Monday, July 30, 2012

Malik Zaire - Kettering Alter QB

Boy is my face red. Last night as I talked with Notre Dame commit Malik Zaire, I asked him how he did at the Nike "Opening?" I was surprised when the left handed QB answered that he was not invited. As I often say, you never assume anything. Just thought that he was good enough. But you realize that Nike is all about marketing. Plus, I mean he is going to Notre Dame. I am sure not being invited will not ruin his career.

A few years ago at the Ohio State Camp, one of the OSU coaches told me to check out a soon to be sophomore quarterback from Kettering Alter. Good feet, but rough as an unmade bed. Throwing skills needed finetuned. Not surprised - every year Alter  has one of the better running games in the state. Watched him in a scrimmage that year and he alternated at QB. Running was no problem, but very limited in number of pass attempts.

Last year as a junior he threw the ball much better. Like his ability to throw on the run. Liked his ability to find the open receiver. Liked his touch on the deep ball. Most of all, I liked the way he managed the game and led his team. Really liked his QB presence. At times, he needed to spin-it more and just add rpm's. Again not a lot of passes attempted.

Over the past year, Malik has really worked on his QB skills. Understands the game. Can make all of the passes. Excellent vision as a runner. Stretching to get to 6'2, but weighs a solid 200. Can find the open lane. Only saw him once this summer, but liked his improved QB skills.

Malik believes that one of his strengths is that he makes players around him better. I agree, plus he just has the "it" as a QB. He feels that he needs to "stay consistent," and make good decisions. Those are the wishes of almost every QB. Another wish is to be playing in the NFL ten years from now.

Off the field he spends some of his free time, meditating and giving thought to the challenges that he faces in all areas of his life. Malik also spends part of his free time doing community service type events. For example, he has been involved with Habitat for Humanity. And, of course, "hangin" with friends is always important.

Michael Vick is a person that Malik would like to meet. "Anyone who has faced the problems that he has and then worked hard to get back to the NFL deserves alot of credit. His comeback is amazing. Vick's QB skills and natural talent are really good."

Because Alter has a good junior OL guy with alot of potential whom I need to evaluate, I will see the left handed QB one more time. I just hope he lets that trail leg come through naturally. One of the two top QB's in the Ohio Class of 2013, but not a finished product, which is good for both Notre Dame and Malik Zaire.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Darron Lee - New Albany and a Buckeye

First heard about New Albany QB/DB Darron Lee when he was a junior high quarterback. Watched video after his freshman year and really liked his athleticism and his ability to run. For me, his prospects for being a high profile QB were of concern, because of his passing skills. But I liked his toughness and the way he compete.

After watching him at the Ohio State summer camp, much to my disappointment, he was not a natural QB. But I always thought that he would be a D-1 player. Last year in a playoff game, he "lit up" a RB. As I have told him all along"continue to play QB and work at it," but you are a defender at the college level."

Listed at 6'2-200, Darron has excellent closing speed. Excellent north/south speed. He believes that he must continue to work on his footwork and change of direction. He also believes his strength is in competitiveness and his drive to get better. If he plays hard and works hard that will bring out the best in his teammates. His team goal is to make his teammates better, win the conference, and get back to the playoffs.

Both Darron and I agree that a major change that he has made over his first three years of high school is that he is letting his performance on the field do his talking, rather than being overly vocal and not walking the talk. A sound of a good leader and he is determined to be that his senior year.

When no one is watching, Darron studies video and educates himself about the other team. This year he will be the man at QB. Still will play a little defense, but he must run the offense. Off the record, he will do well.

I really appreciate the work Darron has done to get better. Moreover, the fact Ohio State offered him as an athlete, not as a QB, and Darron agreed, is huge for me. To mentally go from wanting to be a QB, to learning a new position on the college level takes alot of soul searching and alot of looking in the mirror.

Michael Vick is the person that he would like to meet. I see alittle of that. Vick made some huge character issues and worked his way back to the top. Now Darron Lee does not have character issues to fight through. However, he will have to learn a new position at the college level and work his way back to the top.

Playing time is tough to get for any player at a program like Ohio State. Darron has his work cutout for him, but he will get it done. A leader by example on and off the field, his determination to be the best will be huge for him. Just as Darron Lee did at the Ohio State Camp in June, his effort will get him noticed and the results put him in the mix.

"Don't Know. We haven't put the Pads on Yet."

As I do at most camps, 7on7's, practices, and, sometimes games, I like to visit with some of the prospects I evaluate. No, I do not treat them like "stars" and use a recorder to interview them. Nor do I use  my notepad to take notes on what visits they have lined up. Yes, I sometimes aske for a cell phone number. For me, mostly, it is "small talk." But, with that small talk, I learn alot about a propect.

Last Friday, a senior player, I cannot remember his name made one of the most sensible comments that I have heard in a while. Really he said it all, in this silly world of early offers. He was the team's best player. I asked him( in small talk) "who was the best junior on his team?" His answer, "Don't know. We haven't put the pads on yet." WOW! What a tremendous answer from some high school senior. Repeat - "Don't know. We haven't put the pads on yet."

You see. That answer came just at the right time for me. I laughed. I am so tired of watching camps and 7on7's, but I enjoy it. I am just tired of watching kids run around in shorts and t-shirts. College coaches are offering kids at an alarming rate now. One Big Ten school has offered every prospect out there. I can ALMOST guarantee you that if one MAC school offers a propect, three will follow.

I see a ton of games, including scrimmages. I heard one recruiting reporter from Northeast Ohio was boasting about attending 60 games last year. No comment as to how many I see, but a little bit more than 60. My point here is that evaluating propects involves more that shorts and t-shirts. Really video can only do so much. The only true way is watch them in person against a different colored jersey.

With the NCAA putting so many restrictions on recruiting, getting a really good evaluation is hard to accomplish. Most schools put out "bird dogs" to watch players. Some colleges pay big money to "handlers" to watch players.

Just received an email from a parent of a player in the Ohio Class of 2014. The dad seems to be a good guy and interested in his son as a son, and, not just a recruiting story. His son came to my combine last March. Growing and his body is catching up to him. I will see his son play early this season. Then I can give the dad a better opinion . Really need to see him play. Getting a lot of "we like him," talk now from colleges. Looking forward to seeing him play.

For prospects going into their senior year, playing hard in their scrimmages and, more importantly, in the first three games is imperative. College coaches look at these three games to see the potential.

High school football practice officially starts on Monday. I believe the pads go on a few days after that. First opponent scrimmage is August 7th. First game for some schools is August 22.

Do you realize that -- if an Ohio high school football team makes it all the way to the OHSAA State Championship game, yesterday (Saturday) was possibly his last free Saturday until December 8, 2013?  Oh my!!!

Time to get some church time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Heath Harding - Dayton Christian

One of the ways I develop my Ohio Class List is to look at every list that I come across whether it be off of websites, all-state teams, or local newspapers. This winter Heath Harding's name kept popping up. He put up some good numbers at some combines and at some college football camps. I asked veteran high school talent evaluator, Dave Berk for some insight. His comment, "He is worth checking out. I like him."

Heath Harding is listed anywhere from 5'9-5'11. Guessing, he is probably closer to 5'10. Whatever the case, he can run fast. Clocked at under 4.4 at O-State Camp. Honestly, that seems really fast for me, but it is what it is. Running back is his favorite position, but that is all he knew up until this summer. College coaches have really pushed him to play some corner.

I have not seen him in person either in pads or in shorts/t-shirt. Have watched him on video. Runs fast. Excellent feet at changing direction. Keeps feet moving after first contact. Always looking up field. Just a guess --- Recovery speed is really good. Needs to prove to coaches that he is physical. Needs to really develop CB skills as far as contact with receivers. Not a guess- would be a good return man. Getting stronger would improve burst. Does have a 38" vertical.

Heath talked about playing at the "highest level." The recruiting process, as with most players, has been fun and eye-opening. Early offers from some Mid American schools, but again, he would like to play at the highest level. With that thought, Heath will until later in the season to make a commitment.

Although out of his control, Heath plays for Dayton Christian High School. A really good school and program, but only 38- 40 boys on football team. Plays in a Division 6 region. But, the summer camps have gotten his name out there and coaches have seen him perform in shorts/t-shirt. And as I tell every recruit, "if you are good enough, somebody will find you."

Really glad I had a chance to talk with Heath Harding. A simple phone call to Dave Berk helped me find another good prospect. "Somebody will find you."

Taco Charlton - Pickerington Central

Defensive linemen are really hard to find. Plain and simple, they are hard to find. Get off blocks, stay off the ground, pursue, change direction, use the hands, and play pad under pad. These are just some of the abilities, I look for in a defensive lineman.

Taco Charlton - Pickerington Central -

 Sometimes I see qualities in players that make them special to me, and not everybody sees what I see.. Taco Charlton could be one of those guys. First saw him as a freshman wide receiver in a junior varsity scrimmage. As a sophomore DE, he played some, but I thought that he was over-rated. Actually he alternated and was at best just a "guy." Last year, his overall play from the first game until the D-1 State Championship game was vastly improved. Although he did not make many plays against St Ignatnius, I really liked his effort and his focus. Athleticism was evident.

Taco realizes this year,  due the youngness at Pick Central, he will have to be a leader. Plans are to play him at DE and some OLB, and there is a possibility he could line up at TE occasionally. Listed at 6'6-253, I hope that he moves inside at the next level. Like his punch and his ability to get up field. Needs to be better at changing direction. Really athletic. Aggressiveness on the basketball court last winter, hopefully, will carry over to this fall.

A starter on both the football and basketball teams, Taco keeps busy playing two sports. In his free time, he listens to Rap and plays video games.

The Nike "Opening" was really good for Taco. Performed well. Enjoyed meeting other players from throughout the country. Impressed with the coaches there and picked up technique ideas involving the use of his hands. He thought the "Opening," brought the best out of him.

Taco plans to enroll next January at the University of Michigan. Michigan defensive coaches see him as a weakside DE. Undecided on a major as of now. Academics in good shape. Although he will be a Wolverine next year,  Colerain High School is on his mind now.

Pickerington Central will again participate the Skyline Crosstown Showdown. Colerain High School will be a huge test for the young Pick Central team.  Taco Charlton will be leading his team against one of the best programs in Ohio.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cincinnati "Friday Night Lights"

Last Friday, I attended the UC "Friday Night Lights." A number of campers numbered over 300 and actually caught UC off guard. But UC personnel did a great job of making everything work well. Most of the surprise came from the high number of "walkups." As I said, everything went really well.

This camp did not as much testing, but did more individualized instruction. By the this time of the summer, more emphasis should be put on evaluating drills and movement, rather than combine testing. UC did just that.

One day camps are good in the middle of July. For the BCS schools, I would try to get as many of the Class of 2014 as I could get. Also if I am still recruiting out of state players in the Class of 2013, I would really make an effort to get them to this camp. Not only so that I could evaluate them again, but also to get them on campus.

Years ago, when Jim Tressel was the head coach at Youngstown State, I visited one of his practices during August. At that time, I was actually awed at the facilities at YSU. At that time, I realized that one of the major objectives of any college with excellent facilities is to get players on campus. If the facilities are just okay, I would be hesitant. My point is that players have to visit the UC Bearcats football facilities.

The football facilities at the University of Cincnnati are outstanding. The weight room is large and very well equipped. A place to run 40's is in the weight room, not outside of the strength training facility. The players' locker room is continually improving and the lockers themselves have all kinds of storage. Also, really liked the players lounge. The halls are lined with pictures of former players now in the NFL.

I liked the both the snack food and the sports nutrition areas. Listening to some of the presentations, the medical staff really emphasizes taking care of the body. The building itself is beautiful inside. Lots of glass.

Of course, Ohio State University has some of the best facilities in the country. The University of Cincinnati sometimes gets overlooked as a BCS school in Ohio. Mark Dantonio laid the ground work. Mike Kelly continued to improve the program and facilities. Now Butch Jones has continued to do the same. (For my two cents, I consider all three excellent coaches.) As I said earlier, UC has to continue to get kids on campus. Parents and prospects have to make it a point to visit the Bearcats facilities.

A rule that I follow is to not report what players I see at a camp, nor do I send out an evaluation on them. It is hard to be a guest and then give out information. Of course, I store away the information in my memory bank. I will say this, there were some really top prospects both in state and out of state in attendance. One prospect and his mother rode the Greyhound bus for eight hours to attend this camp. Honest to goodness, they did.

The Bearcat coaches and support staff did an excellent job in making the camp successful. I would have expected none the less. But what I did not expect was the quality of the football facilites, including the practice areas. Stadium seating is limited when comparing BCS schools, but there is not a bad seat in the house.  Get on campus.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Joe Paterno - Still Loved by Many

Finally, a high profile college football coach made a statement about the late, great, legendary coach, Joe Paterno. Before you read on, I was not a big fan of Penn State football. Liked Joe Paterno, but thought Penn State football was overrated over the years. A Woody Hayes guy all of my life, I really admired Bo, too. As far as Coach Paterno, as a high school head football coach I never met him or followed his program closely, like I did Bo and Woody, but I respected his program. Gary Blackney echoed many coaches, when he once told me that he used the Penn State program as the model.

Today, in the Dispatch, Gary Pinkel, Missouri football coach was quoted, "He was a great man, and you can't, however you analyze this, all of a sudden erase all that this guy's done. You can't do that. Nobody can do that." Let's give it up to Coach Pinkel!! Someone in the college coaching profession has the nerve to say something positive about Joe Paterno.

I admit that I do not read all of the "media  brown sugar (BS)" about the Penn State situation. The whole Jerry Sandusky thing makes me vomit. He is a very sick man who may even be "clueless" now. But this blog is about Coach Paterno and not Jerry Sandusky.

Mixed emotions on whether to take down Joe Paterno's statue outside Beaver Stadium. A Penn State representative said a decision will be made in the next 7-10 days. One part of me says, "tear it down." Joe Paterno "guys" are not going to quit admiring him or showing him love, just because some 7-foot statue is taken down. Joe Paterno is always going to be Joe Paterno. The other part says. "do not tear it down." One mistake in ethical judgment should not destroy the legend. Plus, it will continue to give the "silly media" something to write about.

At McD's this morning, I asked my 83 year old, very conservative friend about the Joe Paterno story. He quickly reminded me, "former President Thomas Jefferson had children from some of his black servants. They have not torn down the Jefferson Monument . Paterno did not break a law. He reported the situation to the Athletic Director. Again, I do not know the details and have not really followed the situation closely. Of course, ethically, he should have done more."

Last week, I was told of some of the behind the scenes work in the Jim Tressel saga. The bad part is that I believe what I heard. Coach Tressel helped saved some people. Obviously, as Shultz (Hogans Heroes) said, "my lips are sealed." Do not know why I mentioned this in this blog. Well, I guess I mentioned "cover-up" earlier.

Tear down the statue, erase all of the records, tear-up all of the t-shirts, burn all of his autographs and autographed pictures, ostracize his family, make him the butt of jokes. Coach Paterno will still be loved by many.  A tremendous college football coach who influenced the lives of many people, who gave millons back to Penn State, and who, along with Woody and Bear, was huge in making college football popular. Again, Coach Paterno will still be loved by many.

The Board of Trustees at Penn State, just like the ones at Ohio State University, are victims of public and media perception. A simple 7-foot statue is not going to do anything to lessen the love people have for the "high water pants coach with the black rimmed glasses." Joe Paterno will always be Joe Paterno and will still be loved by many.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Who is Jason Tretter?

As I was traveling down 271 south of Cleveland, I saw the Richfield exit. The only two things to come to mind were the Cleveland Cavaliers and a big "OL Guy" at Revere High School. Of course, the Cavs no longer play in Richfield, but I did see three games there. My thoughts turned to Revere High School's Jason Tretter.

First saw Jason at the Ohio State Camp last summer. Really liked his 6'5-275 frame and the fact that he could move his feet. Promised him that I would be to a game his junior year. Really liked his potential. As the season went on I called him to check his schedule for the remainder of the season season. It was then that I was told he blew-out his knee big time, and, of all things, the injury happened the first scrimmage of the season.

Jason had PCL surgery, MCL surgery, and meniscus repair on October 11th and was totally cleared on June 18th. He feels his overall knee strength is so much stronger, because he not only strengthen the damaged knee, but many of the muscles around it. Testing his mental toughness was almost as hard as the physical part. He is continuing some physical therapy, but is looking for to the actual beginning of 2-a-days.

Over the summer, he made visits to many of the colleges, but only worked out at the Pitt Camp. No 40 times, obviously, but alot of agility work. Dad is a Cornell graduate, but Jason mentioned Harvard in the Ivy League. As you would expect, many of the bigger schools are waiting on the those first two games' video. They need to watch for any favoring of the knee. Whatever?

As I told Jason, even at the NFL level, coaches are always concerned how an athlete comesback after his first ever major injury. I like the way he bended and moved laterally before the surgery. Really feel that he should be good. Easy for me to say, but he must trust his knee. Now listed at 6'7-315, I am anxios to see him play this fall.

Jason told me that he spends his alone time "watching movies or watching the flatscreen." But he must find time to study. Carries a 3.7GPA and scored  a 29 on ACT. Plans to study pre-med (micro-biology). Ten years from now, Dr. Tretter will be helping people.

The recruiting process was alittle disappointing with schools almost writing him off, before watching his senior year. Maybe with the craziness of early offers, that could be expected. Some schools are leaving an offensive line position on hold, hoping that he cna go full-tilt.

A few recruiters told me that if he had not had the injury, he would be a no-brainer for some BCS schools. I watched his sophomore video and liked him at camp. The reality is - "it is what it is." Excellent attitude. Remember 6'7-315. Of course, a 29ACT score opens up some other areas.

 Jason Tretter will be fine. By the way, I loved Mark Price and the three's at the old Richfield Coliseum.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Syracuse Time - Plus Some New Ideas for Website

Leaving tomorrow morning for Syracuse to see my father-in-law and his wife. Although my wife lost a battle with cancer eight years ago, I still visit her father in Syracuse. Of course, I like to checkout the facilities at the university. Short trip, but well worth it.

My editing system is up and running. Believe it or not, I was able to get it functioning by myself.  With that said, we will have video on our sight coming in August. As usual, ours is free to both the colleges and the public. Hopefully, the same format as the last time we had video.

Also, we are experimenting with a separate blog that would deal only with football recruiting news. The problem is that I would rely on propsects to contact me. No bios or rankings, just information that players want to provide. Some players and parents still do not understand "offers." The blog will not be a "rumor" site.

I have finally realized why some recruiting writers rate players high, even though they are just okay players. All about stories and reaching their required number of stories for a month. Plus, just a few writers could care less, as long as they reach the magical number. I am finding more and more of that as I travel to camps and 7on7's.

Next week, I get a chance to watch one of my top five qb's in the Class of 2014. May travel to UC to watch "Friday Night Lights." Bowling Green has one too. As does O-State. The problem is that I am really into underclassmen. Plus, I really no interest in out of state prospects. None.

Also will publishing a list of the Ohio Class of 2014 in the  future. Very much the same format as the Ohio Class of 2013. Need to get the list to colleges first. They receive more information, plus my individual pre-season ratings. College pay for this information.  Readers will get name, school and position on over three hundred prospects.

No blogs until Wednesday night.

Welcome Stadium Hosts 7on7 Games

Today, University of Dayton put on one of the better 7on7 programs that I have been to in a while. Will not show them too much love, because for years UD bought my scouting service. An assistant coach took over the program and  the McCallister Scouting Service was history. "It is what it is." I am sure they have a better one now.

Both a morning and an afternoon sessions. Eight schools in each session. Each team played four one hour games with a brief halftime. No tournaments. Score was kept. Good officiating. One dollar hot dogs. One dollar drinks. Everything was good. I stood out in sun for six hours. Silly me.

Austin Bruns - QB - 6'3-215 - 2013. Stands tall. Nice release. Throws touch and deep ball as well. Strong arm. Like the way he sees the field. Weakness may be inescapabilty speed. Big strong body.
Zach Dickman - LB - 6'1-220 - 2013. Liked him at O-State camp last year. Inside LB. Tackle to tackle guy. Needs a better burst. Needs to get better at changing direction.

Dayton Dunbar (Evaluated underclassmen)
Walter Daniels - OLB - 6'1-210 - 2014. Athletic. Changes direction. Some burst. Recovers well. Needs to add weight and strength. Like his frame.
Darnell Jewett - WR/DB - 5'11-155. Excellent ball catcher. Concentration is good. Can climb to make catch. Needs to get alot of bigger, stronger, and faster. Like his WR presence. Size will determine alot.
Curtis Boyd - RB - 5'10-170 - 2014. Like him, but hard to evaluate a RB today. Good hands. Good hips. Solid speed.
Marcus West - LB - 6'2-220 - 2014. Looks to be a run stopper. Good frame. Needs to be a better bender. Runs down hill. Need to see when pads are on.
Dontay White - ATH - 5'9-160 - 2015. Really athletic. Played some QB, WR, and FS. Fast. 4.5 guy. Excellent quickness. Makse plays. Concern that gets tall enough. Tough competitor. Definitely one to watch.
Rodney Bogan - CB/RB - 5'9-165 - 2016. Only a freshman, but played alot. Tough. Good burst. Good hips. Will be one to watch. Potential is unlimited. Like alot.
Davaugh Alexander - OL - 6'4-260 - 2016. Not fair to sya much. Not dressed out, but really passes the eyeball test. Just needed to mention this freshman.

Kettering Fairmont
Tommy West - OLB - 6'2-220 - 2013. Have watched since sophomore year. Strong and powerful. Improved speed, but needs to be more consistent with speed. Good bender. Good hips. I feel he is underrated. Looking at UC and MAC schools, but could go Ivy. Excellent leader.
Aaron Abbott - DB - 5'11-180 - 2013. Competes hard. Good hips. Finishes. Wish he had a better burst and had better top end speed. Smart.
Robert Nsenga - DB/RB - 5'9-180 - 2013. Much the same as Aaron. A better burst. Good hips. Just wish he had better top speed.

Ethan Wolf - TE - 6'4-215 - 2014. Somewhat disappointed to see Ethan supporting a cast on his wrist. Damaged his wrist at O-State Camp. Passes the eyeball test. Told me he should be fine by the beginninof the season. Like his potential. Needs to get bigger. Already has some offers.
Wes Hegeman - DL - 6'3-220 - 2014. Like Wes. Worked at TE and some slot. Also worked out at LB. During the season he will be on the DL. Really athletic. Moves well. One to watch.

Dayton Thurgood Marshall
Vayante Copeland - DB - 5'10-160 - 2014. At the end of his senior year could be the top CB in the Dayton area. Fast, excellent hips, and recovers well. Really athletic. Will play a number of positions this fall, but is a corner on the next level. Actually, age wise should be a sophomore. Unlimited potential.
Angelo Martin - FS - 6'0-165 - 2014. Did not play football last year. Basketball player. Natural at back pedaling. Closes well.  Long. Needs to get much stronger and bigger. Like his attitude. Natural ability.
Gerry Green - TE - 6'6-270 - 2013. Guess on size. Could be one of the top offensive linemen in the 2013 Class. Liked his potential last year. Long. Excellent frame. Excellent feet. Bends. Only mentions tight end. Potential as an OL guy unlimited.

Trotwood Madison
Cameron Burrows - DB - 6'1-190 - 2013. Talked with him for a few minutes. Like his attitude. Only difference, he will be an inside DB at O-State. Should be a good one.
Reon Dawson - CB - 6'1-170 - 2013. Maybe 6'2. Slender. When he gets bigger and stronger, he will be be good at Illinois.  Ideal CB. Recovers well. Competes hard. Really like his potential. Just scratching the service.
Jarred Clements - DL 6'3-260 - 2013. Have always enjoyed talking with Jarred. Tore ACL, but should be good to go after fifth game. Almost too nice to chat with. Going to Illinois.
Trey Williams Brown - DL - 6'2-240 - 2013. Did not play, but I really like his maturity level increase. Focused and actually listens to my "stuff." Probably a DL guy. Needs to be more consistent. Some MAC offers, but may play higher.
Messiah deWeaver - QB - 6'0-170 - 2016. Only a freshman, but he QBed most of the time. Needs to work on feet, but has the tools. Of course, he will get bigger and stronger. Coachable. Potential is excellent, BUT just a freshman.
Kei Beckham - DB - 5'11-170 - 2015. Playing nickel back, but next year will on the corner. Needs to continue to get bigger and stronger. With that will come an increase in speed and burst. Had a pick. Potential is unlimited, but only a sophomore.

Middletown Fenwick
Ricky Davis - QB - 6'2-185 - 2013. Really strong arm. Can spin it. Moves around in pocket well. High motor. Has been a back-up at Moeller. First year to "lead team." Like potential, but need to see him after four games.
Leo Haenni - TE - 6'4-220 - 2013. Sliding through the cracks. Excellent ball catcher. Big frame. Plays hard. Plays some LB. Really like his athleticism. Colleges concerned about speed, cna he get big enough put his hand down. For me, on either side of the ball. Needs to play "lights out" first three games.
Will Robinson - QB - 6'3-185 - 2014. A backup to Ricky Davis. Really like his potential. Like his QB mechanics. Reads coverages. Needs to keep developing core and back muscles. Needs to work on escapability and quick feet. One for me to watch.

The players I wanted to see were either hurt or not in attendance.  Tyler Reasoner (2014) caught my eye. Listed 6'2-220. An inside linebacker. Needs to keep working on speed and burst. Changes direction. One to watch.
Really wanted to evaluate TE/DE Jacob Betschel (2014), but he was nursing a hamstring injury. Did not see him compete, but he will have to get bigger and stronger. Listed at 6'3-220. Much the same for linebacker Regan Williams (2015). Listed 6'1-215. He was not at full strength and did not get a good evaluation. Need to get to a game this fall. 

Tight end Connor Brown was not in attendance. Connor is listed at 6'6-220. Need to evaluate him at a later time.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ohio QB's Choose Mid American Programs

Read recently that Toledo St Johns QB, Brogan Roback has committed to Eastern Michigan. Also heard that Dublin Coffman QB James Walsh has committed to Ohio University. Dayton Wayne QB Javon Harrison has committed to Toledo. Tri-Valley QB Nathan Strock who could be one of the top four QB's in the Ohio 2013 Class committed to Kent State. Brecksville QB Tom Tupa verbally committed to Miami. They have committed to Mid American programs which makes alot of sense to me. Because the recruiting process is hard on quarterbacks, these young men have survived and made good decisions.

The football recruiting process is really hard on quarterbacks. For those who get some playing time as sophomores, the QB Camps and private QB coaches are knocking on the door and wearing out the computer. These people start blowing up the young QB's. Everybody has an angle and is usually money.

As a junior, more camps and more individualize instruction. One QB private tutor meets with high school QB's on Sunday afternoons to evaluate the previous Friday night. He also meets with QB's during the week to scout the up coming opponent. The Elite Eleven is just one of the QB competition camps out there. A family drove to Arizona last December to workout at a QB school. More than likely he will not get a D-1 and probably is not good enought to get one. One QB sent me his schedule for the summer. He had 14 Camps in June. Seven 7on7 days in July with the last one on July 29. High school practice starts July 30.

Some young quarterbacks quit playing another high school sport, including basketball,  just to concentrate on quarterbacking, Why? Of course, I know why. Most dads and moms listen to all of the hype about their son as a QB. The problem is that most of the hype comes from recruiting fans and internet recruiting writers. The college coach wants QB prospects to attend his camp, which makes alot of sense. But so much of the hype comes from non-decision makers who really want to "gas-up,' the parents and the player.

Two of my top QB's in the 2014 Ohio Class can go to every camp in America, but will be somewhat limited in the offensive system they can direct. Changing DeShone Kiser's throwing mechanics will be hard to do. An NFL quarterback coach told me years ago that it takes 500 hours to change the throwing mechanics of a QB. He, also said that it takes 500 hours to change a runner's running technique. Chris Durkin is big (6-4-225) and strong and has a cannon. But he will not be able a fast, quick runner in the spread.  The NFL coach went on to say that you take their strengths and make them better.

The afore mentiuoned QB's have waded through the bull-crap that goes with football recruiting and tough decisions as to where they want to further their careers. Instead of being a back-up at Purdue or Louisville or Indiana, they will have a chance lead their team. A few years ago, Miami's tandem of Zac Dysert and Austin Boucher decided to go the MAC route. Good move. The Pittsburgh Steeler QB had a good career at Miami.  Former Marion Franklin QB could have been a MAC QB, but O-State told him to come to OSU and that they would give him a chance at QB. He moved to wide receiver the second day of practice. Each to his own.

Congrats to the young men who have chosen the Mid American Conference.
     Brogan Roback (Toldeo St Johns)   - Eastern Michigan
     James Walsh (Dublin Coffman)       - Ohio University
     Javon Harrison (Dayton Wayne)      - Toledo
     Tom Tupa (Brecksville)                   - Miami
     Nathan Strock (Tri-Valley)              - Kent State

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Finding Talent - Turn Over Every Stone

Every once in a while, I still let people "jerk my chain." Some mean to, some do not. This morning at McD's, before I left for Capital University, one of the McD regulars did just that. But he was innocent. He asked me where I was going in such a hurry. Told him that I was going to a football camp at Capital University. Why do you go so much? I evaluate players.

Jerry had no clue about smaller football camps. In fact Jerry may have no clue about the bigger camps. But he likes college football and, of course, the Buckeyes. Here is how I explained to him what I do and why I go so much.

The best football recruiters who I know "turn over every stone." Tim Hinton with the Buckeyes, Greg Mattison at Michigan, Mark Dantonio, when he was an assistant coach, and the recently retired Don Horton (NC State) are guys who come to mind. There are others for sure, but those come to mind. I try to " turn over every stone." Going to Capital University is an example of just that.

The attendance at Capital was not as good as they would have liked. But for me, I met a linebacker in the 2015 Class from Marion Pleasant HS. He has good strength and size, but needs tons of work on quickness and agility. The camp opened his eyes. I was able to spend 20 minutes talking with his parents. Even recommended a training facility that he should contact.

Friday, I attended Kenton High School's 7on7. Six teams. But I got another chance to watch 2014 QB Rammy Finnegan (Whetstone) and 2014 WR Charles Holland (Columbus West). Also spent alot of time watching 2014 LB Matt Barr (Kenton). Upper Sandusky has a player in the 2014 Class who I find interesting. Plays QB and LB. His QB skills really need work, but I like his size 6'2-195. Will be an OLB on the next level. When I first met Tylor Pritchard, he was as "rough as an unmade bed." I believe that the light is starting to come on. There were some other players that I took notes on, also.

This week Bluffton University is hosting 14 teams for a 7on7 tournament. More than likely I will be there. May not be alot of D-1 players there, but there will be alot of prospects who need to be evaluated. Some more 7on7's are at the end of the week.

Working on my schedule tonight, I see July is busy. Some colleges host 7on7's, and some of these same colleges host "team camps." High school teams stay for two or threee days and compete against other schools. Of course, the teams also get some bonding time. For me, I get to meet, as well as watch players and also get a chance to visit with high school coaches.

Coach Gary Moeller told me many years ago. "Tell me something that I can not see on video." I have never forgotten that comment, and, actually, I live by that today. With the way I work it, I can tell college coaches alot that is not on video. Or better yet, my comments are not always on paper or available for the public. Some internet recruiting writers talk to a college coach or high school coach about certain prospects and then do a nice job of writing a story. Very few can really evaluate.  Dave Berk and Allen Trieu are exceptions to that. From what I read they seem to do a good job evaluating, as well as writing.

Finally, a tribute to a parent whom I talked with today. This guy wants what is best for his son. Only a junior,  his son a BCS potential player. The dad understands the recruiting process. Even better, he understands the strengths and weaknesses of his son. The best -- when he talks about his son, he does not make him out to be a super star. He is also concerned almost as much about two other college potential players on his son's team. Impressive dude!!! (I know I am 63 and should not say "dude)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Kenton 7on7

Drove to Kenton High School this morning to watch a little 7on7 action. Not as many teams as Coach Mike Mauk had planned for, but football just the same. Like I have always said, if you have a chance to get better, go for it. Whether competing in shorts and a t-shirt or in full pads, practice is practice.

Kenton may surprise some people this year. State runners-up last year, but losing Missouri bound Maty Mauk will be huge. Coach Ben Mauk has worked really hard with  junior to be Grant Sherman. A long, slender  quarterback with deceptive strength, Grant has worked hard in the off season and  could be a pleasant surprise.  Kenton junior linebacker, Matt Barr, caught my eye today. I had heard good reports on him. Listed at 6'1-195, he runs well and changes direction. Also watched Noah Furbush. Also a junior and listed at 6'4-215, he runs well and is very athletic. At the next level he could play three different positions, but for now I like him as an edge player.

For the second week in a row, I was able to see Charles Holland (2014) make some really athletic catches. Having watched him for two years, I really like his physical presence and awareness as a wide receiver. Needs to continue to get stronger and continue to develop a better burst. Separates okay, but can climb to make catches. Playing for Columbus West HS, Charles needs to put big numbers. Has a little of a wide receivers swagger, maybe too much at times. For me, if he really focuses on getting better, he could devlop into one of the better wideouts in his Class of 2014.

Ramroth "Rammy" Finnegan, a junior from Columbus Whetstone continues to get better and better. He attended my underclassmen camp two years ago as a freshman. Of course, he is a favorite, but mostly because he is really coachable. I have written about him before. Continues to get bigger and stronger. Like his enthusiam and ability to lead. Really feel that has the potential to one of the top six QB's in his 2014 Class, which includes DeShone Kiser, Chris Durkin, Jeremy Holley, and Cody Calloway among others.

My guys from Upper Sandusky did a good job. Because I travel so much on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays,  I really do not know many of the players. They are not big athletic guys, but they work hard. Coaches work hard and are dedicated, but the Rams have some players in their program who work hard until it becomes an "inconvenience." Then they have many reasons not to stay with the program. Trust me, I do not have the answers. Plus the fact that they need to play equal competition. Hopefully, this fall will ghet them over the "inconvenience" tag.

Finally, I always enjoy watching Ada head coach, Mike Fell do his thing. Players are well coached. They play hard and understand the game. Fell just has a way of communicating with kids on the field. Of course, winning alot of games helps.

As I was watching the games this morning, a guy said, "it is going to be long day." Looked at him and said,"Not for me." About 30 minutes later I was getting a smoothie at McD's and on my way to my office.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Home Office Now McDonald's of Upper Sandusky

Tuesday morning and no electric power at the the MSR farm. Rumors have it that we will have power by tonight. Like so many things," it is what it is," work with it. There was a time when I would get crazy and worry myself about meeting a "deadline"or that everything was of monumental importance. I began my head coaching career almost 40 years ago at 24 years old. I was a "Woody Hayes' guy." Trust me, I was a "Woody guy," and that set the stage for my coaching and teaching career. Coach Hayes was a tremendous role model. Sad, but I was only able to talk with him, I think, a half dozen times.

During my 31 years of teaching both high school and junior high English, I changed my " black - white" rules to more of the "gray" rules.  I began to realize that you do not treat every student the same. Different students have different needs. Once I realized that, teaching became less of a job and much more fun. Coaching was much the same.

Of course, raising a family takes much patience and I learned that. Maybe more pateince than I had, but we did okay. They say, behind every successful man is a great lady. How true! Now I am not a successful man, but I had a great lady. Our great lady lost a battle with cancer over eight years ago.

Too bad, but sometimes a tragedy can open your eyes and cause you to re-evaluate yourself. Just what is important in life? For some reason, a car dodging in and out of traffic does not upset me anymore. Annoy, yes, but not upset. Believe it or not, I am finally taking all of the football recruiting "brown sugar," out there as just that. That "BS" is not going to go away. From college coaches to parents to recruiting writers on the internet to recruiting services, "it is what it is."

Hopefully, this will be my last morning using McD's as my office. Tomorrow, back to the coffee and newspaper routine.My office returns to the farm. If not, I will be annoyed, but it will not ruin my day.

As the recruiting  world gets crazier and crazier, enjoy it. If you are a parent, do not believe everything that you read or are told. College coaches need to be excellent salesmen. They may tell you anything that sells their university. Good guys , for the most part, but salesmen. Internet recruiting writers need so many stories to bring readers to their site. They need to have rankings to bring readers to their site. Be annoyed at times, but never crazy.

No power as of 8:25 this morning. Promise- no more boring blogs like today's.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

No Power - McDonald's New Office

No power at home. Feel that I am on the trail somewhere in Mexico, no ice. New office at McD's here in Upper Sandusky. May blog tonight from here. State 7on7 was good. Kenton tough! Jess Bray WR from Wayne is the real deal. There were alot of good players. Rammy Finnegan QB from Whetstone only a junior will surpise some people, if he has a good year. Later, might blog tonight.