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.