn, before his game with Camden High School at the Herbstreit, I met another old friend. LeCharles Bentley stuck out his hand and flashed his big, old smile. As he said, I evaluated him as a freshman at St Ignatius many years ago. Not really true, but I did watch him as a sophomore.

Bentley was a highly rated OL guy coming out of St Ignatius. He eventually committed to O-State and went on to be an All-American. (By the way the OL coach under John Cooper rejected him twice, before finally offering him.) That is no joke. A first round draft choice for New Orleans. Came home to Cleveland, only to develop a staff infection that ended his career. Now he dabbles in radio and directs an OL Camp in Avon.

As a 63 years "old school guy" who loves working with kids, I am excited about what I see happening in "inner-city" high school football. Young African American former college players are coming back to coach in the city. Just a few years ago, many of the inner coaches were lay coaches who were good at yelling at high school players, but not good at communicating any football coaching points. Now things are changing. Black assistant coaches are working with young people and many have played the game. Most of all, they are teaching the game of football.

I know this sounds "silly," but LeCharles biggest accomplishment is right now. He works with the offensive linemen at Glenville. No yelling, no grabbing, and no swagger. He just works with the kids and is giving back to the community. For me, there is nothing better. A man of LeCharles Bentley's fame spending time developing young inner-city kids. With all of the coaching he did, I never saw an "attitude." Ironically, I used to see a moody attitude in high school, but not now. Thank you, LeCharles Bentley!

Pickerington Central Steps Up

Over the past two weekends, I have watched Pickerington Central play in two events. First, the Crosstown Showdown in Cincinnati and second,the Herbtreit Classic in Columbus. Head Football Coach Jay Sharrett and his staff deserve much credit for taking on two of the top Divison 1 programs in Ohio, which also happen to be private schools.

The first week Moeller wore down Pick Central. The first half was strong, but the heat and depth of Moeller took its toll. Personally, Pick Central went into that game with the attitude that they had to prove that they belonged. Big stage and big opponent. I was concerned about their mind-set.

Sunday, Pick Central played another perennial power in St Xavier. Close game, but St Xavier made some mistakes, but also had some big plays in the fourth and Pick Central played tough, but broke down at the end. In this game, Pick Central came to play. In fact Pick Central lead 21-17 at the end of the third quarter. Frustrated somewhat, but they played hard and no "out to prove something." No false swagger, just played hard.

I am not trying to analyze the games. In both games, Pick Central's offensive and defensive lines wore down. Moeller and St X both have very big and strong line play. Big plays and depth were huge for both teams.

My point of this blog is to applaude Jay Sharrett for accepting the challenge of playing top level competition on a "big stage." Central Ohio football has some very good football programs and, of course, some excellent coaches. At times, they do not get the credit that they deserve throughout the state.

This is all rumor, but I have been told by head coaches in other parts of the state that some big school programs in Central Ohio not will schedule them. No need to point fingers, but those rumors surprise me somewhat. Hats off to Pickerington Central. Coach Sharrett has shown his desire to play top level competition from any part of Ohio, even the big private schools. Congrats.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Columbus Dispatch - Ken Gordon

I read the Columbus Dispatch almost every day. There is just something good about opening a newspaper over coffee at 6AM in the morning. Also get a chance to read the Plain Dealer and the Toledo Blade at times. But the Dispatch is always right there.

Hats off to sports writer, Ken Gordon. He wrote a very interesting article about football officials sharping their skills working O-State practices. I see them at practices and appreciate the work that they do. Back in Coach Hayes time, officials really added some enjoyment at his practices. The article also mentioned the "weight factor."The "fat belly" is disgusting on an official. Saw one last year who could not bend over to spot the ball. He did it with his foot. I do feel some empathy for the old guys trying to keep up with the speed of the game. The other article Gordon did was on a cheerleader from Central Crossing. She has Down syndrome and her mother always has been concerned about "acceptance." Really positive article about her experiences with cheerleading and about how she has been accepted by fans and coaches. Both she and her work effort have been accepted big time.

For me, these articles are much more refreshing than reading about the opinions of Tim May and Bill Rabinowitz on Ohio State football. Probably not a fair comment, because I do not read their opinions on OSU football.

Massillon - Glen Oak Game

The Massillon-GlenOak game last night not only featured some future college players, but some really good high school football. Having at least 15,000 in attendance added to the atmosphere. My job is watching players and not necessarily getting caught up into the game itself.

Ohio State recruit, Bri'onte Dunn actually surprised me in the fourth quarter. Up until this game, I had never seen him close out a game. In the fourth quarter, he rushed for 134 yards and two TD's. Hopefully, this game can be a turning point for him. Strong and durable. Solid speed. When he decides to turn it up, he is a very solid running back. The problem, when I watch him, is turning the dial. Last night he did, and I hope that means really good things for him and the GlenOak football program.

I have always thought that WR/LB DaShawn Hall from GlenOak should be the top rated recruit in the Class of 212 in Stark County. Academics are the major stumbling block for him. Listed at 6'0-210, he runs well and changes direction well. But his strongest asset is that he is a powerful tackler. He does not get all the pub that some get, but he is a beast.

Finally, found out the word on Reid Worstell. He did not play last night, but should be good to go soon. Reid is the quarterback who transferred from Canton McKinley. At the O-State summer camp, he was sick and did not perform well. Looked better at a 7on7 tournament last summer. After a really sore throat, doctors realized he had mono. Hopefully, I will see him later in the year.

Also had a chance to visit with old friend Jack Rose. We go way back to his head coaching days at Massillon. Tremendous person, as well as an excellent football coach. His youngest son, Andrew, is a senior and plays OLB for GlenOak. Listed at 5'10-210, he (pound for pound) is a very good high school football player.

Enjoyable game. Funny, but even with seven officials, the "stripes" are still human and make mistakes. Last night, an "inadvertent whistle" cost Massillon a chance to get the ball at midfield with a 1:33 to go in the game.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ryan Anderson - A Real Tough Guy

Last winter I wrote a blog on Kent Roosevelt's big offensive/defensive tackle Ryan Anderson, As the story goes, I rated him a D-!A prospect, but not a "major league "guy. A "JAG." He worked really hard in the off season and blew me away at my combine. After the combine I told him that he had a bright future. His drive to work hard on conditioning over the winter really impressed me. On the following Monday, a cancer tumor was discovered in his knee.

Ryan called me this week. No need to go into details of the chemo treatments, but he had many back to back treatments. Knowing first hand what my wife went through, I can appreciate his ordeal. Chemo treatments can beat you up both physically and mentally. They shrunk the tumor and removed it. The doctors placed a rod six inches above the knee and six inches below. Now he is recuperating.

Needless to say, I really appreciated the call. So often we read the news about all the negative happenings in high school sports. I guess that is what sells. We read about the "high profile" people and their struggles, and that is wonderful and inspiring. But we do not hear enough about the "Ryan Anderson's," which should also be wonderful and inspiring. Talking with him over the phone, I almost became silly with excitement. His phone call made my day.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jalin Marshall - Middletown

In this business of evaluating players, I feel like I have to know alittle about the personality of the prospects that I evaluate. I try to chat with many of them about anything and everything. No, I do not ask them about college choices and I do not blow smoke up their nose. For me, trying to get the inside scoop on a recruit, would make me feel funny. I leave that to the recruiting writers, because they have to please the internet recruiting sites. However, verbally I do tell college coaches about a prospect's attitude.

I met QB Jalin Marshall(213) from Middletown at the high school last spring. A first class act!!! Probably spent about 10 minutes with him. This summer we talked again at a 7on7 tournament. I just got off the phone with him a few minutes ago. I congratulated him on the Middies victory over Wayne. I was at the game. But I really wanted some insight to Jalin as a student.

Jalin Marshall will be one of the top five recruits in his Class of 213. Period. His desire is to be a QB on the next level. He should go for it. As I told the colleges in my evaluation- changes direction really, excellent burst, durable, stronger after first hit, and never loses speed when making a cut. No secret to him, I feel he can be a quarterback, but he is also one of the top pure athletes in his Class of 213. At 6'0-190, he would also look good at RB or as a FS. Just a thought.

I talked with him on how he handles the pressure of the playing the game. He listens to music, talks with his parents, talks with his older brother, and focuses on other things. How does he handle early big time recognition? Team comes first. I believe him. Last year they were good, but lost at the end. This year he said that that cannot happen. By the way, he must spend alittle time at the library. Carrying a 4.0 GPA and taking pre-algebra and Spanish IV. Impressive in this day and age.

As I used to tell Braxton Miller, please do not change. There are enough "TP's" out there. Young people need good leaders. Jalin, please do not change!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Adolphus Washington - Big Time Motor

Yesterday, I had the chance to watch DE Adolphus Washington from Cincinnati Taft do his thing against excellent competition, and he put on a show. His effort, as well as the entire Taft team against a bigger, stronger Washington DC team was unreal.

When I watch players, there is so much that goes into an evaluation. Strength of competition is one. A player's motor is one. A player's instincts is one. Player's potential to improve over the next three years is one. Can a player start for the best team in Ohio is one. Of course, the eyeball test is another. Lastly, character is huge for me.

The "Diesel" can play for any school and play well. Before this game, I thought that he was a national recruit as an athlete, and a Midwest recruit as a football player. His motor never stops running. He plays fast and finishes plays. On one play in the fourth quarter, he ran a RB down from the other side of the field. Late in the game, he had a QB sack. He finds the ball, gets off blocks, and makes tackles. Uses his hands really well to separate. Plays pad under pad. Natural at dropping inside shoulder on pass rush. Toughness to play inside shade of TE.

His dad reminded me that I once told him that when Adolphus was a sophomore that he was the best in his 212 Class. That was against Dunbar, not Friendship HS. I never knew how well he would play against top competition. Last summer in camp, he ran well, had the burst, and changed direction. I would be very selective in offering a prospect just because he does well in shorts and t-shirt. Yesterday, I saw him for real and he was excellent.

Although he is a defender, he has excellent ball catching skills. Solid blocker with soft hands.

Finally, he is no chest beater, no head-bopper, and no excessive celebration showtime guy. He plays every play and finishes plays. Adolphus was as strong in the fourth quarter as he was in the first. One time late in the game he showed some emotion. His actions did his "chirping."

Might see him one more time this year, but really like what I saw Sunday afternoon. Obviously, one of the top five recruits in the Class of 212.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Massillon Football

My plans were to be in Cincinnati last night watching high school football as part of the Crosstown Showdown. With the situation with my lab, those plans were derailed. Since Massillon is only a 90 minute drive, and I respect the coaching of Jason Hall, I was a Tiger for the night. I will see them next week against Canton GlenOak. Last night was an "enjoy the game," night.

I sat in the stands, which is almost always a no-no. The stands were full. I mean every type of fan must have walked up the aisle pass me. Some guys looked like they played at Massillon 60 years ago. Red-necks, business professionals, factory workers all came up the aisle. Women of all ages and sizes. Kids(I sat near the student section). College students and former players. Young parents with really young children. Young parents with really old parents. There many Tiger fans on the other side. The place was packed for an opening game with Akron Buchtel.

Orange and black clothing everywhere. Old football jerseys. T-shirts. Golf shirts. Cloth that people must wear just for football. Very little O-State clothing.

The scoreboard now shows individual pictures of the starters as they are introduced. Offense one night; defense the next night. I realize that there are big bucks involved, but the scoreboard is good. Huge pictures of former Massillon coaches on the outside of the stadium. Championship banners on the inside.

A huge tiger balloon held down with ropes was in the background. Of course, a small tiger was on the sideline, in his cage.

Outstanding band, epecially the percussion unit, performed before the game and halftime.

Did not take notes. Left at halftime. Just a relaxing night. I will tell you that Coach Hall has a big tackle (Class of 214) and two corners (Class of 213) that are going to be special. Too early, but I like their freshman kicker, too.

Next week against GlenOak, back on the sidelines, taking notes, and evaluating players on both teams.

Massillon's tradition is much more than I ever dreamed it would be.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Labrador - Mary

Not a football article, but wanted to take a minute to make excuses for not blogging as much as I should. Have been traveling and evaluating high school talent. Have visited five college football practices. Have been to a Brown's practice. Have just spent a weekend with my father-in-law and his wife in Syracuse. Most importantly of all, have been dealing with illness of my 11 and 1/2 years old yellow labrador.

Mary has cushings disease. She craves water and can control her bladder. Went off her medication two weeks ago. Pills to keep her going are astronomical in price. NO cure. Just made an appointment for today to have put to sleep. My vet told me to bring her in, when she still waggles her tail. Last night she could barely walk. She walked a little better this morning, but she wagged her tail. I really believe in the "quality of life." Taking her to the vet about 2:00this afternoon.

Back on the football side, heading to Canton Glen Oak tonight. Looking forward to watching Akron Firestone and Glen Oak do battle. On to the Crosstown Showdown this weekend.

Finally, the movie "Marley and Me" is fantastic. Needless to say, a movie "Mary and Me" would be just as good, but I am going to stay with scouting and evaluating high school football players. Ron Howard, I am not.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Good-bye "TP"

Just arrived home from Syracuse last night and really had not heard the good news about Pryor leaving not only Ohio, but the entire Midwest. Read the Dispatch this morning over coffee and found out more.

"TP" was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the third round in the supplemental draft. Surprised me with the excellent draft history of the Raiders. (sarcasm) But then I remembered that the Raiders took the highly touted JaMarcus Russell with the overall number one pick a few years ago.(sarcasm) I just evaluate high school players, but I wish college and pro coaches shoulld quit worrying about the media perception and pressure and just recruit or draft players as they value them.

I do not know much about out-of-state high school players, but I did see a clip on "TP." Obviously, I knew he was not a passer. Saw him as a freshman at O-State and knew he was a thrower, not a passer. Honestly, despite all of the hopeful talk, knew that you would or could not change his delivery and release. Tremendous athlete, no question. The biggest strength a pro QB needs is intelligence. "TP" could not read defenses at OSU and now he will at Oakland?

Now that he has a team, next he will appeal the strictions Commissioner Roger Goodell laid out. Wow, that surprises me that he would do that. I thought he would follow the rules.

I never met "TP," but I am really glad that he is out of Ohio. I read newspapers that cover Ohio sports. Hopefully, covering him now will be down to a minimum. Probably the saddest thing is that his track record that he set was not all his fault. Being a "kids' guy," I wish him well and hope that the "light comes on," someday.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tyler Grassman - Gahanna HS

Last Thursday evening, I may have seen one of the most versatile, athletic kickers that I have evaluated in recent years. Tyler Grassman (212) from Gahanna Lincoln High School did a little of everything.

First, as the back-up QB, he broke a 50+ yard TD run against the first team defense of Coffman. After the TD, he kicked the PAT. Then he kicked off and the ball went into the endzone. From there he went to free safety with Gahanna's ones. Later, he punted the ball high and dropped it on the 7 yard line. His next punt was high and long. I was expecting him to be one of the front five on the kickoff return team.

Although he did so many things and is so athletic, his ticket is punting and kicking. He has a strong leg and listed 6'0-185. Back in the old days, colleges really liked athletic kickers who could play a position. Coaches thought those types of kickers were a little more competitive and, could also play a position in practice.

I knew about him as a kicker/punter, but did realize just how versatile he is as a complete player. There are not too many Tyler Grassman's in Ohio doing all the things he does, and I might add, doing them so well. Woody would have been excited!

Marcus Davis - REC - Dublin Coffman

Thursday evening had a chance to watch WR Marcus Davis(212) from Dublin Coffman show his skills. He did nothing to lessen my respect for him. In fact, he continues to impress me.

First saw Marcus his sophomore year when he was playing for Olentangy Liberty. The game happened to be the Herbstreit. The only offense Liberty had at the time. Marcus made some really acrobatic catches. However, he had no burst, no foot speed, and no strength, but he had excellent ball skills. The other problem was his uncle, the legendary Chris Carter, was on the sidelines offering advice all of the time. Alot of pressure for a sophomore in front of a good sized crowd.

Next saw Marcus his junior year at the State 7on7 at Dublin. He had since transferred to Dublin Coffman. Same ball catching skills. Same lack of burst and speed, but getting better. Improved body strength. Did not see Marcus in game competition last year, but watched his video.

Last Thursday, Marcus was doing the same as always with regard to catching the ball. But his speed and strength have improved greatly. Caught two TD passes. On one catch he had to adjust by turning his shoulder from the outside to the inside and then caught the ball over his head. The other TD pass was a post pattern with 30 seconds to go in the half. Nothing surprises me with him!

Although I really like him as a slot receiver, I constantly remind him "faster-stronger." He has worked hard to improve in the off season. The offense struggled some the other night, but with some game experience, the young QB will be fine. Marcus will always catch the ball, and will be faster-stronger.

For some reason, colleges are not believing in him, like I think that they should. But I am used to that. After this season, Marcus Davis will be one of those guys whom the recruiting writers label "under the radar." I am used to that, too. When he is 20 years old, he will be contributing at the next level.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Nick Peyakov - QB at Akron Manchester

Last Thursday, I made the trip to Akron Manchester to watch OC Tim Matteo and junior QB Nick Peyakov. First saw both of them last fall at a playoff game in Ravenna. Think that West Virginia stole Matteo from Ohio. Potential to be a very good lineman at WVU. Really wanted to evaluate QB prospect Nick Peyakov(213).

Last year I arrived at half time and did not see Nick in pregame. Actually watched him warm-up on the sidelines to start the second half. Good footwork and liked his release. Saw him at the Ohio State Camp this summer. Honestly, he struggled some. More nerves than anything else. Did not throw with any zip or rpm. Ball just did not spin. Still liked his feet. Still liked his potential.

Last Thursday came away impressed. Still has to get stronger and continue to develop arm strength. Confidence is gaining and seems to understand the passing scheme. Always like his footwork and release. Nick makes plays and finds open receivers. Nick will not "wow me" in warm-ups and drills. But in the game, he gets it done. Makes plays and completes passes. Comes up under center and takes direct snaps, which is a plus. Call him a "gamer."

Needs reps, but has a bright future. Love his QB instincts. As he gets bigger and stronger, he will continue to get better. His QB coach is excellent.

Three SW Ohio Linemen in 2013 Class

Last Saturday, Lakota West and Springboro were part of a four-way scrimmage at Springboro. Since I will see Lakota West and Wayne in two weeks, I spent more time watching Springboro and Dayton C-J. OL Kyle Meadows(213) from Lakota West and OL Sean Welsh(213) both have huge potential, but bring contrasting styles. Darrien Howard(213) is still working hard at MLB. Lovell Peterson played some DT.

Kyle Meadows is 6'6-265 and long. Athletic. Good feet and moves well. Good first step. Plays left tackle and gets out on pass protection. Gets hands on defenders. Needs to be a better bender. Also, needs to develop a better punch. Potential to add much weight and strength. A top guy for me.

Sean Welsh is listed at 6'3-250. More compact. Could not get a good evaluation, because of a leg problem. Uses his weight well. Needs to be better bender. Like his potential, but will probably move inside. Concern about feet on pass protection. Did well at a camp this summer. A top ten OL guy.

Darrien Howard listed at 6'2-235 continues to work hard at Middle Backer. Lost some weight and really working on speed. Needs to better getting off blocks and finding ball. Plays low. Good athleticism. I think he has a future at Mike, but must continue to work hard.

Lovell Peterson played some DT and looked good. The best center prospect in his Ohio class of 213. A top five OL guy. As a defender, looks strong and has a burst. Powerful hands to separate from blocker. Gets pad under pad. Could be one of the better D-line guys by season's end.

Early to really evaluate, but these four are loaded with potential.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Marion Franklin, Olentangy, Lancaster, and Kenton Scrimmage

The football scrimmage at Olentangy was everything that I thought it would and more. Each team scrimmaged three times nad against each team present. A knock down affair. In fact, in the last scrimmage, teams were so tired that little was accomplished as far as evaluating. Each team had some very good college prospects.

LB Luke Roberts(212) played well for first time contact. Bigger, stronger, and faster than last year. Fills well. Keeps shoulders square to LOS. Finishes tackles. Stays on his feet. Good LB instincts. DE/DT Aaron Woosley(212) also has added some weight. Like his quickness off LOS. Gets off blocks. Runs well. Eventually look to see him move inside at the next level. Like his athleticism. TE Ryan Thomas(213) caught my attention. Looks at least 6'4. Solid blocker, but will get better with more weight and strength. Long. Get into pass routes well. Lancaster ran the ball most of the time and did not see him catch the ball.

Marion Franklin
QB Corey Benson(213) did a nice job at quarterback. Ability to make plays. Good burst. Has some shake. Throws good ball at times. Do not know if he is a QB at next level, but he is a football player. Really good athlete. OL Damon Dilliard(213) needs to play better. Like his potential, but needs to run better and move his feet. Actually was better at DT on this day. Dissappointed in another DT for M-F. As a junior, thought he was one of the better ones in the state last year. This year-different story. Did not play hard every play. Actually took plays off. Did not take over. Much better than he showed. Hope that he took my advice.

Josh Perry(212) is very athletic and runs well. Needs to change direction better. Played mostly DE, but did move to OLB at times. Pursued well at times. Needs to be better at finding the ball. One team ran away from the entire scrimmage. On the next level, he will need to find his postition. Probably an edge player. OL Kenton Placo(212) was solid at left tackle. Still growing and getting stronger. Good base blocker. Needs to develop a punch. Needs to be more explosive at times. Good frame.
Hard to evaluate CB Buchi Okafor(213) in this scrimmage. Did not get much his way. Better on run support than I expected. Like his hip rotation. Excellent recovery speed. Like his CB instincts. Another junior, OL Austin Schmidt(213) was solid for first contact. Frame to add weight. Must get stronger, but will. Good feet. Listed 6'5- 245. Like his potential, but must improve.

QB Maty Mauk(212) showed why he is the best QB in his class. Threw mostly short passes. Ran the ball (out of necessity) well. Fast in open field. Strong arm. Quick release. Took a beating in this scrimmage. As always, he just kept coming back. Thought his release was more consistent than in past years. DE Issac Jeffers(212) played well. Strong and gets off blocks well. Listed 6'4. Very quick coming off the edge at times. Big frame to add weight. Should be a scholarship player. DB Brice Fackler(212) did well at free safety. Smart and understands coverages. Long. Comes up well on run support. Needs to get faster.

Good scrimmage for everyone. Actually had a college call asking about the scrimmage.

Congrats to a New Clinic Sponsor

Since I work closely with the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association in the recruiting area and the OHSFCA endorses my camps and combines, seeing new sponsors added to the OHSFCA Clinic is always good. has stepped up this spring as one of the bigger sponsors. The clinic is considered by many as one of the largest high school clinics in the country. JJ Huddle and Scouting Ohio are also a part of Anytime we have a chance to promote the tremendous sport of high school football in Ohio, is a positive. Sponsors like really help make the clinic one of the best in the country.

Springfield - Marion Harding scrimmage

Since Marion is only twenty minutes away, I watched their scrimmage with Springfield yesterday morning. Wanted to watch a local senior who plays for Harding. Wanted to watch some of the Springfield players who attended my football camp at Dublin Scioto. Also wanted to watch my friend John Cupps, the new coach at Marion Harding.

Marion Harding LB Aaron Gabriel(212) lives in Upper Sandusky but plays for Marion Harding. A undersized LB, but plays with a ton of emotion. Like the way he fills and runs to the ball. Closes well, but needs to continue to get faster. Tough competitor.

Renewed my friendship with Springfield's RB Onslow Williams(212). First watched him play against Trotwood Madison when he was a freshman. Plays both ways, but really hope that he blossoms as a runningback. Like his burst at the LOS. Only 5'9, but 185 pounds. Deceptive speed. Durable. Should have a really good year. DE Darius James(212) played as a sophomore and returns to his DE position. Deceptive speed off the edge. Closes well. Stays on his feet. Also plays some TE.

Four players who came to my underclassmen camp all played and played well.

QB Chris Wallace(213) alternated at QB, but will be the starter, is stronger and quicker than last year. Smart and made some good decisions. Measured 6'0-180 at camp. Quick release, but needs to bring his thumb to his pocket on follow through. Sprints out and can throw effectively on the run to either side. Good feet, good hips. Can tuck the ball and run. Only get better.

WR Thaddeus Snodgrass(214) has a bright future. Measured 6'1-185 at my camp. Ran a 4.5 at my camp. Explosive and will go over the middle. Like his ball catching skills. Blocks well for a sophomore. Wide receiver instincts. Believe WR's need to have that certain swagger, but Thaddeus is already on the edge. One of best in his class.

LB Davonte James(214) is the younger brother of Darius. Natural linebacker. Strong and plays under control. Measured 6'2-210. Might be bigger now. Excellent closing speed. Finishes tackles. Linebacker instincts are good. Needs to increase overall speed. Also plays QB. Needs to get in better condition. One of best LB's in his class.

RB/FS Corey Timmons(213) transferred from a smaller private school this summer. Like his size. 6'1-195. Deceptive quickness. A long strider with good speed. Like his hips and burst. Broad jumped 9'4 at my camp. Plays both RB and FS. Evetually may be a defensive player. Closes on ball well. Potential get bigger and stronger. Excellent future.

Also spent a few moments with new Springfield assistant coach Andy Helms. Former head coach at C-J. Excellent teacher and will work with QB's.

Marion Harding has a young RB whom I really like. Saw him at OSU Camp. He took a beating yesterday, but kept coming back. Tough competitor. Watch for LJ Scott this fall.

Both programs are young with new head coaches, but are headed in the right direction.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Three Day Weekend - Vacation

Have been able to visit four high school camps this week. Scrimmages begin next week. Already looking forward to August 24 in Cincinnati. With all of that in mind, leaving for Pokagon State Park in Indiana. My family spent many good times there for many years. Back to begin the serious work next Monday.

Need to get my column "Around the State" up and running soon. Still trying to decide how to balance my blog and the column. My "web guy"and I will be redoing my website this month. Still like the video set-up. Anyway, I will worry about that after this weekend.

Of course, I need to get some high school football today, so I am going to visit my Upper Sandusky Rams practice l;ate this afternoon. They have a good young sophomore.

Just listen to Nick Saban's comments about "message boards on the internet." "All a bunch of BS," he said. I agree, but the sad thing is that message boards, as well as internet recruiting writers, are not going to go away. There are some very good informative writers, but very few good evaluators.

Take care and enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cleveland St Ignatius Practice

Amazing is the way I would describe the St Ignatius football practice. In one word "amazing." So much teaching going on. So much organization. So many players. Talked with Head Coach Chuck Kyle for a few minutes and was, also, able to chat with my friend, top assistant Nick Restifo. I would have not expected anything less, Coach Kyle was "into" practice, even correcting his punters during special teams practice.

O-State recruit Blake Thomas looked solid at tight end. Strong and really like the way he releases on pass routes. No pads, so I did not see him at his strength-- run blocking. Talked with him about how media keep questioning him about changing his verbal. As we agreed, "Ohio State is Ohio State."

Transfer senior Eric Williams, from Portland, Oregon threw the ball well. Guessing 6'1-190, he has good pocket presence and throws well on the run. Like his leadership skills. Just needs to get to know his receivers and get comfortable in the St Ignatius passing game. Played for a team who concentrated on the running game. Will be alright.

Mike Svetina, strong safety, headed to Miami, is getting bigger and bigger. Runs well and really his defensive mentality. Again no pads, but he is an intelligent, tough guy who will strike you.

Another McVey at Ignatius. Tim McVey (Ohio Class of 2013) played alot last year, until he was injured. Ran track last spring, after an excellent indoor season. Being counted on to play both ways. Not great size, but fast, strong, quick, and, most of all, tough. Excellent attitude.

St Ignatius has some really promising sophomores, but their time will come. Quite possible some will see playing time later in the season. Now that is my uneducated guess, but too early for a veteran coach like Coach Kyle to make that decision.

Another highlight of the camp was visiting with my retired Plain Dealer sports-writer friend, Eddie Dwyer. He even remembers my old magazines of 20+ years ago. A book of high school sports knowledge, he now works with Iggie football. Really helped put a name with the face.

Like many of the "big school" programs throughout the state, St Ignatius had more kids in one group, than some schools do on their whole team. Fun time for me and, yes, I did evaluate some really good prospects. Keep on eye on some of the sophomores, especially an offensive lineman.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Chuck Kyle - St Ignatius Football Coach

Tomorrow I will be in Cleveland doing some evaluating and am looking forward to seeing my good friend, Chuck Kyle, head football coach at St Ignatius High School. Our relationship dates back over twenty years. Times have changed with internet media recruiting and college coaches wanting information sooner and sooner, but Chuck and my relationship never changes. Always good.

One of my first dealings with Coach Kyle was with the selection of the "Big 33" team years ago. The first year of the series Ohio had some key players select not to play. Back then the North/South and the "Big 33" were almost back to back. That first year Ohio was really hammered. The second year Coach Kyle was selected to be the head coach. When he called and asked for my imput, he told me that he was playing to win and no politics. Together we were able to select and get commitments from some really good players. We won.

Coach Kyle teaches English classes, as did I for many years. Teaching English and being both the head football coach and head track coach is huge. Not the norm, in this day and age. By the way, he does not teach "bonehead" English classes. No such thing at Ignatius. Also, he is successful at all three positions.

From the old school, but he has changed with the times. Shows his players respect, but still has that fire to get his point across. High energy level whether coaching football or track. I do not know how many state championships he has won, but he is always the same Chuck Kyle. I really appreciate the fact that his success never goes to his head. I usually call him at home, and always takes time to discuss not only his prospects, but life in general.

Looking forward to watching St. Ignatius practice. They have a ton of players wanting to be part of the tradition of St Ignatius football. Nice thing for me is that they have some really good young prospects to evaluate. Of course. looking forward, just as well, to visiting my good friend.

Chris Wormley - A Michigan Verbal

Read in the Blade that Toledo Whitmer's Chris Wormley(DE) verbaled to Michigan last night. Although he listed other schools, Chris has, for the most part, been a "Michigan guy" all along. Most coaches were aware of that from the beginning, including Ohio State and Notre Dame.

I blogged Chris back in May and nothing has changed. Long and can get off blocks and get up field. He will make his money playing inside. Okay as a defensive end, but will grow and move inside. Gets pad under pad. Good leverage. Being a three sport guy, athleticism and size have gotten him a long ways. Once he gets into a college strength program, he will develop his upper body strength.

Chris is a quiet guy. Some take that as a "cockiness," or lack of enthusiasm, but not so, just quiet. I have watched him play basketball, track, and football. Also watched him at an OSU camp. State ranked shot and discus competitor. Not a "rah-rah guy," but very consistent.

Like with many prospects he is not a finished product and has much upside. Best football is ahead. Needs to dominate some games against bigger competition, and not just against some of the smaller programs in the Toledo area. Did see him against Massillon in the playoffs. More than held his own, and Massillon is a pretty good program.

If you read the older blog, you know I like him. Looking forward to seeing him play this fall.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

George "Bam" Bradley - Trotwood

During the UC 7on7, I evaluated Bam Bradley(212) as a free safety. Also I was able to spend a few minutes chatting with him. Needless to say, Bam has been on kind of a roller coaster ride in my recruiting notes for the last two years.

First met him his sophomore year in a scrimmage at Welcome Stadium. Passed the eyeball test. Played hard. Ran well. Excellent athlete. Closed really well on the ball. He was surrounded by some very good older players, which took some of the pressure to make plays off of him. Measured out at about 6'1-190 last year. Actually saw him as a freshman, but did not spend much time evaluating him.

Last year, Bam did not have the banner year that I was expecting. Put on weight, which made him a step slower. Made plays, but I did not see the old Bam. Although he is a solid basketball player, he may have become too focused on basketball.

Wednesday, the first thing Bam told me was that he has lost over 12 pounds. Needed to do that. Still weighing about 210. Second, he told me that he did not travel with AAU basketball this summer. Played with high school team. Both of these decisions were important and were the best for Bam. Personally, I think that he has to step it up as far as agressiveness. Would like to see the old Bam again.

I never pay attention to offers, because facts are not always facts. I like Bam Bradley alot, but he really has to play well in the first three games this fall to be one of the top prospects on my recruiting list. Believe with hard, he may be a DB at the next level and not an OLB.

His roller coaster is speeding to the top. Bam will be fine.

Trotwood Players at UC 7on7

One of the reasons that I made the UC 7on7 trip was to see Trotwood Madison do their thing. Coach Douglas has always been one of my favorite head football coaches. Mo and I share alot of laughs together. Of course, I really wanted to visit with some of his players.

Cameron Burrows(212) tapped me on the shoulder and I faked it, because I did not know for sure who was. About 6'1-190, the guy is cut. Has played CB along time. No doubt that he can play CB at the next level. Closes well. Anticipates well. Like his DB instincts. Will have to get faster. Playing with alot more confidence this summer. Good person. 3.7GPA.

Trey williams Brown(213) is very intense. Played alot of MLB in the 7on7. Probably will put his hand down this fall. Wish that he was alittle taller(6'2), but he packs about 225. Finishes plays. Deceptive quickness. Overpowering at times. From video last fall, he needs to be more consistent. Needs to play everydown. Tough guy.

Michael McCray(213) played well at both TE and OLB. Runs well. Very athletic. Needs to keep growing into his body. Believe that he really needs to step up this fall. Needs to dominate. Excellent range. Tight end could be his position at the next level. Would not surprise me, if Michael made baseball an important part of his life. For now, football.

As usual Trotwood has some very good juniors, I have watched these three grow and mature not only as football players, but as young people, since their freshman year. Look forward to watching them for the next two years.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Newspaper comments

One of my weaknesses is that I still get excited about some of the things that I read in newspapers. Plead guilty to reading the Dispatch and the Plain Dealer every morning at McD's. Sometimes I check out the Blade, but that costs me a dollar. Plain Dealer is seventy-five cents.

If Luke Fickell's job is just a one shot deal, and I hope that it is NOT, Tim Beckman would be my choice for the next head coaching job at Ohio Sate. Tremendous recruiter!! Soild staff. Big time support for the Ohio High School football. Ohio State does not need a "big name guy." When asked about the OSU job, if Fickell is not retained, his answer was, "I do not think so. I am excited about being at UT. My family is here. Our two goals - to be in the MAC Championship game and to win a bowl game-have not been done yet. We're still building this program." Good points, but what else could he say?

Terrell Pryor to Cleveland? Jon Gruden, and he should be, is always positive toward QB's. Some day people will realize that Pryor is a tremendous athlete, self-centered big time, and is not a natural passer.

Hope that Dane Sanzenbacher makes it with the Bears. Tremendous competitor. Execellent hands(as Pryor knows). Only 4.6/speed. His comment about signing with the Bears. "They're still one of the same teams that passed on you," 254 times in the draft he said. " I don't think that you ever lose that thought. You always have something to prove." Love his attitude and thought process.

Brady Hoke, who I have known for years, commented about the success of his recruiting efforts at Michigan, even though they have gone through some tough times in recent years. "This might sound arrogant, and, if it is, it is. We're Michigan. We have a global education. We're the winningest program in the history of college football." Although I do not get into the rivalry anymore, the OSU-Michigan game will be back. Love, Brady Hoke, but oh my.

Know of Brent Bielema's dealings with OHSFCA clinic director Mike Mauk at last winter's clinic. Class act in his communications with Mauk. A confident head coach, but did he ever make some strong comments about cheating. " If I had a dream world, I would say, hammer the guys that do not do things right." Those comments reminded me of teachers and coaches who made comments about how "trouble free" their own kids were. Be careful with such bold comments.

Braylon Edwards, even though he is on probation, is still able to get "off the hook," for another incident. Story of his life. I remember telling his dad at a Michigan summer football camp that he was gifted, but does not work hard and does not concentrate on catching the football. He told me that his coaches needed to push him harder to get in shape. Then he would concentrate better. Like I said, the story of his life.

As you can guess, I am a Luke Fickell supporter. One of his weaknesses is that he is brutally honest. Humor! My question is - how can these other schools in the past few years hire young assistants as head coaches and be successful, and OSU cannot show more confidence in Fickell? I mean -- He has played the game. He has coached at all levels. He has been in one of the most high profile college programs in the country. Plus he has charisma. Working with him over the years in recruiting, he can evaluate talent and see the intangables in a prospect. Now, OSU will probably not call me for advice, so I can relax. Humor, again!

Read where Vince Young was released from Tennessee and Reggie Bush was traded to the Miami Dolphins. Makes me think back to pro draft day when Charlie Casserly of the Houston Texans was blitzed by the "experts," for taking a DE from North Carolina State with the first overall pick. My goodness, Kiper wanted an apology from Casserly and the media went off. Some called it the "worst move" in any draft. Mario Williams started two Pro Bowls (2009 and 2010). Cannot remember how many experts retracted their statements. Sounds alot like national recruiting experts.

Monday begins the first actual day of Ohio high school football coaching. An exciting time for me. Crazy thought - some teams will not finish the season until the first week in December. OH MY !!!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No Miami 7on7 Passing this Saturday

Miami University called last week with the news that they had to cancel their 7o7 passing camp scheduled for this Saturday, July 30. Not enough teams were able to work this camp into their schedules. Sad!

Back in the days of Randy Walker, "Coach Hepp,"and Shane Montgomery, Miami 7on7's were outstanding. The last three Saturdays in July. They averaged about 25 teams a session. The last Saturday was usually stacked with excellent teams. Concession stands were loaded with good sandwiches and all types of cold drinks. Families made a day of it. Linemen were getting coached on a side field.

For me, the days were like Christmas. So many prospects to evaluate. So many skilled kids. Also was able to meet high school coaches and parents. Really enjoyed riding around on a golf cart with Coach Walker and Coach Heppner. Tremendous guys.

The last two years former head coach Mike Haywood and staff put very little emphasis on the 7on7 camps. Really there was none. The recruiting process for Ohio prospects was a joke. Thank goodness for quarterbacks, Zac Dysert and Austin Boucher.

Now there is a new staff and new energy. High school coaches, mark the dates on your calendar. Miami 7on7's will probably never be the same. The only way to go is up.

Reed Worstell - Glen Oak QB

When evaluating high school players who have a chance to play Division 1 college football, seeing them in person is huge. Watching video is important, but seeing them live is very important. Supposedly, there is a recruiting writer in Ohio who never leaves his house and evaluates prospects. That must be tough to do. For me, I try to see them in person as often as possible. Such was the case with QB Reed Worstell(2013 Class) of Canton Glen Oak.

Heard alot about Worstell. Saw him just alittle, last year at Canton McKinley. This summer I watched him at an Ohio State camp. He got better as the camp progressed, but he really did not play well early. In fact, he was not very good, and I was expecting alot more. By the end of the day, he was better, but just above average.

Last Saturday at Fawcett, a different Reed Worstell. Watched him in warm-ups. Much better arm strength. Much better feet. After I joked with him, he actually smiled. Once into competition, Reed was the "guy." Made a mistake on the first play, and coaches got on his case. He listened and from then on, played well considering his teammates, coaches, and offensive system are new to him. Really good feet. Can make all of the throws. Can air it out. Carries out fakes. Made some good reads. At least 6'3. He will have to learn to come under center, but seems to be getting it down.

Found out that at O-State camp, he was really sick. Probably alittle nervous too, but was sick. For me, I am really glad that I got an early second evaluation. Only a junior, so I will see him a few more times.

Reed Worstell will be one of the top quarterbacks in the Ohio 2013 Class. Good size. Like his quarterback insincts. A passer, not a thrower. Plus his quarterback coach at Glen Oak is very good. Glen Oak does has a strong running game, but Reed will be fine and is only a junior.

Glad I made the trip to see him a second time in a month.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hall - the best in Stark County

Saturday, I made the trip to Fawcett to watch the 7on7 Jamboree. Excellent time to evaluate talent, because I can be right in the action. One of my favorite players in Stark County, and in the state is Dashawn Hall, 6'1-190 DB/WR from Canton Glen Oak. For me, he is exciting to watch. Now the fans will say that it was only 7on7, but Dashawn plays with energy. Probably would be as energetic playing badminton. In fact, opponents may not like his aggressiveness.

A playmaker on either side of the ball. Excellent ball catching skills. Can climb to get it. Tough after the catch. Nasty wide receiver swagger. On defense(did not play much yesterday) sure tackler in open field. Last year, closed well. Finishes tackles. Simply has a presence about him on the football field. Intimidating at times. Could be either an OLB or a SS.

Biggest red flag in his recruiting is the GPA. Working to get it higher.

Joking with him yesterday about returning phone calls, he seems like a Clark Kent type guy. Mild-mannered out of uniform and powerful in uniform. Like him alot. Hope that he takes care of the books.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rankings of Ohio players

Someone emailed me Rivals Top 60 rankings of Ohio's 212 class. Usually, I do not get caught upon rankings, nor do I read the list, but I skimmed this one. If this list is for real, I am slipping in my evaluations. Rivals, Scout, and some independent football recruiting writers provide fun reading for recruiting fans. Sometimes, the list lites up message boards and stirs good, clean debating. The rankings also provide material for print media.

Ranking prospects as to whom are the top 100 is too hard and too time consuming for me. However, I do rate prospects for colleges as to what level I think a prospect can play. Although my information leaks out sometimes, it is pretty much between the college coach and me.

As you read the rankings, enjoy them, but do not take them too seriously. Heights and weights are usually stretched. Sometimes politics come into play. One player on Rivals' list is not playing high school football this fall. Players will improve, players will stay the same, and some players will not perform as well as they should. Because of this, rankings will change over the course of the season.

College coaches constantly remind recruiting fans, "It takes two years to see how a Class ranks." With that reminder, I wonder how Taylor Decker, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Tom Strobel, Tyler Orlosky, Chris Wormley, and Maty Mauk will grade out in two years?

Kent Roosevelt Gets a Quarterback

Yesterday, made the trip to Steubenville to watch, not only the Big Red, but also Kent Roosevelt, Warren LaBrae, and Bellaire among others play some 7on7. Good, clean competition, of which I would have expected coming from veteran coaches. Had a chance to watch one of the better quarterback prospects in the Class of 213. Travon Chapman, if he keeps working hard, could be that guy.

First heard about Travon during his freshman year at Cincinnati Princeton. Did not get to see him play, but heard good things from coaches. The next year he moved with his father to Pickerington Central. After his father, Thad Jemison, joined the Kent State staff this spring, Travon made another move. This time to Kent Roosevelt and veteran coach, John Nemec, could not be happier.

Travon wants to be a quarterback, as well he should. Guessing 6'1-195. Really good arm strength. Solid release. Ball jumps out. Just as important for me, good feet. Plays tall. Of course, no run game in a 7on7, but was told his running ability is as good or better than his passing, and I thought his passing game was good. Now, this is July and a new school, so he missed receivers aa few times, and some receivers dropped some balls, but reps will take care of that. Impressed with his understanding of the progession reads. Watching him at free safety also was good. Closes very well on the ball. Just as good at free, but a QB first.

Chatted with him for just a few minutes. Travon also plays basketball and runs track. Carries a 3.5 GPA.

Honestly, when I talked with him(in street clothes) at the Kent State Camp this summer, I did not know what to expect from him in competition. I do now. If he works hard and keeps recruiting in perspective, he has a chance to be really good. Sometimes I get a "good feeling" about a prospect. Travon, do not let me down.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Two More in the Central Ohio 213 Class

Spent the afternoon evaluating prospects at the Capital University 7on7 event. Some good teams, with some college potential players, makes for a profitable day. I have been telling the Ohio 213 Class that central Ohio has a bunch. Saw a few today.

Although he has a minor ankle sprain and did not play, Devon Edwards(213)- Eastmoor is a beast. Playing TE at 6'4-235. Saw him last year and really like him. Runs well and has good ball skills. Hopefully, he does not eat himself out of the TE position. Davon Barrow(213)- Eastmoor could be special. A possible strong safety in college, but for now more an OLB. 6'0-195 and strong. A 4.65/40 guy everyday.Did run the open 400m last spring in 50.4. The other Eastmoor 213 guy I liked was FB/LB Kohury Carter. Probably 5'11, but weighs 222 and carries it well. Of course, today he did not get to show his "stuff," but he moves well. One senior, Jalen Crosby kind of jumped out. Ran a 10.6/100m last spring. Needs to turn that into football speed. Playing CB.

This my third time seeing Olentangy Liberty play 7on7. Linebacker Grant Cartwright(213) continues to improve. Physically he looks the part at 6'3-215. State competitor in shot put and discus. Really like his desire to compete. Needs to be sure his speed and quickness continues to improve as he grows. A little stiff at times, but that will improve and he will play some place on defense.

Dylan Leffingwell - Warren Local - near Marietta had a good day at quarterback. Also in the Class of 213. Understands coverages. Throws nice ball. Never saw him just put rpms and really spin-it. Of course, been traveling and throwing all summer and that could be taking its toll. Like his poise. As he gets stronger, he will be spinning-it.

Cap City Preps

As a head football coach, my wife knew that once the July 4 celebrations were done, my summer was for the most part down. Football time had arrived. Last weekend, I celebrated my 45th high school class reunion. My birthday was Saturday, and now I am 63 years old. I really do not worry about getting old; I just worry about growing up.

Football time is here again. Still plenty of 7on7 passing tournaments to attend. Practice begins legally on August 1. Scrimmages begin soon after that. Of course, the season begins for me with the Cincinnati Crosstown Showdown. Many football games over a short period of time.

Today, as I was evaluating talent at Capital University's 7on7 passing event, I formally met the owner and director of Cap City Preps. Cap City Preps makes highlight and game video for football teams and players in Columbus. Anthony Murphy is the guy behind Cap City Preps. Works hard and see him everywhere with his camera or video camera. Understands the football recruiting business.

Also spent time chatting with Marc Givler who has teamed up with Cap City Sports. He is a football recruiting writer. Covers central Ohio primarily, but travels across Ohio to cover recruits. I think he writes for Rivals, but not for sure. Although we do not agree with his rankings, I enjoyed chatting with him, too. Of course, if I took any recruiting site's individual rankings seriously, college coaches would laugh.

Cap City Prep does an excellent job with highlight video. Prospects send me Cap City Preps video alot. If your school does not make highlight videos, I would check out Anthony Murphy's work. They have done a tremendous job helping the city schools in Columbus.

Both Anthony and Marc work hard. They are good for high school football in central Ohio. According to their website, they have a Preview Magazine coming out soon. Like me, they do not have big money support. But they work hard to promote "kids" and, to me, that is what it is all about.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Offensive Linemen - Ohio Class of 212

When I was a high school head football coach, I always coached the offensive line. If you can block, you can score. That has changed somewhat, with the spread offense. Really believe that I could win some games with these "OL-guys."
Taylor Decker - Vandalia Butler HS- Left tackle. Excellent feet. Huge frame. Excellent pass blocker. Needs to be a better bender. Probably over 300 now. Best lineman in Class of 212.
Tyler Orlosky - Lakewood St Ed's HS- Guard or tackle. Tough. Like his feet and balance. Good pass blocker. Excellent balance. Good bender. Could possible play any of the positions. Under-rated by some.
Kyle Dobson - Cleveland Heights - Tackle. Tall and at 315 pounds. Tremendous quickness. Long and frame to get huge. Biggest concern-not much playing time. Need to see him with pads. Really athletic.
Kyle Kailis - Lakewood St Ed's - Guard. Big, strong, and tough. Overpowering run blocker. Powerful. Needs to be better bender. Really needs to improve quickness and balance on pass protection. Ideal inside guy.
Adam Pankey - Hamilton - Guard. Like his explosion and punch. Good balance. Adding weight and strength. Good drop on pass blocking.
AJ Williams - Cincinnati Sycamore - Tackle. Tight end at Sycamore, but will grow into and offensive tackle. Long arms. Excellent feet. Will have have to learn OL technique, but like his blocking instincts.
Greg McMullen - Akron Hoban - Tackle or guard. Plays some tight end now, but mostly defense at Hoban. Excellent frame for "OL" guy. Long arms. Explosive. Good bender. Like him more on offensive side.

Of course, I only mentioned these prospects, but there are others whom I really like.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kyle Kempt - Massillon QB

Last evening's 7on7 practice at Massillon was well worth the 90 minutes on Route 30. I knew that Orrville and Massillon would have skilled guys to evaluate, and that Louisville would have that one guy with potential. But, honestly, I also wanted to get a peak at Kyle Kempt, Massillon's junior QB.

Kempt's number one strength is that he is a "sponge." Constantly listening to veteran coach Tom McDaniel's constructive comments. Always eye to eye contact. When the back-up was in, Kyle was still listening in the huddle. Second, a leader. With more experience and success that will improve, but I like what he does with the huddle. Release is quick. His intermediate passes were crisp and sharp. Long ball touch is good. Last evening, he connected on some "home-run" balls.

Improvement from a year ago at this very time has been huge. Strength training is evident. Still has some baseball throwing in him, but the gap is narrowing. Would like to see him follow thru on his release more often. Bring the thumb down to the pocket. Still growing into his 6'5+ frame. As that improves, along his with strength, his athleticism will improve.

Under the direction of McDaniels, the sky should be the limit. A pure pocket passer. Most recruiting writers will not agree, but Kyle's best days will be when he is 20 years old. Far from a finished product, but for now he will continue to grow, continuue to learn, and continue lead the Tigers. Excellent potential.

Massillon 7on7 - My Kind

Drove to Massillon last evening to watch some 7on7. As always, I was impressed with manner in which three teams went about their business. Alot of that has to do with the way the coaches did their job. Jason Hall, head coach of the host Tigers, runs 7on7's my way. John DeMarco, of Louisville, and Doug Davault, of Orrville, followed suit.

My way - Coaching, coaching, and coaching. No trophies, no tournaments, no officials, and no scores. Coaching plain and simple.

The field was divided into thirds for warm-ups, each had an equal area. Each team had a certain number of plays on both defense and offense. Offense had a certain number of plays on each hash and in the middle. They also had so many plays from the 40, so many plays from the 20, and so many plays from the 10. Very organized.

Competition was excellent. No "chirping" to speak of. Only a few agressive plays, by accident more than anything else.

Nice crowd. The crowd was actually bigger than some of my homecoming games, when I was a head football coach. The turf, oh my! I thought back to when I was the head coach at Lakota(NW Ohio). Sometimes I mowed the field. Sometimes I helped with painting the lines. The band would practice 3 days a week on the game field. Do not think that Jason has those problems.

A tremendous learning situation. Like I said earlier, "My kind of 7on7.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Alex Nielsen - Elyria Catholic

Contrary to some recriting writers, I try to be objective about evaluating Ohio college prospects. This is not always easy to do, because you get to know them and know alot about their lifestyle. Such is the case with Alex Nielsen.

Nielsen just committed to Kent State. Measures 6'4-260, but is continually adding good weight and, of course, strength. Best attribute is ability to run. Very good feet abd balance. Like his OL instincts. Solid pass blocker. Kicks out well, and stays with defender. Solid bender. Biggest need - get bigger and stronger.

Saw him play last year against Elyria. More than held his own against OSU bound Chase Farris. And I happen to really like Chase as a defender. In that game he maintained blocks, especially in pass protection.

First met Alex when he came to my first real football combine. He was a year younger than the other propects, but he held his own. Liked his energy and work ethic. A little stiff and not very big. But things have changed since two years. Bigger and stronger and more athletic.

Excited for him and he is excited about becoming a Golden Flash. Promised him I would see him play this fall. Of course, Elyria Catholic also has a young QB whom I really need to evaluate. Nielsen better block for him that night.

Good choice for both Kent State and for Alex Nielsen.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Ohio Prep Scene

For the most part, I read or follow very few internet sites that cover football recruiting. That is probably one of the reasons that I do not have the knowledge that so many football recruiting writers possess. Also, I really do not care where an Ohio high school prospect goes to college. But the one site that I enjoy checking out is the Ohio Prep Scene.

I see they have a new writer, Simone Scott. Like her content and style. She provides insight as to what a prospect is thinking in regards to schools. Also enjoy reading content from other recruiting writers from different areas of the country. Must be a hard, but fun job to write for football sites. Believe this or not, but that is how I got started 23 years ago, but, of course, mine was in magazine format. Tom Lemming was the forerunner. Actually I wrote for Super Prep for part of a year. Allen Wallace and I had conflicting ideas on content. Needless to say, he could not intimidate me. Bill Kurelic also wrote for Wallace. Bill is still doing recruiting stories and still doing a really good job.

Do not totally understand "Star System." that Ohio Prep Scene uses. I heard that you get 2 stars for who is recruiting you. Last year, a quarterback from Ohio lost one or two stars, because he had a bad 7on7 showing Florida. WOW! I guess the "Star System," is good way to entertain recruiting fans. People who give the stars must watch a ton of video.

Every once in a while, driving to 7on7's. college summer camps, and scrimmages and games gets alittle crazy. Evaluating video even gets alittle crazy. Fun to do, but sometimes the hours are long. But Steve Hare, a writer for Rivals must do this in his sleep. He commented to a Missouri site that he saw every game that Maty Mauk played last year. I see him working hard at games, and he out works me. I applaude him big time.

The Ohio Prep Scene is easy to read. Like the video interviews. Sometimes I question why some recruiting writers rank one player over another, but that is part of the fun in recruiting. They, too, must evaluate a ton of video. I would like to see the Ohio Prep Scene cover more players in detail who commit to schools outside of Ohio. The site is good, I have to worry about evaluating high school football players. Check out the Ohio Prep Scene.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

State 7on7 Championships

Saturday, Dublin Coffman High School hosted the Ohio High School State 7on7 Championships. Beautiful day for football. Thirty eight teams participated. Wayne High School won the tournament, beating Kenton in the championship game. For me, won-lost records means nothing on these days. Evaluating new talent, as well as old is important. Touching base with players whom I have either had in camp or have met at other camps is important. Of course, talking with my high school coaching friends is, also, important. Again, evaluating prospects is what I do.

Amanti Miller - Wayne HS(212)WR. Showed much the same form as last year. Quicker than fast. Excellent ball catcher. Like the way he separates. Faster when he ball is in the air.

Marcus Bonner - Wayne HS(212)WR. Excellent hands. Also faster when the ball is in the air. Ran disciplined routes. Bigger and stronger than last year. Strong.

Javon Harrison - Wayne HS(213)QB. Learned from one of the best, Braxton Miller. Good size 6'2-195. Big arm. Makes all of the throws. Needs reps and experience. Like his technique. Good prospect.

Doran Hendricks - Wayne HS(214)LB. Former QB now moved to linebacker. Now 6'2-205. Runs well. Good balance. Changes direction well. Very competitive. Will have big time future.

Lovell Peterson - Wayne(213)OC. Only centered the ball. Weight down to 272. Looks good. One of the top OL guys in the 213 Class.

Tristan Jefferies - Sandusky(212)WR/DB. Excellent hands. Plays fast. Good burst. Would like see him faster. Like his athleticism.

Maty Mauk - Kenton(212)QB. Strong arm. Liked his poise. After a big week in Missouri, he seemed tired at times. Leadership is a strength.

James Walsh - Coffman(213)QB. Just continues to improve. Consistent release. Plays tall. Good feet. Understands coverages. Really like his chances to be special.

Marcus Davis - Coffman(212)SR. Growing bigger and stronger. Continues to get faster. Like his burst. Excellent ball catcher. Tough competitor.

Tre Scott - Coffman(212)DB- and Taylor Williams - Coffman(212)DB. Both played well. Solid speed and quickness. Like their toughness.

Royce Lucas-Taylor - Urbana(212)TE. Played TE, but did not catch the ball well. Needs to improve pass release and route running. Big shoulders. Possible OL guy at next level. Big frame 6'6-260.

Dareian Watkins - Galion(213)ATH. Played QB, but more of a DB some day. 6'1-186.
Runs well. Mature for sophomore. Like his burst. Plays fast. Throws ball well enough. Potential to be a very good athlete.

George Gresko - Eastlake North(212)QB. Moves pretty well, but wears a knee brace. Reads coverages well and sees the field. Nice soft touch. Need to see him plant his feet more. Solid prospect.

Terrell Dorsey - Mansfield Senior(212)RB. Normally an RB, but played mostly slot today. Very durable north/south runner. Watching him run, believe that he has improved his quickness, burst and overall speed. Seems lighter on feet. Good hands. Like his balance.

Grant Cartwright - Olentangy Liberty(213)LB. Big, strong 6'3-220 LB. May only be a Mike. Tough downhill, but needs to work on flexibility. May even be a DE someday. Competes hard. Good prospect.

Josh Perry - Olentangy(212)DE. Big, strong, and fast. All of 6'3-220. Very athletic. Worked on the outside, but see him come off the edge. Really passes the eyeball test. Want to see him play with pads on.

Buchi Okafor - Olentangy(213)CB. Big CB prospect. 6'0-180. Runs well. Needs to work on recovery speed. Changes direction well. Like his intensity. Needs experience. Really like his potential.

Max Pollum - Jonathan Alder(212)OL. Watched Max at lineman's challenge. 6'6-300 pounds. Really needs to impress recruiters early, but has a chance. Needs to improve punch. Bend better. Has improved overall football skills.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Maty Mauk Commits to Missouri

Yesterday morning, Kenton QB Maty Mauk (212 Class) announced that he will be attending Missouri next year. What a breathe of fresh air! No big press conference. No five hats to try on to show a lack of character. No recruiting writers present. Mauk simply put on his facebook-" I am officially committed to play football for the University of Missouri." WOW! Being the top QB prospect in Ohio and one of the better ones throughout the country, one would expect more. Not me.

Mike Mauk, Kenton head football coach and Maty's dad, understands the recruiting process, maybe too well. Interviews with Maty were few. Maty told me that some recruiting writers used Facebook, but for the most part, his dad handled the recruiting process. Mauk talked with some reporters, but even those interviews were brief. Having gone through the same experience with his older son, Ben, he was able to closely evaluate the college programs. Sorting through all of the recruiting pitches, trying to seperate truth from fiction, was a little harder. He worked hard.

Missouri was there in the very beginning. After Brady Hoke arrived at Michigan, they became one of the favorites. Notre Dame, with Brian Kelly, who has a long history with the Mauks,was also a favorite. Ben played one year for Coach Kelly at Cincinnati, and Kelly followed Maty over the years. Cincinnati was also a favorite. Other college coaches traveled to Kenton, including Ohio State. The final choice probably down got to two, but the spread offense of Missouri was just too attractive.. Their offense is almost identical to Kenton's. Coach Pinkel was honest and did an excellent job recruiting him.

Four different college coaches told me that Maty's game video was much more impressive than his highlight video. The really good recruiters and evaluators study game video, as well as highlight video. Highlight video is really important in recruiting, but prospects should have good game video available also. Ironically, Mauk never made a real highlight video.

A simple facebook entry released the school of choice for Maty Mauk. No bells, no cameras, no football recruiting writers, and no hats. Because he just goes about his business with little emotion, I guess that I should not have been surprised. First hand, I know the decision was tough, and any choice would have been good. Missouri won.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Najee Murray - Steubenville High School

Congrats to Najee Murray from Steubenville on his verbal commitment to play football at Ohio State University. The best of the early O-State commitments to date.

Watched him as a sophomore. Knew that he was an athlete who could play alot of positions. Playing for Reno Saccoccia, knew that he was tough. Just wanted to see how fast that he actually was. After watching him play last year, knew that he could play. After watching his highlight tape, no question that he was one of the top DB's in Ohio. This spring he ran on Steubenville's 4X100 and 4X200 relay teams. For me, the clincher was his impressive work at Ohio State's June 12 senior camp.

A definite inside DB prospect with his 5'10-170 size. Hips are alittle tight, but with work, he may be able to line up at corner. Like the way he breaks on the ball. Run stopper. Very physical, but has to be to play at Steubenville. Excellent overall speed, but will get faster with speed training. Will have to improve recovery speed, but that should be no problem. Biggest asset - flat-out very tough competitior who will strike you.

Needless to say, Najee Murray is a welcomed addition to Ohio State football. Like his attitude and character. Like his self-confidence. Like his attitude toward the situation a of the O-State football program. Not worried about sanctions, Believe that he needs to get to the library more often, but he will be okay. Hope that I get the opportunity to see him play this fall.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

7on7 - National Level

If you get the chance, please read Cleveland Plain Dealer Sports writer Tim Warsinskey's column on 7o7 passing tournaments. His comments deal with 7o7 tournaments on the national level, rather than Ohio's own tournaments.

7on7 tournaments were originally started to get some extra training for high school players. No contact and, for most tournaments, very limited running plays. Really,most are done with no running plays. Years ago Miami of Ohio was one of the first colleges to host 7on7 competition. They held them three Saturdays in July, until last's staff was too lazy to keep it going. Other colleges are now hosting them, as is Miami.

When AAU basketball went national, it became a source for " street agents," or "handlers" to make money. Now innocent 7on7 tournaments could be going the same way as AAU basketball on the national level. The big concern is that these street agents who organize some of these events and make money are also steering certain players to certain colleges.

Please read his article, because I do not want to repeat his thoughts. As you can imagine, I am against national 7on7's. Anytime people abuse kids by getting kids to attend certain camps and get paid by colleges to bring kids to camps, I am against.
The problem - Stopping "street agents," and "handlers" is virtually impossible.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Jim Place - New Coach at Withrow

Received a call from Jim Place on Friday and before he could say anything, I asked him what head football coaching job he was taking. Honestly, I asked him more in fun, but his answer was Cincinnati Withrow. Needless to say, I applauded him.

Place is a tremendous football coach. We talked many years ago at the Bayless/Byars Youth Football Camp. He was the camp organizer for Martin and Keith. At the time he was the head football coach at Dayton Chaminade-Julienne. Knew of him before that, when he was the head coach at Middletown. His last coaching job was at Hamilton.

Relating to kids is his strength. Relating to the inner city kids, is what I personally consider his real strength. At 64, he is accepting the challenge of keeping the football program at Withrow one of the best in the city. But, let me be quick to say, Doc Gamble(former head coach at Withrow) did an excellent job in his two stints at Withrow. Gamble moved on to the UC football program. Place's honesty and understanding comes through just watching him coach. Getting kids to believe in themselves is big. Understanding the struggles that many inner city kids go through is big. Place not only understands, but puts that understanding to work.

Head football coach only. No teaching. No special programs. No supervision. Counseling football players within the program is a given. Helping promote individual college prospects for sure. But no other required duties. Leading the Withrow football program and developing young men will be his fulltime job.

How important is the job? Still living in the Dayton area, he will make the trip down I-75 every day. There are more benefits for Withrow, but that can be mentioned another time.

Jim Place is just one of those "special coaches." Chuck Kyle also comes to mind. They just love to coach. Being in their age bracket, I appreciate everything that they do for kids. For me, personally, although he must be a little crazy, having Jim Place at 7on7's, at clinics, but, most of all, roaming the sidelines, is really exciting. McCallister will be on the sidelines for a Cincinnati Withrow game this fall for sure.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Austin Appleby - North Canton Hoover

Really glad to hear North Canton Hoover quarterback Austin Appleby recently committed to Purdue. First saw him last year in a scrimmage with Ashland. Liked his potential, but thought he was almost too mechanical. But it was his first start and you could tell that he just needed reps and games. Last year in game eight, he tore his ACL and MCL in his right knee.

Along with college coaches,I watched him work out last April. Although he told me the knee was fine, you could tell that it was about 85%. Came away from the workout thinking that he is a true dropback QB, but escapes well enough to be a threat, who can make all of the throws. Sometimes he drops his hands before he throws, which makes his release too high. Needs to correct that quirk in his throw. Strong arm. Part of the problem, too, was he was trying so hard to impress the college scouts, that his body was too tight. That was awhile back. Since then, the knee is good and he has learned to relax.

In the article, his comments showed alot of class. Austin is a leader and class act. He has worked hard to be one of the top QB's in his class. Needless to say, he has experienced alot. Overcome a terrible knee injury. Worked out for 20 college staffs. Listened to all of the recruiting BS,(including Joe Paterno). Now that he has committed to Purdue, he can relax and enjoy playing football his senior year.

Luke Roberts - LB - Lancaster

Luke Roberts from Lancaster called me last week about advice on some early offers that he had received. Two were from Big Ten schools and playing in the Big Ten has always been his goal. To me, that is not always a good idea. Another school asked him to wait til the fall, because they needed to see more. He had a good camp, but they needed to see him make plays. That school was honest with him. They needed to see more, which I feel their honesty was important. My advice - "Go with your gut feeling."

On Saturday, he was going to the last senior day at O-State. I told him in a phone call to bust his butt and run possessed. He is a "mike" linebacker pure and simple. Passes the eyeball test. 6'1 everyday. Runs well downhill. Excellent tackler. Tough guy. Most of all, he competes. But he needed to run well to impress OSU coaches. Ran 4.64 and 4.25 pro shuttle. Now this is not a "raw talent time," this is an OSU time. Yesterday, Coach Fickell called and offered him a scholarship.

My worry: Luke ran well and changed direction well. Natural leader. Tremendous competitor. Tackle to tackle tough. Competed well at my combine. However, he is not a five star or a four star. He might only be a two star. Oh my!! If he is only a two-star, can he play in the Big Ten? Of course, I am being sarcastic. Luke Roberts is a "Lights out linebacker," and I wish him the very best.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Congrats - "Jonny D"

This a high school football website, but I have to take a minute to applaude OSU's Jon Diebler on being drafted in the second round of the NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. You see, Jon Diebler is an Upper Sandusky "guy." To me, he personifies ALL that is good in a college athlete.

Jon and I have only talked a few times. I would love to say I watched every high school game he played at Upper Sandusky. I would love to say we are good friends. I would love to say I watched every O-State basketball game. None of these would be true. I respect him as a young person, and maybe more than as a basketball player. Watching Jon give testimony during the FCA breakfast at the Ohio State Football Coaches Clinic confirmed my high regard for him.

When he was a first year guy at OSU, he played poorly in a game at Madison Square Garden. Some of the McD's morning coffee OSU fans were dissin on him pretty hard. I reminded them that just the year before, he was playing in a game at Mohawk High School. Typical Buckeye Nation. I heard some OSU basketball analyst named White was brutal on him all of the time on WTVN. Believe he played at traditional power Watkins Memorial. Maybe Jon and he can share stories about pro basketball. No, I forgot, White never played in the NBA. Heard the talk radio hosts in C-bus were really hard on him. Just boys trying to make a name for themselves Jon weathered all of the negative media.

Congrats to Jonny D.

Luke Fickell

The last few months I have been asked to comment on the situation at Ohio State. Simple answer- How should I know!" I do not work there, nor do I hang out with the coaching staff. I believe almost nothing the media reports, including SI or ESPN, or even the local Columbus media. How should I know what is going on at Ohio State.

I have known Jim Tressel since his Syracuse days as an assistant. Not well at that time, but over the years we have become friends. That is really no huge accomplishment, because Coach Tressel has developed friendships with many, many coaches. I can say this, however - Coach Tressel has done more for Ohio high school football than anyone, since my hero, Woody Hayes. I can remember when the Ohio State Clinic was down to around 400. Now up to 1,600. I can remember when the summer camps were down to 400-500 total campers. Now they get 500 campers at just a one day camp.

I am excited to have Luke Fickell as the new head football coach at Ohio State. First saw him wrestle for Columbus DeSales High School at the Galion Regionals his senior year. Tremendous competitor. Smart. Personable. Watched him all four years at O-State. Biggest complaint was he should have been an offensive center. Not athletic enough to play on DL. Excellent balance, leverage and quickness, but not athleticism. With the experience at center at OSU, he would have played that position in the "league." Now he would be winding down his pro career, much the same as his buddy, Mike Vrabel.

Fickell is re-freshing, because he has the natural smile, but also has the toughness and discipline needed to lead people. Watching him at camp, he has a different presence about him. Friendly, but very aware of how certain high school players are competing. Personable, but very aware his job at this camp is to evaluate talent. Skake hands with well-wishers when the day is done. For what it means from me, he is an excellent evaluator of talent. The prospect's desire to compete is big for him. Hopefully, he does not get caught up in the "Five Star" bullcrap. As of now , he has not. Najee Murray and Devan Bogard are not five stars, but they are going to be very good college players for OSU.

Sometimes youth is not a negative. Fickell has not been coaching at Upper Sandusky High School the last ten years. Hopefully, being a college head coach has always been a dream, and he has taken some notes along the way. You cannot train to be a head coach. Being a co-ordinator does not mean as much as people like to think it does. Only from an organizational point does being a DC or OC help that much. There were reasons he landed the BGSU job, but Urban Meyer was not an OC at Notre Dame. Head coaches just have the "it" factor. Honestly, if Josh Daniels had not tried to be Bill Belechek, or be a tough guy, he may still be coaching Denver. Fickell is grounded, which will help him learn and gain wisdom sooner than anticipated.

Schemes are important. Assistant coaches are important. Discipline is important. Media relations are important.(maybe). Communication with players is important. But "fast horses" usually win the race. Talent is the key. If you do not enough really good players, your chances to win are limited. I always joked with the Indiana staff, when Bill Mallory was the head coach. They never got outcoached, just got out peopled. Luke Fickell can recruit. Ohio State players are the best recruiters. Ohio State is Ohio State. Recruiting talent to meet your needs is important. At times college coaches seem to worry about the media, but Fickell will not do that.

Of course, I am just John McCallister, but I wish the best for Luke Fickell. A combination of youth, energy, and knowledge, he will be okay. Go Bucks!

Camps are Over (for most part)

Most of the college footbal camps are over, and although they are both fun and work, I am kind of glad. Fun - I get to see many high school players, both college prospects and prospects working hard to make their high school team better. I get to update my coaching network. Of course, I get to evaluate high school football players. Work - I try to get to as many camps as I can. Gas money! Do not make time to chat with people as much as I would like. Weather- sometimes the sun gets alittle too hot. Being a "fair-skin old dog," I use the lotion and the wide hat. For those who know me, I really enjoy doing what I do.

A few years ago, I was complaining about the dishonesty of the business. A young college assistant coach told me that " maybe I was losing my desire and drive." Needless to say I just considered the source, but that comment still amuses me and maybe motivates me. But I am going to be 63 years young next month and maybe I am an old guard.

Advice to young football players. If you can afford it, make plans to get to a camp next year. If you are in junior high go to any camp for the experience. If you are in the Ohio 215 Class, you, too, can go just about anywhere. But for you, "big is not always better." Go to a good camp that has good coaches. Sad, but not all programs have good coaches.

For the Ohio 214 Class, you have to think recruiting and exposure. You will be coming out of your sophomore year. You will already be on the radar. I have over 300 names and measurements and contact information. Many I have already evaluated. Kent State had a one day for each class. Ohio State has two days devoted to underclassmen. Look for more schools to follow this concept. Get to some camps.

For the Ohio 213 Class, obviously, exposure is the key. You need to be out there. "One day camps" is the answer. Why would you spend three days or more any place? Money and time should be important to you. You will learn some new skills, but the chance to impress college coaches with your hard work is what it is all about.

Next spring I will spend more time talking about summer football camps. July is almost here and high school camps begin the last of the month. Time to start focusing on making your high school team better.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

O-State Football Camp

Just arrived home from the OSU 3 Day Football Camp and guess what, the camps are surviving and doing well. The attendance is up from last year at all three camps. The first "Senior Camp" was well attended, and there will be a larger attendance at this Saturday's other "Senior Camp." The "Two Day Underclassmen Camp" should be well attended, but there have been so many good underclassmen who have already showcased their talents that camp attendance may not be quite as large.

The policy to invite Mid American coaches to work senior camps is still in effect. Of course, alot of the decision makers attend these camps. Many schools are represented here.

While chatting with Coach Fickell, I took my first picture for some fan. People do not realize that I take bad pics. Hopefully, I got the top of their heads in the picture. Plus these new cameras are hard on me. I am used to taking pics in the old Kodaks that had the roll of film in the camera.

Lynn Swann thought enough of the OSU Camp to bring his son from Pittsburgh for three days. Swann sat in the small bleachers, almost incognito. Archie used to try to do the same thing at Shaker Heights, but everybody knew him. I did not see Urban Meyer, John Gruden, or the Nebraska coach, but according to rumors they were in C-bus looking for houses this weekend..

Ohio State is still Ohio State. They have good players and good coaches. Tremendous facilites. Luke Fickell, hopefully, will continue to be Luke Fickell. Some recruits may choose to go elsewhere, but one cannot control that. I am always amazed when I see players called top rated or top ranked, because I never know who rates or ranks them. The basketball team survived sanctions and so will OSU football. The camps have been a success, and as I said earlier, Ohio State is still Ohio State.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Camp "offer"

Before I leave for the OSU 9-12 football camp, I really want to remind prospects and parents about a "Camp-offer." College coaches cannot make an "offer" to a prospect while in summer camp. Really I do not believe they can offer a prospect while he is even on campus. Not for sure on that, however. Will find out.

Some assistant coaches sometimes get too excited and might say something that mentions "offer," but that is not an offer and is against the rules. Plus, the head coach is usually involved in offering a propect.

Be careful with the word "offer. Before, you, as a propect or parent, make any comments regarding offers, check with some one who actually can help you. Verify the offer with the coaching staff. Offers are a big thing with high profile prospects. Some just collect them as a game. Others have no clue what an actual offer consists. As usual, the dot-com media loves to hear the word offer, because it gives them more content.

Save yourself the embarrassment, and be for sure, before you make any announcement.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kent State Football Camps

The last two days I have been visiting the Kent State University football camps. The former head coach at Kent State shied away from high school football camps, but the new staff lead my Darrell Hazel is bringing them back. For me, as an evaluator of talent, I am really glad they are doing this. The university, and more importantly the Ohio High School football coaches, should be just as glad.

On Tuesday, Kent State hosted prospects in the Class of 2014. Really good numbers. Personally, there were some that I will follow this fall. Do not want to mention players now. A big lineman from near Kent and an athlete from near Upper Sandusky jumped out at me. Too early to write much about them, but they have a chance to be really good.

Today, the Class of 2013 was well represented. At least twenty campers will need to be watched this fall. Two from Michigan and a quarterback from Pennsylvania performed well. Because I only evaluate Ohio kids, most of time was focused on the prospects in Ohio' Class of 2013.

Campers were put through combine testing in the morning. After the tests, campers went through different types of football agilities. Kent State coaches not only directed the drills, but also closely evaluated the prospects. The afternoon session was divided into offense and defense. Prospects all worked on each side of the ball.

The strength of these camps that the groups were smaller, and there was much more individual attention given to the campers. Each Kent State assistant coach was the "guy" as far as leading the drills and the afternoon individual position sessions. Prospects could ask questions anytime. Coaches not only broke down every position step by step, but also were very clear in what they were instructing.

From the very beginning, you could sense that this was not a physical education class type camp. Players were skilled and competed hard. No nonsense. Billy Price, 6'4-285 offensive lineman from Austintown Fitch lead the way. Already has offers from Ohio State, and I heard UCLA. Price thought the camp was important, and, of course, he loves to compete.

Every college program cries,"Get them on campus." Kent State, after years of no camps, is making the effort. Thursday the Class of 2012 arrives. From early reports, the group has both "how manys" and "who manys."

Coach Hazel and his staff are "getting after it." Coaches are copycats. Although just a few schools are doing the underclassman camps, next year will see more. Hopefully, Kent State is starting a trend.

Monday, June 13, 2011

MSROHIO Underclassman Showcase

Last Saturday, June 11th we held our first true underclassman camp. Of course, since I am the director and would say this, "the camp was a success." With 60% chance of rain, not one rain drop feel. A beautiful day for football. A total of 129 campers attended and another 11 were registered, but did not make the trip for fear of bad weather.

We ran some of the traditional combine skills. Times were recorded, but there was no formal instruction. Most of the day was spent on individual specific drills and competition drills. There was some limited 7on7 competition near the end of camp. Individual headshots were taken and can be seen on this website. Two video cameras were constantly going.

The campers got their money's worth. Most of the coaches were selected on reccomendations from my friends in the coaching profession.The most pleasant surprise was the work and knowledge of the coaches. They did a tremendous job. Some of these guys need to be mentioned.
Chuck Gresham played at Eastmoor HS and YSU. Directs a training center in Columbus. He was responsible for warm-ups, the 40, and RB's. Very thorough and liked his enthusiam.
Jason Krause is the head football coach at Fairfield HS. Timed the 40's. Ran the star drill and coached DB's. Tremendous knowledge of DB's and excellent communicator.
Andy Gasper is defensive co-ordinator at Grove City. Coached LB's both inside and outside. Very intense and knowledgeable. Very detailed.
Kevin Heitzel is DL coach at Toledo Whitmer. Coached the DL, both DT and DE. Also very intense. Did a really well with one on one drills.
Brian Thomas is a WR coach at Dublin Coffman. Also OC at Bexley. Provided an assortment of receiver drills. A lot of energy. Very detailed.
Paul Yunker is an OL coach at Bryan in northwest Ohio. Liked his attention to details. Provided many types of lineman drills. Good at one on one drills.
Matt Daniels is the QB coach at Toledo St Johns. Worked with proshuttle. Tremendous job with QB's. Liked his footwork drills. Also worked with 7on7. Liked his enthusiasm with QB's.
Kyle Goebbel is the QB at Dublin Coffman. Worked well with passing techniques. Also well with 7on7.
Donald Henderson played QB at Brookhaven HS and at OU. Ran the broad jump and worked with RB's. Detailed and liked his evaluations of RB's.
Joe Baldwin will be new to the staff at Central Crossing. Works combines with me. Worked with DL. Good young coach.
Isaac Anderson is still a college student. Will work with Upper Sandusky football staff this fall. Really believe he will be an excellent coach some day. Works combines with me. Ran powerball test. Also worked with OL.
Chris King trains athletes in central Ohio. Very knowledgeable. Wor with he 40's and WR. Understands details of combine instruction.
The backbone of my instructional staff. Feel very fortunate to get coaches(sight unseen) of this caliber.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Ozone

Last week I chatted with my old, good friend John Porentas, the founder of the "The Ozone" website, which centers on Ohio State Athletics. We have been friends for many years, and I respect him, because he started from the ground-floor and worked his way to the top. Most amazing is that he has not stepped on people on his climb. Even more amazing, he is the same media guy that I meet many years ago.

The Ozone features and covers all sports. Baseball has a tremendous following. Other sports at Ohio State get much coverage. Football and basketball, as should be expected, probably require the most coverage. Interesting enough, Porentas does not let his staff get too wrapped up in the recruiting process. Many people believe recruiting is what sells. Fans love the rumors of recruiting, but Porentas realizes just how much non factual information is out there.

The Ozone, like many sites, has an open forum. Obviously, disagreement from readers is evident. The forum is closely moderated and discussions are civil. No name calling. No vulgarity. They try to maintain a certain level of credability. As for myself, I hardly ever read forums and never participate in chat rooms. Premium sites are too expensive for a retired teacher. But I sneaked a peek at Ozone's Open Forum.

If you want more O-State news, visit the OZONE. Easy to read.

Unless he has changed over the years, Porentas built his website by being honest and following the rules. In this day and age, that seems to be a lost art. If you see him, he probably will not be in a three-piece suit. You probably will not see him dining in alot of five star restaurants. His office is not in Dublin. But, you can trust his knowledge and can sense that he cares about people. Proud to call John Porentas my friend and to applaude the work that he has done.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Isaac Jeffers - Kenton High School

Sometimes even guys like me cannot see the " forest for the trees." Sometimes I get so caught up in evaluating players across the state that I miss one or two in my backyard. Such is the case with Kenton High School's Isaac Jeffers. All of 6'4-250, he just continues to grow and get stronger. Watched him workout at a lineman's camp and he is impressive.

First saw him his sophomore year. He was playing defense for the Wildcats. Playing DE and some linebacker. Long arms. Good balance. This past season, he played much the same type of positions. But you could see him growing into his body. Over the winter he worked hard in the weight room and added strength and good weight. He did not play varsity basketball last winter, which was a mistake. He needs to improve his footwork and basketball will do that. Plus he was a force in the paint.

Although he has played just on the defensive side of the ball in Mike Mauk's two platoon system, I can him see playing some offensive line this fall. Maybe a college center at the next level. Toughness is evident. Really needs to keep working on quickness drills, mainly because he has grown so fast. Most schools are going to look at him on the OL. Do not believe he is BCS level, but he is a scholarship guy.

Speaking of Kenton, Maty Mauk long jumped 22'11 1/2 and placed second at the Ohio High Schools State Track Championship. I wonder if the recruiting analysts who rated him second and third in the state have ever watched him in person.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dirk Weisenburger - Norwalk O-lineman

Recently had a chance to watch Dirk Weisenburger from Norwalk HS work out. The good news - Dirk has finally hit a growth spurt. More good news - Dirk has been working hard in the weight room. Now a very athletic 6'5-260. Starter in both basketball and football as a sophomore. Moves his feet well. Watched him on video as a junior and liked him athletically, but he needed to get bigger and stronger.

Attended my camp last summer. Worked hard, but I teased him about getting bigger. Not only is he getting stronger, but he is standing taller and playing with more confidence. Also like the way he bends. Long arms and locks out well on pass protection.

If Dirk impresses coach's during the summer camps and plays lights out early. I mean really dominates defenders. Playing in a lesser known football school, he has to dominate. Really liked what I saw the other day. and if that effort keeps rising, he will be one of Norwalk's first scholarship players in a good while.