Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Few Coaching Friends on the Move

       Just got off the phone with the new defensive coordinator at the University of Toledo, Jon Heacock. I known Jon for years, and they do not come any better. He spent last season at Purdue as the defensive back, but before that he was the DC at Kent State. I am excited for both his family and him. He brings intelligence, excellent communication skills, and energy to an already very solid University of Toledo coaching staff.
       I commented on Facebook about the Mike Vrabel move to the NFL. I have known Vrabel since he was a DE/TE at Walsh Jesuit High School, near Stow. One thing , he never lacked or lacks for self-confidence. But he worked hard as a coach, and communicated to his players.
      Another coach and a very good friend of mine is leaving the Ohio high school scene and taking his coaching talents to Springfield, Missouri. Kenton head coach Mike Mauk is retiring after 35 years in Ohio public schools. I really will say too much about Coach Mauk, other than I respect him very much. I do believe that he is one of those coaches that you just have to know. If you judge him on what you see, you are probably wrong. One of the most intense, hard working coaches that I know. Like anyone, Coach Mauk has his faults, but the good qualities far outweigh the bad ones. I am also losing one of the best QB instructors around, in his son Ben. The very best to my good friend, Mike Mauk, to his wife, Gwen, and Ben.
      For the last five years, I use almost Pilot gas. The owner of the Cleveland Browns owns the Pilot franchise. I wish I could listen to him in a small group conversation sometime. Is he as silly as I think that he is.
     I do not know the former offensive coordinator at Michigan very well. The only time that he really talked to me was when they were recruiting Maty Mauk to come to Michigan. Then he called me into his office and talked for almost 15 minutes about recruiting Maty. After spending over 25 years in this business, I understand the recruiting game. I do know Brady Hoke well, and I am sure it was tough on him. Former UC head coach, Rick Minter once told me something that I have never forgotten. "Never hire your friends, because it is too hard to fire them."
      Ohio State kind of surprised me, because I thought more assistant football coaches might be leaving O-State. No facts here; Just a feeling that more would be leaving. That speaks well for the Buckeye program.
       Maybe I should become a head football coach on the high school level again. No want wants to see the "I" formation and split back veer attack. No one wants to see the TE run the seam and drag over and over. No one wants to see the fullback dive. No one wants to see the 4-4 defense. No wants to see the "Buddy Ryan Bear defense. No want wants to see "no hair coming out from under the helmet. No one wants to see the lower programs get every player in the game. I guess I will stay retired.
      Finally, the Ohio Prospects Super Directory goes to the printers this Monday 876 players in Classes 2015, 2016, and 2017. The largest one that I have ever done. The Ohio Prospects Directory will be done at the end of the week. This has been the back-bone of the McCallister Scouting Report for over 25 years, but times are changing. Not a subject yet.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dowdy, Hamilton, and Dailey at D-1 Athletic Training Center

        Last Saturday night, after watching some hoops at Olentangy Liberty, we stopped by the D-1 Athletic Training Center just north of Columbus. Chuck Gresham directs a two hour football workout from 8:00 to 10:00 every Saturday night. Chuck is one of my main guys and works my combines and football camps. Needless to say, he is an excellent instructor.
       Three D-I college linemen prospects, all from central Ohio were working out. Rob Dowdy from Westerville South, Devon Hamilton, from Pickerington Central, and Lawrence Dailey from Columbus Eastmoor were getting better through hard work. All three are juniors.
       Rob Dowdy is listed 6'5-290 and has improved every time I watch him. From his first scrimmage to the last game last fall, he just got better. Better feet, better effort, and most of all, better toughness. Ideal frame for a left tackle. Long arms. The other night, I could see his feet have improved. Becoming a better bender. The most important thing Rob has to do is blot out all of the "noise." Listen to his coaches and continue to work harder. Should be a top six OL Guy for me.
      Last season Devon Hamilton was too heavy and not in really good condition. Guessin 6'4-275. Played a little defense, but spent most of his time on the offensive line. He has trimmed his weight down and at the same time has his core strength. Really liked his footwork the other night. Ran hard and really worked hard in the conditioning drills and footwork drills. Devon will surprise college coaches this summer. A trimmer, quicker, and stronger lineman. Like his toughness. Could be a top six OL Guy for me, but will be an offer guy.
        Surprised to see Lawrence Dailey in attendance. Guessin 6'4-235. A projected defensive end. Really athletic. Excellent burst off the edge. Saw him last fall and he was a little undisciplined at times. Watching him the other night, he was focused and listened when suggestions were made. Like most young players, he needs to be better at changing direction, but that will come. Really athletic. Most of all, he was intense. Needs to get into some summer camps to show his ability to the college coaches. If he keeps working hard and staying focused, he will impress the decision makers.
        Always fun to see my good friend Chuck Gresham. Always fun to see football players working to get better. The workout is open to anyone. The price is reasonable.  You  meet new players and work against some good competition. But the best is that you have the opportunity to get better.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Some Olentangy Liberty Football Players.

       Last Saturday I made the trip to Olentangy Liberty High School to watch a basketball game between Liberty and New Albany. I did not do my home and missed the chance to watch Drew Rosi (2017) and A J Arcuri (2016) run the court in the junior varsity game. But I did watch a lot of Brendon White (2017) play in the varsity game. All three play for Liberty High School. Also watched Jalen Ward (2015) DB from New Albany.
       Drew Rosi is a freshman TE/Slot receiver who played a lot in the varsity football game that I saw. Guessin 6'3-200, but he moves well for his size. A J Arcuri, guessin 6'5-225, plays TE for the varsity and I liked him last fall. Met him at the game and really like his long, broad frame. Could see him as an OL guy down the road. Solid feet. Long arms.
        Took me two quarters to realize that I was also watching WR/DB Jalen Ward run the court. Guessin 6'0-175. Against Mansfield Senior last fall, I thought that he played well against a very good receiver. Like his toughness, as well as quickness. I believe that he is only a sophomore, but Joey Rolwing looked okay on the basketball court, but really like his potential as a kicker.
        Honestly, the player who I most wanted to see was freshman Brendon White from Liberty HS. Last fall, I was amazed at his "Free Safety presence" on the football field. Played FS and roamed side-to-sideline. On one play, he pursued all of the way across the field to make the tackle. Backpedals and can turn his hips. Also a solid run stopper. Listed 6'1-170. Really needs to improve his 40 time, but he will - big time. Actually, should be playing eighth grade sports, so he will get faster and stronger
        Brendon missed the game the night before, because of the flu. He was not full strength Saturday, but played a solid game. I also like the fact that he plays within the system. No individualism. Can shoot the three. No chest pumping. Hopefully, his father, William White, will influence his game manners. William from Lima, Ohio, played for Ohio State University and the Detroit Lions. Back to Brendon.
        This freshman did not make the silly Max Preps freshman All-American team. Of course, he will survive not making the team. If he keeps working hard and stays focused over the next three years, he will be a highly recruited football player. Does not rip his helmet off coming to the sidelines. No swagger on the field. Runs on and off the field. Best of all, he understands the game and makes plays. He stays focused.
       Although I have list of just over 73 players in the Ohio Class of 2017 for the colleges, I do not like to make too much of a freshman. Sometimes, however, a freshman deserves some recognition. Maybe not to the extent of listing a Max Preps freshman All-American team, but they need some recognition. I know how much work it takes for me to evaluate prospects. I cannot imagine how much time it takes to evaluate freshmen players throughout the country for each position.
       The trip was good. A bonus was to watch OL Hunter Littlejohn (2015) win a ribs eating contest at halftime. If continues to work hard and stay focused, Hunter will be one of my top 6 OL guys in the Ohio Class of 2015.
        Thanks for all of the help, Coach Steve Hale.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Basketball, Football, and a Wrestling Tournament in 24 Hours

       Friday night and Saturday were profitable times for watching, meeting, and evaluating some college football prospects. Friday night, I traveled to Akron St V's/St Mary's High School to watch Athens High School play St V's. Saturday, began the day watching quarterbacks work out under the direction of Ben Mauk. Over lunch watched some of the Marion Wrestling tournament. Saturday night watched Olentangy Liberty play New Albany. Finished the evening at the D-1 Training Center with Chuck Gresham. Good time.
      At the Athens - St V's game, first had a chance to talk with Parris Campbell for a few minutes. He is getting bigger and stronger. Told me that Urban Meyer told him that he would be used much the same way as Percy Haven was used at Florida. I told him that I hoped is character is not the same as Harvin's. So impressed with Parris, because he is playing varsity basketball, but does not get to play very much.
       On the St 's junior varsity three sophomores did well, but they are also really good football players. DB Tyrece Speaight, listed 5'11-175, is an excellent football player. Runs well, excellent quickness, and competes. Had an interception his freshman year in the State Championship game. WR/RB Markus Hurd played well on the court, but has unlimited potential as a football player. Zach Corrigall, listed 6'4-225 moves really well, but is growing into a really good offensive line prospect. Really like his competitive attitude.
       Athens QB Joey Burrow plays basketball, as well as he does football. As I have said before, he is my top QB in the Ohio 2015 Class. St V's had speed and quickness and more speed and quickness. Sometimes that is tough for an outside shooter. Competes hard and plays smart. Liked his leadership last night. The Luerhrman twins, Adam and Ryan, are both 6'4 and aggressive. Both play football and are athletic. For some reason, I can never get much information on them.

       Ben Mauk lead Kenton High School to two Sate Championships about ten years ago. Went on to an injury plagued career at Wake Forest. Played his last year as a college quarterback at the University of Cincinnati under Brian Kelly. He has taken his QB abilities and put them to use as a coach. Ben tutors QB's all year long.
       Gunner Hoak, a sophomore QB from Dublin Coffman, was working out. I have watched him for two years, and he continues to get bigger and stronger. A solid 6'3, I really like his potential, and he is is a young sophomore.  First time that I really had a chance to watch Tiffin Calvert's Tyler Long. A member of the 2015 Class, Tyler is getting taller and much stronger. Really like the way he spins it. He  needs to learn to relax as a passer. First time that I have watched a QB Derek Runyon from Hopewell-Loudon High School. Strong arm and throws on the run well. But Todd  is 5'11 and will to get a little taller. Also had a chance to watch Findlay High School QB Brandon Mehl. Surprised me some with his ball speed. Guessin  at least 6'3 and maybe taller.
       Ben Mauk works my underclassmen camp in June. Besides throwing, throwing, and throwing, he spends a lot of time on footwork. He communicates well and gives his QB's a lot of little coaching points.

      I will be the first to tell you that I am not a huge wrestling fan. Like the sport, but I have to wait until about the 170 Class, before I see football players wrestle. Of course, wrestling tells me lot about football players. The main reason that I made the trip was to visit my old DC, Joe Wyant. Joe is the wrestling coach at Eastwood High School.
      Watched a heavyweight from Willoughby South HS. Thought that I heard the name Nick Urban. Nick is also a very good offensive linemen at South. For me, he could be one of the very top OL guys in the Ohio Class of 2016. Big, strong, athletic, and tough. Saw him play last year.
Also watched a heavyweight from Reynoldsburg HS. Think his name is Christian Eubanks, a 6'3-255 OL guy.  Checked him out on CapCity Preps. Looked good on video, but need to see more.
        Nick Urban will be a top five OL/DL prospect in the Ohio Class of 2016. Need to see more on more on Christian, but looks good.
       Somebody is always watching. If you are good enough, someone will find you. Even if it is by accident at a wrestling tournament.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Football Players Hoopin it Tonight

       Long week of cold, cold, and more cold. Being poor, I keep both the office and my house as chilly as I can make it. My coffee is good, but after 5 minutes, it freezes in my office. Hunter, my Labrador, lays on her recliner and never complains. Anyway, I am taking a break and traveling to Akron St Vincent St Mary to watch a hoops game with Athens High School.
       Joey Burrow, my number one QB prospect in the Ohio 2015 Class, also is a really good basketball player. Excellent shooter. Last fall, he was the best QB prospect that I personally saw in action. Better, he has worked hard to improve his core strength. Guess he is 6'4 for sure. The biggest thing that I am looking for from Joey is how he handles the pressure, and he will get pressure from St V's.
      Trae Williams a RB/DB from Athens also will be interesting to watch. Listed 6'0-190, his quickness and overall burst will be two things that I need to watch. Athens also has Ryan Luehrman, a WR/OLB who will need to be evaluated. Listed 6'4-184, Ryan's toughness and aggressiveness will be important in this game.
      As for St V's, I heard they are loaded with talented basketball players. Honestly, I am not familiar with them, but I do know there are some football players on the varsity. Names that you may recognize. Dante Booker and Parris Campbell are two recognizable players. Travonte Junis, a St V DE, flew under the radar, but it will good to see his overall improvement. Last year, when I saw Parris, he played mostly junior varsity, but worked hard and ran really well. At the same game, Dante Booker showed me quickness and speed that are his strengths. Looking forward to seeing the two Buckeye recruits.
      Just a quick note to those who play another sport beside football. Doing the right things and playing hard, and showing good character are really important. I tell my combine guys, that someone is always watching you.
      If you are a bad character in another sport, colleges are going to find out. If you do not hustle, colleges are going to find out. If you are not coachable, colleges are going to find out. If you show little motivation, colleges are going to find out. I will be one of the first guys to tell colleges about "an attitude player." A loser's effort is unacceptable.
      One example. A few weeks ago, I attended a basketball game to watch a young player. A varsity football player as a sophomore. A terrible attitude. No hustle. No aggressiveness. No talking to teammates. In fact, he acted like playing in a junior varsity basketball game was the last place he wanted to be that night. Problem is, that is the only time that I have seen him. What conclusion do I draw?
     Tonight at the junior varsity game I will see two sophomores who were starters on the state championship football team. Tyrece Speaight and Marcus Hurd will not let me down. If they do not hustle and play aggressive, I will blog it tomorrow. Of course, Booker and Campbell, when they get into the game, will give the old 110 percent. They have the "it," and better show it.
      Somebody is always watching you.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

MSROHIO Developmental Combines - 2014

       The advertising fliers  about the MSROHIO Developmental Combines are in the process of being printed as we speak. Due to the confusion of the QB/REC Camp that I planned to do in December, I wanted to wait to be sure everybody understood the times, locations, and dates.
       MSR is experimenting with some different changes with our combines in March.
       MSR will no longer use the Superkick facility at Orange Point. This facility is a tremendous place to run combines or camps. The direct contact people are excellent to work with. For lack of a better reason, we just out grew the place last year, because 254 players went through the combine. Ownership decided that was too many participants. MSR was told to limit the participants to 150. In March, we will be using the D-1 Training Center, just north of Columbus.
       To keep a more central location, two combines will be held at the D-1 Training Center north of Columbus. The first one will be held on Saturday, March 15. The second combine will be held on Sunday, March 23. So often, parents or athletes have activities on weekends. Also, some people who have to drive a distance, do not want miss church. Some athletes may have another sport going on. Some could be making a college visit. Both combines will be run the same way. I just want to make every effort to help players get better and having one on two weekends is an effort to do that.
       Because, the Dayton - Cincinnati area has always been good to MSR, we will hold a combine at the Kingdom Athletic Center near Franklin, Ohio on Interstate 75. This combine will be on Sunday, March 16. The Dayton - Cincinnati area coaches really encourage their football players to attend and some work the combine.
       I like to run my combines as late in March as possible. Wrestling season is over. The regular season and the District tournament in basketball is over. Football players have been through at least two months of training. The regular season in track and baseball has not started. Although it is a learning experience, I like to have the players in reasonably good shape.
       I have been to combines where the 40yds was really 37 yds. Where players did not have to touch the lines. Where there were no lines in some test. The MSROHIO combines are not like that. We do give a participant an extra chance, if he messes up badly. We do explain the test. Our heights and weights are correct.
      Sometimes I read about all of the college coaches that attend other combines. First, NO D-1 coaches can attend these combines. Not for sure about D-2 coaches, because they have some limitations. D-3 colleges can attend. I realize that some combines advertise college coaches in attendance and they are correct. But NO D-1 coaches can attend.
      Small and large combines often advertise that 24/7,,, and other recruiting sites will be in attendance. That is fine for them. At my combines, I want my prospects concentrating on the test. I want parents focused on the testing. I do not need recruiting reporters talking with the prospects during testing. Those reporters write stories on college prospects and many opportunities to do report about them.
      The true value of a combine is to learn the different tests that a prospect will be asked to do at every college camp this summer. Do not forget the combines are in March, so prospects should not expect to be at the top of his conditioning. Take your time to learn the test. June is when prospects have to impress the college coaches, not in March.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Evaluating Highlight Videos

       With the emergence of HUDL, video is so readily available that it is almost silly. I mean good video, much, much different than the old days with my video business. Oh my! Of course, I can you back to Super Eight video. I was weaned on 16 mm video. Times have changed. Just want to take a minute to comment on video.
      Yesterday, I watched three videos on three very good prospects in the Ohio Class of 2015. Andrew Dowell and David Dowell, both of Lakewood St Edward, and Kraig Howe of Kettering Alter look good on video. Andrew is a running back, David - a WR/DB, and Kraig - a defensive tackle. All three should be in the Ohio Top 25 in the 2015 Class.
      My point - Many parents and coaches send me HUDL video to give them a quick evaluation on their college prospect. A highlight video better be just that. A highlight video. Do not put bad plays on the video. But you are asking for my opinion, do not forget.
      But only so much can be seen on a highlight video. Actually some people "speed up" the video to make players look faster. A burst can be seen. Bending can be seen. Explosion can be seen. Athleticism can be seen. Technique can be seen. Overall attitude and effort can not be seen. Leadership can not be seen. Every play in one game cannot be seen. Level of competition cannot always be seen.
      I really enjoy watching a video. Parents, and sometimes coaches, ask me what level that I think that a prospect can play. Just watching a video, for me that is a hard call. Of course, if he is a no-brainer, the answer is easy. But, more often than not, there is so much more for me. Would like to see him compete in a camp. Would like to talk with him. (And not about what schools he likes). Most of all, really need to see him play with the pads on. Until all of this happens, telling a parent what level a player can play is really tough.
      College coaches can make an "offer," no problem. They make way too many bogus offers. I want to be as honest as I can be. Brutally honest sometimes. But it is not fair to anyone to "blow smoke " up somebody's nose. I tell what I think. OSU recruit Erik Smith out of Glenville is the best recruit in Ohio. I told people that last year and they smiled. Last year, Pickerington North's Jake Butt was the top TE prospect in Ohio. One school was concerned about his shoulders. Are you kiddin me? Two years ago, I had concerns about a RB in Ohio. Shut down in the fourth quarter.
       College coaches have to recruit Midwest college prospects off of video and summer camps. In the South, there is high school spring football. Big advantage if coaches can recruit prospects by watching spring practice. No, that will never happen in Ohio.
       Making time to watch video is tough sometimes, but I enjoy watching highlight video. I get a feel for a player's ability on the football field. But a highlight video is usually 30 plays. Which is good for me. As I have said, there is so much more that goes into an evaluation.
       I will help all that I can to make a high school football player better. But "do you want me to tell you what you want to hear, tell you what I think?" Stay warm.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Congrats to the Michigan State Spartans

      The Michigan State - Stanford Rose Bowl game lost out to dinner with my grandson and his family and then to the movie - "Walter Mitty." However, I was able to watch the first quarter. Also heard the final score on our way home from Findlay. The game may have been better than the movie. Oh, well!
      I gave it up to the Spartans, and more importantly, to Mark Dantonio on the way home. Congratulations to the Spartans! They beat a good Buckeye team and beat a good Stanford team. They also proved that losing one player does not affect the team's outcome. Now maybe losing three or four might, but not one. I say that and wonder what if Braxton Miller had missed a game of that importance.
      When Mark Dantonio was an assistant years ago at Michigan State, he told me that he had offered a player from Groveport High School. I questioned him about that offer. He said he liked Eric Smith's athleticism, attitude, and that he saw the six foot DB "dunk" a basketball. The player played at Michigan State and later went to start for the New York Jets. From that point on I have respected his ability to evaluate talent and make a player better.
      At McD's this morning a guy told me that the defensive backfield was made up of Drummond a 3 star, Wayne a 2 star,  Dennard a 2 star, and Lewis a 4 star. No 5 stars. Of course, most people know what I think of the silliness of the star system. But it sells and brings in money. Honestly, I am not going to check this information, but it is what a good football guy told me.
     Also cheers go out to the small, neighboring town of Carey, Ohio. Number 94, Mike Dennis, is a listed TE from Carey. Huge and more of a third offensive tackle for the Spartans. Guessin 6'7-300. Mike was a good prospect coming out of high school, but one I thought would red shirt and eventually contribute. Guessin he was not a 5 star, maybe not even a 4 star. Not guessin - but I saw him playing last night in the Rose Bowl. Not bad for a guy who thought that he was a basketball player - first.
     Congrats to Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska, as well. Even though only two Big Ten teams have won bowl games, the Big Ten improved its image. Midwest football is different, and, simply does not produce as many "natural-big guys in the trenches," as the South. Obviously, Midwest head football coaches do not take a back-seat to any section of the country. Different kind of player, but I will take the Midwest prospect.
     Finally, a cheer should go out to Johnny Lowdermilk, the DB from Iowa. Overlook the embarrassing play that he made yesterday. After going 71 yards with a pick, Johnny dropped the ball thinking that he had scored, but officials determined that he dropped the ball on the one yard line. Out of Carrollton High School, his only offer was from Kent State. During the summer, Iowa lost a recruit and called Johnny Lowdermilk. He flipped and went to Iowa on scholarship. Guessin that he was not a 5 star.
      As recruiting season winds down for the 2014 Class, a new season begins for the 2015. Recruits !!1 BLOCK out all of the noise. Focus on getting better. Do not worry about the 5 star stuff. Worry about what you can control. Get better. Do not worry about what recruiting reporters think of you ability. Get better!