Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"Big is not Always Better"

       When the time comes to cheer for teams, I am not really an "underdog guy." Back in the UCLA John Wooden era, I hated Notre Dame basketball, because they beat UCLA. I was a UCLA fan. Of course, as aloof as Jack was I rooted for in every tournament. The Buckeyes, when Coach Hayes was the guy. But as I have grown older and matured as a fan, I really on cheer for the New England Patriots. For some reason, I like Bill . But I do cheer and hope that college football recruits who could be considered "underdogs," really make it.
       I hear the words "under the radar" often, when people talk about high school recruits. But I can never understand whose radar. There is a receiver in southwest Ohio who is supposedly fly "under the radar." Since college coaches know about him, I always wonder who owns the radar? My guess would be recruiting writers and reporters.
       Last week I read that former Pickerington North's TE Alex Bayer has been selected to play in the East-West Shrine game in Florida on January 18. A solid tight end coming out of Pick North, but Bowling Green offered and he was a Falcon. He did not have a lot of offers, but he was not really under the radar. Now 6'4-257, he is considered one of the top 20 tight ends entering the NFL draft. Hard work paid off for Alex Bayer.
       Many high school football recruits have already made verbal commitments. Some will wait until the high school all star games in early January to announce their school of choice. Some will use the hat selection scene to make themselves look silly. The hat scene is good for the recruiting reporters and flat screen and Tom Lemming.
       Sometimes Ohio State fans believe that if Ohio State is not recruiting a player or if a recruit chooses to go another university, the recruit must not be that good. Sometimes recruits would rather go to a BCS school, because it is a BCS school. Sad, but some BCS schools will take a player out of Ohio just to take a player out of Ohio. Players that should be going to the MAC, end up going out of state.
      Since many of the BCS schools in the Midwest and East buy my service, I am not saying that going out of state is wrong. I am saying to be really sure that the BCS schools outside of Ohio are a good fit for you the recruit. Mycah Hyde from Fostoria High School went to Iowa. Now he is playing for the Green Bay Packers and doing well.
       Mike Dennis from neighboring Carey High School ran as well as, or better than anyone at  Ohio States camp a few years ago. Being 6'7-260 and a good basketball player made him impressive. His high school video was not great, but okay. Now over 300, he has worked hard and starts at OT for the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans are not too bad.
       For some, "big is not always better." Do you want to be "a guy," or "the guy." Of course, making that decision is hard. I think if you could keep parents and the "noisemakers" out of the decision making process, making the choice would be easier.
       For many the decision has been made as to what college they are going to attend to play football. For some a decision has to be made. Good luck.

Friday, December 27, 2013

       Heading to Monroe, Michigan to visit with my late wife's side of the family tonight. This is the final Christmas tree get together for the year 2013. Sunday, the decorations come down. The outdoor lights come down. The Christmas tree comes down. The food is gone. My wife used to leave all of the Christmas "stuff" up until the Sunday after New Year's Day, but that rule applies no more. This has been a really good Christmas season.
      No more excuses. Back to high school football. Already sneaking into January and high school football will occupy much of my time.  My combines are in March. Yes, combines are not a violation according to the Oho High School Athletic Association. A little public speaking about the recruiting process starts in February. More college prospect evaluations in the spring. Developmental camps in June. The Directory comes out in January, and much of my time is occupied with getting that finished and to the college coaches.
      Unofficial Visit. Any visit by your parents and you to a college campus paid for by your parents or you. The only expense you may receive from the college is three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. You may make as many unofficial visits as you like and may take them anytime that you want. The only time that you can not talk with a coach during an unofficial visit is during a dead period.
      Correspondence from interested colleges. (1)Underclassmen are and will be getting college questionnaires. Develop a system on answering the questionnaire. If are definitely not interested, return -saying - saying "not interested." Develop a brief resume. (2) Read and organize all of the information that you receive. (3) Possible to receive an invitation to a football camp. Keep tract of the camps available. Set early schedule. (4) Possible to get an invitation to a "junior day." Some have academic days. (5) Although it is tough, try put all of this attention into perspective. Actually this not really being recruited by a school. They are just checking you out, but these experiences may lead to "being recruited.
      Some really common words. "They like him." "They have invited him to camp." "He got a letter from ?" " Coach _____ stopped by the school to eyeball him." "They want him to make an unofficial visit." "They want him to come down to spring practice." Here is the funny one for the high school coach. "Stop in anytime and we will sit down and talk "ball."
      The outside noises. Once word gets out that a school is recruiting you, the internet recruiting media will be calling. Some college coaches will tell their "boy," so the information gets out there. Recruiting services will want you to pay them to help you get a scholarship. Recently a parent asked me if he should pay a recruiting service money. This parent's son attended the Michigan-Ohio State game as a recruit, and he is asking me if he should pay some service to get his name out there. The Michigan - Ohio State game as a recruit!!!! And his name is not there?
       All league - All District - All Ohio - Player of the Week. Those are rewards for a good season. Those are recognition for your outstanding year. Sometimes those are political. Those awards do not mean that you are a Division One recruit. In fact, there are some first team All-Ohio players who really need to continue to work hard, even though they have a Division 1 scholarship. At least according my evaluations.
       As you begin the new year, these are just some things that came to my mind.
       Begin the new year controlling what you can control and not worrying about what you can not control. Remember - someone is always watching.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Canceling the McCallister/Mauk QB/REC Camp

      After church this morning, I dropped just over five hundred letters in the mail to high school coaches through out Ohio. Subject- The McCallister/Mauk QB/REC Camp due to an Ohio High School Athletic Association is cancelled due to a violation of General Sports Regulation 7.8. Since I am a rules guy, but, moreover a "kid's guy," I did not want to do anything to jeopardize a high school football player's eligibility to play high school sports.

Rule 7.8 Interscholastic Football Squad Members. After a student becomes a member of an interscholastic football squad, the student may not participate in non-scholastic football, including contests, tryouts and any type of training or practices, during the school year. From June 1 through July 31, members of an interscholastic football squad may participate in non-contact contests, tryouts or any type of training and practices and attend non-contact team football camps or instructional programs.

       A high school athletic director in Ohio got this reply, when he asked about the OHSAA about the credibility of the McCallister/Mauk QB/REC Camp. "Rule 7.8 Interscholastic Football Squad Members." It would be a violation.
      Last Friday at the OHSFCA Regional Directors meeting, an assistant OHSAA commissioner in charge of football regulations was asked about the McCallister/Mauk QB/REC Camp to be held on December 29 in Columbus, OH. He referred to Rule 7.8 in the OHSAA Rules and Regulations and told the Directors that the Camp would be a violation.
      On Friday afternoon I talked with same commissioner over the phone. He told me that Rule 7.8 was in affect and that was a violation.
      Being a retired teacher/coach with 31 years of experience, I understand rules and regulations. For the most part I supported school regulations and rules. I may not have agreed with some, but as the army saying goes, "You salute the rank." I cancelled the Camp, because of it being a violation and being told it was illegal for high school players to camp.
      In no way do I want to jeopardize a high school player of his eligibility to play high school parts. Not fair to any one.
     I take the blame, obviously, for not checking with OHSAA about the possibility of holding a camp of this nature. For three years, I was told that as long as you did no more than one on one's, "you should be okay." Different commissioners now. Also, I was aware of the rule, but I thought the rule was intended for the high school football coaches. How does this rule 7.8 affect the huge NIKE Camp in May? How does this rule affect all of the private QB lessons being given?Again, the mistake was my fault, for not checking with OHSAA.
      From what coaches have told me kids were excited about the opportunity to throw a football for three hours on a Sunday afternoon in December. Selfish on my part, but some of the best young QB's in Ohio were making plans to attend. Simply a chance to get better, but have fun playing football in December.
      For people who have followed the McCallister Scouting Report over the years, honesty is not a weakness of mine. Making kids better the right way is what it is all about. Hopefully doing this same program for over 25 years, I have gained the trust and respect of the high school coaches throughout Ohio. The Ohio High School Athletic Association is a different story.
      I apologize for the confusion. Also, this rule 7.8 does not affect combines where just measurements and testing is done.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Braxton Miller Snub

      Three dollars and forty two cents and my name will get you a small breakfast at McD's. Even $1.59 and my name will get you a coffee at the Pilot station. I would guess my comments about omitting Ohio State QB Braxton Miller from the final six Heisman candidates would mean very little to the voters. For me, the slight was questionable.
      First, as most know and I will tell you - I am a Braxton Miller fan. From my dealings with him, he has been really good to me. In his Wayne High School days, he was fun to talk with. Although I have not made a chance to talk with him since his arrival at Ohio State University, I still value him as a person and someone who can handle the "stage."
      When he first arrived at Ohio State, I do not feel that he understood what the real game of quarterbacking was all about. Urban Meyer quickly made him aware of the work involved. Braxton was "so-gifted" growing up, that he took awhile making himself really better. He always played and, still does, to the level of the competition. But he has done that. For some reason the "media experts" and "sports talk whatever?" want more.
      Now, I do not wear my Rex Kern jersey-#10 jersey to McD's, nor do I make excuses for every Buckeye loss (which has not been often with Miller), nor do I lose sleep when the Buckeyes lose(which has not be often with Miller).The national perception of the Buckeyes and the rest of the Big Ten is not really good. Believe it or not, Urban Meyer may annoy some media voters with his self-confidence. I make these points, not to be controversial, but because, I hope the voting media did not use this against what Braxton Miller is all about. His performance on the field should be what it is all about. Hopefully, character off the field does not play a part in the voting. If that plays a part, then we have some hypocritical voters.
      I realize this is a narrow minded thought from a 65, old school guy, but I believe that you could put Braxton Miller on ANY team in the country and he would win. He would make any team better, and he would win. The cat (modern day terminology) missed some time with an injury, but O-State has won some games the last two years. Chances are he would probably not have been in court recently, or made a fool of himself last summer, by "big timing " the Manning Brothers QB Camp.
      Football for Braxton Miller will not stop because he is not a Heisman candidate. And I will not get out my Rex Kern jersey and wear it to McD's on a football Saturday. But he is as valuable to the Buckeyes as any of the six candidates are to their teams. If memory serves me, the Buckeyes have won some games the last two years and lost one. Strength of schedule? maybe. But one loss in two years, that ain't bad!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thoughts on the OHSAA State Football Championship

       If you were at the Ohio High School Football State Championship game Thursday night or at any games on Friday or are going today, here are some things to remember about the Canton-Massillon area hosting the games. First, I will tell you that the games will be moved to Columbus, and presumably Ohio State University next year,
      As you think back, think about the easiness to get to each venue. A short drive off of State Route 30 to get to Paul Brown and even shorter route to get to Fawcett. No real rush hour traffic, especially on a Friday night.
      Once your arrive at either stadium, the parking is really easy and plenty of room. Room for RV's, tailgating, and cars. No shuttle service needed, because of the convenience, because ample parking near by.
      The security people are both Fawcett and Paul Brown do a really good job with what their job entails. For some reason at Ohio Stadium, security are supposed to receive almost ten dollars more per hour. But really they are doing the same job.
      Paul Brown and Fawcett get you almost on top of the field from the stands. At both venues you are right on top of the action. As I remember at Ohio Stadium, you are back further from the field. As I watched the Thursday night game on my flat screen, a lot of empty seats. That perception is bad at both Fawcett and Paul Brown, but since they are both high school stadiums, there is still that high school atmosphere. At Ohio Stadium, with seating for 105,000 plus, there may not be that same high school atmosphere.
      For years the Ohio North-South All Star Classic was played at Massillon and Canton, but a few years ago, the Columbus Visitors Bureau made a pitch and a huge sales job to bring it to Columbus. Last year the game was played in Dayton. The general walk-up fans are so much more in the Massillon - Canton area, because that is football. Columbus area, general fan traffic is not as much. Selling tickets is still really, really important.
       When this change in sites was being talked about, my question was always, "What happens when Coach Tressel were ever to leave?" Coach Jim Tressel was the driving force in trying to get the State Championships to Ohio Stadium. Well organized and a real friend of the Football Coaches Association, he got it done. I always remember when Coach John Cooper was here, he wanted no part of any high school football at Ohio State.
      But with some politicking and a huge presentation, the games will be played next year at Ohio Stadium, and I would guess a high school site  would also be needed. Crew Stadium is really expensive, unless a deal is cut. I was told the change to the Columbus area will be evaluated after the games.
      For me, the trip to C-bus and Ohio Stadium is 55 minutes. To the Canton - Massillon area just under two hours. Common sense for me would be to favor C-bus and Ohio State University, but, being a "high school guy," I would drive the extra hour. However, weather conditions during the games always dictate, even if I had to drive 10 minutes to Upper Sandusky High School's field.
      For some reason, the OHSAA decided to play the seventh game on Thursday night this year, instead of Sunday afternoon. The OHSAA, as most fans know, went to seven divisions this year. Excellent move. More teams get to be involved in the playoffs. My problem - A lot of late night travel for teams on Thursday. They waited to make the game between the two teams that had less travel. Akron was a short trip. Trotwood Madison - maybe not. Either way, two schools are missing two days of school.
      Three games on Friday. Three games on Saturday. One game Sunday afternoon at 2:00. Just a thought.
      A funny!! In the Playoff Manual that goes to every school hosting a playoff game, there is a section in large print - NO SCOUTING SERVICE allowed along the sidelines. There are recruiting services and Scout.com, Rivals.com, and a few recruiting reporters. I may be the only scouting service in Ohio. Scouting Ohio does a good job at scouting, but be promotes himself as a recruiting service. In a way I feel honored that I am the only person in Ohio that has a rule in the Playoff manual. Years ago that would have annoyed me, but at 65, no, not now.
     The Ohio High School State Football Championships are always exciting and bring out the best in the communities' spirits. A lot of work among volunteers and local people. As most know, without local help and cooperation, things would not goes as well.
      The best of all is that many high school football players get the thrill of not only playing in the game, but also to represent their communities. Sadly, the State Championship game is the last organized football game that many will ever play.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Recruiting Frustration Story

       Unfortunately, I get emails from time to time from parents (sometimes high school coaches) asking how to handle a negative situation with regards to the recruiting of their son. "Why" or "Where do we go next?" I do receive emails about the positive experiences that a son has had, but, unfortunately, the negatives, at times outweigh the positive. Two days ago I received a disappointed one.
      Back in the spring, an offensive lineman in the Class of 2014 made a verbal commitment to a BCS school. The school's program is on the rise and football is good right now. For me, because I know the situation there, I have concerns about their recruiting process. In fact, for years they were one of my schools, but two years ago dropped my service. No problem here. Recently, the coaching staff called and asked this senior prospect to take a "gray shirt" on their commitment list for the coming year. Problem here. Now, back in May they offered him and he accepted. Done.
      First - A definition of "gray shirting." A prospect signs a letter of intent in February, but will not be able to report with in the fall with the rest of his recruiting class. He will delay entry to college until midyear, or usually January. His five year plan does not start until he enrolls as a fulltime student. In a sense, it is a delayed version of "redshirting." NCAA rules prevent a college from enrolling more than 25 scholar shipped recruits in the fall, but colleges can bring scholar shipped players who are over the 25 limit into school in midyear. Grayshirts. But grayshirts cannot enroll in college as fulltime students in the fall, cannot receive their scholarships, cannot practice with the team. The only advantage for the recruit is that they get an extra spring practice. If the truth were known, Ohio State really wanted Todd Boeckman to take a "grayshirt, but he did not.
      The parents are frustrated, and, of course, who can blame them. Since their son had committed back in May, everything with recruiting was done. Colleges quit calling and no camps. All done. Not so, in late November the plans have changed. Back to step three of the recruiting process. I have put out his name to a few colleges, and he should find something.
      I write about this situation, because parents need to be aware of the negatives of recruiting. They need to remember - that it is a business. A sometimes ugly business. Fun times, but also tough times. Just because a school like Ohio State, Michigan, or Alabama contacts you and you get to talk to the head coach, does not mean that they are seriously interested. They talk on the phone almost everyday.
      One other story. A player in Northeast Ohio was offered a scholarship after a satellite football camp. In September he called the school to accept the offer. The school told his dad that he had to wait until they discussed the situation in a recruiting meeting.
      Three "messin-withs." Alabama invited three Ohio prospects to a game this past season. The game was against some small school. Why didn't Alabama invited them to a high profile game? A coach told a high school coach that his young QB reminded him of Tim Tebow. Another college coach told a high school coach that they may not get a linebacker they wanted, so they may come back on a LB that they has previously rejected.
       Although it is not ethically correct, sometimes I believe as a recruit I would take the first good offer, but I want it in writing. If something better comes along, I would de commit,  and take the better offer. But my problem as a high school player, only two things stopped me from going to a big school to play football. Fear of getting hurt and No talent,
      Obviously, I will not go into details about recruiting stories. I do not find any humor in them. But I have been doing this business a long time. I see and hear much. I am not beating my weak chest or trying to spread rumors.  My intent is to make parents, coaches, and, most of all, the players aware of the good and bad in the football recruiting process.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

McCallister Cheers for Players

      Living on four acres of land south of Upper Sandusky and great weather, left me little time to watch the Michigan-Ohio State yesterday. Traveling to Mansfield to watch the Bishop Hartley - Akron Manchester game last night left me little time to watch the Missouri game last night. Just getting to the point in my life where sitting and watching college football for four quarters takes a back-seat when there are more important things to do. Had a funny thing happen at McD's this morning.
      Like almost any other area in Ohio, most people bleed scarlet and gray. On of my friends (60 years old) ask me what I thought of the Mich-OSU game. Before I could answer, he promptly told me that OSU was overlooking Michigan, because "everybody knows we (he is not an OSU grad) own them." My answer was "did not see much of the game, but both teams must have played well." After listening to a long five minutes of his " Ohio State chatter and his lamenting the fact that the national perception of Ohio State is not good," I simply said that I cheer for players and not teams. He acted like I "spit on the cross."
      Years ago I remember watching Illinois assistant coach Tim Kish running across the field after they beat Michigan. Kish has been a good friend of mine for years. Some Michigan coaches, as well, have been good friends of mine. I remember telling Debbie that I have to be neutral and cheer for teams.
      Since I know many of the former Ohio high school players now playing college ball, I cheer for players, not teams. Players success is what it is all about for me. Whether at Mich, Mich St, O-State. Ohio Dominican, Ashland, Bluffton, or any other school. I do not care for some of the college coaches, assistants. as well as head coaches, but none the less, I applaud the Ohio players.
     Braxton Miller has always been a favorite, because he is simply a "winner." One Coilumbus sports talk show idiot questioned his toughness back in September. He went to a QB guru (?) in California. Urban Meyer tried to mess with his personality. Braxton will win and he has always been good to me.
     I used to joke with OSU's Devin Smith about making plays. Seems like almost everybody questions his toughness, but all he does is make "big plays."
    Former OSU QB Troy Smith always took time to chat with me. Part of the reason could be that I told him coming out of Glenville that he was the best QB prospect, including Massillon's QB. Actually, Ohio State recruited him as an athlete.
    Do you think that if Missouri played Oho State, that I want Maty Mauk to throw three picks and fumble? Of course, not.
    Michigan's players with Ohio backgrounds are good kids. I applaud them. TE Jake Butte played well last Saturday, round shoulders and all. Kalis is getting better. Warren's Davion Smith could do very good things at Michigan. On person close to the Ohio State program told me that Michigan taking players out of Ohio, just to take players. Okay? 
    St Ignatius's Dan Fox is a starting linebacker at Notre Dame. I cheered for him last night against Stanford.
     Groveport's Le'veon Bell played well at Michigan State. I remember when he jumped 6'1 as a sophomore in high school. He was clueless as to what he was doing.
     As hard as it would be to believe, I speak with NFL scouts concerning the background's of some of the Ohio kids. Not all of the time, but I do. If I talk about them, I should cheer for them.
     The list could go on and on. Hopefully, there is no need to be "self promoting." Evaluating and helping high school players to be successful have always been two important parts of what I do. Sorry, if I do not get all "giddy," about certain colleges throughout the country. But, if they have a former Ohio high school, I will get excited for him.
      Yea Ohio High School FOOTBALL!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sciotoville Community School - Tyler Gerald

      People who follow my blogs, have read - "If you are good enough, someone will find you." Of course, there are exceptions, but, for the most part, I really believe it. Just too many ways to find prospects. Yesterday, I viewed a HUDL highlight video of sophomore Tyler Gerald, a 6'5-300 offensive lineman from Sciotoville Community School.
     First, tell me where Sciotoville Community School is located. I guessin just on the edge of Portsmouth, Ohio. I am guessin the school used to called Portsmouth East. I am guessin that the school plays in the smallest division in Ohio. But I am also guessin Tyler Gerald is a "diamond in the rough."
     Tyler is 6'5-300 pounds and just made the All-District team. Also plays varsity basketball and carries a 3.5GPA. He plays on both sides of the ball at Sciotoville Community. For sure, he is a member of the Class of 2016.
      For a big man, he is athletic. Runs well. Good hips. If you watch the first play on his highlight video, he bends and keeps his feet moving after, the initial contact. Most of the time, he blocks til the whistle. If you watch him, his athleticism is evident. Once he fell down, as silly as it sounds, he got up off the ground like an athlete. Not as some big 6'5-300 who cannot move. Like his feet on pass protection. But he is still a puppy.
      People will question his "competition." Good point. But I believe that if you could put him on the OL of a much bigger school, and he has the size and athleticism to "fit in" then he has a chance. Plus, he is only a sophomore. A highlight video is just that. Really need to see game video.  For me I really need to see him up and close and personal.
      I spoke with his coach on the phone this morning. Gave him this advice. Since he is going to be a recruit at the Indiana-Ohio State game this Saturday, he will be subject of recruiting stories. According to his coach, he has a story online already. I told him what recruiting writers to be aware of and what to say. Also told him that since Ohio State University knows about him, he needs to pay no money to a recruiting service. None. Finally, I told him to not get overwhelmed with the recruiting process, which is almost impossible. A young coach in a small school setting has his work cut out for him. Even a 65 year old man, standing in front of 105,000 fans and listening to the recruiting pitch might have a problem focusing on reality.
       In the next few weeks, I will be making a trip to southern Ohio. Need to stop at Portsmouth High School, Minford High School, and Ironton High School. Looking forward to visiting Sciotoville Community School to watch Tyler Gerald play basketball. Just seeing a prospect in person means much to me. I am guessin Tyler will be a pleasant surprise.
      Hopefully, "if you are good enough, someone will find you."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mansfield Senior Football Program

        Mansfield Senior's football team made me proud last Friday in their playoff game with New Albany at Olentangy Liberty High School. Although they lost the game 26-22, the game was hard fought between to very good football teams. Honestly, it was a game that you hated to see either team lose.
        I applaud the work of Mansfield's head coach, Chioke Bradley. I go back with Chioke to his high school playing days at Mansfield Senior. A really good college prospect, but he not quite fast enough for the very top programs. A linebacker type, but needed to get bigger. But what I remember most was his effort and his toughness. Bowling Green scholarshiped Chioke and he went on to have a good career with the Falcons. Once again he played with all his physical ability. Next time, I saw him he had come back to Mansfield.
       Three years ago Mansfield Senior was starting to resemble a well coached and disciplined football team. Up until that time, the program struggled with numbers and coaching changes. I think Mansfield was 6-4. The next summer, I commented to Bradley at a 7on7 at Dublin Coffman, that he was building a team attitude. Last year I think that they won nine games. This year 11 games in a row. The first undefeated and untied team in 82 years. Chioke feels that this is the best team that Senior High has put on the field.
       Senior  WR Chek Washington was the man as the go to receiver. He had a 40 yard catch in the first quarter. Came back and had two catches in Mansfield's second touch down drive. In the third quarter, senior QB Jalen Reese and Chek played pitch and catch in the red zone in front of me. Actually the two were signaling back and forth. Finally, Chek made the 17 yard touchdown play. I felt bad because not once did the New Albany corner get any help.
       Seniors Chek Washington, Jalen Reese, LB Jaleel Taylor, LB Travon Harris, and TE Mitch Nixon led the way in this game. Their enthusiasm before the game and during warm-ups was contagious. They played hard and well during the game.
       As far as underclassmen, OL Marshall Lewis (2015), playing in his first varsity season did some things well and some not so well, but he is listed 6'4-270 and can run. He will improve his blocking fundamentals. Sophomores Marvin Parker (SS) and Tyquan Vickers (RB) should be well recruited over the next three years. If junior DL Jaquille Fletcher loses some weight and works on his overall quickness in the off season, he should get recruited. He is wrestling this winter.
      Business as usual,  I evaluated players on both teams and both teams had recruits. But I just was so impressed with the work of Chioke Bradley and his staff. Players bought into the program and stayed the course. I watched the Tygers years ago, which makes me appreciate the distance that this program has come.

Doing a Personal Evaluation of a Prospect

       One of the main reasons that I stand on the sidelines during varsity football games is that I watch the actions of my top prospects. One of the reasons that I watch my top prospects in other sports is to watch their actions. One of the reasons that I talk to people about my top prospects is that I want to know what their actions are away from sports. Finally, one reason that I like to speak with my top prospects is that get an idea how well they communicate. Personal evaluations are important to me.
Citizen - Is my prospect a good citizen in and away from school. How does he dress? How does act in school? Does he do work on community projects? Is he respected by his teachers and other coaches?
Introvert - Is he outgoing? Does he tend to be by himself? Does he keep his emotions to himself? On the sidelines does he stay away from the team?
Team player - Does he stay involved with the team on the sidelines? Does he offer encouragement to his teammates? Off the field, does he do things with the team. Does he encourage the younger players?
Training habits - Does he take care of himself physically? Does he follow training rules? Is he guilty of using drugs? Is he consistent about following the rules? Is he on time?
Attitude - Does he have more than the average "swagger?" Does he look down on his teammates? Is it always a teammate's fault, when things do not go right? Is he approachable after a game?
Coachable - Does he listen to his coach on the sidelines or in practice?  Is he willing to make changes to his playing style? Does he change his technique or revert back to his old ways?
Enjoys football - Does actually enjoy and have fun playing the game? Does he get excited on the field? Can I see it in his eyes, when I ak him about playing the game?
Lazy - Does he take plays "off" during the game? Is he late to the field? Does he miss workouts in the off season? Does he work hard in the classroom?
Bad actor - Are his emotions on the field for real? Does put on the "tough guy" image? Does he bully his teammates people around him?
Stability - Does he too high or too low during a game? Does he play under control? Away from football does he make sound decisions? Does he get really "down" on himself?
Quitter - Does he give up or shutdown when things go bad in the second half? After he makes a mistake, he does he bounce back, or does he quit? Does he finish things that he attempts?
Family background - Living with both parents? Influence of parents? Professons of parents? How many siblings? Living environment? Parents involvement in recruiting process.
       This a long list of questions that I ask myself, when trying do a personal evaluation of a prospect. But many questions intertwine. Really does not take long to get an idea of prospect's personal qualities, but I see them more than one time.
      I do not go into detail with college coaches, unless there is a real issue. I put very little in writing. Most importantly, I do not give this information to people, other than college coaches.
      Finding answers to these questions really helps me understand the prospect and sometimes to see where the prospect is "coming from."I do offer suggestions to prospects, and, at times they are not always appreciated.
      I really believe evaluating a prospect's character and family backgound is not only important to college coaches, but to me, as well.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November - Busy Month for Ohio HS Football

Getting back to blog time.
       November is really a busy month for high school football in Ohio. Coaches putting the finishing touches on their seasons. Coaches working on preparation for the playoffs. Guys like me, trying to get all of the names and contact information for the college coaches. Prospects trying to get their highlight video finished. College coaches on the road recruiting. A lot going on.
   For me.
      Actually am all caught up on my evaluations during the regular season. Evaluations go out to the colleges every Monday. These evaluations are only on the players in the games that I have seen the previous weekend. Four more Monday evaluations. Through the playoffs, I try to see players that I have not seen during the regular season. For example, this Friday I will see the Mansfield Senior-New Albany game. On Saturday, I plan to see Austintown Fitch. All three teams have college prospects.
      My working lists for the prospects in the Classes of 2015, 2016, and 2017 are updated. After going through my notes and going through the list that high school coaches have sent me this fall, I am in good shape. Just over 500 in the Class of 2015. Another 250+ in the Class of 2016. As of now, I have 89 in the Class of 2017, including 6 no-brainers. Of course this will continue to get bigger.
      The high school coaches are staring to contact me about their prospects. I would rather deal with the high school coach sending me information, rather than the player. Players can send me information through my website, but I still double check with the his football coach. Too many recruiting sites rely on the prospect for information. Since my credibility with the high school coaches is really strong, getting his information is better and more accurate.
       Also starting to get more HUDL highlight videos from players who ask that I evaluate their highlight video. High school coaches do the same thing. Basically they just want my thoughts on a prospects potential. I try get back to them as soon as possible. One thing that I do not do is debate with a coach or a parent over the prospect's ability or potential. That happens sometimes, but only once.
       If  player has concerns about his highlight video, he is always welcomed to contact me. This happens with players, as well as with coaches or parents. No problem, but I know what the college coaches want to see. Recently, I received a Hudl video from a 2014 prospect who plays FB. Many of he plays were his running the ball and very few blocking. More plays blocking and fewer running. College coaches want to see a FB blocking.
       Combines. The dates are set for two combines in Columbus at the D-1 Training Center. We are doing scheduling a little different this March. That information will be released next week. Possibility that two additional combines may be scheduled, but nothing definite.
       As many recruits are finding out, college coaches throw out offers during the spring and summer months, but get more selective during the fall. For those who have no offers, be patient. You cannot control what college coaches do, but you can control how hard you work. If a prospect has been overlooked or put on the "we like you, but," list, be patient. Sometimes when schools lose a prospect, they may come back to the overlooked prospect.
       Being one of the two BCS schools in Ohio and a storied program, Ohio State University coaches believe that almost every young football player in Ohio grows up wanting to be a Buckeye. With that thinking, they believe if they lose a national recruit, they can always come back to an Ohio guy, because he has always wanted to be a Buckeye. Parents included. Be patient.
       November is a busy high school football time in Ohio.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Saalih Muhammed - A 2016 Ohio QB Prospect

      When Dave Berk, Ohio recruiting analyst for Fox speaks, I listen to what he says about a college prospect in Ohio. Dave works primarily in Southwest Ohio, but really understands the scouting process. Since last summer, he has been telling me about a sophomore QB at Springfield Shawnee High School. I watched the Shawnee game against Wapakoeneta last night, and was on again.
      Saalih Muhammad transferred from Springfield High School last summer. He is a 6'2-175, left handed quarterback with much athletic talent. Watched him during warm-ups and, at this stage of  development I like his passing mechanics. When he passes, he needs to a better job with his feet, but it is correctable. He needs to spin the ball more often, but he I watched him do it a few times, so I know he can. At times, he needs to throw passes with more rpm's. Little things need tweaked, but all are tweakable. Like his toughness with "zone read." Once he gets north/south, he has a burst and runs fast. As he gets physically stronger, he will a more effective runner, but he has speed now.
     Like Saalih's leadership ability. Also watched as he came back from a bad series where he had a fumbled pitch that Wapakoneta recovered. When he came back the next series, he played well. Like that in skilled players. Really liked his overall quarterback presence for a sophomore.
     I am not as bold as some recruiting reporters to make predictions, but if Saalih Muhammad keeps improving and stronger, he should be in mix as one of the best QB prospects in the Ohio Class of 2016.
    Also came away from the game impressed with the overall ability of Shawnee senior Jalen Nelson. Listed at 6'1-210, he is one of the toughest runners that I have seen this fall. Good hips to change direction. Changes direction as he goes forward. Excellent burst. Gets to the edge really well.  Soft hands. Very durable runner.
    With all of the positive qualities, Jalen's best quality is that he makes plays. Gets first downs. Gets to the end zone. Against Wapakoneta he rushed for 109 yards on 17 carries. He may even be a defensive back at the next level.
      Mid-American schools should spend some time evaluating him. Whether he can get big enough physically, I do not know. I do know that last night he was special.
      Many thanks to Dayton area's Dave Berk for putting me on to  Saalih Muhammad. Berk is probably the second best evaluator of Ohio high school football talent, but he is the best in Southwest Ohio.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kraig Howe - Kettering Alter - One of the top DT in 2015

      People often are  guilty of thinking that if a high school player is short and heavy that he can always play on the DL. Plug the inside, force a double team, or protect the linebackers. Hopefully, most coaches realize playing defensive line against the spread teams requires much more. Maybe in years past, the DL guy was just a plugger, but not in 2013.
      Defensive tackle Kraig Howe from Kettering Alter is one of the top DT's in the Ohio Class of 2015. Watched him last Saturday night, and he is a run-stopper, as well as pass rusher. Excellent explosion off the LOS. Needs to continue to use his hands better to disengage a blocker, but he will improve that. Credited with a third down QB sack. Excellent closing speed to get to the ball. Like the way he changes direction, after he gets depth. Uses his power angles well. At 6'3-255, he has really good balance and can change direction. When a D-lineman is pass rushing, he needs to always work on playing with discipline and changing direction to sack the QB.
      Watched him play basketball last winter at the OHSAA State Championship final four. Ran the court well for a big sophomore. Also attacked the basket on both ends of the court. Best of all he realized his role and played hard. Moved his feet well inside the paint.. Liked his physicality, but he will have to continue to get stronger and quicker.
      Kraig has proven to me that he will play with a little pain (or more) and play hard at the same time. Last year, he was cleared to play in the state basketball tournament, even though he was playing with a broken nose. Last Saturday he was playing with a cracked bone in his foot. He discovered that he had a fractured bone in his foot back in July. Rested his foot over the summer. But reinjured it recently. Even though he was not 100 percent, he moved pretty well.
      Liked his sophomore highlight video last year. His quickness and pass rushing ability were evident. I always like to watch a full game video to see if players take plays off. Watching Kraig, he does not take plays off. He is physical and finishes plays.
      Corners and defensive linemen are hard to find on the high school level. Defensive lineman are harder to evaluate. You just do not always get the best competition. With his 6'3-255 body and the ability to both punch and  move his feet, Kraig Howe should one of the dominating defensive tackles in the Ohio Class of 2015.     

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tylor Pritchard - An Upper Ram - Get's It

      Traveling every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights during football season allows me almost no time to watch my hometown Upper Sandusky Rams. Of course, being my own one man business, I could go to a Ram game anytime. But business is business and every weekend is business.
      One player that I will miss reading about is Upper Sandusky's Tylor Pritchard. Evaluated Tylor in a scrimmage this past August. Good high school player. Tough and physical. Smart. Over the last four years, he has added strength and weight. Plays quarterback and linebacker for the Rams. An athlete playing QB, but  a solid LB. Guessin 6'2 -220. Really needs to improve overall speed and change of direction. Needs a burst.
      Actually first saw Tylor playing freshman football years ago. The best player on the field. The next time I saw him play was this past summer in 7on7 competition at Bucyrus. Good player, did a lot of "chirping," but competed hard. In the August scrimmage, he made plays and found ways to get it done, but needed to run better.
      This past Wednesday morning some of the Upper Sandusky football players were eating at McDonald's. Since I am always there with my paper and coffee, I asked Tylor to talk for a few minutes. Wished him well in this week's game with Galion. Congratulated him on a nice career. But  really wanted to know about his future plans. Impressive answers.
      Tylor told me that he wanted an education above all else. Going to a Division III  and more expensive school just to play football was not really what he wanted to do. Going to a MAC level school to get an education and perhaps "walk-on" the football team was the way he was leaning.  That is not the answer that I usually get from possible college football prospects who come from smaller schools. Tylor's comments showed maturity to me. His comments showed "no illusions or delusions"  of big time football.
      Honestly, Tylor is a very good football player. Being a "walk-on" and  developing physically is very possible. Learning the LB position really well is very possible. At 6'2-220, with tremendous dedication to getting better, and contributing to a MAC level program is very possible.
      One thing that I forgot to mention is that Tylor carries a 3.9 GPA in the classroom. Since he scored a 29 on the ACT, that GPA looks pretty honest. With those scores, I am really glad getting an education is paramount.
      Marketing high school football players has become big business. A sometimes dirty and dishonest business. A sometimes expensive business for parents. Coaches and parents need to do as much as they can to promote their son. They need to select college camps, especially the "satellite" type camps. They need to put together clear, basic highlight videos. Coaches need to reach out to colleges. Sad, but sometimes high school coaches believe that colleges should do all of the "legwork." Not in 2013. Sometimes this happens to a smaller school player. Hope this is not the case with Tylor.
      Tylor represents many smaller school football players. A leader and a talent. But different than many players, he has it figured out and he "gets it." Get an education and, if possible walk on at  a MAC level program, or test a BCS level school. Most of all, be realistic in your goals.
      Maybe not a "Jon Diebler," but Tylor Pritchard represents the Upper Sandusky community well. A 3.9 GPA (wow) and a 29ACT (wow). Walk-ons can make it. Realistic young people just seem to be successful.    

Monday, October 28, 2013

Three Offensive Linemen to Watch - 2015 and 2016

      Over the weekend I watched three offensive linemen do their thing. Being an old, old center, I have tremendous appreciation for what offensive linemen do. Now, what I find most amazing is how tall and athletic OL guys have become. OL Ted Stieber (2015) from Akron Hoban and OL Hunter Littlejohn (2015) from Olentangy Liberty have really worked in the off season to make themselves two of my top OL guys in the Class of 2015. Also have to mention OL Liam Eichenberger (2016) from St Ignatius.
      Hunter Littlejohn was okay last year, but I wondered if he would get big enough. Listed 6'4-270, he has definitely made himself big enough. Long and extends his arms. Really good explosion off LOS. Good bender. Good feet. Runs well for size. Athletic. Could see him move to center on the next level. Last year, I questioned effort at times. No questions this year.  Plays every down and plays with an attitude. With another year of off season work, should be dominating next year. Should be one of my top OL guys in the Ohio Class of 2015.
      From the offensive linemen who I have seen this fall, Ted Stieber may the most improved one of the group. Last year as a sophomore, he was huge, but when I saw him play, that was it--- he was just huge. Listed 6'6 and 300+. Good feet , but was slow off the LOS. Did not finish plays. Did not have good first two steps in pass drops. Last summer, I saw much the same. In fact, I made a comment to him last summer. Now, Ted Stieber is listed 6'6-300, but has slimmed down and moved some of the fat to muscle. Excellent bender. Finishes blocks. Blocks second level really well. Really good pass drops. Needs to improve feet on pass protection, but will be fine. Good arm extension. Most of all, he plays physical, almost with a nastiness. A possible left tackle on next level. Much like Hunter Littlejohn, with another off season, Ted could be a dominating top five OL guy for me in the Ohio Class of 2015.
       Sophomore Liam Eichenberg mans the left tackle position for St Ignatius. Listed 6'5-260, he has the long frame and long arms. Runs really well. Really athletic. Finishes blocks. Good bender. Good hips. Watched him run the basketball court with ease last winter. Last summer, I did not see everything that the OSU coaches saw at the OSU Camp to offer him as a freshman. After watching him play Saturday, I have now. Athletic enough that he will be able to play different positions on the offensive line. Unlimited potential.
       With some of the other offensive linemen whom I have seen this fall, the Ohio Class of 2015, may have some of the tall tackles that every college coach wants. From where I saw him last year, Ted Stieber has come along way. When I talked with him last night, I was silly with compliments. He can be that good.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

DeShone Kizer - An Irish QB Now and for Four More Years

      The Cleveland Browns are making the switch to Jason Campbell at the quarterback position for this Sunday's game . I have actually not lost any sleep over that decision. What I noticed about Jason Campbell is that he has a hitch in his throwing motion. A hitch much the same that I noticed In Toledo Central Catholic quarterback, DeShone Kizer last Friday night.
      Before last week's game DeShone joked with me that the Toledo St John's - Central game was the third that I had seen him play. After watching him play his sophomore year, I believed that he had a chance to be special. Liked everything about him, except arm strength. He actually had to wind up and still the football lacked rpm's. That was a concern for me, but I thought with age and with core muscle development that would improve.
       That core muscle strength did not develop and neither did his ball speed. At least not enough to being a nationally rated quarterback. All of the intangibles, all of the measurements, and all of the football skills, except arm strength. For a long time, DeShone was told that he was a basketball player. A 6'4-215 off guard who ( I feel) did not shoot the ball well enough to be a highly recruited basketball player. Baseball is also a love of his and he is good at it. But I still felt that he could be a top rated QB, if he developed his core muscles.
        Apparently most of the schools in the Midwest thought much the same. The reasons are not important, but last summer Notre Dame came back to watch him work out. The Notre Dame coach liked what he saw. DeShone had the major college offer that he wanted, so that he could stay close to home. Southern schools liked him, but not all in the Midwest did.
        Watching him last Friday, he was the same old DeShone to me. All of the intangibles, all of the measurements, and all of the football skills, but now he had added arm strength. Somewhere he has finally "gotten it." Every quarterback needs to develop "core muscles." Not bulging biceps or "Popeye fore arms," but core muscles.
       DeShone still has a "hitch" in his throwing motion and maybe that can be worked with more coaching and more reps. My point is that Jason Campbell has a "hitch" in his throwing motion, and he has been a starter in the NFL. Of course, I am not saying DeShone Kizer will be in the NFL. I am saying that, even with a "hitch" in his throwing motion, he can still get it done. Can he at Notre Dame? Who knows? Given time to develop, he will be fine.
       Former Kenton High School quarterback Maty Mauk was told by some recruiters that he dropped his elbow too much, that he relied on his arm strength to much, and that he needed to set his feet more.  Some thought that it was the system. Until a coach actually saw him throw in person, his ball speed was not appreciated. Maty was also a three-sport star in high school, but work very hard developing his strength. And you guessed it - "core muscles." After redshirting at Missouri and waiting his turn this year, he had a pretty good "coming -out" party last week.
       DeShone Kizer will always be one of my guys. I have watched him grow and mature as person. I have watched him struggle somewhat with the recruiting "BS" put out by the recruiting internet media sites, as well as the college coaches. I have watched him develop physically and  focus on getting stronger. I really believe that he will surprise people with his quarterback play at Notre Dame.
       Most of all, I have really enjoyed talking with him. Even though I am not a high profiled recruiting reporter, he always makes time to flash the smile. Hopefully, he continues to develop his strength and you guessed it -- his core muscles.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Curtis Mitchell DE/TE at Westerville South

      Westerville South's Curtis Mitchell is running under the radar. Either that, or I see what colleges coaches must not see, or I do not see what college coaches see. At the Westerville Central - Westerville South game last Thursday night. Curtis caught attention early.
      Listed at 6'4-240, Curtis may not be that heavy, but you can pick him out on the football field. Normally a tight end/ defensive end, in this game he moved inside to help stop Central's running game. Not every player enjoys playing defensive tackle, but no problem here. Excellent explosion off LOS. Uses his hands to disengage and was able to find the football. Good speed to run down the QB or ball carrier on pursuit. Motor runs. Offensively, he lined up at tight end. Blocked well. Good feet to seal the inside.
       Do not know if he is a tight end at the next level, because he has the potential to get bigger. Because of his toughness and athleticism, I would put him on the defensive side of the ball. Maybe off base, but with work, he could line up at OLB and also, at times put his hand down and come off the edge. Regardless, Curtis is a football player who can play Division 1 football at the next level.
       Besides playing both sides of the ball at Westerville South, Curtis carries a 3.6 in the classroom and scored a 27 on the ACT.
       I called him to congratulate him on his game. When I asked him about any "offers," he said some teams were keeping him warm, but nothing definite, maybe Akron. Of course, I was surprised. No other MAC schools have offered.
       Need to study some video, but watching him for just over a half, I liked what I saw. At 6'4-235,  playing TE/DE and moving inside at times, but still being able to rush the passer and run down the ball carrier, Curtis Mitchell deserves some serious attention.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Chris Green (2015) - Toledo Central Catholic LB

       Last Friday night, I watched one of the top linebackers in the Class of 2015. Definitely the best pure "Mike" backer in the class. I will see St Xavier's Justin Hilliard this weekend, but I like Justin more on the outside. Toledo Central Catholic's Chris Green is the most physical LB in the class.
       First watched Chris his freshman year play some defensive end. Really physical. Watched him last play some LB last year and again - physical. Watched him at the State Wrestling Championships last winter. Once again physical. Now in his junior year, quicker, smarter, and, of course - physical.
       Listed 6'1-220. For some college coaches who follow the measurement's rule, Chris will not qualify, because he is not 6'3. But for those who want the tough run stopper and the really physical player, he is the best in his Class. Probably playing at 225 now, he needs to watch his weight. Over the winter, wrestling in the 220 weight class will take care of that.
        Versus the run, he fills the any hole between the tackles. Gets off blocks and can get to the outside. Keeps his shoulders square and is very physical inside. Reads and reacts well. Excellent closing speed and runs thru ball carriers. Finally, he gets thru traffic to make tackles.
       Against the pass, need to see more. Good hips to get into drops. Just did not see enough during the game. When he stunts on the inside, he shows excellent burst. During warm ups, he ran well and had good hip rotation.
       If you watch Chris play, you may get upset. That is, he plays with much emotion and, simply, has fun playing the game. After a big stop, he may jump up with arms pumping. He may do a five second dance. Most of all, he can "walk his talk." Although he does not seem to "chirp" much, he just plays with emotion and it shows.
        Rumor last Friday night was that Penn State offered. Linebacker U. With some good camps this summer, Chris should blow-up. Really, he does not need camps to get recognized, but coaches could see his quickness and change of direction. I would say one area that he needs to continue improve is his change of direction. As I have mentioned a few times - physicality is no problem.
        Like David Long (2015) from Winton Woods, will see Justin Hilliard (2015) from St Xavier, but Chris Green is that true inside linebacker. Probably will not get much taller, but will get quicker, and will always play physical. Most of all, will always has fun playing the game.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

O-Lineman - Bryce Gibbs (2015) Wellington High School

       Last summer at the Ohio State Camp, I watched OL/DL Bryce Gibbs, Wellington High School go through the individual drills and liked what I saw. Just coming out of his sophomore year, he needed some work, but moved okay on his 6'4-290 frame. At the time, I told him I would try to catch a game in the fall. Could not fit a game into my schedule, but attended his practice last night.
      Two years ago, Wellington High School qualified for the Division Four state playoffs, but this year their numbers are down this year and so is their record. Nonetheless, they have a respected veteran head coach and are well coached. Bryce is fundamentally sound blocker and is a bender.
       Hard to see a lot in practice, but I like the way he bends. Good explosion of ball. Like the way he seals the inside. Wellington is a wing-t offense, limiting a lot of pass protection drills. Needs to work on pass drop protection, but has the feet and long arms to get it done. Overall, he runs well, but I would like to see him lose 15 pounds over the winter. Losing weight will improve both quickness and balance.
        Like his practice mentality. Works well with teammates. Hustles from one drill to the next. Liked his effort on punt team coverage. Did not see him play defense, but on video, he gets off the ball well. Plays pad under pad well at times. Good bender on the offensive line.
        Advice to Bryce would be to get the highlight video done after the season. Pick his two best games and have that video ready. Get exposure by playing basketball again. A former player, but needs to get back on the court. Doing this, his feet will continue to get better, he will stay in condition, and college coaches and guys like me, will come to see him play. Also, he should change his eating habits. Finally, use good judgment in selecting camps. All this cheap advice probably seems silly, but I believe he could play college football at a high level, if he dedicates himself to getting better.
        Measuring 6'4-290 and not playing Division I or II is probably tough on Bryce, because he has to dominate the players he plays against. Playing both offense and defense, he cannot take plays off. Getting into condition in the off season is imperative.
        Good quickness, athletic, solid feet, and a bender. A blind squirrel can find a nut at a high profile D-I high school. But that same squirrel may have a tougher time at a D-IV program. Good college recruiters turn over every stone.
        Glad I saw Bryce Gibbs at the Ohio State Football Camp. Really glad I made the trip to Wellington High School to watch him practice. Better suited for the offensive line, but no slouch on defense. One for the college coaches to watch.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Eric Glover Williams - McKinley's Electric Source

       Although I have watched him grow and improve as a football player since his freshman year, watching Eric Glover Williams last Saturday was enjoyable. Not so much that he is one of the top talents in the Ohio Class of 2015, but that he is a threat to make a big play every time he touches the ball. When you see he start forward, anything can happen. Mr. Excitement when he touches the ball.
       Contained most of the time last Saturday by a well disciplined GlenOak defense, he did show me some potential break- aways during the game. His yards lost plays negated any total yards for the night.   Playing quarterback, he touches the ball every play. Although he is very durable and plays with a lot of energy, he must pick his spots when to run the ball. Senior RB Jarrod Smith takes some of the pressure away from Eric, because he is a very capable ball carrier as well.
        I really think that one play shows what Eric is all about. His pass was intercepted by threw an  one of GlenOak's top juniors. Kyle Hall. On the return, Eric was knocked down, got up chased Hall on caught him. Actually he caught him around the five yard line. The play may have covered 70 yards. I cannot remember the exact stats, but I do remember the effort of Glover Williams to stop a touch down. Bad ankle or not, he looked strong on that play.
       The other thing that stands out for me was his coming off the field after the interception. Upset and totally focused. No excuses. No comments. His actions spoke huge for me. Overall, this was not one of his better nights, but he competed, and as would be expected, -- played hard.
      Actually watched him his freshman put the team on his back and almost get a come from behind victory. Even a guy like me could see the talent and the potential in him. I called him after the game and congratulated him on his effort. I have read comments where he has said that he always wants to be the leader. The nice thing is that he can walk his talk, which sometimes players who want to be leaders cannot do.
       Evaluating him, his best position is in the slot. Natural ball catcher. Excellent takeoff. Excellent burst. Plays really fast. Like his stop and go - change of direction. Plays really well in space.Quicker than fast, but fast enough. Potential to get really fast on the next level. I see him listed at 5'10 and 5'10.6, but for Eric, his natural quickness and athleticism will more than make up for any shortness.
      Watching him on the sidelines, he seems to be developing core muscles. His durability and ablility to take hits is evident, but as he gets stronger, he will continue to more "electric," every time he touches the ball.
       Ohio State has received a verbal commitment from Eric. Watched him play some DB, and he was the quarterback for McKinley last Saturday night. The Buckeyes are smarter than I am, but I would use his quickness, burst, ability to play in space, and ball catching skills in the Slot position.
        But first, I hope that he puts  his commitment to Ohio State University on a shelf and continues to work hard at Canton McKinley. Some juniors who commit early, seem to believe their work is done on the high school level. The Recruiting World seems to overwhelm them. I  see neither of those problems in Eric Glover Williams. No electric power shortage here!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Corey Smith - Junior College - Ohio State WR

       While I was watching the Akron Ellet - Akron Buchtel football game last Saturday afternoon, I made the chance to talk briefly with former Buchtel wide receiver, Corey Smith, a redshirted wide receiver at Ohio State University. With O-State in a bye weekend, he made the trip to see the game.
        I asked Corey about the junior college program at Eastern Mississippi. Corey had attended Eastern Mississippi Junior College to improve his academics and get ready for a four year college. He told me that at Eastern Miss,  they treated academics like a normal four year college. No slack. In fact, he went on to say academics are tougher there than playing football there.
      Watching and evaluating Corey his junior year was interesting.  Thought whenever the ball was coming his way, he would catch it. Tremendous concentration. Excellent jumping ability as I remember. Was not a burner, like everybody made him out to be. Needed to improve top-end speed, but played fast. Corey was too old to play his senior year, but he enrolled in a junior college program and has made big strides.
       Like many  high school top talented football recruits, Corey had too many people whispering in his ear. Too many "advisors" who also wanted to be in the spotlight. I was concerned about his attitude in high school. Especially academically. As I said earlier, too many people "messin with his head."
      Wearing his red Ohio State jacket, seeing Corey at the game was good. Although I really do not care what color of jacket he wears, just seeing him focused and maturing and attending  college is huge for me. Playing football is even better. My hope is that he returns a few times to Buchtel and shares his experiences.
       As I was leaving, I wished him "the best." For me, talking with Corey for a few minutes was really enjoyable. Anytime I can learn about a junior college program, it is time well spent. Anytime I can talk with a young man like Corey Smith, it is feel good time. No, I do not "giggly" talking to an Ohio State player. Learning about what makes an athlete a better player and person makes me better at what I do.
       Being a "kid's guy," is what it is all about for me. If telling it "like it is," helps the Corey Smith's of the world, than so be it. Not all of the Corey Smith's of the world are tough enough to make it. But for those that do, I applaud them. But even better, when they come back and talk with the young football players in their community, I will hug them.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Toledo Bowsher/Toledo Scott - Both Have Some Prospects

       Last night at the Toledo Bowsher -Toledo Scott, I evaluated some good young prospects, but they all need to get into some camps next summer for exposure. More importantly, they need to prove their agility skills are good and that they can run. Like what I saw, but would like to see them in camps. (Or would like them to come to my combine in March. Free advertising)
       RB/LB Mark Washington (2014) from Bowsher has really improved his physical measurements over the last year. He has lost weight, improved quickness, and increased speed. Like his toughness. Excellent burst, but needs better balance as a RB. Lots of power. Gets north/south. Plays LB, but probably needs to put his hand down on the edge. With burst and toughness, he would be good coming off the edge. With work could stand up at times too. Good prospect.
      Justus Satterfield (2015) played both OL/DL for Bowsher. Guessing 6'2-260 and powerful. Really athletic. Good hips. Good explosion off the DL. Almost too good at times. Needs to play more under control at times. Needs to be better finding the ball  at times. On pure pass rush, he gets after the QB. Like him better on the DL. If he keeps improving physically, and gets more "nastiness,"  he will be a good DL prospect going into 2015.
      Need to find out more about sophomore Chris Suddeth from Bowsher. Former TE, in only his second game at quarterback. Good feet. Guessing 6'1-195. Really good ball handler. Throws well on the run. Finds open receiver. Good release. Really needs to get his feet under him, when he drops back to pass. Needs to be more balanced as he releases the ball. Honestly, was impressed that he was only a sophomore and playing QB in his second game and doing well. One to watch.  Chris is a football player and, if he works hard, a QB prospect. Only a sophomore.
      Transfer DL Ernest Wagner (2015) was playing in only his second game for Scott, after sitting out the first five (transfer rule). Playing too heavy now, but has really good quickness for his size. Guessing 6'1-280, he is a run stopper inside. Quick hands to get off blocks. Plays pad under pad. Athletic. Disengages well. If he can get into really good shape during the off season and stay focused, he could be a dominant 3tech guy.
      Like the play of Dakarai Adams Wilson (2015) Day'vonta Russell (2015) but need to see more.
I did a separate blog on Scott's RB/LB Kevin Banks (2015). Think that if keeps working hard in the off season, he could be high profile recruit this spring. A "five star?" probably not.  I like him a lot, but want to see how he develops.
      The game itself was really good, and both city head coaches are doing  good jobs.  Obviously, city schools lack some depth, but there some good talent and the players played hard.

Kevin Banks form Toledo Scott

       Years ago, while watching campers the Michigan Football Camp, I met Toledo Scott player, Willis Barringer, a solid defensive back/wide receiver. "Over the top" sometimes with craziness,  he ran okay, but played hard. Liked him, but only Michigan really liked him. Played his college at the University of Michigan.  Last night, I watched another Toledo Scott player, junior Kevin Banks. Like Barringer before, there is something I like about Kevin Banks.
       Listed 6'1-185, he plays RB, Slot, LB, and could be a DB. Runs well. Good hips. Like his finishing burst. Durable. Probably a 4.6 guy every time. Plays fast. Last night he had a 51 yard run. Tough-turned a 2 yard gain into in to an 8 yard gain. Good open field tackler. Like his leadership on a team that is not winning. While I watched him dance to pregame music, I was a little concerned about attitude. But when the whistle blew, he was all football. Actually made some big plays on both sides of the ball.
      I have not seen every 2015 guy in the Toledo area this fall, but Kevin has to be listed among the best. Needs to continue to get faster, but he can. Competes hard and can find his way thru junk to make plays. Sneaky quick and fast Actually see him as a defensive back on the college level. Long, with a LB mentality. Plays with a lot of emotion.
     Need to see video, but if he keeps focused and works hard in the off season, he should be one of the top rated DB's in the Ohio Class of 2015. Liked Willis Barringer when he came out of Toledo Scott. Really believe Kevin Banks could be as good, or even a little better. Sorry, old friend Willis.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

College Coaches are Now Out and About

       The fall evaluation period began on September 1, but most college coaches wait until October to watch games or visit high schools because they want to be sure that they are targeting the right prospects. Coaches get one onsite visit during this time.
       Actually the fall evaluation period which begins September 1, and  extents over 42 evaluation days, going into November. College coaches are only supposed to see seniors, but let's be real. If the underclassmen are prospects, they may eyeball them too.College coaches can meet with  high school representatives, usually a coach or a principal, or guidance counselor and can get transcripts. Of course, there is the bump rule, but let's be real. The rule is a violation, but many coaches use it.
        With colleges having an off week sometime during the season,  coaches will be on the road checking with their senior commitments. Of course, they are going to check on underclassmen. Also, when a team travels, they sometimes send coaches to recruit the area that they are staying. For example, a few weeks ago I visited with a coach from Buffalo, while I was in Columbus.
       As a prospect, you will be able to identify a college coach. He will be wearing his school colors with the college logo or name somewhere on the shirt or windbreaker.
       My advice - be in school every day. Dress appropriately. Yes sir. No sir. Smile. Leave the attitude in your school locker. If a college coach is standing along the sidelines during a game, be at the top of your game. Play hard and with great self discipline. First impressions often go along way.
       I see many college coaches, as I do my own visits to high schools. Number one-- a college coach's job, either an assistant or the top dog, is to sell his program. He will "small talk" you to get a feel for your personality. He will ask your goals. He will constantly be "measuring" you. Although this kind of comes under the "bump rule," it happens.
       When you shake a college coach's hand, be ready for a firm handshake, look him in the eye, tell him you name, and say something like - "Nice to meet you." As a prospect always look the coach in the eye. Analyze him. Ask questions. Most of all, don't do the "wide-eye" act. Don't get over excited that you are talking to a college coach. Also, don't the coach "see you sweat." Maintain your calmness. Very important to "thank him."
       The actual contact period really begins the week after Thanksgiving and lasts 19 days into December. During this 42 day evaluation period in the months of September, October, and November, college coaches are not to talk to a prospective recruit. The term commonly referred to as the "bump rule, is when a college coach accidentally comes into contact with a prospect. Really it is a violation.
       When I see this happen, I never say anything. Sometimes I have sat with as many as five coaches. I would never report the "bump rule." I believe the prospect and the college coach need as much time to get to know each other as possible.
        Some simple advice for you. The rules change so much, I hope that I am accurate.
  ****  A BCS school coach called me last night, and in the course of the conversation said that coaches can say "hello," or greet the prospect in a few words. "Of course, you know how that goes," he said.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Brecksville, Arlington, and Clearview - Prospects

       I receive many emails from high school players asking to me to check out their Hudl video. Sometimes it takes a few days, but I get it done. In some form, I try to get my opinions back to them. I hate to make too many comments, because during the season they need to focus on what is working for them. Recently I received video on Brecksville's Tim Tupa and Jay Rose, OL Logan Grieser from Arlington High Schoiol, and QB Roger Engle from Lorain Clearview High School.
      Actually watched Tim Tupa (2014) as a freshman play WR and catch passes from his brother Tommy. A really good athlete, Tim lines up at different times as a receiver, as a QB, and as a free safety. Listed 6'2-185, he has the size, but needs to improve overall strength. Changes direction well. Good hips. Good burst. Not a fifth gear guy, but has good speed. Will develop a better burst and get faster with strength improvement. Tim's ability to make plays both on offense and defense is his strength. Looks to be a natural receiver, but could end up on defense. Athleticism and attitude are his strengths.
       Another Brecksville player is senior LB Jay Rose. Listed at 6'2-225, I have watched Jay improve over the years. Improved overall strength and speed has really helped Jay. Runs down hill well. Finishes plays. Had him in my Underclassmen Showcase two years ago and liked his aggressiveness. Also plays some FB. The key for Jay will to continue getting stronger and quicker and improving change of direction. Most of all, he is a football player.
       Two summers ago at the UC football camp I watched Logan Grieser (2015) compete against the "big boys." Listed at 6'2-280, but Logan was only a freshman and his high school class numbered around 40 students total. However, Arlington High School has football tradition. Runs well for his size. Carrying too much weight. Good punch. Good balance. Needs to be a better bender, but he can. Blocks second level well. Height will hurt, but I believe he could play center. His desire to compete and another off season to develop will really help his recruiting.
      Also received some video from QB Roger Engle from Lorain Clearview High School. A former camp guy for me. Last spring when I met him at his school, I was surprised how put together he was. Listed 6'2-205. Good vision and good pocket awareness. Good escapability. Eyes always downfield. Makes the touch pass and the fade, but would like to see more spin at times. Needs to get hips more involved. Needs to improve follow through at times. Although a QB first, he has the size, toughness, and speed to play defense. Needs to get more exposure this spring and summer. Really like his potential as a QB, but must develop "fast ball."
       One thing nice about watching video, I can do it any place, any time. With WiFi available at all McDonald's, I can sit at my table at the Upper Sandusky McD's and work. Of course, actually watching a prospect in person is always the best way to evaluate.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Father-in-Law Loses Battle with Cancer

       Last week was a tough week for me, in that my father-in-law died on Wednesday, and the funeral was held in Syracuse, NY on Saturday. He was a retired minister, but still ministered to many people. Even at 85 and battling prostrate cancer, he was a pastor in senses of the word.
       My late wife was his only child, but he has a daughter from a second marriage. His wife's daughter, Claudia, has done a tremendous job taking care of almost everything. Her mother, Bob's  wife, has health problems of her own, which left almost everything to Claudia. She did, however, receive much support from her cousin Gigi and her Aunt Irene.
       His living in Syracuse limited the amount of time our families could get together. Maybe four times a year. But those times were memorable times. Times that my family will talk about for years and years.
        This is a high school football blog. I mentioned my father-in-law today because he was an important part of my life. Having gone through this ten years ago with my wife, I encourage you to take time to tell your family members that you love them. Fathers, the best present that you can give your kids is to - love their mother.
        Back to football blogs tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Some Top Seniors at Troy, Marshall, Winton Woods

       While watching games last weekend, I was really impressed with the effort of some players in the 2014 Class. I knew about Vayante' Copeland, Mike Edwards, Daniel Cage, and  Miles Hibbler, but they were better than I expected. Also having solid games were  Landon Brazile and Alex Dalton.
       Vayante' Copeland (Thurgood Marshall) returned the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. He went on to score two more TD's on long runs. Fast-fast with an excellent burst. Great hips. Excellent vision. Vayante' attended my combine as a sophomore and was outstanding. A no-brainer. Tremendous athlete. Better person. Best position at Michigan State could be corner or slot. Guarantee he will be on "return" teams.
      RB Miles Hibbler from Troy High School is one of the quickest backs in the first five yards that I have seen for a while. He gets north/south quickly. Listed 5'10-190, he breaks tackles and stays on his feet for extra yards. Fast, but would like to see more of a fifth gear. Also has the mental toughness that all good RB's have. Kent State is getting a really good one.
      Although Mike Edwards (Winton Woods) hurt his leg during the game, I have always liked his toughness. Runs fast. Excellent in open field. Closes on the ball really well. Listed 5'11-182. Possible CB, but must improve hips. Really like as a FS. Much like Copeland and Hibbler, he plays hard and has excellent athletic ability. Believe that Mike has committed to play at the University of Kentucky.
      I have watched Daniel Cage for four years, and every year he has gotten bigger and stronger, but has maintained his quickness and athleticism. Beginning his senior year, he is listed 6'2-290. Powerful inside run stopper. Excellent quickness to get to QB. Like the way he takes on the double team. Also plays gap tech well. Daniel has to work on his punch and explosion into blocker. More of a pusher now, he needs to explode and be better at disengaging blocks. Once he develops that technique, he will be a top DL guy. I do not believe that has committed to a college.
      Alex Dalton (Troy) has committed to play at Oklahoma next fall. My guess is he will work at the center position. Good size and strength. Good bender. Did not watch him as much as other prospects.
      Landon Brazile (Thurgood Marshall) is a work in progress. Tall and long and comes off the edge. Limited football experience, but has work hard and "gets it." Listed 6'6-255, but will get bigger. Committed to Cincinnati last July.
      Troy QB Mathew Barr continues to improve at the QB position. Like his release, but needs to work on feet. Had some dropped passes. Matt is such a good athlete, that if quarterbacking does not work out, he may be able to play another position. Did not spend time watching him closely.
      Always spend more time on underclassmen, but these seniors just kind of jumped out at me.

Underclassmen at Winton Woods, Miamisburg, and Anna

       Last week was a good week watching and evaluating young offensive/defensive linemen. Also watched two young linebackers and some potentially excellent defensive backs.
      First met OL Noah Listermann (2015) walking in between classes at Winton Woods last spring. Long and gangly, but now listed at 6'7-260. Really like his athleticism and feet for a big man. Long arms and gets a quick drop in pass protection. Okay bender, but is 6'7. Also like his toughness. Finishes blocks. Good lead blocker. The nicest thing about Noah is that he will get bigger/stronger. Only a junior, he could become a dominating player next year.
       I stopped at Anna High School to watch OL/DL Chandler Cotterman (2015). One of the tough guys in my camp last summer. Also competed really well at the OSU Camp. Needed to see him compete wearing pads. Really explosive on either side of the ball. Listed 6'4-285, he moves really well. Aggressive. Chandler needs to play under control and be able to change direction better. Excellent initial "punch," but needs to find ball and change direction. Should be one of the top OL/DL guys in the Class of 2015.
       Always reluctant to write about a freshman, but Miamisburg's Josh Myers is one to keep an eye on. Listed 6'5-255, he moves really well for a big man. Good bender. Moves laterally really well. Alkso plays basketball. I realize that he is only a freshman, but he starts on the OL. If he continues to progress, like I am certain he will, Josh will be one of the very top OL guys in the Class of 2017. Brother plays at Kentucky. I am sure that Josh "gets it."
      Miamisburg's junior Chris Young also played well. Listed 6'1-190, Chris can play many positions. Any DB position, but probably better suited as an inside DB. Could be a RB or a slot receiver. Runs well. Good change of direction. Aggressive. Could grow into an OLB on the next level. Really like his football presence and his ability to make plays.
      I watched LB David Long (2015) from Winton Woods last year both in person and on video. As a sophomore, he was always around the ball and would step up and make tackles. This year even better. Keeps his shoulders square to LOS and fills really well. Some concern about being under 6'0, but he is strong, smart, and moves well inside. For me, the best about David is that he takes on blocks, finds the ball and makes the tackle. One of the top LB's in the Class of 2015.
     Defensive back Chris Fobbs (2105) from Miamisburg impressed me at a Dayton 7on7 last summer. Listed at 6'1-185, he impresses me even more playing with pads. A big corner with speed. Runs 4.5/40. Good hips. Like his recovery speed. Also has really good closing speed. No fear at the corner. If grades improve, big schools will be watching.
    Winton Woods twins Chaz and Christian Lumpkin played well, but I need to see more of them. Both listed at 5'10-170 and, of course, both are in the Class of 2015. Both play fast and are capable of making big plays. Winton Woods has some really good seniors. Just need to see more.
      Junior LB Marco Anverse (Troy) was a combine guy for me. Now plays DE, but like him as a LB. Strong upper body. Needs to really work on speed and change of direction. Aggressive and plays hard. Needs to concentrate on quickness and speed.
     Need to spend more time on the underclassmen, because that is what the major colleges want to see. Most seniors have been evaluated, but I try to put the ones who have not, in my report.

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Braxton Miller Supporter

       As silly as it sounds, I do not spend many hours on the lazy boy watching college or NFL football. For one, I am usually traveling to watch a high school prospect play in a Saturday game. For two, I live on almost five acres of land south of Upper Sandusky and  love working outside. Lastly, my Labrador needs some love. But I did catch the last three minutes of the first half of the Wisconsin - O-State game. Watching those three minutes, I have two observations.
       If you are a young coach, please take this advice. If there are less than 20 seconds to go before halftime, or before the end of the game, and your team is on defense, do not worry about the first down. Stop the offense from scoring. If it is 4th and 10, put your defensive backs on the five yard line and keep everybody in front of you. If the QB is a gamer, no question-stop the long throw.
      Secondly, Braxton Miller is a winner. The TD pass before halftime proves that. Better than that, he was a competitor at Wayne High School and is one at Ohio State.  For me, his passing flaw was that he got his body ahead of his arm. When that happened, he had to rely on his arm. Now he did not have to fly to California to find that out. Of course, I am just a fan, but that was what I saw. Now I am not privy to practice, but I am sure that Urban Meyer has that changed.
       I would also like to address some radio sports talk guy on 610 WTVN in Columbus. Seldom do I listen to sports talk shows, unless a credible person is talking. It was game day and this "expert" was saying that Braxton Miller would or could not play hurt. That he is soft. That he could not take a hit. That he was injury prone and would not play with pain. He said more, but I switched to a CD. I wonder what would happen if Braxton "called him out."
       Braxton Miller competes and wins. I have not talked with him often, but when I did, he was good to me. That's good enough for me. I guess I am a Braxton Miller supporter. As far as the "bold tough sports talk guy," probably not.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ohio Dominican University Football

       Yesterday I took a Saturday off from watching high school football talent to take in the Ohio Dominican University football game against Grand Valley State. As most people know, I am a big booster of Division 2 football here in Ohio. ODU and Ashland University both get my "stuff," and I am familiar with their programs.
       Ohio Dominican University was in full throttle scoring on a kickoff return, a punt return, passes, and runs. They stepped on nationally rated Grand Valley's neck and never let up. Also nice was the fact that I had evaluated many of ODU players during their high school years. On the roster, there many young players who are waiting their turn.  But I recognized a bunch of them.
       Head Coach Bill Conley has been a friend of mine for many years. First met him when he was the head coach at Middletown High School. Followed him when he went to Ohio State's staff. After being out of coaching for a few years, Bill took over a "bad" program in which the former head coach had done a poor job in recruiting. No Ohio background and no recruiting ability. Then the AD reached out to Bill Conley - born and raised in Ohio.
       Conley was the backbone of Ohio State's football success from his football recruiting director's position. He was a solid evaluator of talent, but his strength was communicating with prospects, parents, and high school coaches. Of course, he was organized and had a plan and direction. Most importantly of all, he could sell Ohio State football, because he believed in the product. He is a good salesman.
       After he was named head coach ODU, he used the same skills that he used at O-State. But with this job he had to hire a quality coaching staff and a hard working supporting staff. Those hires have worked out well. As I talked with him, I knew that he had a plan to bring a winning attitude to Ohio Dominican University football.  If the beating that Grand Valley took yesterday is any indication, ODU is going in the right direction.
       Ashland University is rebuilding, but I have tremendous respect for the work that head coach Lee Owens does. The other Division 2 schools in Ohio do not get my service, so I am not as familiar with their programs.
       Finally, just as there are college players in the BCS sitting the pine who should be playing mid major level football, there are mid major players who should be playing Division 2 football. I promise you there are players playing at Division 2 schools in Ohio who could be contributing on the Division 1 level. After the excitement of getting noticed by Division 1 programs, be sure not to forget about the Ohio Dominican's and the Ashland's.