Thursday, December 27, 2012

January Begins Preparing a Football Recruit

My hope is that everyone has enjoyed a wonderful Christmas. I define enjoy as being happy and comfortable in whatever situation that one is in. Having my family for a few days here at the farm was enjoyable. Having my brother visiting for a week is enjoyable. Having some snow, but not a blizzard was enjoyable. Getting my mind back to working with parents, players, both school and college coaches is enjoyable.

As a coach/teacher going back to school after the Christmas vacation was the start of offseason football. Of course, the classroom was exciting, because we started a new term. But thinking and doing football "stuff" was, needless to say, huge. The same holds true many years later.

High school football players get to work. Once you get back to school, there is so much "stuff" to take care of and to begin working on.
      1. Get your grades in line. Some schools have already had exams. Study for your exams. Find out just where you are with your GPA. Work hard the second semester. Close the school year with your GPA in good shape.
      2. If your school allows to you take summer school classes, check it out. If your school allows you to take a class over, check it out. I know that this will fall on deaf ears, but get that GPA up and start making plans for the ACT test. Take that test as soon as you can.
      3. Get seriously into strength training. Hopefully, your coach has an excellent football winter program. Do not miss a workout. Overall strength is really important, but quickness, agility, and speed is the answer in this era of college football. Power lifting is good, but movement is huge. If your high school coach does not emphasize speed training, I would try to find a speed program somewhere.
      4. If your track coaches know how to make athletes faster, go out for track. If your throwing coach is good, get familiar with the shot/discus. I was a thrower and a baseball catcher in high school, so I love baseball, too. If you are a baseball player, workout in the mornings for football.
      5. Although I think NIKE combines are more about marketing than educating football players, you should get to a combine in March, if possible. Once you get into April and May, spring sports should be a priority. I would hate to have my top sprinter, pull his hammie, running a 40. The same with my top baseball player.
         More on combines. Be sure they are legit. A few years ago, some parents from Cleveland called me, boasting about their sons' 40 times. Later someone told me the 40 was only 37 yards long. Made sense, and I believed the rumor. Be sure the instructors warm you up correctly. Last winter, a high profile D-I prospect injured his hamstring slightly. Not good. There is a company near Steubenville who does a good job with combines.  MSROHIO has three combines across the state, but we make mistakes too. Besides exposure, I really think learning the different tests to prepare for college summer camps should be your major motivation for going to a combine.
     6. Begin looking at college summer football camps. Most colleges will have information available by the beginning of February. Check out a college's football website. Look for summer camp information. Your high school football should have some "fliers" available beginning in March.
        More on camps. Big is not always better. Obviously, a Michigan, or a Michigan State, or an Ohio State camp is good for exposure, but some parents encourage their son to go, more for themselves, than for their son. If you are a college prospect, going to a college's camp is important, but not the ultimate. If you are a middle school player, go where the coaches will instruct you.
       One day "rising seniors" camps are another recruiting tool. Just because a school invites you, does not necessarily mean that they are going to recruit you. If you pay attention to who the coaches are catering to, you know who they are really recruiting.
     7. Find out the "spring practice schedules" of the D-I colleges. Some practices actually start in March. Not too far away. Anyway, think about visitng some of the schools that you like. Later in March, set up some times to visit spring practice. Here again, go to a college's football website and check for spring football practice dates and times.
     8. Finally, the football recruiting websites are beginning to list the top players in the Ohio Class of 2014. The football recruiting reporters put these lists together. The reporters do this to get readers to their websites. This is also done on the national level. Please do not get up in these rankings. If Ohio State likes a player, he is going to be rated high, regardless if he is worthy of it. Reading how Rivals, 24-7, or Fox rated a player is good for exposure, but if you are a "rising junior," smile and keep working hard in the weight room and in the classroom, to impress the people who matter the most, when it comes to ranking a prospect. The college football coaches!!!
      January begins a new year and there is a lot of "stuff" to do in preparing to be a college recruit. Work hard and try to avoid alot of the "noise." The best to you in your journey! jmc

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Shopping and a Visit to Danville HS

      Busy day ahead. My late wife formed the Christmas list, did the majority of the shopping, and wrapped most of the gifts. Over the last nine years, I have taken on all of the those responsilities. Yes, all of those repsonsibilites. Today is the day, I make the effort to get the majority of these fun and stressful tasks done. Well, maybe not done-done, but a huge part done.
      The key is to tie in business with pleasure. Kill two birds with one stone. After I finish shopping in Columbus today, I am heading to Danville High School to watch a young offensive lineman play basketball. Only a junior, I am looking forward to eyeballing him and watching him compete.
      Danville High School? How many Division I college football players have come out of Danville High School? Not the point. The point is that I think it is imperative to check out these young men. Last year, I watched a big OL guy from Minford play basketball. Did the same for a 2013 prospect from Wayne Trace High School. Last that I heard, he was getting a scholarship to Akron.
      Finding a college prospect at Colerain, Glenville, or St Ignatius is not that hard. Even an internet media recruiting reporter can do that. I doubt that many recruiting reporters would travel to a "Danville" to watch a propect, unless Michigan or Ohio State is recruiting him. Of course, scouting talent is not what they do. Writing content on high school recruits is what they do.
      I always use the Washington Redskins left guard as my motivation for traveling to watch a prospect from a small school program. Kory Lichtensteiger played both basketball and football for Crestview High School in Northwest Ohio. The Knights were not real successful in football, but better than average in basketball. Did not see Kory play football, except on video. However, I did see him play basketball. Listed at that time about 6'3-260, he could move his feet and had strong hands. Most of all, he was aggressive.
      Kory earned a football scholarship to Bowling Green, and in the 2008 NFL Draft went to the Denver Broncos in the fourth round. For the past four years, he has been the starting left guard for the Washington Redskins.
      As I drive to watch high school football recruits play other sports, I think of guys like Kory Lichtensteiger. From a small school program, but has large school ability. The chance to play in the League is almost impossible, but as Kory Lichtensteiger has proven, not impossible!
      And for me, anytime I get a chance to watch a big lineman play hoops, I start the engine.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Verlon Reed Moves On

      A friend of mine informed me today that Ohio State backup wide receiver, Verlon Reed has left the Ohio State football program.
      Reed, a third year sophomore, was one of my favorite quarterbacks coming out of Columbus Marion Franklin High School. Watched him really improve his game over his high school career. Excellent runner, and improving as a passer. More importantly, his leadership and ability to make plays on the football field were his strong points. He was what I call "a work in progress."
      Although Ohio State coaches told him at the time that he would be given a shot at quarterback, I felt bad when he committed to the Buckeyes. I wanted to see him be a quarterback, and I knew that O-State would not give him a chance to improve as a QB. Well, I was wrong. They gave him one day and moved him to wide receiver. Thus his role became a multi-purpose athlete.
      Although he was a starting wide receiver early last year, he suffered a knee injury in the seventh game. Under Urban Meyer's new offense, he played little.
      My frustration is not with him not getting playing time. None of my business, number one. Never watched him practice. But again, none of my business. My disappointment is the fact that the former staff convinced him to be a Buckeye. They knew that he could not play quarterback at Ohio State University. But, being Ohio State, Verlon wanted the chance to be a Buckeye. He bought into the sales pitch and became a Buckeye.
      That is just one part of recruiting that makes it an "ugly" business. College coaches everywhere will tell a recruit almost anything to get them to commit to their university. The college recruiters' "noise" and "promises" are not going to change. For heavens sake, my idol Coach Woody Hayes did it. Nothing is going to change, because it is a "business."
      When I heard that Verlon Reed had committed to the Buckeyes years ago, I asked, "Why." He was a Division I quarterback, but on the mid-level. He had worked hard to be a quarterback, and I wanted to see him reap the benefits of that hard work. Honestly, he would have been a better free safety than a wide receiver. On the otherhand, he got to experience all of the excitement of being a "Buckeye." Something that many young men do not get to experience.
      I know turning down a chance to be a Buckeye is really hard. Not only being a Buckeye, but being a member of any major BSC program, is a really hard. At the end of the day, a recruit must decide what is the very best for him. The decision is his. Not his parents, not his high school coach, not the media, and not the fans.
     With my limited skills, 45 years ago I was never told that I would get a chance to play one position, with the strong possiblity that I would get switched to another postion after one day of practice.
      I hope that Verlon Reed lands on his feet. And, really, I hope that he gets a chance at quarterbacking on a Divsion II program.

Monday, December 10, 2012

North-South Allstar-Classic / An Ohio-Michigan All-Star Game?

I read on a website in Cleveland that the North-South All-Satr Classic is changing from the traditional one game to a two game, one price, one place event. Simply check out the front page of this website.

Also read that are plans for an Ohio-Michigan Allstar game in 2014. I will tell you that this game is in the very early planning stages. Nothing is definite. No site has been determine. No alternating between a sight in Ohio and a site in Michigan has been determined. I will tell you that no date has been set. Again, I will tell you again that an Ohio-Michigan All-Star is only in the very early planning stages.

The two games for the North-South All-Star Classic is a done deal. But I am really intrigued with the report of an Ohio-Michigan All-Star game. I am very familiar with what is going on with the possibilites of this game.

What leaks to the media sometimes really amazes me.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Saturday Morning at Koehler Stadium in Upper Sandusky

Saturday morning and I may be going through a little withdrawl. No high school football games last night or today. Basketball now, but I really only go to those games to watch football players play basketball. High school football and high school track are the two sports I most enjoy watching. A little withdrawl, but also a little frustration this morning.

I cannot find any Christmas cards have anything to do with the real reason for the season. Three stores so far and no cards with a Christian theme. Nothing about Jesus Christ or angels. Snoopy, Santa, and sleds, but no religous themes. Maybe I will have to wait until Easter. Alittle thing maybe, but kinda of strange.

In Koehler Drug I ran into my good friend, Mark Ratliff. Like Mark alot, but I am really frustrated with him. Good guy. Works hard. Great wife. Good family man. Does alot for the city of Upper Sandusky. Supports local sports. But, my problem, he is a Michigan fan. Can you believe it? Born in Ohio. Raised in Ohio. Works in Ohio. I mean he actually cheers for Michigan. Even wears their colors. When the Wolverines lose in either basketball of football, he actually feels bad  I thought that it was a "given," that if you were born in Ohio, you were a Buckeye. Actually, I was reluctant to use his name here, for fear some fans might retaliate. Or, he could possibly lose his job. Heard that he is a Steelers' fan. A good friend, but our friendship will never be the same.

I have to mention one more thing about my morning. If you ever visit Upper Sandusky, and you are a fan of Ohio State University football and basketball, visiting Koehler Drug is a must. Owners, Andy and Brenda  Koehler have built a tremendous business selling Ohio State football gifts and merchandise. Small town atmosphere, but big town Buckeye "stuff." Check out their website - And, yes, Andy (brother of former WBNS-TV news anchor, Dave Kaylor) is a "horse blinders" Ohio State fan. The very talkative president of Ohio State University, Gordon Gee has been a guest.

But that is not the story. The story is I met a guy called "The Big Nut." This guy is probably all of 6'4 and a lot of weight. His face was painted in red/silver. He was dressed in OSU "stuff." Actually I do not remember the exact outfit. He gave me his business card. Have no clue why he was dressed and painted the way he was, but he is on Facebook - "Jon BigNut Peters." Have not made time to check it out, but just feel that I should promote him. With his Buckeye paint and dress, he seemed a part of Kohler Stadium.

Have a wonderful weekend. The second season of high school football is heating-up. Actually this second season, at times, becomes more frustrating to me than the regular season. Football recruiting is now in full swing. Keep yourself healthy by not believing half of the "junk" that you read.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

High School Athletes Learn from Chief's Linebacker

I enjoy reading Michael Arace's column in the sports section of the Columbus Dispatch. He often offers a different view than mine, but I find his writing enjoyable. Today his article was about Jovan Belcher's murder of his girlfriend and his own suicide. Most of the commentary focused on the words of Brady Quinn, but what I found was nothing was said of his girlfriend or his where abouts the night before the morning of the shooting of his girlfriend.

The morning before Belcher was found sleeping in his car outside an apartment building10 miles from his home that he shared with his 22 year old girlfriend, the mother of his three month old baby. The police checked the situation about 2:50 a.m. and found no problems. He told police that he was there to visit his girlfriend, but no one was home. Later he made a call and a short time later, a woman let Belcher into her building. He left about 6:30a.m.

At 7:50 a.m. police were called to Belcher's hme after he had shot (multiple  times) and killed his girlfriend. Later he drove to Arrowhead Stadium, met the general manager and the head coach Romeo Crennel. He thanked them for all that they had done for him. When officers arrived, he moved behind a vehicle. Belcher then knelt down and shot himself once in the head.

My goodness, there is a great deal of sadness. Why did his friends not do more to relate to him. What drove him to murder his girlfriend? Anytime I hear a siren, I say a short silent prayer to myself, because somebody is going through a degree of saddness. It is just what I do. Besides the sadness of two deaths, but the act of domestic violence also brings sadness to me.   

Of course, any time a life is lost, I have sympathy. Losing someone close to you changes your life forever. But I have a problem.  We have had a sportscaster call for more gun control, which was out of place. Some wonder if his problems were caused by concussions from playing football. Every problem a pro football player has today, seems to go back to concussions from playing football. People have mentioned how far he has come in his life. But very few people have talked about domestic violence. Gun control, yes, but not much said about domestic violence.

There was a brief moment of silence at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday befre the game. Thank goodness the silence was for 22 year old Kasandra Perkins. It was not for the Jovan Belcher who murdered the three month old baby's mother. Also, a blessing that none of the players did anything to recognize their teammate.

Having never hit my late wife in thirty years of marriage, I cannot relate to domestic violence. Having very few "get-in-your-face" shouting matches, I cannot relate to domestic violence. NBA analyst Charles Barkley said,"There's never a reason to hit a woman, touch a woman or, obviously, kill a woman." I agree. I saw it as a teacher. Never really saw a boy hit a girl, but I saw the disrepect and the yelling at times. To me, this is the beginning. Actually, years ago I saw the results from a girl getting hit many times by her jealous boyfriend.

Just last summer, a college football player was accused by his girlfriend of throwing her against the wall and pushing her down a flight of stairs. Later, the girl recanted her story. Where there is smoke, there is fire.  Of course, domestic violence goes on and most of it is not reported. When it is reported, sometimes, it results in "he said;she said." 

The lesson that I hope young people learn from this blog is to respect women of all ages. A 25 year old pro football player with a bright future was on his way to stardom. Obviously, he had access to money from playing the game. I assume he was respected by his teammates. A woman loved him enough to have his baby. The same can be said for a young athlete. He may be a really good athlete. He may be very popular. He may have a great future. But having all of this going for him, gives him no freedom to use a form domestic violence. No person, athlete or not, has the right to hit a woman. For young athletes, this could also eventually lead to domestic violence.

Start early showing respect for women of all ages. Domestic violence is a sick thing for men to do. You know, I do not know if I would call them men. Do not make excuses. Do not blame stress. Do not blame drugs. Do not blame alcohol. Do not blame the "big time image." Do not blame your father, because he was a violent husband. Do not blame "rejection by a girl." As far removed as this sounds, "You never know how far a temper can take a person. " Scary, but true. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Comments on the OHSAA State Football Championship Games

The Ohio High School State Football Championships were this past weekend. Because I have seen most of the college prospects who were playing in these games, I stayed home to watch most of  the games live on the flat screen. Staying home allowed me to do some final preps in getting ready for winter. Staying home also allowed me time to get some Christmas decorations put up.

As I do with most sporting events on the flat screen, I turn the volume down low enough just to be able to hear some sound. Football announcers have a tendency to be "experts" and that can get silly at times. I will say that Greg Frye does the best as far as the "color guy" on the broadcasts. Former player (which means little to me), he does his homework. Watches alot of games. Sees the game. Shows no "pseudo emotion." All in all, Greg Frye just does a good job.

I read in the Dispatch yesterday about attendance figures for each game. Being a high school football guy, declining attendance is of concern to me. One idea is not to continue to raise admission to the playoff games. I read someplace that 98% of the young men playing high school football do not go onto play in college. With that said, we have alot of families who have to make a decision on how to spend their income. Taking a family of five to Massillon/Canton to watch their son play, or just to watch their son be on the team may not be the best way to spend part of their income. Add travel and food, things do get expensive. Now I am not talking big time college football games. I am talking high school football. I wish more people had the extra money to attend.

Television has gotten huge. I would guess that the television package that the OHSAA gets is good. At least, I would hope so. Would a tape-delayed game serve just as well? Probably not. At least on tape delayed, one could still record it and watch the game anytime. For me, the flat screen is good, because you can really evaluate, because there alot of replays.

Or maybe the problem is just that there are so many other sports going on, both in the high schools and on the college level that we have too many choices.  Even though I really enjoy high school football, if my daughter was playing any level of basketball, I would be at her game. Regardless of what I do, I would be in attendance at her game.

Moving the finals to Columbus and Ohio State cuts down one hour of travel time for me, which is good. Gettingthe State Chamionships back to Columbus was the work of former coach Jim Tressel. I knew Coach Tressel's intentions, but with the new head coach at Ohio State things could change. Do not know, but hope Urban Meyer sees the importance of the games. I like John Cooper, but he did not. Being centrally located may help attendance.

Hats off to the people in Canton and Massillon. They have done a tremendous job over the years. Organized and cooperative. Many volunteers. Some of the frustrations are not from their staff. Always enjoy parking along the street on the hill. Going down the hill is easy, but a bear going up the hill at Fawcett. At Massillon parking is good.

My only problem has been getting credentials to be on the sideline. College scouting services are not allowed on the field. Now I am a service of one. Colleges pay me. I run camps and combines to get kids exposure. My website is meant to help parents and players and to promote players. No charge. College coaches talk with me about Ohio prospects. I speak with schools about the recruiting process for FREE. Finally, I return every email or phone call from parents in regards to footbball recruiting. I work with the Ohio High School Football Coaches with information on recruiting. But the OHSAA has hard and fast rules for con-men like me.

Finally, I did see one game this year. Newark Catholic versus Marion Local. Now they probaly will not be FIVE STARS, but I really like both QB's. Both are scholarship QB's, but right now, I do not know what level. Keep an eye on Newark Catholic's Chayce Crouch and Marion Local's Adam Bertke.

Of course, last year I really liked Toledo Central Catholic's, DeShone Kiser. This year I watched him against Avon High School and liked him more. A recruiting reporter told me he thought that he was just okay. I said, "Really?" He pointed out some weaknesses. I guess I do not like DeShone anymore.

High school football season is officially over. Time to work on my directory for the colleges. The combine dates and sites are finalized. Time to watch Hudl highlight video to evaluate propects in the Classes of 2014, 2015, and yes, 2016. Perhaps the most enjoyment that I get is watching high school football players play basketball or wrestle. In fact, I will be in C-bus on Tuesday night.

Take care. Time to put a Christmas wreath on my late wife's grave. This puts not qualifying for credentials from the OHSAA into perspective.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Leaving Early is Possible for Some Recruits

      Doing some homework this morning, reading the Columbus Dispatch's basketball preview, I noticed that two of McCallister's top football prospects in Central Ohio have opted to graduate in December and enroll early at the University of Michigan. A few days ago, I read where Mr. Football, QB Mitch Trubisky from Mentor is graduating early and enrolling at the University of North Carolina.
      Years ago, when colleges started trying to get their committed players to graduate early, I was, as you can guess, totally against it. Let kids be kids!! Let them go to their senior prom. Let them graduate with their friends. Let their parents hold graduation parties. Let them experience high school. Now, I believe that each situation is different. Some should not leave early. Some prospects are ready to move on, but, most importantly, some NEED to move on. That is the case for both Pickerington North's TE Jake Butt, Pickerington Central's DE Taco Charlton, and Mentor's QB Mitch Trubisky.
      Jake Butt, listed at 6'6-225, has been a very good basketball player at Pick North. Really athletic and his motor never idles on the basketball court. Jumps well. Natural leader. Most of all, really competitive. All of these qualities were evident on the football field as well. Jake needs to get to the training table, because he has to add weight the right way. Not only needs to add weight, but also needs to get stronger.  For this, the move to Michigan in January is good.
      Jake told me that Michigan is going back to a more pro type offense, and at times will be using two tight ends. Both returning scholarship tight ends are sophomores. He simply feels that the move will put him into competition in the spring, rather than waiting until next summer.
      Taco Charlton, at 6'6-235, really impressed me on the basketball court last winter. Big, strong rebounder. Solid defensive player. Really competitive, almost intimidating at times. On the football field, at times I did not see that same intensity on the football field. Played in spurts, but he has the skills. Taco needs  the competition and the push that he will get at Michigan. Pick Central coaches do a really good job, but a college coach "getting in his mind" should help him be better. If not, he will not last in Ann Arbor. Right now, the move to Michigan in January is good.
      "Leaving early gives me a head start over freshmen coming in next summer," was the first comment Taco made. He also said that Michigan coaches believe the extra work will give him a much better chance of getting on the field next fall. Of course, that is his goal.
      QB Mitch Trubisky, the recent Ohio Mr. Football award winner, has put up huge numbers and won awards as the quarterback at Mentor. Some Cleveland media call him the most "Prolific passer in Greater Cleveland history. Have always liked him. Smart. Finds the the 2nd and 3rd receiver. Quick release. Runs well enough to avoid trouble. Good feet. Needs to continue to get physically stronger. Needs some tweaking with his release. Of course, leaving early gives him a chance learn the UNC offense before spring practice. Although I am sure he will miss the cold weather (humor), the move to University of North Carolina is good.
      Mitch's said that leaving early will give him an advantage taking classes early and get him use to studying in college. Also, taking classes this spring will help ease the classload in the fall. Football wise, he will start learning the offense. Being a quarterback, fitting in with the team as soon as possible is important to him.
      My late wife taught the Talented and Gifted program here in Upper Sandusky. She  believed that some students had talents that not every student had. They were "talented and gifted." She taught and encouraged students to work to increase their " talent." Some high school football recruits need to improve their "gift," and getting a head start in college is the way to do it. Leaving early is possible for some prospects, but not for others.
      The best to Jake, Taco, Mitch, and any other prospect who is leaving high school early to improve his gifted abilities.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Be Prepared When the College Football Coach Stops By

Yesterday, one of my college football assistants who gets my information called and complained about a recruit that he visited that morning. Exact words, "Why did people put htis kid on my list?' My first comment was that I didn't. His answer was something like, "Yea, I know."

He preceded to describe how the prospect was dresssed, how skinny he was, and how he did not communicate well. I do not know the prospect very well, but many recruiting reporters have him rated higher than he should be.

I wrote an article a long time back about the appearance and manners that a prospect should follow on game day visits. However, I do not think that I have ever written one about appearance and manners that a prospect should use, when a college coach stops by the school to meet the prospect. This is one of the very few times a coach can visit with a senior. Remember that if you are not a senior, college coaches cannot talk to you. Of course, there is the "bump rule," where a coach says, "Hi" to an underclassman.

Some simple suggestions that I have, hopefully, will give a prospect some insight. The evaluation period will end December 16. The next two weeks will be the dead period. The evaluation period will start again in January.
      1. Be in school everyday. Don't slack off. Coaches usually only have time to stop once. Their schedule is really hectic. They may be in your area for just one or two days. Be in school every day the next two weeks. December 6-14
     2. Although I would not expect you to "overdress," but during the evaluation period forget the jeans with holes in them. Wear clothes that are appropriate for school. Nice shirt and nice jeans. Be well groomed. Coaches can stop at anytime during the day. Be prepared for a visit.
     3. As you approach the recruiter, lose any kind of ego. Be humble to the fact that a college recruiter is stopping to meet you.
     4. As you chat with the recruiter, make eye contact. You analyze him as much as will be analyzing you. Absorb everything that he says to you. Regardless of the school, show interest.
     5. Ask questions - How many prospects are you recruiting for my position? Do I have an offer? are just some of the questions to ask.
     6. Be honest. Especially when talking about your GPA and test scores. Also be honest about what other schools are recruiting you. Be honest when discussing other offers that you have received.
     7. Do not crack on other colleges. Limit the information that you reveal about what are other colleges are telling you. Do not be negative.
     8. Be sure to thank the recruiter for taking the time to visit with you. Ask him for a business card. Shake hands and walk back to class.
     8. After you have talked to a recruiter, be sure you know what an "offer"really means. Be sure to talk with your coach about the conversation. If any reference to an "offer" is made, be sure you understand what was said about an "offer."
    9. Limit what you tell recruiting reporters from recruiting websites. Even though they tell you that you can trust them - do not. Their job is to get information and be the first to post it on their website. Give them basic information about your visit. You are not obligated to tell them every detail.
  10. Share the details of your visit with your parents. Get ready for another day and more recruiters.

Underclassmen - Realize that if a coach recruiter is talking to you, he is breaking an NCAA rule. Realize that he knows that he is breaking an NCAA rule. Realize that saying "Hi" is a stretch, but a chat is breaking an NCAA rule.     

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Meet Whitmer's Jerry Bell

Last winter I was watching some high school football players from the Toledo area working out at a Mike Robinson camp. Think that it was in February. Not alot of players, but they were being coached by members of Mike's staff. While I was watching, Jerry Bell stopped by to be sure everything was going right. That began my communication with the new head football coach at Toledo Whitmer, Jerry Bell.

At the time, I remember thinking to myself, "You have a big job ahead of you." You see, through transfers, move-ns, and home ground talent, Whitmer was loaded last year. I mean, they had excellent high school players, with one going to Nebraska and one to Michigan and one to Michigan State. Their top RB had grade issues, but was one of the top RB's in the state. Whitmer also had a junior WR whom I considered one of the best in the Class of 2013, but he chose to concentrate on basketball this year and forego football.. Unbelievable talent, but got out coached against St Ignatius in the state semi-finals and missed playing in the State Championship Game.

Then head coach Joe Palko moved on to Saline, MI to gide their football program.

Toledo Whitmer made an excellent decision in selecting their new head football coach. They "stayed inside" and selected Jerry Bell, a junior high social studies at Jefferson Junior High in the Whitmer system. Jerry had coached the offensive line at Whitmer for the last ten years. In comparing personality and appearance, Brady Hoke and Jerry are in the same mold, while Joe Palko and Lane Kiffin would be in the same mold. Coached Bell talked to me more that night, than Palko talked with me over five years. Of course, that is unless he wanted something.

Bell is on the way to finishing the "big job" that I thought was ahead of him. This Saturday night Whitmer plays Cincinnati Moeller for the Division One Ohio High School State Championship. Whitmer went through the season without losing a game. Their QB Nick Holley played behind the coach's son last season, but has been the "truth" this year. Gone are the seniors from last year's team. Honestly, they may have two pre-season D-1 recruits this year, as compared to six or seven last year. A total team effort with alot of disciplined, confident, and well coached high school players will be needed to beat Moeller.

Jerry Bell deserves every post season honor that he gets this year. I talk to him over the cell occasionally and have spoken with him before the three games that I have attended this fall. Whitmer football will be in good hands with him promoting his players and leading a very sound program. The Whitmer Board of Education made the right decision by staying "in house."

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Stay Away from the Noise."

"Stay away from the noise." I read this comment made by the head football coach at Bishop Hartley High School. Brad Burchfield tells this to his football team all of the time. His team has been ranked number one in Division Four all season long. This week they play  in the state semi-finals.

So hard for young high school football players to avoid  reading about themselves in the media. When you are playing on one of the top teams in Ohio, the media coverage gets more intense. Not only in the larger cities, but small town newspapers and radio also blow-up their area teams. This happens on all levels of sports, but I see it in high school football, because that is where I focus. Honestly, as much as a coach tries to limit the over confidence that players gain from the media, it is really a hard hard to do.

I guess I see it more with internet media. Message boards can work both ways. The "noise" can "blow-up" a team, just as easily as it can "deflate" a team. I do not read JJ Huddle or Yappi, so I am not exactly familiar with what is said. I do see comments after stories on line. With newspaper coverage available on the internet, easier access to stories is available.

Recruiting websites who constantly offer opinions on a prospect's ability create alot of "noise." Recruiting reporters write stories on prospects. One problem - to make the stories more interesting, some reports do interviews, but also make up information just to catch the reader's eye. Ranking players brings readers to the recruiting sites. This creates more "noise."

With the regular season of college football winding down, football recruiting will be in full swing. Coaches will be pounding the pavement and will be "bumping" into prospects in the halls. Recruiting reporters will start being more aggressive over the phone. They need content. Plus many of the recruiting reporters have communicatuion lines with a certain college. That reporter gets some limited inside information from a college staff. Of course that same reporter gives the college contact information on what a prospect is saying.

Some free advice for the higher profile recruit. If you do not want anything released through internet media, do not tell anyone your plans. Telling a recruiting reporter not to say anything is a "joke." Case in point was a few weeks ago, a high profile "2014 recruit" told some writer his plans for announcing his verbal commitment later in the week. "Do not say anything." The information was on the internet before he hung up the phone. All of the pieces did not fall into place, and the recruit had to postpone his plans. The reporter who broke the news did not have all of the details and made the recruit look bad.

When Maty Mauk was being recruited by Notre Dame last year, some recruiting reporter from New Jersey who worked for a Notre Dame recruiting site kept calling both Maty and his dad about information. The reporter kept asking  them, if he could break the news first. Of course, the Mauks handled all of the "recruiting BS" the right way and did not tell anybody first.

Simply, try to stay away from all of the "noise." Whether you are a high profile recruit, or a high school player playing a contenting team, do not get caught up in all of the media hype. Easy for me to say, but, at least I say it. One would be surprised at the number of phone calls I get from disappointed players and parents over the dishonesty in football recruiting.

Because of the newness and the excitement of having a son involved in the football recruiting process, players, parents, and some high school coaches just become overwhelmed. Remember football recruiting is a business, sometimes an ugly business, for the college coach.  Save yourself alot of disappointment and frustration with the football recruiting process by trying to "stay away from the noise."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Former Poland Star - Apparent Suicide

As a teacher, I experienced suicides throughout my thirty one years of teaching. All were tough on me, and three were really hard, because I knew them really well. Had them in class and coached one. Also had a boy whom I had coached at Lakota and was a really good person. He died when he was twenty-one.

Read in the Youngstown paper last night that former Poland football standout, Darius Patton died from an apparent suicide early Thursday morning. Sources said Patton may have hanged himself because of a break-up. The reason is really irrelevant to me.

Darius Patton played his last two years of high school football at Poland High School. I considered him one of the better wide receivers in the Ohio Class of 2011. Talked with him three different times and liked his attitude. Competitive and focused.

Pitt scholarshiped him, but he was hospitalized during football season his freshman year. According to the newspaper, he was not on the Pitt roster this fall.

Suicide is a very sad time for me. Hard to explain. I always worry what must have driven a young person, or older person for that matter, to the point that life was no longer worth living. What sruggles must they have had? Although I never contemplated taking my life, I know when my wife battled and lost to cancer, how tough it was. We cannot read a person's mind, to understand all of the emotions that they are experiencing.

Counselors have expertise in this area, but I remember one, years ago, whom I took issue with. She told the students all of the negative about a young seventh grader taking his on life. She told me that in no way did she want Ryan to be the good guy. She wanted the junior high students to love him, but be really upset at him for taking his own life. Part of the problem for me was not what she said, but how she said it. I did not agree with her approach then, and eighteen years later, still do not.

I do not know the issues that Darius had, nor do I need to know. I read where is dad is scheduled to be sentenced for drug related offenses on November 27. I do not know  Darius's life style. The paper mentioned a break-up.  Really I know nothing about him after he was graduated from Poland High School in 2011.

I do know that a young 19 year old took his life. Because of his football talent, I was able to talk with him on three occasions. But it does not matter whether he played football or not. I have saddness for what he must have gone through in his life for him to take his own life. Finally, I have saddness that we do not have enough faith to carry us through every situation.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Congrats to Rambsy, McVey, and Monteroso

Just looking over the All-District football teams and really feel good that I have seen many of the players who have received All-District recognitiion. Recently, I blogged my "two cents" about the relativeness of receiving All-District recogntion to being a Division 1 scholarship prospect. Three players who I want to comment on are Alfred Ramsby, Tim McVey, and Dan Monteroso.

Miami of Ohio may have one of the sharpest recruiting staffs in the MAC. At least they do in their evaluation of Colerain's senior Alfred Rambsy. LA missed last year because of terrible knee injury. Plays QB at Colerain, but at 5'11-185 (listed), Miami wants him as a corner. After watching him play against Elder last weekend, I scratch my head as to why more schools have not offered him. He very well be the most electrifying runner in Ohio. Excellent change of direction, excellent burst, really good top speed. A threat to go the distance everytime he touches the ball. Most of all, he loves to compete. Watching him on the sidelines, he just seems to a nice team player. Of course, he is not very tall.

Cleveland St Ignatius may have the toughest, most competitive running back in Ohio. Buffalo has offered and, I think that he has committed to them. Good choice. RB Tim McVey is 5'10-185(listed), but is a powerful inside and outside runner. Excellent ball catcher. Excellent burst. Track speed. Just like LA Rambsy, McVey is electrifying with ball in his hands. His second, third, and fourth effort make him special. As with LA, Tim is also a total team player. Of course, he is not very tall.

"Of course, he is not very tall." I used that comment for both of these really tough, exciting players. They can run fast. They play really physical. They are very athletic. They can play numerous positions. They are really good young men. By the way, the game in - game out competition they play is not too bad. There is chance that they could play against each other in the OHSAA Division 1 State Football Championship Game. Only two colleges in the Midwest have offered them?????? Yes, I know "Of course, they are not very tall."

This fall I drove to St Clairsville to check out LB Michael Ferns, a Michigan commit. The player that jumped out at me that night was WR Dan Monteroso. Listed 6'3-180, and he may be that tall. Ran really well. Smooth stride. Really athletic. Could separate. Combined with the speed, he caught the ball really well. For me, he had that wide receiver confidence and swagger. I did not see him in camp and only saw him that night. He has committed to Boston College. He was named East All-District Division IV offensive player of the year. Not so sure about what is going on at BC, but I think that he can play.

Glad these young men are getting a chance to show their "stuff" in the playoffs. Coach John Cooper always said, " It is not the size of the dog, but the size of the fight in the dog." With Dan Monteroso, I always say, "If you are good enough, someone will find you."

Being a "MAC Guy," I am a little disappointed.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Excuses for a "Blogless Week."

      Actually some people have emailed me as to where my blog entries have been over the last week. Just need a minute to inform my readers of all that's happening at the farm. Things have been happening, but first, I must say that the blog is something that I do for fun. Gives me a way to vent and also a way to give my opinions.
      Last Thursday night my oldest son and his wife brought Cora Ellis McCallister into the world. Super healthy, but was not ready to make her entry into the world until she was ready. Cora had to be induced. Everything went well. First grand child. My second grandbaby is due January 20. My daughter is having a boy.
      My eleven month old labrador had her tubes removed last Wednesday morning. Picked her up from the vet on Friday morning. All is well. Things were going well, until I saw a big black dog near my property. I had the talk with Hunter about planned parenthood, but she did not understand. Had to have the surgery done.
      Last week I was able to get all of my mailings to the Ohio High School football coaches mailed out. These are reference sheets where they provide communication/personal information on their college prospects. Since I am poor and a micro manager, I do all the work myself. My printer lives in Findlay. Three trips were required. Colleges pay for that information.
     Also used some good weather days to get all of my outside work done in preparation for winter. Live on four acres and much had to be done.
     For some reason my weekly evaluations to the colleges took longer to do than usual last week. This weeks are done and emailed to the colleges.
     As I always told my students, excuses are like noses, everybody has one. Those are some of my excuses for being "blogless" for a week.
     Looking forward to writing tonight.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cheering for my Hometown Rams

Just wanted to recognize my Rams from Upper Sandusky. After finishing the season at 7-3 Upper Sandusky finished 8th in their region in Division four. The good news is that they have made the playoffs for the first time since the "Greg Micheli Years." The bad news is that they play Bishop Hartley tomorrow night. The Hawks are rated the number one team in Division Four. That rating is probably justified.

I am really happy for the Rams. I travel every weekend and do not get to see them play. But once a Ram, always as Ram. I do know three of the younger players, and I like what the team represents in the community. The only time that I saw them practice was this summer at 2:00 on a hot Saturday afternoon. At that time, they went full go tackle drills for at 35 minutes. From that, I know that they work hard are mentally tough.

Upper Sandusky used to play in the Northern Ohio League. In fact, I did, too, back in the day. The Rams were one of the smaller schools in the conference. Recently they joinded a new league in the area with two divisions. The Crawford County schools forseeing a drop in talent, decided to break from the new league and start another league without the Rams, Ontario, and Galion. Now they have to join yet another league.

If I am betting man, the Rams are probably going to be in for a long night. It is what it is. Quite simply, Hartley is athletic, fast, strong, and well coached. They also have some legit Division I level college players. But the Rams are in the playoffs and that is really huge for the community.

There will be some more  "Upper Sandusky's" playing tomorrow and Saturday night. Teams who are going to simply be out matched will be playing throughout the state. Upper Sandusky finished 7-3. Many teams in Ohio would love to have the 7-3 record. Many teams in Ohio would love to have been preparing for a playoff game this week but are not. Many teams in Ohio would love the challenge of proving themselves against a higher ranked team. Finally, many communities would love to experience the excitement of a playoff game.

As for me, Ohio did not have the playoff system back in the 60's. We would have had no chance anyway. We were not very good my senior year. In fact, we were getting hammered against Shelby. At half-time, our coach said,"If you want to quit and go home, go." Twelve players started taking off their uniforms. As a head coach, the playoffs had not been expanded yet. We never were good enough to make it. Now, my youngest son played at Kenton in the "Ben Mauk" years. Enough said.

Good luck to the Rams. In fact, good luck to all of the teams in the Playoffs, especially the underdog teams. Play hard. Most of all, do not forget the season that you had just to make the playoffs. Do not forget all of the sweat, as well as the fun that had as a team. Most of all, do not forget that there are roughly 523 high schools in Ohio that will be watching games this weekend, instead of playing.

Go Upper Sandusky Rams.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stats, All-District, All State

Two weeks ago I had a conversation with a parent about the number of tackles that his son was collecting during the season. Really was proud of the number of solos and assist that he had so far in the season. He mentioned to me that his son was either leading the league or close to leading the league in total tackles. His son is only a sophomore, but his dad thought that would be huge for him in recruiting.

When I told him that I pay very little attention to stats when evaluating a prospect, he was taken back. First, the league stats for tackles was unofficial. Second, who keeps the charts. Finally, even though a player may make alot of tackles, he may not pass the eyeball test. What is his size? No, that should not matter for being recruited, but you know it does.

After the season is completed, I will get all kinds of stats from all kinds of football players. Really, I do not have time to go through all of the stats. Between working on my directory and watching video, my time is limited. College coaches do not get caught up in stats. For me, pass interceptions may be the stat that I pay attention to the most. A DB at Toledo Whitmer, I believe has 7 picks. That is pretty good. So much of the statistics can be controlled by the coaches. Finally, stats influence sports writers picking All-District and All-Ohio teams.

Speaking of All-District and All-Ohio teams brings me to my main concern in this blog. Every year I go through the All-District teams closely, looking for names, especially underclassmen. I really look for players who play for teams that I have not seen during the season. The All-District teams are a good source for finding players.

Every year, I hear some of the same old comments. " I was first team All-Northwest District, and I do not have any Division I coaches communicating with me." " First team All-Ohio DE and I have no offers." " Second team All-District as a sophomore. My player is a definite Division I prospect."

One of the problems is that the first team All-District offensive lineman  is 6'2-285. Some defensive linemen may top out at 5'10. Or a first team quarterback is 5'10 and only plays QB. A corner may run 4.7. No matter how athletic or how competitive a player is, he has to pass the eyeball test and run well.

Another problem is that high school sports writers  get caught up in statistics. A quarterback's passing stats could be very influencing. Some coaches pad the defensive stats. Tackle charts can be unreal. Pancakes for offensive linemen impresses voters. Some writers get caught up in the success of the team. My first year at Lakota we were 7-3. In the four years prior, they had won six games. We had three players make first team, and one played Division III.

When I coached at Ridgedale High School, we were the northern most school in Class A. We were almost guaranteed a first team player every year. Reporters wanted all areas of the district recognized. Our players deserved the award, but none were Division I prospects.

For a parent's own sanity, realizing that the All-District and All-State teams are rewards for having a really good season and not an indicator of college potential is important . High school players, regardless of college potential, deserve recogntion if they played well, or if their play contributed to a successful season for their school. Sometimes a high school player does not have the GPA/Test score to get into a college, but has played very well for his high school team. All-District or  All-Ohio is  a nice reward.

Finally, do not get discouraged if you think that you are a college  recruit and do not make All-District or All-State. Work hard in the offseason and go into the college summer football camps intent on impressing the college coaches. At the end of the day, college coaches are the ones who need to be impressed. Your high school stats and whether you made All-District or not will not matter. What you do in front of the college coaches will be huge in your recruiting process.

Congrats to you if you get post season honors. If you did not receive any post season recognition, take a break and get ready for next year. If you are a senior, I hope you enjoyed your high school football experience.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Applause for the Mid American Conference

First and foremost, Ohio State University, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Penn  State are some of the most respected football programs in the Midwest. Of course, the Big Ten is one of the top six conferences in the country. This is pretty much a given. Just as I believe that the GLIAC is getting stronger, I also believe the Mid American Conference is getting stronger and stronger.

I remember chatting with then Bowling Green head coach Gary Blackney years ago. He told me that he was tired of the phrase "MAC player." He said that he was tired of  the Ohio high school football coaches giving out the MAC list of players. More recently, former Toledo head coach Tim Beckman would tell me the same.

Although some games are better today, MAC schools often play the top BCS schools to get a big paycheck. Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressell thought it was important to bring Ohio MAC football teams to the Shoe. Some exposure for those schools, but, moreso, a big paycheck. Kent State went to Alabama last year for a good deal of money. One of the biggest problems with this is that the money is spread throughout the entire MidAm school's sports department. Those other sports teams do not attend many home games or show alot of support for the football team , but benefit from sharing the wealth.

Ball State has beaten Indiana two years in a row. Indiana is in the Big Ten and has had some close games with other Big Ten schools. Louisville just sneaked by Ball State by two points. Ohio University beat Penn State the opening game of the season. I am well aware of the state of Penn State football, but it is still Penn State and Happy Valley. Toledo, most recently, beat Cincinnati. Western Michigan beat UConn. Finally, Northern Illinois beat a bad Kansas team.

There were some blowouts, for sure, but there were some close games, too. Florida beat Bowling Green at Florida 27-14. Arizona beat Toledo at Arizona, 24-17. For some reason, every MAC school seems to beat Army.

Last Saturday. Kent State hammered Rutgers 35-23. Turnovers big time for Rutgers. But The Golden Flashes made good on many of those Rutgers' mistakes. Rutgers was rated 18th in the country for whatever value that is. BCS and rated - not bad for the 7-1 Golden Flashes.

Players often tell me that they want to play at the "highest level" possible. I applaude that thinking, but so often a prospect will end up being a practice player and maybe never see the field until his senior year. Now,  not trying to negative, but it happens. BCS schools outswide of Ohio feel that it is important to take a player or two out of Ohio. Taking the player, even though he is a stretch, gives them an Ohio connection, in case they go after more Ohio guys.

Why go to a "Purdue or a Vanderbilt," when you can stay in Ohio and play winning football in the MAC. "Boucebacks" happen all of the time. Of course, I understand the "egos" of parents and the dreams of players. Honestly, tough decision.  At least visit some MAC programs to see what is available. Again, I know it is a tough choice, but football is still football.

Coming out of Findlay High School years ago, Ben Roethlisberger chose Miami over some bigger programs. Pittsburgh Steelers' James Harrison played at Kent State. Of course, the list goes on and on. Most recently, Miami quarterback Zac Dysert has done well as a passer. From the small town of Ada, Ohio, will definitely get some looks from the League scouts.

One of my favorite players in the MAC is Kent State's Trayion Durham. A listed 6'0-250 RB, he has the tools and potential to play on Sundays. At Colerain High School, he always played FB in their option offense. Always had his hand down, but you could see his RB potential in the spread. Main problem with Trayion is that you do not always know who is going to show up, or how hard he will run on every play. When he runs, he is a beast. There is a place for him in the League, but needs to watch the scales.

If you are a recruit and reading my blog, do not "blow-off" the Mid American Conference. The crowds are not always the largest and the facilities are not always top line (although Toledo and Akron are not too bad), but football is football. Winning is still fun. Playing makes mom and dad happy. Maybe most important of all, NFL scouts visit the campus every spring. Four regular season games left- Get to a Mid American Conference game.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"Big 33" People Drop Ohio in the Allstar Game

Pennsylvania organizers for the "Big 33" All Star football game have notified the Ohio High School Football Coaches Directors that they are no longer interested in playing Ohio in the "Big 33" game held in Hershey, PA. They are going to sign a five year agreement with Maryland.

Amazing to me. Bush league move. The OHSFCA Director's have gone overboard to work with the "Big 33" Directors. I mean overboard. I know, because I am at the meetings and know just some of what was going on. Last year, 2012 was a one year extension. Not good enough for PA.

The biggest problem is that Ohio was beating Pennsylvania almost every summer. "Big 33" directors instituted new rules every year. New rules, even while the games were in progress. They kept uping the fees every year. I really can not go into details, but the average Ohio high school football follower would be amazed at all that went on. The PA players tried to intimidate Ohio players, only to get beat on the field

Due to players leaving early for college. Due to players leaving for summer school. Due to players afraid of injury. Due to some college football coaches asking their recruits not to play in the game (Yes they did). Ohio could not always send the very high profile players. But Ohio coaches sent really good players who played with much pride and emotion. Of course, they still beat Pennylvania. Now, PA plays Maryland.

Honestly, in some ways I am glad that we humiliated them so often that they had to drop us. Ohio has to sit back and take a long look at the situation. The Directors will meet in December. The "Big 33" Directors have been pushing Ohio around. Not Ohio's fault the game was losing money.

Hopefully, the Ohio North-South Allstar Directors  will look to see how that game can be improved. First, get it out of Ohio Stadium. Change the date. Change the starting time. Crew Stadium is interested in hosting the game. This time keep the Columbus Visitors Bureau out of the picture. There are some other improvments needed. Due to renovating Ohio Stadium, the game will not be played there this summer.

Everything will workout for the best. I guess if I were the Pennsylvania people and were beaten by the Ohio players year in and year out, I would stop playing Ohio, also. By the way, the Big 33 people said that after the five year contract with Maryland is over, they would be glad to sit down with Ohio  and talk about the series.

People have to remember that even though California, Texas, Florida, and Georgia produce many top players, Ohio is one of the best high school football organizations in the country. Excellent coaches and many well coached players throughout the state. Excellent playoff system. Pennsylvania throwing in the towel is tough to take, but we are Ohio.

Five Star Ratings - Recruit Football Players

Over the past six weeks I have become increasingly disgusted with this whole system of "Star ratings" and with the recruiting of "camp guys." I know that football recruiting "nuts" really get into the Star System, and it gives the recruiting reporters something to do to keep getting a paycheck. I guess "nuts" would include university presidents. Rating a propsect with "stars," entertains people. Offering a prospect after a good summer camp, makes work easier for college recruiters.

During the early days of high school football this fall, I was told who the three best junior prospects in Ohio were. I have seen those prospects, and they are good college prospects. Because they were offered by some of the top programs in the Midwest, they automatically become four or five stars. Just on "whose offered" guarantees them four stars. My concern is for the prospect himself. What effect does this Star System have on a prospect who has not been evaluated in actual games?

This morning a friend of mine who is a "Big Buckeye football fan" cornered me at the post office. "What is the story on the OSU defense and Curtis Grant?" Answer was simple. Since I have not made time to watch the Buckeyes, and the fact O-State has a good defensive staff,  "Don't know." He told me that Grant was a "5-Star recruit" and one of the top LBers in the country, but was not getting any playing time." Since he is not an "Ohio player," I really never saw him play in high school. For the record, AJ Hawk was a "two or three star." Check what John Simon's Star rating was coming out of high school. I told my friend that I did not understand the "Star-rating" system.

More and more, college coaches in the Midwest seem to be recruiting "camp guys" rather that "football players." In the South, college coaches recruit football players and the reason is simple. Florida, Georgia, and Texas, among others, have two weeks of high school spring football  Actual pads and contact. They also have a type of "football jamboree," which is a scrimmage between different schools. Ohio WILL NEVER have high school spring football like the South. I have no problem with that, but that is not the problem.

The problem is that college coaches continue to offer a high school prospect if he does well at their suimmer camp. He can run fast. He can jump. He can swagger. He can complete the ball to every receiver almost every play. College coaches seem to forget that when young men put the pads on things can change. Now the ball does not get to every receiver. Now with pads on he does not run as fast. Now with pads on the prospect loses his swagger, because the defender will hit back. This does not happen to every college prospect, but the odds keep increasing.

Honestly, as strange as it may seem, young college coaches do not take the time to really evaluate a prospect. They do not listen to what the recruit is saying, and they do not really concentrate on the recruit's verbal or nonverbal. They also go off of list from the recuiting "experts," like Tom Lemming. Lemming is a recruiting reporter, not an evaluator of talent. Coaches, old and young look at a highlight video, and, sometimes offer off of the highlight video. Do you think a recruit is going to put bad plays on a "highlight" video? Coaches must spend more time on recruiting and evaluations.

Of the course, the big question is always, "Who else is recruiting him?" I mean I hear that all of the time. Big deal. If O-State offers a prospect, every coach in the Midwest will be offering him. Last year Nick Saban was offering prospects in Ohio. Really the only reason he was doing that was to put pressure on Ohio State. Also, some programs in the Big Ten have offered any player who can walk and chew gum at the same time. Good Luck!

Things are not going to change, nor are football recruiting practices going to slow down. Only get worse. One recruiting point to remember - If in the summer, a college coach tells the prospect, "We like you from the camp, and you will have an offer. Offer is there, but we need to look at some other players, too. Play hard those first three or four games, and you will for sure have an offer." If a coach tells the prospect that - Good luck!

Finally, I am not trying to be negative with whole football recruiting world. I just hate to see good kids messed over. I talk with parents all of the time about the good, the bad, and the ugly of football recruiting. Honesty is not one of my weaknesses.
     Smile at the Star Rating System, but do not take it serious. One national recruiting reporter wanted to lower Braxton Miller's QB rating, because he had a bad all-star game in Florida in December.
     Smile when Rivals, or any of the other recruiting websites rank you high, but remember the recruiting reporters have not not seen every prospect on the list.
     Smile, but remember when a recruiting reporter wants to do a story on you, he has to do so many stories a month to get paid.
     Smile when you get an award at a college football summer camp, but remember football is still played with pads on. The recognition is good, but you still play the game
     Smile when you get invited to either  the Army Combine in Texas over Christmas, but remember the cost and, if you are just a guy, you will be treated like just a guy.
     Simile when you run over a defender in a game, or when you hit somebody so hard that both of you are slow to get up, or when you "spin-it" throw after throw and defenders in your face, or you when you break four tackles to score a TD.  That's football.
Ohio is never going to get high school spring football like the South. but if an Ohio high school football can play "lights-out" play after play after play on Friday nights, he has  a chance. May be someday college coaches will concentrate on recruiting " football players" again. "Woody and Bo" Days would be here again. (But with the spread offense)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Stay Focused - Play with Energy

      The high school football game that I watched last night was a game that I need to see once in a while. Just like I travel to rural school settings to watch excellent high school football, I like to go into a city to watch good inner city football. Maybe not all of the big time college prospects, but good coaching and maybe I can find  a "diamond in the rough" or two.
      If I am a sophomore and measure about 6'2-270 and start on both the offensive and the defensive lines, I may be a potential college recruit. If I run well and can change direction, I may be a potential college recruit. If my take off is good, if I play pad under pad, if I can find the ball and finish plays, I may be a potential college recruit. Finally, if my grades are just okay now, but I work hard to improve them, I may be a potential college recruit.
     But if I walk on and off the field, I need to change my attitude. If when coming back from the halftime break, I just walk, instead of jogging 50 yards toward my team doing warm-ups, I need to change my attitude. During the play, especially on defense, if I pursue hard and go to the whistle, but walk slowly back to the huddle, I need to change my attitude.  Whenever I can, I walk.
      I watched a sophomore last night who has the potential to be a Division I player coming out of his senior year. There a lot of things that he does well, and I like him. Granted just a sophomore, but he needs to show a lot more energy. He needs to develop that energy level now, so that those good habits continue into next year. This winter he needs those good habits. If he has a chance to go some camps next summer, he needs to show coaches that he has energy, not only when he does a drill, but anytime he needs to hustle instead of walk.
      For all of the young players who have the aspirations of playing Division I college football, making the tackle, or the block, or the catch, or the run is important. But what you do between the plays is equally important to college recruiters. Running on and off the field. Walking slowly back to the huddle. Not staying involved with the game, while on the sidelines. No energy in pre-game. To me, these mistakes all come under attitude. That is, poor attitude. Good college evaluators will see that. Although I am not a good college evaluator, why do you think I prefer the sidelines to the pressbox?
      Finally, if you are a "no-brainer" football recruit who only shows effort during the play, some college coaches will take a chance and sign you. We see that all of the time. But if you have okay talent with a bad attitude, good luck. The simple answer is bust your butt all of the time. Stay focused and show energy, especially, if you are a sophomore with talent.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Head Coaches Comment About Ohio Prep Football

      Really appreciated Rob Oller's column in the Columbus Dispatch this morning. The article, for the most part, was about the combine record of five college teams in Ohio. Only Division I schools were covered.
      Ohio State and the Ohio University are both 7-0. University of Cincinnati is 5-0. Mid -American schools, Toledo and Kent State are both 5-1. Doing the math, 30 wins and 2 losses. According to Oller, fourteen teams are undefeated in the Football Bowl Subdivision, with OSU, UC, and Ohio in that group.
      What I really liked were the comments of Darrell Hazell, head coach at Kent State, Matt Campbell, head coach at Toledo, and Butch Jones, head coach at Cincinnati, and Frank Solich, head coach at Ohio University. All four coaches praised the high school football played here in Ohio.
      Hazell and Campbell boasted about the quality of high school football coaches in Ohio. Jones and Solich commented on the quality of high school players here in the state. I think, if you look at the "Big 33 All-Star" games every year, Ohio is always well represented. Usually with a win! Honestly, because of prior commitments, leaving early for college, injuries, and the fact that some universities discourage players from playing in the game, Ohio is not always able to send its top college prospects to the game. The depth of high school talent is evident, as well as, the quality of coaches in all divisions. Again, usually with a win.
      One of the strengths of Ohio high school football is the quality and the longevity of the head coaches. But more than that are the high school programs themselves. Programs are well organized. All year around strength training. Not only good head coaches, but also, quality assistants, both young and old. I do not about other states, but as I travel around the state, I see more and more African American coaches working with young men. Some old, some young, but all are coaching, rather just wearing a coaching shirt.
      One of the biggest problems in Ohio high school football is money. Of course, almost every program has that problem. With teacher cutbacks, many of the young coaches with teaching degrees, cannot get jobs in the same school system. Having taught for 31 years, I see and understand both sides of the situation.
      Nice to read the comments from the coaches. Anytime high school football in Ohio gets some "love," I am happy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thanks WBNS in Columbus

      As far back as the Bob Trumpy days at WLW in Cincinnati, I have been a brief listener of sports talk radio. I use the word, "brief'", because, when sports talk guys make comments that attack people, then I pop-in a Michael W. Smith CD.  Most of the time I am driving the Saturn and like to be updated on sports news. However, I know alot of Michael W's music.
      WBNS radio has suspended the co-host, Scott Torgerson, or as he goes by "the Torg," for a tweet that he made last weekend directed toward Desmond Howard of ESPN College Football Gameday. The tweet was that he wished Howard would "get fired or die," so he could watch Gameday again. The sad thing is that this is not the first time that is guilty of adolesent comments. Both he and his sidekick, the Common Man, constantly make fun of people on their show. Criticism, I can handle, but personal attacks, no. I mean, what qualifies them to do what they do. Needless to say, I listen to Michael W. alot , when I am in Central Ohio.
      When Jon Diebler was a freshman at Ohio State, they were brutal on him, but the last two years of his OSU career, they "slobbered" all over him. Being an Upper Sandusky guy, do not attack Jonny D. When Brady Hoke became the head football coach at Michigan, these two made fun of his apprearance and qualifications. Coach Hoke is an old friend of mine, and I am sure he still slept at night, regardless of their comments. But why make fun of his appearance?
      Most recently, a sports talk clown in Toledo has been calling for a coaching change at one of the high schools in Toledo. First of all, years ago I heard him on his show. At that time, I wondered if he knew "whether you blew up a football of stuffed it." But calling for a change of football coaches on the high school level on sports talk radio is "small time or bush."
      Of course, some of the "sports talk show" guys on both the regional and national level have played the game and can add much insight. Charles Barkley may be one of the best. Chris Spielman, the legend in Columbus, understands the game. I said this once about sports talk hosts. Many of them are like the kid in school who would "mouth-off" to the players or criticize the team or players, mostly if they were losing.  But you could not do anything to him, because he was the short, skinny mouthy kid who knew no one could touch him. Always remember Bills QB Jim Kelly's confronting Jim Rome.
      The sports' talk shows are not going to go away. Controversy brings listerners to the station, just as controversy brings readers to sports' websites. The "Torg" crossed the line and WBNS made the right move. At my age, I understand that. The "old school guy" works at becoming more modern day media guy, but for now, Michael W. Smith needs to keep recording new CD's.

Untested Prospect in Warren

      Sometimes even a blind squirrel can find a nut. This was the case last Friday night at the Warren Harding - Cleveland Heights football game.
      I was standing along the Harding sidelines, and this young man was standing beside me wearing a Harding jersey. Passed the eyeball test. I asked him if he was injured, and he said, "No." More small talk. "So, did you play last year?" Another, "No." He went on to tell me that he was on the freshman team at Warren Harding. My immediate thought was - "Oh, my!"
     This freshman  probably measures 6'1-190 on a solid frame. Told me he ran a 4.8/40, which is good. Most players generally answer, "4.5." Of course, that is usually not true. 4.5 is a number that they have heard used for skilled players, so that often is the automatic response. This dude(modern term) was honest and I like that. Talked to him about what to expect in the recruiting madness ahead. Also gave him the names of "jock sniffers" to be cautious of. As with any feshman, asked him about the classroom. He has a 3.49 GPA.
     Talked for about five minutes and then the halftime was over. As I was leaving, I told him (if he wanted and had time) he should go to my website and email me a player information form. When I checked my emails Saturday morning, his player information was there. He had emailed the infro around 11:00 Friday night. That alone tells me something about a young prospect.
     Very few freshmen, in this case players in the Class of 2016, get much public recognition from me. Just too early. Some are no brainers, like Jalin Marshall (Middletown) or Dymonte Thomas (Marlington). For me, they were "offers" after their freshman year. Now the young man I met last Friday is not on the level of those two, but my guess is that he will begin getting attention next year as a sophomore.
     For some reason, the name Herron is really popular in the Warren area. Boom's nephew really impressed me last Friday night. Now, I have not seen him in pads, nor have I seen him in any camps. But, I like what I saw and heard last Friday.. Hopefully, even a blind squirrel can find a nut once in a while.

Monday, October 15, 2012

If You are Good Enough, Somebody will Find You!

Traveling across the state Thursday, Friday, and Saturday almost every week evaluating college prospects leaves Sunday a day of relaxing and showin some love for my labrador. I have really gotten away from watching the NFL games. Yesterday, however,  I watched the Browns-Bengals game, and since I like the competitive nature of Jim Harbaugh, I watch some of the Giants- 49ers. Probably the most rewarding time was watching some of the Ohio high school players compete.

Since I am a Woody Hayes disciple, I  still care about Ohio State University football. O-State has a rich tradition of winning football and to play there has to be a really good experience. But sometimes we forget that other schools give scholarships. Even at the pro-level, I believe that if you are good enough, someone will find you. The same at the college level, but the media and alumni can sometimes influence a college coaching staff in the recruiting of a prospect. But, again, if you are good enough, someone will be willing to give you a chance, regardless of where you have played high school or college football.

Last night was fun, because many of the young men who I watched during their high school years are getting playing time in the "League." Players with Ohio high school backgrounds  were playing in the two games. The Buckeyes, as well as other universities, prepared these young men for the NFL. My point is that lower Division I schools can get players to the next level. Even D-III school, Mount Union is represented.

Alex Boone (Lakewood St Ed's) (Ohio State) had kind of an up and down career with the Buckeyes. Always thought he was an excellent athlete, but took plays off. At 6'7-300, he had the potential. Personal issues were his biggest defender. Now focused and starting left guard with 49er's, Alex is doing well.

Ted Ginn Jr (Cleveland Glenville) (Ohio State) was the first round draft choice of Miami. Speed, vision, and burst were his strengths. Precise route running was not a strength. But he worked hard to be an NFL player. Coming off injury, he is returning punts for the 49er's.

Domenik Hixson (Columbus Whitehall) (Akron) is one of the go to receivers for the New York Giants. When he was a sophomore in high school, he  was a skinny little kid who did not like football. Speed made him special coming out of high school. Akron took a chance. Now he has Super Bowl ring.

Chase Blackburn (Marysville) (Akron) was a solid linebacker with okay speed and okay size. I liked his athleticism. Think that he played some TE, also. Continued to improve size and strength at Akron. The Giants took a chance. I will admit that a scout for the Giants lives in Marysville, but Chase still had to earn a spot. Owns a Super Bowl ring.

John Hughes (Gahanna Lincoln) (Cincinnati) listed at 6'2-320 was a third round pick for the Cleveland Browns. In high school, he was 6'1-250, but was strong, nasty, and a run stopper. Height may have hurt, but physicality did not. UC gave him a chance. Because of an injury, John started at defensive tackle against the Bengals last night.

Ishmaa'ily Kitchen (Youngstown Mooney) (Kent State) is a back up for the Cleveland Browns. Think that he may have been an undrafted free agent. At Mooney, "Ish" was overweight and took plays off. But he was strong and athletic. Earned a football scholarship from Kent State. As a Flash, he played early, but still did not really "get it" until his junior year. Played yesterday against the Bengals and did well.

Jim Cordle (Lancaster) (Ohio State) plays center for the New York Giants. Rated him the second best lineman in Ohio his senior year. A quiet guy, he pass blocked little. in the wing-t type offense at Lancaster. But he was athletic and smart and intense. Worked hard to make himself a pass blocker for the Buckeyes. A Super Bowl winner.

Garrett Celek (Cincinnati LaSalle) (Michigan State) was tall slender TE in high school. Could catch and block, was the "younger brother" of Philadelphia Eagle TE Brent Celek. Coach Mark Dantonio (MSU) recruited his brother Brent to Cincinnati and  recruited Garrett to Michigan State. An undrafted free agent, Garrett has bulked up to 6'5-252 and played some TE last night for the 49ers. 

David Bruton (Miamisburg) (Notre Dame) will be playing some back-up FS for the Denver Broncos tonight. A wide receiver/defensive back in high school. Limited speed. Excellent athletic. Honestly, I did not think he could play alot at for the Irish. Got faster and stronger while at Notre Dame and now makes his money with the Denver Broncos.

Derek Wolfe (Beaver Local) (Cincinnati) scrimmaged against Cardinal Mooney his senior year. Mooney over matched Beaver Local, but Derek stood out. Probably 6'5-245 and played DE. Physical and nasty and could run. I liked him, but he was battling some personal issues. Continued to get bigger/stronger at UC. First round draft choice of the Denver Broncos. Will be making plays tonight for Denver.

Some of my facts are not correct. Have not double-checked any of them. No time. Doing it from memory. I, constantly, tell high school football players who want to play college football.  Getting a BCS scholarship is really hard to do, but possible. If it does not work out, lower and mid level D-I programs are really good will make you a better football player. Getting a free education and playing college football is the dream of almost every player I work with.

Quite honestly, I love the Mid-American Conference. Sometimes,  a prospect will leave the Midwest just to play for a BCS school. That BCS school may not have a good football program, or you are not good enough to play there. Problems arise. Staying in Ohio, or in the Midwest can be a good thing. Of course, there are exceptions.If a player is really, really talented, he should be able to play anywhere. In that case, check out the top programs in the country.Just remember whether trying to get recognized by colleges, or even by the NFL --- No matter the level of school, IF YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH, SOMEBODY WILL FIND YOU.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thursday Night at Olentangy Liberty

Last night I made my third trip to Central Ohio to watch high school football. All three games on the past three Thursday nights have really good games. Good weather, well coached teams, and good players. Add some good college prospects and all of this makes the trips fun and my work easier. Although I am not familiar with the television package, I appreciate the work that they have done.

The game between Hilliard Davidson and host Olentangy Liberty was no exception. Well played, good coaches, good players, and some college prospects. Davidson won the game, but really the score was indicative of how tough the game. Davidson had the ball for roughly thirty four minutes compared to fourteen minutes for Liberty.

Last year when I went to watch Davidson in the playoffs, EJ Jennings was injured and did not play. I watched just a little as a sophomore. Coach Brian White had been telling me that he hard a workhorse coming in EJ Jennings. Last night, EJ simply tookover the game. Last week against Upper Arlington, he ran for 310 yards. Last night, early in the game, on a 91 play drive, he ran the ball 11 straight times and finished the drive scoring a TD on a 2 yard run. Solid line play, but EJ just gets north/south and is better after first contact. Listed 5'11-214, just bounced off defenders. Hard to get a good shot at him.

 One of the nice parts of  what I do is that I get to watch prospects develop as early as freshman. Some come to my camps and combines. Some I see at summer football camps. Some I meet during the football season. Last night, Liberty had two senior players whom I met as sophomores. QB/DB Ryan Seibert just keeps getting bigger and stronger. Listed at 6'4-195, really believe he can grow into a strong safety or a will backer. Ryan has committed to Kent State. Bad news - he broke his ankle in a preseason scrimmage and will miss the season. LB Grant Cartwright, listed 6'4-225, has been around forever. Plays mike backer now. Runs well. Plays pad under pad. Honestly, I could see Grant putting his hand down and come off the edge. Strong and good burst. Wished each one "good luck."

Coaches allow me to be on the sidelines to do my watching and evaluating players. Actually for me, it is the best seat in the house. Attitudes of players are really important to college coaches. Sometimes I catch myself watching how head coaches react to certain situations. Last night, Brian White who I perceive as a no nonsense guy surprised me. His punter shanked his first punt. As the punter came off of the field, Coach White looked at him and said, "We gotta have better than that." No screaming, no profanity, and no face mask grabbing. Impressive.

Off to Warren soon. Cleveland Heights travels to Warren Harding. Then on to Warren Howland - Niles McKinley game. Have never seen a Niles McKinley team play. Also get to see the best senior running back in Ohio - Deveon Smith. Another player I that I watched since his freshman year.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Youth League Sports

As many of you know, I live on four acres south of Upper Sandusky (no not Cedar Point) in a farmhouse that was built in 1851. With the nest totally empty, I do not get involved with sports in the town. That is what I prefer, because I do not have the experience to contribute to athletics. There are far more frustrated "jocks" who know more that I. Shoot, there are more dads who never played a sport, but have watched Ohio State and the Cleveland Browns, and, now they have forgotten more about football than I will ever know.

At McD's this morning, a parent told me that a midget league team in Upper Sandusky beat another team  by the score of 66-0. Supposedly, the coach did everything he could to keep the score down. 66-0!!! I bet if for some reason, his son was on the losing team, he would not have scored 66 points. Wait, knowing that he had a highly successful athletic career at Upper Sandusky, he might have. No character assassination here, but just another high school player trying to live the dream of being a coach.

A few years ago, I was driving by a midget league practice and the coach become upset at the kids. He made them run over 300 yards, and they went right back to scrimmaging. They were 10-12 year kids. But I am sure that they were tougher and more disciplined because of that move. Many years ago, a group of parents got to together and had a midget league head coach replaced in mid-season. Now this is midget league, not the NFL. He was not replaced for his treatment of kids, but because he was not winning. Midget league, do not forget.

My suggestion this morning was every year in March the league put all of the names in a hat and redraft every player, regardless of what team that he played on. Obviously, the league has enough equipment. One of the boys on the team that was beaten 66-0, would have a chance to be on the team that scored the 66 points. Of course,  the coach might redshirt him or put him on the practice squad. Just think of the new team comraderie that would develop. Also, a boy would have a chance to learn from a new coach.

A few years ago I brought my idea up to some midget league coaches. Answers ---" But we have our systems and our depth charts set. We would have to reteach our techniques, and players would have to learn a new defense and offense." I just put my head down and walked away.

A friend of mine who is a successful lawyer once told me that he played both seventh and eighth grade football and never got into a game. I know a coach who would substitute players, until the other team started closing the gap. Then he would call a timeout and put the first group back in the game. This coach is a teacher/coach in the system and does a lot for athletics. But is he really developing character, or feeding his own ego?

What really set me off today was a news story on the noon flatscreen news. A seventh grade coach hit a player who was running along the sideline on the last play of the game. The game was in Utah. The player suffered a concussion, but should be alright. The 30-40 something  coach actually looks like he would hit his 90 year old mother for spilling some milk. He also looks like he does not know if you blow up a football or stuff it. I am guessing he never got  much playing time in high school, but he did get a senior letter given to all seniors.

They are filing child abuse charges against him. His lawyer made sure that people realize that he did not step on the field. That's huge. Not step on the field, but still gave a seventh grader a concussion. That makes sense!  I mean the guy is a coach of a school sponsored team. Schools develop young people academically and socially. Sports are a part of that. Hopefully, a school is not desperate to the point where they have to hire guys with a mentality like this seventh grade coach.

One more war story. A few years there was a local head football coach who had no communication skills when it came to coaching football. None. Absolutely none. Four letter words, the Lord's name in vain. Remembering a player's name. No communication skills, period. I asked my eight graders what would happen if I swore in class, or used the "F-bomb, or used the Lord's name in vain? They said that I would get "fired! I asked them how does a junior high or high school coach could get away with using that language. Their answer - " He is a coach, you are just a teacher."

Someone has to step up and say, "Enough." If the good people are not working with the kids, find the good people who can develop into good coaches. The league commisssioner, the schools athletic director, or a group of parents (possibly) needs to take responsibilty and get good people who can work with young people. Might be hard for the person in charge to make those decisions, but that goes with the position.

John McCallister is not going to change youth sports in Upper Sandusky. But you, as a parent, use good judgment in youth sports. If you coach, let the big time coaching to Urban Meyer or Brady Hoke. Develop young people for the next level of competition. Do not try to make the finish product, just be part of the process. By the way, my two boys played high school football, but their late mother d said,"No," to youth football.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Be Careful What You Say

Read in the Dispatch this morning that freshman backup quarterback Cardale Jones was suspended for the Nebraska game for sending out a stupid/silly message tweet. On Friday, being the sometimes funny young man that he is, Cardale questioned why college football players had to go to classes when they were there to play football.

Knowing Cardale a little bit, he was probably trying to be "cute." First met Cardale when he quarterbacking at Cleveland Glenville. Always thought he had potential, but was not always coachable, and he listened to too many "experts" in the recruiting world.  However, he is just a young man entering the real world of college football. Cardale is just one of many that I deal with from time to  time. And like  grown men playing a sport and saying or tweeting something to be "cute," he has apologized to Coach Meyer. Cardale Jones is a good young man. When we see each other, we always chat a few minutes.

This is not about Cardale Jones and being silly. Not about the discipline of Coach Urban Meyer. Not about crackin on Jones for using twitter. Anytime an athlete wants to get some attention, he or she goes to their Twitter account and vents. Of course, when he or she is confronted, they will say that they acted out of frustration, and then apologize and everything is forgiven. This article is about using good judgment as an athlete.

I have unfriended prospects on facebook, because of the slang and because of some of the "stupid," not "silly" comments being made. Trust me, I am not "Clean Gene," by any stretch of the imagination. But I want to remind athletes that they must be aware that anything that they say can be put into any form of print, and be almost guaranteed that comment will be out there. Cell phone photos are so easy to use that even my 86 year old mother can take a pic with a cell phone.. Sad, but anytime an athlete is in public, he or she is fair game, regardless of the name.

Media people need content. Whether a beat reporter, a flat screen personality, internet person, or a sports talk host. Everybody is looking the "story." Better yet, these same people want to be the ones to break the "story." It is their job and, sometimes, that means"take no prisoners." Because an athlete is trying to be "cute," a comment on twitter, or facebook, or a picture, can turn that "cute" into "ugly." Nobody really wants that.

A picture or quote can appear anywhere. Everybody knows that. But, when the chance to be "cute," or as Coach Meyer used the word, "ignorant," an athlete really has to use good judgment. The consequences are not worth the bad choice. Plus, good or bad, public perception can be a very narrow, one way street. I always told my own three adult kids when they were in college, " be careful with the internet or cell phone, you will have to get a job someday."

Being an old 64 run teacher/coach, most of the young readers will smile and think that the old guy has to get in the modern world. But, "common sense" has been around for many years. It never goes away. Put our pride and ego aside, and use some common sense. Sometimes it can make all of the difference in making a choice.