The University of Findlay beat No. 10 Saginaw Valley State last Saturday 29-27 in Saginaw. Both schools are members of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference or, otherwise, known as the GLIAC. Both schools are also members of the NCAA Division II.
There are two separate divisions within the conference. Eight school schools make up the Ohio Division. Schools, Findlay, Ashland, Ohio Dominican, and Tiffin buy my scouting service. The four other colleges in Ohio do not buy my service. Saginaw Valley State in Michigan buys my scouting service. Last year, Wayne State (Detroit) played for the National Division II Championship.
For what it is worth, I strongly support the GLIAC, or for that matter, Division II college football. While I was evaluating talent at a BGSU satellite football at Fitch High School last summer, I heard a dad make this comment. "Well, my son is not going to be recruitied by Bowling Green, so I guess he will have to play D-II." Although I did not make a comment, I thought - "your son is not good enough to play D-II."
The dad's mind set seems to be common to parents and fans throughout Ohio. I will tell you that D-II football is good, and the best news is that it keeps getting better. Findlay, Ohio Dominican, and Ashland are playing good football. Tiffin's program has had poor leadership over the years, but now has a good young head coach and, just as important, a financial commitment from Tiffin University. I do not know much about the other Ohio schools.
Besides recruiting good high school talent, D-II schools are getting players that the mid major schools deem just not big enough, just not fast enough, or, in some cases, academics are just not quite strong enough. For example, ODU was able to sign Tajuan Green from Brookhaven and Billy Eakins from Pickerington Central. Both really good players from Central Ohio. Ashland signed Adam Wallace from Ohio Division Four State Champions Norwayne. They also signed Fremont Ross's Skylar Reffner. FIndlay signed Lloyd Henry out of Garfield Heights, DJ Williams from Akron St Vincent-St Marys, and Nathan Morris from Warrensville Heights. Many more Ohio players signed to Tiffin, as well as Findlay, ODU , and Ashland, but these are just some of the ones that I can remember and thought could play mid-major college football. I am not familiar with out of state players.
On reading the article, two of Findlay's key players were what I call -"bouncebacks." They originally were on scholarship at a D-I college program, but for one reason or another they chose to transfer. QB Clay Belton (Northmont) transferred in from Maryland, and Seth White (Bexley) transferred from Ball State. Belton should get a look from the NFL.
I really do not have time to do more research for this blog. My purpose was to emphasize that NCAA Division II, at least in Ohio and Michigan is good and getting stronger and stronger. Head coaches and assistant coaching staffs are getting better. ODU Head Coach Bill Conley spent years at Ohio State University under John Cooper and Jim Tressell. Ashland Head Coach Lee Owens coached at Ohio State and coached at high school powerhouse, Massillon. Like I said, not enough time to cover other staffs.
QB Austin Ernst (2013) from Cincinnati McNicholas has already verballed to Ohio Dominican. I really believe that he can play on the Division I level. Too short for some, maybe 6'1, but he has a gun. He can spin-it. Schools were worried about his height. If he had two more inches, he would be playing mid-major.
No. Just because a prospect is not getting recruited by a MAC school does not mean that he will "have to play D-II." He may not be good enough to play at the D-II level either.
Go to a game, check out the roster, check out the talent, and check out the high schools that the players played for. National Division II football programs' level of skill and play may surprise you. Plus, McCallister is an Oiler graduate from in the Findlay College days.