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.