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.