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.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Another Solid QB Prospect - Mitch Guadagni - Hudson

      Last Friday I was able to watch Athens High School quarterback, Joe Burrow, and because of a postponement, I was able to watch Hudson's Mitch Guadagni quarterback Saturday afternoon. I consider Mitch to be one of the top five QB's in the Ohio Class of 2015.
     Mitch has been at my camps and combines, but I first saw him at the Brown's Combine last winter. Much like Joe Borrow, he has worked hard to get stronger and bigger. Listed at 6'2-185, he looks all of that. With his increased strength, his ball gets out faster. Really like his quick release. His foot speed has also improved.
     Mitch has worked over the summer improving his footwork and his release. He keeps his weight distributed well. Good hips. Like his follow through. I like his escapability in the pocket. He has the strength to run inside.
      As I have commented, Mitch has improved size and strength  and his overall QB footwork. He needs to continually improve his QB passing skills. Also needs to read coverage better and understand progression. If he continues to improve in all areas, he has the potential to be one of the top QB's in the Class of 2015.
      Just wanted to mention another QB in the Ohio Class of 2015 who may be included in my top 5 QB prospects. Millbury Lake High School in Northwestern Ohio is experiencing one of their finest seasons in many years. Lake is 4-0 and is led by QB Jared Rettig. Another one of my "camp guys." I wrote about him in a scrimmage. The team is running the ball much more in the spread. Jared still has 9 TD's passing and 3 TD's running. Completing over 65% of his passes.
      The quarterbacks who I have seen so far this season are getting bigger/stronger. The Class of 2015 quarterbacks, by the end of the day, could surprise  college coaches. Their maturity and growth has been a pleasant surprise to me.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Athen's QB Joe Burrow - 2015 QB

      The Athens High School football team was impressive last Friday night. Really one of the better offenses that I have seen this fall. Of course, there were a lot of similarities to the Ohio University's football team, being in the same town. But the Bulldogs made it work.
      The leader of the Bulldogs is quarterback Joe Burrow. Listed 6'4-190, but 6'3-185 every day. For me, Joe is the top QB prospect in the Ohio Class of 2015. Strong arm. Excellent pocket awareness. Good feet in the pocket. Good burst and runs well in open field. Can make all throws. Stands tall. Excellent release. Understands coverage. Even ran a speed option to his left successfully. Reminds me a lot of former Mentor QB Mitch Trubinsky, now at North Carolina.
      Over the summer, Joe made the commitment to add weight and to develop his core muscles. Glad he did. I watched him at the Nike camp last summer and came away disappointed. No arm strength. Plus, his nerves were on edge. I was surprised and disappointed, because I had rated him the top QB in the Class of 2015. He threw off his back foot some and could not make the 17 yard out throw.       
      Last Friday, I could see all has changed. He has put on 25 pounds and has really developed his core muscles. Now he can really spin-it. No more skips. Passes were sharp and crisp. During warm-ups, he launched some 50 yarders with little effort. Have always liked his release point and follow thru. Now he has the strength to make all of the throws.
      Having watched him play basketball last winter and having spoken to him briefly before the game, he has all of the qualities of a leader. And he is a leader. Excellent size for a quarterback. Sound QB fundamentals. Emotional leader. I guess I have a problem when a football player takes his helmet off and parades up and down the sidelines between his team and the crowd. I have a problem when a QB complains about a dropped pass. I guess I am "old school." But, I think a player, especially a quarterback comes to the sidelines and talks to his coach, talks positive his teammates, or sits on the bench and gets ready for the next series. To me that is class. Walking the sidelines without a helmet, just does not get it, for me.
       Joe Burrow has physically matured, which I thought coming into this season was his number one area to improve. As I mentioned earlier, he reminds a lot of Mitch Trubinsky at the same stage of his  development. As he continues to get stronger, his future will be bright, and he should get consideration for the top QB prospect in the Ohio Class of 2015. For MSR, the best in the Class of 2015.

The Athens-Jackson Game Had Some Players

       The Athens - Jackson high school football game last Friday had been on my schedule since early last summer. Both programs are very solid and have some high profiled players. Although the game appeared to be a "blow-out" on the scoreboard, I thought the game was actually better than the score indicated.
       I did a separate blog on Athens junior quarterback, Joe Burrow. Like him a lot. Worked to get stronger and bigger. Should be the top QB in his Ohio Class of 2015. Read my blog on him.
      Also was impressed with junior Trae Williams from Athens High School. First saw Trae at a District Track Meet last spring. Solid speed, but competed hard. Liked his attitude, but he needed to get bigger/stronger. Like Joe, he has. Friday night, he got on the edge and no one could catch him. Excellent burst, gets north/south quickly, and accelerates well. Did not see him really "bang it up inside," as much as I would have liked. Soft hands. He back-pedals well, but needs to improve hip rotation. Listed 6'0-190, he carries weight well. Tough, strong, corners who can backpedal and recover are hard to find, so I want him to be a corner. He may be a running back at the next level. Either way, he is going to be a very good college prospect.
      One of Joe Burrow's receivers is junior Ryan Luehrman. Listed 6'4-185. Long and lanky. Excellent ball catcher. In fact, he had one catch that he climbed to get, but went out of bounds. Really athletic. Also played some inside DB. Solid speed, but once he grows into his body, he could be really good. Right now, he would be a "red-zone" guy for me. With his height and athleticism, he would be tough to defend inside the red-zone. I need to learn more about him.
      Last year, I was really impressed the play and the aggressiveness of Jackson High School's LB/SS Reagan Williams (2015). Only a sophomore, his motor never stopped. But most of the time, he was running downhill. Last summer, he did not run as well as in the camps as a linebacker that I needed to see. Now he is listed 6'4-235 and has moved to DL. He needs to gain experience and develop some separation techniques. Playing aggressively and with a motor, is not a problem. Regan also played some tight end. Still learning the position, but I really liked his explosiveness off the LOS. Down blocks really well. Good hips and is a bender. Only had a few pass plays, but he gets downfield into the seam. Soft hands. For me, tight end on the next level may be his position. Not finished growing athletic, and, most of all, competes hard. He will play someplace.
       Jackson had two sophomores that I liked and will watch develop, but too early to really evaluate. OL Elijah Woodrum, listed 6'4-255, has a good frame and played well at times. Needs to be a better bender, but that should develop. Also liked RB/LB Jake Crabtree. Listed 6'1-195. Runs well and showed some athleticism. Liked his toughness for a 10th grader. Just two sophomores to keep an eye on.
      Always enjoy watching teams in southern Ohio. Do not get there much, but always exciting. Although the score was bad, the game was good for the most part.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy - "Two Big Guys"

        Although I was leaving for Syracuse to do some work for my 87 year old  father-in-law on Sunday morning, I really wanted to make the trip to Cincinnati to see two recruits who play for Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. Plus, I respect the work of head football coach Eric Taylor and enjoy watching him coach.
       Last year I  saw junior Jacob Halter playing on the O-line for CHCA. Long, slender, but athletic. Probably weighed 240, but was 6'5. Really liked his potenial, but he really needed to work in the off season. That he did. Actually came to all three of my combines last March. Now, Jacob is listed 6'6-270. Good feet. Like his pass blocking footwork. Like his aggressiveness. Good lead blocker.  Slides well on pass blocking. Actually could see him moving inside at the next level. Not there yet, but as he continues to work hard this fall and in the off-season, he should be one of the top OL-guys in the Class of 2015. Really like his potential.
       If you have not already read about CHCA's Prince Sammons, you soon will. Prince is playing his first year of football ever as a sophomore. From Nigeria, he is listed 6'8-265 and is as rough as an "unmade bed." Tremendous physical skills. Runs well. Plays DT in a four point stance. Just learning the techniques. Long arms, tremendous frame. Aggressive. Eventually, I could see him coming off the edge and being a  national recruit. Potential is off the charts. Prince has a good story, but I have not talked with at any length. Just remember the name - Prince Sammons.
       Also watched Mark Carrier II, a DB/WR for Cincinnati Indian Hill. Really athletic. Competitive. Good quickness. Needs get bigger/stronger. Listed 5'11-180. Runs well, but needs a better burst and to improve top end speed. Father is NFL player Mark Carrier, now with the Bengals.
        Need to cut some wood and clean the back yard for my father-in-law. While in Syracuse, I plan to stop at the University to do some business. Back to Ohio late Tuesday. I will watch one of the top QB's in 2015 Class on Friday.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sophomore Ethan Tucky - A Top 2016 OLB Prospect

       Last night I wanted to check on some of the younger prospects on whom I have information. Watched Hilliard Bradley at Olentangy Orange. On the way home to Upper Sandusky, I stopped to watch Dublin Jerome do battle with Delaware Hayes.
      Orange High School has some young sophomores who should develop into really good college prospects their senior years.
      Hilliard Bradley has some prospects as well. Senior Skylar Hartley has impressed me for two years. Really, really strong. Listed 6'1-300 and plays offensive guard. Really bends well for a big man. Good explosion off the line. I have always wondered if he would be a three technique guy inside. Would be a definite run stopper. May be carrying too much weight, but he moves well for size.
      Sophomore Ethan Tucky plays OLB for Delaware Hayes. Although his team had no answer for Dublin Jerome (), he played well at times. When he lined up at the DE, he was fast off the edge. Disrupted plays. Needs to improve change of direction, but will learn to play more under control.
Listed 6'2-212, he ran a 11.0/100 meters last spring. Finishes plays. Also played hard in the fourth quarter with the score 34-0.  Should one of the top linebackers in his Class of 2016. Good hips to get into coverage. Now, just concerned with disrupting offenses.
      Offensive lineman Collin Wittig, also from Delaware Hayes, has improved much since his sophomore year. Now weighs almost 285 and carries that weight well. Liked his aggressiveness last night. Good bender. Gets off line well. Solid feet on pass protection. Gets out on LB's. Long arms to get separation on defender. As the season goes along, he should be getting more looks from D-1 schools. Right now, a definite D-2 prospect, but a scholarship potential guy.
       Most of the players that I watched last night were younger guys. Looking forward to see the improvement of OL guy Jacob Halter from Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. CHCA also has a young sophomore lineman who already has college coaches asking me about his potential.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Highlight Videos - A Good Tool for Me

       Highlight video emails are starting hit my desk.Those are fun to watch and I learn a lot about potential recruits. Still seeing the prospects in person at games, scrimmages, camps, or combines is still the best for me. Of course, when I can do both, all the better.
       One of my scrimmages I watched was Dover at Midview. Two reasons. One, I wanted to reaffirm that Cody Calloway can play quarterback at Bowling Green. Have always liked Cody's ability to "spin-it." His arm is stronger, and his overall size and strength have improved. Good speed and moves around well in the pocket. Really needs to quit pressing and quit trying to make the big play. Yes, he can play at BGSU.
       The other player who I really wanted to see in that scrimmage was Dover's Cory Contini (2015). Listed 6'-170, but looks bigger. Plays wide receiver, but has also taken some snaps at QB. Lines up as an inside DB at times. Best position is WR or SLOT. Really athletic. Deceptive speed. Ability to separate from defender. Excellent burst. Ball catching skills are his strength. He attended my combine last winter. Love the way the competes. Like his early highlight video plays. Good prospect.
       Two sophomores have recently emailed me some video. Both came to my Underclassman Combine as eighth graders. (They had my permission). WR Tyler Traylor (2016), listed 6'2-175 catches the ball really well. Good concentration. Finds the open area and sits down. Like the way he blocked on film. Keeps his feet. Stays with block. QB Jake Harrison (2016) continues to impress me with his maturity and decision making. Strong arm. Quick release. Throws better when moving out of the pocket. Needs to grow just a little, but should be fine. Both young men play for Dayton Chaminade-Julienne. Will see them in a few weeks.
       A MSROHIO combine guy  who has emailed me video is OL/DL Clayton Seymour from Teays Valley High School in Central Ohio. Listed 6'4-255. Weight gain has been really good in the off season. Runs really well. Stays with blocks. Good balance. Good first step. Playing more offense now, but solid DL guy. Really athletic. Needs to play lower and be a better bender. Needs to get his video out there.
       Video does not lie, but watching a prospect in person is the best. You see attitude, aggressiveness, and discipline. Every coach lets me on the sidelines, which is huge. Huge because you see the prospects up close. Whenever I get video, I do watch it. If you want to send or email it, I promise I will watch it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Shaker Heights Football

       One of the most fun and exciting game sites I go to every fall is Shaker Heights High School. Saturday afternoon (no lights) and lots of excitement among the fans. I have been going to Shaker, since the Dave Sedmak days. Now, they have a beautiful turf field. Yes, I was there when the rain made the playing conditions not good. No problem now, however.
       Shaker Heights always has players with college playing potential who need to be evaluated. This year is much the same. A senior heavy class who have talent.
      Tennessee commit Joe Henderson, listed 6'4-230, is a very solid player. Having watched him grow over the last three years, I still feel that he needs to play harder at times. Runs very well and comes off the edge with good quickness. Drops into zone coverage well. Also plays some TE. Hopefully, he starts to "takeover" games. This he needs to do.
      Last year, Ramses Owens ran out of the TB position. Listed 6'2-185, but plays bigger. Deceptive speed. Changes direction well. Needs to be a better knee bender when carrying the ball. Like his second and third efforts.
      WR Nolan Jackson-Daniel (2104), listed 6'1-190, is a consistent wide receiver. Concentrates on the ball. Like his route running. Good burst. Needs to separate from defender better. Will block from his WR position. Excellent student in the classroom.
      Odell Spencer (2014) listed at 6'0-170 is track fast. Like his toughness and ability to run away from defenders. Can play either WR or DB.
       Greg Claytor (2104) ran and ran in the game that I saw at Shaker Heights. Powerful. Listed 6'0-190. Really like his ability to change speeds and direction. Good burst. Runs with feet low to ground. Like his vision and ability to shift gears.
       OL Ja' Merez Bowen, listed 6'5-286, may be one of the more athletic tackles in the Class of 2014. Runs very well. Really good knee bender at times. Good pop off the ball. Also plays defensive tackle at times. Needs to work on balance, because he plays high at times. Blocks downfield. My biggest negative, and I like him, is that he needs to hustle more. Needs to get in and out of the huddle. He needs to run onto the field. Ja'Merez is one of the better OL guys in the 2014 Class.
       Sophomore Jeron Gaskins, listed 6'1-220, started on the O-line. Good balance and good leverage as a blocker. Like his presence. Runs well. Should be a really good prospect if he works hard and grows some over the next two years.
       Of course, when I am watching and evaluating players, and wishing them "the best," I do not ask about "offers." Not the time, nor the place. Actually, because of the vagueness of offers, I never get that concerned.  According to Head Coach Jarvis Gibson, he is a little surprised that more players are not getting more serious "offers," or even more serious "looks." My "two cents." If the seniors keep playing as hard and as well as they did last Saturday, more recruiters will be coming to Shaker Heights.
      Also playing in this game was one of my favorite RB's in the Class of 2014, Ronald Jefferson from Cleveland JFK. Listed 5'11-220, he missed all last year with a knee injury. Watched him as a sophomore and liked his potential as a running back. Showed some spurts of a burst and power, but did not get much help Saturday. . Gets north/south. I need to see him when his chances are better. But he has a lot of work to do to get back to the level he enjoyed as a sophomore.
      Finally, when I think of Shaker Heights football, I think of former Shaker Heights coach, Dave Sedmak. After coaching in SW Ohio for a few years. Dave is now in Arizona and I believe, he is coaching football. We have been friends a long time. He was an excellent teacher and coach, but even a better "kids' guy." Super motivator.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bedford - University School - Good Players

      Last Friday, I watched the second half of the Bedford-University School football game. The last of June I go to the Chris Chambers' Football Camp every summer. Always enjoy meeting the Bedford football players and feel that every year they are going to have at least two prospects who get overlooked.
      Before I comment on some of the Bedford players, I want to applaud the work that Head Coach Jim Stephens does at University School. Always short in numbers, but this prep school plays hard nosed football. Always! This year I liked the play of senior DT Kostas Parrish listed at 6'1-280 who plays both sides of the ball. Strong and powerful, but he must play under more control at times. Their best college prospect may be junior kicker Ryder Bell. Like his size. Dropped some kickoff's into the end zone. Strong leg. Also had a 45 yard FG.
     Bedford's WR/DB Antione Stone (2014) has always been a favorite of mine. Fast, excellent burst, and good hips. Like the way, he recovers in man coverage. Feel like he always plays to the best of his ability. Although he ran for three TD's, he is better WR/CB prospect. Can separate. Can make big plays on either side of the ball.
     DT John Morgan Cunningham (2014) played as hard and made more plays than I have ever seen him do. In the two prior years, he played tough and with a motor, but I thought that he took plays off. Last year at the State Wrestling Championships I thought that he wrestled tough. Strong, athletic, and aggressive. Last Friday, he dominated. A little short by some standards, but strong, quick, and tough.
      Three juniors played well and should all play at the D-1 level, if they continue to work hard.          
      London Cloud ran the ball for 177 yards on 20 carries. Excellent burst. Gets north/south. Breaks tackles. Like his vision. Also plays some OLB. Like his leadership ability on the defensive side of the ball.
      Although OLB Marquise Copeland was nursing a hip flexor, he played well at DE. Usually an OLB, I liked his takeoff and his ability to get through junk to get to the QB. Plays fast and is physical. Finishes plays, but needs to play under control at times. Can drop into coverage.
      After getting verbal beating from his head coach, WR/CB Frank Sumpter played lights-out. Excellent hips and recovers well as a corner. Good open field tackler. Can turn and get deep. Listed 5'11-170, he is an excellent WR. Liked his aggressiveness. Frank could be one of the better CB/WR in his Class of 2015.
       As is getting to be more and more the case, I evaluated Bedford  head coach Sean Williams during his playing days at Bedford. Good player then and doing a good job now.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I See as Many Games as I can.

       One of the biggest reasons college coaches actually listen to what I say and read what I write is because I see many of the college prospects in Ohio. Either in camps or 7on7 games in the summer. During the off season in basketball, wrestling, and track. Sometimes just a meeting at their high schools. My point is going to be an excuse for not writing a blog every day. As I have said before, blogs are fun- evaluations are money.
      After seeing 24 teams during the scrimmage period and 20 teams during the first week of the season at the Cincinnati Crosstown Showdown, I have completed my first reports to the colleges. That takes a lot of effort. Now, I am not patting myself on the back, or trying to win an award, but it is what it is. College coaches need to see information. Comments take time.
      Thursday, I will be watching the Canton Glen Oak - Massillon Washington game. I try to make it to that game every year. Excellent programs, excellent coaches, and excellent prospects. On Friday, I will be at the Glenville - Solon game. Much the same as the Thursday night game. On Saturday, Cleveland JFK plays at Shaker Heights at and Youngstown Ursuline is at Mentor Lake Catholic.
      Since it is virtually impossible to see every prospect play in a game, I try to get to some practices. I do not like to do that, because I think it is a disruption. But some high school coaches do not mind.
      One of the ways to get recruiting fans to a recruiting site is to rank or rate prospects. Please do not get caught up in these rating strategies. Although the "five star system" is nation wide and used by many sports people, do not take it seriously. Have fun with it. The only time I deal with ratings is when I give information to the college coaches. That is done to give the recruiter an idea of what level that I think a recruit can play.
       Please do not get caught up in recruits visiting a college football game on Saturday. Almost any high school player can get an invitation to a game. Whether it be Michigan, O-State, Alabama, BGSU, or a Division 2 level school. If high rated recruits are playing on Saturday, tickets will be more available. If it is a high profile college game, recruit tickets will be harder to get. Years ago, I would take my sons to games and they would count as a recruit. Both played high school football, but I promise you that they were not D-1 prospects. I will say that if a recruit gets a chance to go to a game-- for heavens sake -GO.
       One other piece od advice concerns high-light video. Most schools are using Hudl. If they are not, they probably should. A recruit should start keeping a record of his best plays. Honestly, I would start doing this, regardless of what year that he is in school.
        My wish is that every high school player has fun playing the game. Do not get caught up in the recruiting "noise." Hard not to, but focus on the season ahead.