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!