Monday, May 30, 2011

Jim Tressel - Thanks

Just wanted to take a minute to wish Coach Jim Tressel the very best and thank him for all that he has done for high school football in Ohio. More specifically, for all that he has done for the high school football coaches in Ohio. That help often goes un-noticed, because of the many OSU fans who could care less about high school football. Saturdays and winning are what it is all about for them. The media is the same way. High school football is what is all about to me.

When Tressel came on the scene, the OSU Clinic was down to about 400 in attendance. Now there are over 1,500 there taking notes. In fact the last clinics were held in French Fieldhouse. The summer camps were a joke. Attendance was terrible. Now the camps have too many campers. Coach Tressel came to almost every OHSFCA Regional Directors Meeting to offer his help and influence to help promote high school football in Ohio.

For me, I have known him since the Syracuse days. I respect him, which is more than I can say for some head football coaches. But I know him. I do not consider myself a fan. Nor do I consider myself a media whatever(?). I just do my job. Always fun to discuss recruiting with him. Coach Tressel has taken OSU football to the next level. But, more importantly for me, he has taken Ohio High School football to the next level. You see, all I care about is Ohio High School football and how we can make it better for our young people.

Thanks, Coach Tressel.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Back to Work

Only the State track meet left, but alot of outside yard work to do. Live on almost four acres south of Upper Sandusky. The rains just keep coming and coming. My point is, that I will back to writing more frequently on my blog soon. Love watching athletes compete in other sports, with track and basketball being the most helpful. You get to see them from a different perspective. Also enjoy chatting with about anything, BUT recruiting.

A reminder that we have the MSROHIO Underclassman Showcase coming up on Saturday, June 11. Coaches are in place. Early registration is going well. One of the top(possibly the best) running backs in the 2013 Class has registered. Trying to do alot things with this camp. Primary function is to get these underclassmen exposed as to what to expect at the bigger camps. Hopefully, I can help them get exposure to college coaches the right way. With the internet, this is no easy task.

Summer football camps are just around the corner. Fun, but sometimes hot. Speaking of camps, I was invited the Martin Bayless Camp at University of Dayton. One of the first camps that I used to attend every summer. That was almost 20 years ago. Martin and Keith Byars used to bring in pros from all over. The late Reggie White was sitting in the stands with two other instructors praying. One never forgets things like that.

Enjoy Memorial Day weekend.

Like I said, back to work with the blog.

Gambrell Impressive Saturday

Watched DerJuan "Pee Wee" Gambrell play defensive back at Toledo Rogers his junior year and came away impressed. Tremendous athlete with physical skills and played hard. Honestly, on video, I liked one of his teammates just as well. After watching him at the District track meet last week, the Buckeyes were smart to offer him a scholarship.

Yesterday, at the Regional track meet, Gambrell qualified for the State Meet in three events. He qualified in the 400 meters his sophomore year, but was injured(hip) and do not get there last year. Yesterday he ran the 400m in 48.08. A personal best for him. He also qualified in two other events. Anchored the victorious 1600 meter relay team. Earlier in the meet, he placed third in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 14.67.

He must have been nicknamed "PeeWee" many years ago. Listed at 6'1-190 and looks every bit that size or bigger. Really cut! Think that he can play a number of positions for the Buckeyes. The endurance of a 400 meter guy and the speed and balance of a high hurdler. Outstanding at both, but most of all, a tremendous competitor.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chris Collins - John Hay

Last year, when watching Cleveland John Hay, junior Chris Collins was on the sidelines. He had broken a bone in his foot and played in only three games. Everything went well in rehab and he played the entire basketball season.

Listed at 6'4-251, I liked his highlight video from Hudl. Quickness and balance are good. Needs to play lower at times, but that will come with experience. Just getting serious about strength training. Bench is up to 285. Like him better on the offensive line. Good first step. Can run around. Needs to develop more of a punch.

Defensively, he will have to slide down. Needs to play more pad under pad. Gets off blocks and pursues well.

Rough as an unmade bed, but with his size combined with his athleticism like his potential. Of course, his 3.86 and 25 ACT score will not hurt his chances for a scholarship. Looking forward to watching him more this fall.

Mauk - A track guy, too

Maty Mauk, the top quarterback prospect in the Ohio Class of 2013, has qualified in four events going in tomorrow's regional track meet at Lexington. Following a solid basketball season, he now is excelling in track.

Maty had a personal best in the long jump at the district meet with a jump of 22'4. He qualified in 200 with a time of 22.4. Both relay teams have qualified with times of 43.7 in the 4/100 and 1:32 in the 4/200. Mauk is an important leg in both relays.

Kenton seems to always be blessed with "speed guys." Much of that credit goes to the football winter conditioning program under the direction of head football coach, Mike Mauk.

Away from track, Maty continues to work on his quarterback skills. Coaches from across the Midwest have stopped at Kenton High School to watch him throw. As most agree with me - strong arm, very accurate, and excellent vision.

Back to track and the Lexington Regional. Hopefully, Maty's best is yet to come.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sandusky Perkins Tight End

The Sandusky area is always good for high school football players who have the potential to play D-1 college football. One that kind of "slipped through the cracks" for me is Perkins tight end, Michael Ebert. At the next level he may move inside to offensive tackle. But for now, he is a tight end.

At 6'6-240, he can add weight and be huge. Runs well for a big man, but maybe not well enough to be a tight end. Soft hands. Really good ball catching skills. Solid bender. Needs to develop a "punch" as far as run blocker. Like his effort on video. Did not see him play last year, but have watched him in the rings this spring. Very competitive and very athletic.

Plays basketball. This spring he has put the shot 51 feet. Tossed the discus 163 feet. Long arms and really good balance. In his free time, he takes care of his books. Number one in his class with a 4.1 GPA.

Probably a definite Mid American level player or maybe a little higher. If he gets to the size of an OL guy, his future will be huge.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Three Sport Guy - Chris Wormley

The evaluating of college bound football players, for obvious reasons, is very important to me. Sometimes those evaluations take time, because I get calls from college coaches wanting to know how I compare different players. With high profile prospects, I evaluate them thoroughly. Trust me, I do not rely on what others have said. Chris Wormley was one of those guys I evaluated.

As a sophomore, one could see his potential, but only a sophomore and he needed to play harder and more often. Last year, watched him against Massillon and his motor was fine tuned. Played hard and made plays. Strong off the edge and good burst. Last winter watched him play basketball against Toledo Central Catholic. Moved well in the paint. Solid rebounder. Long arms. Never changed his expression, but was very determined. Above all he competed.

This past Wednesday, drove to the District Track Meet in Toledo. One of the guys I wanted to see was Chris Wormley. Has really worked on trimming down his body. Long. Looks good at 6'6 - 270. Excellent balance in the shot and discus rings. Came into the meet with a 170 discus toss to his credit. First throw - 129 feet. Second throw - 131 feet. Won the discus with a throw of 161 feet in the finals. On Saturday won the shot with a put of 53'2.

Talked with a Whitmer dad at the Nike Combine. He said that Chris would loved to have been there, because he just "loves to compete."

Early I did not have Chris rated as high as some other DL guys. Now I do. Problem- eventually I see him as at DT, rather at DE. If he makes the switch, he will be one of the quickest inside guys around. Chris wants to stay at DE, but DT could be a money maker.

Talked with him briefly. Wished him luck. His comment, "Thank you, sir." Never too late to evaluate. Chris Wormley is special. His actions speak louder than his words


Yesterday, all the Nike Combine in Columbus, I asked a quarterback who participated in the "Elite(?) Quarterback" competition how he did. Being an Ohio prospect, I was interested, because I like him. His comment was " they told me that if I had more "offers," I would have made the finals. My answer, "that figures." Honestly, I get so tired of the "offers" crap. I asked another Ohio prospect about how recruiting was going, and his answer was "I have 20 offers." My answer was "okay, how is recruiting going."

Offers, to me, are just like getting engaged to be married. Probably a good sure thing, but if something really a lot more appealing comes along, who knows, either party could break the engagement. Nothing is final until that ring is put on the finger. Nothing is final in recruiting, until the dotted line is signed. Chances are good that an offer is solid, but one never knows.

Get your highlight video done as well as you can. You do not need music and fancy trim or a play run over and over, to highlight how tough you are. There are some good companies out there. With the "Hudl" video systems available to your high school, you can make your on highlight video. Why a good highlight video???? Colleges are now sending out offers off of highlight video. Young coaches do not study video that thorough or work at recruiting like the old days. One - not enough time. Two - too lazy, worried more about schemes. More on highlight video at another time.

Another concern about offers. If one school offers, guaranteed others will follow. For example, here in Ohio, if O-state offers, many colleges will follow suit. If one MAC school offers, three more will offer the next day. You might be surprised how offers build up. Sometimes, if another state offers, an effort will be made not to lose a prospect to another state. Penn Sate offers just so they can get a prospect from Ohio.

One school at one time this spring had 182 offers out there. Usually the rule is 25 scholarships. Do the math. Other schools put alot of offers out there, so that just in case a prospect falls through the cracks, the recruiter can say that he has been there all along.

I do not get too caught up on offers, because often a parent or prospect is not sure what an offer really means. Years ago, I talked with a parent from Defiance who had been at the OSU Camp. Asked the dad how it went, and he told me that OSU offered. My answer was something " that is good. Did Coach Cooper take you into his office and say positive things?" The dad said that he did not do that. He told his son, "You keep working hard and you'll be a Buckeye someday." Went on to be a good lower division one college player, but was never offered by O-state. I have never forgotten that story.

Some college coaches tell me that some recruits play a game with offers. They follow offer lists on Rivals to see who can collect the most. Some recruits will even call colleges to try to build up their lists. Here, that is the exception, rather than the rule.

Part of the 5-Star ranking system that recruiting sites use is based on the amount of offers and the quality of offers, a prospect has accumulated. If you are into the 5-Star ranking thing, getting offers is probably important.

With my scouting and evaluation system, sometimes I hear the comment, "Who has offered?" My answer, "Who cares!" Unlike some recruiting analyst, I do not base my evaluations on what college rates them high. I would not be doing my job.

Finally, on the subject of offers. I often use this analogy. Four men are standing on a street corner. A very attractive woman walks by. One man likes long legs and likes her. One man does not like her long hair. One man does not like her fair complexion. The last man thinks she is "smokin!" Just like with offers, not every coach is looking for the same quality. What one program needs, another may not be looking for the same thing.

Bottom line - prospects. Work hard this summer. Compete hard at camps. Play hard next fall and be a leader. Do not worry about what you can not control.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Allen Gant - The Forgotten Prospect

Sylvania Southview coach, Jim Mayzes told me today that Allen Gant had just received an offer from Michigan. Why not? He should! Gant was so good as a freshman that it may have hurt him. He has continued to improve, but recruiters seem to expect a faster climb. A possible four letter winner in three sports. Sometimes athletes get close to being maxed out too early, but this is not the case with Allen.

Last fall I was impressed with his toughness on the football field. Stood out as a free safety. Excellent open field tackler. Good ball skills. Anticipated well. Most of all, when he had a chance to "strike" he did. Covered sideline to sideline.

Last winter I was impressed with his smoothness on the basketball court. Liked his balance and his ability to change direction. Anticipation was good. Good quickness. Of course, very competitive.

This spring I have been impressed with his efforts on the track. Put the shot 47'11 and tossed the discus 136 feet. Also runs third leg on a very fast 4X100m relay team.

Allen now stands just over 6'1 and weighs 205 pounds. Recently, bench pressed 275 pounds - 8 times. Impressive for a young man who plays three sports and still lives in the weight room.

Just something that I like about Allen Gant. The challenge to keep improving every year must be tough. Expectations for three years have been high. Being mentioned in recruiting news as one of the top Ohio guys in 2012 class could get into a kid's head. My answer - Too good too early, but he has worked hard to keep getting better, but improvement is not as evident as with other athletes. Regardless, he just does his thing - play hard and compete.

Some coach tell Allen that he is not a free safety on the next level. Maybe a strong safety who plays in the box. Some coach tell Allen that he will grow into a Will linebacker. And be very good. Simple as that!

Good Prospect - A Down Program

A good friend who has coached at the college level for years, recently told me that he is always concerned about a prospect who plays either in a small school program or a down program. Of course, to a certain extent, I disagreed with that thought. An athlete is an athlete. But an athlete in a down program, or from a small school has to dominate the game.

DeShawn Dowdy, a 6'4-218 DE from Akron North could be one of those guys. First saw him at our MSROHIO combine at Medina. Passes the eyeball test. That day he ran a 4.8/40, but has run faster since. That day he broad jumped 9'1 and verticaled 27'6. That day he ran a 4.4/shuttle and 7.5/L-cone. All of these are really good marks for a guy, just under 220 pounds.

Like his video, although hard to see at times. Played slot, wide receiver, defensive end, inside DB, and returned kicks. Quick rather than fast. Closes well on ball carrier. Good burst off the edge. Needs to be a better form tackler. Good ball skills. Better on the defensive side of the ball. Like his balance. Changes direction well. Could develop into a Will backer. A possible pass rusher off of the edge.

Da'Shawn is one of the very prospects who has a good chance to make it at the next level. The Akron North program has been down. Does not face top competiton game every week. His challenge is to play very well against Buchtel, Ellet, Garfield, and Firestone. Needs to be all over the field. Needs catch a recruiter's eye on video. If he succeeds, he will prove me right, but, more importantly, move up the recruiters' boards.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Two Prospects Change Mechanics

Going into an athlete's senior year, to make changes in techniques is really hard in almost any sport. In the last few months, Austin Gearing, QB from Middletown Fenwick, and Darien Terrell, an OL guy from Massillon Jackson, are making the effort.

Back in March at our MSROHIO Combine, Austin workout with four other QB's after the combine was over. His release was down by his ear. He squeezed and pushed the ball too much. Throws were low and short. Actually, I came away disappointed, because I liked his highlight video. In fact, my thoughts were that maybe he was a better defender. At 6'4-215, he tested well and had that toughness. Then along came QB instructor, Mike Schneider who has made the difference.

Austin worked out for me last Thursday. Release is now higher. Footwork is good. Arm strength has always been there. The release is is so much better. Coming from a very successful wing-t offense, Austin needs to make the summer camp circuit (he will)to show his skills. Of course, he needs to be more polished, but he has come so far in a short time. The big change in mechanics is huge.

Last summer, I first met Darien Terrell, a 340 pound tackle from Massillon Jackson.
Knew of him, but wanted to see him first hand. Honestly, thought that he was just a big way-overweight offensive lineman. Questioned attitude and self discipline. Moved okay. Biggest concern was that at that weight, will he continue to get heavier and heavier and just get too heavy at the next level.

After evaluating his highlight video this winter, I saw good things. He can bend. Needs to be a better bender, but be can bend. Good explosion. For his size, moves around well. Finished blocks. Solid pass blocker. A guard at the next level. BUT, I like best the fact that he is losing weight. Eating healthy. Also is attending a speed camp five days a week. Losing weight is tough for anyone, but he has made the commitment to "do what he has to do." I believe that he has a chance to be a solid offensive line recruit, if he sticks to his plan.

Both Austin and Darien must to continue to work hard on their weaknesses. Get into some camps this summer in order that college coaches see first hand their improvement. This fall they must put all of those changes to work and be productive on Friday nights. Until then, Darien and Austin should only worry about what they can control.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Canton McKinley Football Coach

Do not really like to give opinions, but, for those who know me, sometimes I slip-up and say what I think. Visited McKinley Coach Ron Johnson yesterday.

Watched as he talked with college recruiters from Illinois, Syracuse, and Eastern Michigan. Gave them infro on ALL of his D-1A college potential guys. He also spent time with a recruiter from Albany State. Stressed the quality of character of his players. Except for heights of his players(humor), he was very honest to recruiters. At 2:30 he was on the field leading conditioning drills for his football team. Ron Johnson is a good coach and a better person.

Then I read about all of this "stuff" that he is going thru with some parents at McKinley. Maybe one parent in particular. Think that the "barbershop" is involved. I remember saying to Kerry Hodakevic."Why in the world would you want to go to McKinley?" I remember Thom McDaniels coaching there. I remember a coach who had a chance at being the head coach telling me, "No way would I want my kids in that system." Bulldog football is really good, but it can also send a good coach thru hell.

Canton McKinley football players have always been class acts to me. I enjoy talking and joking them. The problem is that other teams have good players and good kids. The "old days of dominance" are gone. Teams are no longer in fear of playing at McKinley.

Parents, let your kids enjoy playing football and let the coaches make the decisions. Of course, I might as well be talking to my eleven year old lab. Ron Johnson is a good football coach. Daniels is still a good coach. Hodakevic was a good coach. Most of all, swallow some of your pride. McKinley tradition is second to none, but other schools have built very good football prorams.

QB Austin Appleby Workout

While in Stark County yesterday, I had the chance to watch Austin Appleby workout at North Canton Hoover. Read in the Canton papers that he is the best QB prospect the Class of 2012. Because I am not that good at evaluating talent, I will leave the ranking business to the recruiting analysts(?) on the various media websites.

First saw Austin last year in a scrimmage against Ashland High School. Liked the way he stood in the pocket and liked his "QB presence." But, as any first year guy, he had alot of work to do, but saw potential. On video watched his development. Blew out his ACL in the last game of the season.

Most obvious - he is a big, strong quarterback. Listed 6'4-215 and is all of that. My guess is that he is about 80% recovered from knee surgery. Still favoring it somewhat, which is to be expected. Movement will be fine. Like his QB demeanor or as I like to say, his QB presence. Good footwork. Good hip rotation. A better dropback QB. Technique gets better the longer he throws. Coach Hertler commented to me that he needs time get really warmed up. Strong arm. At times, he seems to squeeze too hard. Drops the ball at times which causes him to wind up, which makes for a high release point. Does eliminate that at times, which is good. Nice spin.

Austin just needs to get totally healthy and not worry about all of the recruiting, for lack of a better word - "crap." Potential is there. Relax, do not squeeze so tight, and have fun. Work the summer camps. Be productive this fall. Most of all, enjoy being a QB.

Miley and Marlington = Success

Yesterday one of my stops was Marlington High School. Coach Ed Miley has in a short time is putting Marlington on the map as one of the better football programs in Northeast Ohio. Talent, as most of us old coaches know, gives us a better chance to win. Although it takes more than three players to build a winning program, I am familiar with only these three at Marlington.

Recent Michigan State commit, Zach Higgins caught my attention at the State Wrestling Championships his sophomore year. Tough, good balance, and leverage. Came to our Showcase last summer. Just needed to refine blocking skills. At 6'5-285 he has amazing quickness for his big frame. Can be over-powering run blocker at times. Continues to mature physically. Like the fact he stands tall. But the best of Zach is that he has tremndous character.

Alden Hill, a 6'1-220 RB/LB has really matured over the past year both physically and mentally. Now much stronger and trimmer. Improved speed. Strength is his "game day speed." Got caught up in the "recruiting-hype," last year, but now refocused and understands the recruiting game, both good and bad. Needs to get into camps to show his running form. If he shows flatout toughness, then he can be very good. Glad I was able to talk with him. Also, good character guy.

One of "my guys" in the Ohio 2013 Class is Dymonte Thomas. Really believe that schools coulld have offered him as a freshman. Crazy, I know, but if he keeps working hard both in the library and on the football field he may be the top recruit in his class. A soild RB with speed, but DB's are hard to find. At 6'1-185, he will get bigger. Played DE as a freshman. Best position at the next level is as an inside DB. Should line up in the box. A possible sideline corner. Tremendous run stopper. 4.53 speed. One of those guys who smiles alot, but will knock the "whatever" out of you on the football field. Enjoyed visiting with him.

After spending 30 minutes with Coach Ed Miley, I was impressed with his relationship with the students. More than an "X and O guy." Warns his players about all of the "media stuff" with recruiting. Warns his players about college recruiters and their sales pitch. Evident that he has taught his players communication skills in dealing with college recruiters and "pains-in-the-butt" like me. Glad that I had my Garman and glad that I was able to visit Marlington High School..

Monday, May 9, 2011

Big is not Always Better

As I was watching a girl's basketball game a few years ago, I was chatting with Jon Diebler's dad talking recruiting. At that time Jon was considering Valparasio as his favorite college. His dad made the comment, "Big is not always better." Of course that was small talk, because Jon went on to O-State, and the rest is history. But that comment has stayed with me.

Last Saturday, I visited the Schuman National Underclassman combine held near Columbus at Licking Heights High School. For years, I had read about this combine and the amount of success that it has had. I was expecting all kinds of experts running around and attendance limited to parents. Honestly, I did not expect to get inside. I was really surprised. If I could just pick up some ideas for my combines was my goal. The marketing and promotion for this event is second to none.

First, let me be clear, the coaching staff at Licking Heights did an excellent job. They worked the drills. They timed and measured. The concession stand was inexpensive and good. Licking Heights people were good.

There were only two Schuman officials working the combine. The entire combine - just two. The forties and the pro-shuttle were run on wet grass. A fine all-weather track was not used. With the results going all over the country, how does one explain the slow times? With all of the slipping and sliding, injuries were of concern. Running on the track with flat shoes might have been better. Having two men video taping was good.

Individual work was done. Coaches were instructing, as well as evaluating. Campers worked hard and enjoyed themselves. Anytime a player gets to compete and gets a chance to be better, I think, is tremendous. As I have said earlier, the community did its part well. But, I would think that if the Schuman National Underclassman combine is all that it advertises and markets, more than two evaluators and instructors are needed. More instruction from combine experts was needed. Finally, putting players through a big workout and then asking them to sit and listen to recruiting talk is good, but the concentration level had to be down.

Of course, as with the case of almost everyone(including the OHSFCA) these days, it is "ALL ABOUT THE MONEY." "Show me the money!"

Big is not always better. Eighty-five dollars is still eighty-five dollars to me. BIG IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

OL Kyle Dodson - Pleasant Surprise

Last year as I watched the Shaker Heights-Cleveland Heights football game, I kept noticing this long, tall young man dressed in street clothes on the Height's sideline. He explained to me why he was not dressed out. He said that he was going to start playing next week. Took notes.

Yesterday I had the chance to watch Cleveland Heights workout. Walking up to the school, the first person I met was none other than Kyle Dodson, all 6'6 and 310+. This time in a track uniform. Told me that he would throw the shot and would go inside and work out his football team. Come back outside to run the 100 meters. Throw the discus and run on a relay team. Yes, I stayed to watch the shot put and, of course, the 100 meters.

Kyle has all of the physical tools. A natural bender. Long arms and slender at 320(listed). Could easily add another 25 pounds. Excellent feet. Moves very well as a pass blocker. Great hips. Excellent lead blocker on inside or outside trap. Excellent quickness off the LOS. I mean the kid is specimen. With many college coaches in attendance, he hustled every play. Every play! Team leader.

My major concern is that I have not evaluated him enough with pads on or in big games. If he gets hammered, does he jump up or get up? Can he handle the quickness of DL guys? Does he have that nasty streak that all of the really good ones have? Orlando Pace and Korey Stringer to name two.

Would I offer him? Heavens, yes. He has the measurements and the skills. Above all of that, when he communicates with me, he is a first class young man. A top shelf guy. Looking forward to watching him early this fall. Does not have to be a mean tough bully. Just nasty. If the nastiness is there, he will get the chance to make alot of money some day.

Ted Ginn - An Old Friend

Really good visit with my old friend Ted Ginn yesterday. Our friendship began years ago when Coach Ginn had a vision about putting Glenville football on the map. Since that time Glenville football has become a nationally recognized football program. And, of course, with success comes a certain amount of jealousy. Perhaps some of it is justified, but Coach Ginn has provided inner city football players a "way out." Other Cleveland city programs are improving and bringing more and more college recruiters to their schools. Love him or not, Ted Ginn is a big part of this trend.

I remember when my oldest son was a member of a new little league team here in Upper Sandusky. The coach drafted six ten years old. The first year they won 3 games. The other teams, including parents, had fun playing our boys. The second year - seven -victories. However, as twelve year olds they were unbeaten and won everything. Sixteen victories. Of course, fans, and parents said that they won, only because they had six - twelve years old and forgot about their struggles as ten years old. Were they jealous-of course. Back to Ted Ginn.

Of course, Ted Ginn wants to win. Everybody does. But Ginn also wants to help kids be better citizens and survive in the real world.. Of course, the ugly word of recruiting comes up. Of course, test scores come up. Of course, the phrase - tremendous athlete, no discipline - is mentioned. Of course, lack of self discilpine is mentioned. But, you know, I am "lily-white" and grew-up in a farming community. Have never lived in a city, let alone, an "inner city." With that said, it is hard for me to be critical of a Glenville kid, or for that matter, any "inner city" young person. Never walked in those shoes.

Partly, because of what I do with football, I have very few problems communicating with any high school football players. Also, hopefully, I try to help "kids" be better and get recognized, rather than have "kids" help me to get more recognition. The Ted Ginns, the Doug Ramseys, the Jim Places, the Greg Millers, and the Ron Johnsons are among the many that make my job easier.

Over the years as a head football coach and as the "lone wolf" in my scouting service, I have met many coaches. Ted Ginn will always have my respect for what he does with young people, but, most importantly, he will always be my friend.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Lexington QB/TE Combo

Spent the late afternoon watching some football players working out after school at Lexington High School. I make these trips, because of the more personal nature of the evaluation. One on one is really a better way to relate to a prospect. Honestly, the real reason I went was to see how much bigger Colin Michael and Tanner Kearns have gotten. Both pleasantly surprised me.

Have always like Colin Michael as a quarterback. Close to 6'6, but more importantly has added 20 pounds. Now weighs 225. Last year watched his first game back from a knee injury. He was a little rough in spots, but liked his potential. Really good feet and has a solid base. Now working under center, along with taking direct snaps. Stands tall and has a high release at times. Strong arm, but I could tell he has been throwing alot. Needs to tweak his release and his follow thru just a little. His throwing flaws are all easily correctable. Drops well. By the end of summer, he will be rated as one of the top QB prospects in the Ohio 2012 Class.

Tanner Kearns is a long TE. Last year, because he was 6'5 and 205 and playing TE, he was more of flex or H tight end. But now, he weighs 227. Now, he can line-up at tight end, as well as a flex, H, or even slot. Really liked the way he gets downfield into pass patterns. Not big enough to put his hand down every play and block like a tackle. Very athletic and combined with size and ball catching skills, he will be able to line up at various inside receiver positions, including TE. After a good summer camp showing, Tanner will one of the better tight end prospects in the Ohio Class of 2012.

The most positive "stuff" from the visit was that both prospects did what they had to do in the off season. Gain good weight! They added weight the right way. That is huge. The basic skills are there. Now they just have to put everything together. Both have a tremendous amount of upside.

Oh, of course, visiting with Coach Payne was almost as fun.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Rating Offensive linemen in 2012 Class

On the way out of church this morning, a Buckeye fan asked me whom I had as the highest rated lineman in the Ohio Class of 2012. Answered that I did not know for sure, because they all bring something different to the table. Really this is true of just about every position. So much depends on the offense that college programs use.

Taylor Decker(Vandalia Butler) has really good feet. At least 6'7-285. Long and can add much more weight. More of a pass blocker, but improving as a run blocker. Will fit well into Notre Dame's offensive mind-set. Kyle Kailis(Lakewood St Ed's) is a 6'5-300+) road-grader who just punishes DL guys on running plays. Needs to work on footwork. Strong and tough. Actually, Tyler Orlosky(Lakewood St Ed's) 6'4-295 has tremendous upside and potential. Quiet and nasty. Bender. Like both his run blocking and pass blocking. Really athletic. A sleeper to some extent is Marlington's Zach Higgins. First saw him at the State Wrestling Tournament as a sophomore. Excellent balance and leverage. Powerful. Did well at my camp.

Have not really been able to evaluate Kyle Dobson(Cleveland Heights) a 6'5-315 tackle. Did not play against Shaker Heights last year, and coach did not send video. Getting alot of offers, but must perform on field. Only saw Kyle Williamson(Maderia)workout and on video. Like his frame, but must be a better bender. Needs to dominate defenders this fall.

Some colleges are looking for that "hard-nosed tough guy," and two that come to mind are Caleb Stacey(Oak Hills) and Benny McGowan(Centerville). Both need to improve pass blocking techniques. Both need to work on balance. Both do bring that toughness and nastiness that Zach Born brought to Ohio State. Alex Todd(Streetsboro) really needs to watch weight gain, but he has the toughness and nastiness to compensate for
pass blocking flaws.

If he can keep his weight down, Darwin Terrell(Massillon Jackson) has a shot. Powerful, but needs get into condtion. Needs to be a better bender. Liked his competitive attitude. At 6'3-340, weight is an issue. Another weight issue guy is Warren Howland's Anthony Stanko. Coach Dick Angle told me that he has worked hard at the weight issue. Powerful, but needs to be a better bender. If he loses weight and reports in really good condition, he could dominate. But that is a big "if."

Need to mention two linemen with alot of upside, but recruiters want to see them play early this fall. Watched Derrek Ross(Oak Hills) a 6'5-270 tackle and really liked his potential. Still do. Frame to get bigger. Good footwork as pass blocker. Just something about Kevin Mills(Canton McKinley) that I like. Good feet. Big frame. Bends well enough. Solid feet. Just feel he needs more game experience.

Did not mention all of the "OL guys" out there. Also, did not mention offers or commitments. Honestly, never take that into consideration. I get paid to evaluate and rate, not to collect offers and commits.