Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Joey Burrow Commits to the Buckeyes

       Congratulations to Athens High School's Joey Burrow on committing to Ohio State, yesterday. Although, I have not talked with him, the Buckeye offer was the one that he really wanted and was hoping for.
       The Ohio State coaches talked with Joey Tuesday morning and offered him. After making phone calls to his dad, who is the DC at Ohio University, his mom, and brothers, he called Ohio State to accept the offer.
       Supposedly, Ohio State told him that they were going to revamp their offense some to allow for more drop back passing. That was told to me by a reporter, but not by an Ohio State coach. Joey is more of a pass first, run second QB. He runs well enough to "escape" pocket pressure, but his arm is his major asset. But he can "spin-it."
      After watching video of his sophomore year, I drove to Athens to watch him on the basketball court. Really liked his poise and leadership. Last football season, I saw him destroy a sound Jackson football team with his arm, as well as with his legs. Strong arm. Can make all throws. Smart. Athletic. Really competitive. At that time, I think that he had two offers. Also at that time, the only person who agreed with me on Joey being the a top QB prospect in his Ohio Class of 2016 was Dave Berk.
       Joey had seventeen offers, before getting the Ohio State offer. No, he was not under the radar. Joey had a less than productive Nike Camp last summer at Ohio State. Nerves got the best of him. Actually he grounded some throws. Needed to improve "core muscle" strength. When I saw him last fall, he had gained twenty pounds and really gotten stronger, especially his "core muscles."
       Not to my surprise, many big schools backed away because of the Nike showing. If they would have watched him play in person last fall, hopefully, they would have been smart enough to see his improvement. During this past spring, Joey started receiving BCS offers. Ohio State watched him throw and liked what they saw.
       Watching Joey develop and mature over the last three years has been enjoyable. Given the opportunity, he should have a nice career as a quarterback for the Buckeyes. I wish him well.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Silence During the National Anthem

         I live on four acres just south of Upper Sandusky in Wyandot County. Enjoy visiting the cities, but I a small town guy. Really I am a country guy, but enjoy the small town life. Today was a good day to really appreciate where I live.
        Hunter (my lab) and my friend Tina stood and watched all 15 minutes of our local parade. The mayor. The local high school band. The color guard. The Memorial Day speaker. Some youth programs. Really that was about it. But all was fun.
        On to the park for the Memorial Day service. The guest speaker was  retired Lt. Colonel Mike Emerine who gave a brief history of the some of the Wyandot County men who were killed in the different wars. Not all on the list, but he did mentioned some family names. His talk was both interesting and brought back some old memories. Mike and I spent many hours playing sports at Upper Sandusky back in the 60's and are still good friends to this day.
        Being around sports for over 50 years and attending many high school games during the fall, I have heard the national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, just a few times. Today was different. As we stood, no one was asked to "remove their hats." The announcer did not give the generic - "Freedom, like no other." Everybody stood, and with the band and the vocalist, sang the National Anthem.
         What I am not used to is that there were no sounds, other than the music. No people talking, no high school fans chattering, no adults talking on the sidelines, and no players were still talking on the sidelines. No crowd cheers before the music was finished.
          Better yet, although I do not look around to watch people, everyone between the flag and me was looking at the flag and standing still. That, I am also not used to. Nobody had his/her head down. Nobody was looking over the crowd. Nobody was walking to the concession. No teams were still warming up in the distance.
          One of the worst examples of some one staring at the floor during the National Anthem was at a varsity basketball game in Holmes County two years ago. The head coach was between the flag and me. He never looked at the flag. Needless to say, I emailed the AD, and , needless to say, I never got a response.
          Silence and everyone looking at the American flag. Oh my! That does not happen very often anymore.
          As a head football coach back in the day, many times my mind was not on the Star Spangled Banner. As a scout watching a game on the 100 degree turf in August, my mind is not always on the game. As a scout watching a game in late November or early December in cold weather, my mind is not always on the Star Spangled Banner. Removing my hat in the scorching sun or in the freezing cold is not something I really am into.
         I have this thing about freedom. I have only been to Canada and no other country. I have not experienced the freedoms of other countries. I appreciate the freedoms that I have in America enough, that standing still, removing my hat, and looking at the flag for a few minutes is do-able.
          Today was a wonderful day. Thought about three of my friends who were killed in the Vietnam War. Listen to the speech of my childhood friend, Mike Emerine. Remembered that I get disgusted at times with how society is changing. But, at 65, I always am always thankful for the freedoms that I have.
           Back to football tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Gavin Cupp - Another OL Guy in the Ohio Class of 2016

       Finding and evaluating high school football players is a never ending process. Case in point. I have over 350 college prospects in the Ohio Class of 2016. Today, I visited with a young man who could very well be one of the top offensive lineman in his Class of 2016 and was not on that list. But he is now.
       Two days ago I received a text from a college coach asking me if I knew anything about a lineman from Leipsic High School. The Leipsic Vikings play in a smaller school conference, primarily in Hancock County. My only answer was that he made 2nd team - Northwest District as a sophomore. He was listed at 6'5-275 and played for a school that has less than 100 boys enrolled.
       Gavin Cupp was a very pleasant surprise for me this morning. All of 6'5 and a slim 275. Tremendous attitude. Looked me straight in the eye as we talked. Shoulders square. Huge hands. Really believe he understands the early recruiting "crap." At least more than some. Understands the new eligibility changes. Believes that the most important criteria in choosing a college is " a good fit."
        Only looked at a little video and really need to see him in camp. Here is what I know. Really 6'5-275(maybe 6'6). Second team all league in baseball as a catcher. A 6'5-275 catcher. Very solid basketball player. Rolled an ankle in football, but played varsity basketball. Carrying a 2.4GPA but really wants to improve big time and will. Taking ACT this summer.
         Gavin's dad played football at the University of Findlay in the "Strahm Years." Also played for the Cincinnati Bengals as a replacement player, during the NFL strike. Dad understands the game to the point that he taught Gavin long snapping at an early age, just to give him an additional skill.
          Talking with his former head coach and, also with his principal, Larry Black, Gavin has a lot of support and is getting the right support from the right people. I warned him of the recruiting website media once his name gets out there. Of course, the recruiting stuff is a different animal. But Mr. Black is a seasoned educator and "gets it."
          Leipsic was not as much of a drive as Sciotoville Community School, but the results were the same. OLTyler Gerald (6'5-300) from Sciotoville Community School is drawing a lot attention and even has an offer from Ohio State. Kind of early, but that is not my worry. Gavin Cupp (6'5-275) will be getting attention soon. Is he Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State good? Don't know yet. Need to see more and see him with pads on. A definite scholarship guy.
          I do know that BCS schools are realizing that not every  major college prospect has to play for a Glenville, St Ignatius, or Moeller type program. Obviously, most do, but a Gerald or Cupp can make things exciting.
          " If you are good enough, someone will find you."

District Track Meets - Another Source of Evaluating

        District track meets will be held throughout Ohio this week. Next week regionals. The state meet will be run on June 6 and 7. A busy time for me, because I like to see as many athletes that I can. Being a former track coach and a licensed track official, it is also a time to renew acquaintances.
       Last Friday, I traveled to Centerville to watch GWOC conference track meet. Bad weather and a lot of teams made for less than ideal conditions to evaluate talent. Still watched some solid football players who participate in track.
        Good to see Troy High School's Alex Dalton now an Oklahoma Sooner. Known him since his sophomore year when he came to my combine. Three sport guy and have seen him play every sport. Like his power and quickness. Competes hard and shows toughness. The best thing for Alex is that he will be facing tough competition every play in practice and games.
       Miles Hibbler RB from Troy High School is fast. Stumbled out of the blocks, but collected himself and ran well. Short, but not small. Last year I liked his burst, balance, vision, and "5th gear speed." Believe that he is committed to Kent State.
        One to watch - Caleb Anthony - Class of 2016 from Centerville High School. First saw him play last year as a sophomore. Returned kicks and played some RB. Good size. Excellent athlete. Around 15.1 H H. Continues to get faster. Tremendous attitude. Carrying a 4.0GPA this term.
        One to watch - Chris Fobbs - Class of 2015. Getting bigger. A DB growing into an OLB. Fast. Liked his toughness last fall. Needs to get his "ducks in a row." Improve grades. Stay totally focused. Honestly, he has some issues, but he is one of those guys whom I believe has a chance to be good. Just something I like about him.
         One to watch - Ryan Lucas - Trotwood, Class of 2015. Fast and faster after catch. Like his quickness. Great attitude. Do not know what schools are in, but he needs to get into some camps to show his talents. Good prospect.
          One to watch - Robert Landers - Class of 2016 and plays OL/DL for Wayne High School. Powerful and explosive both in football and track. 58+ shot put guy. Shortness will hurt some. Guessin 6'1. Could be a center on the next level. Good balance and good feet. Tremendous work effort.
          Two to watch - Too early to talk much about the Motley twins from Centerville High School on the football field. Illyas and Xavior are in the Class of 2016 and will be good football players for the Elks. For now, both are excellent "20 foot" long jumpers, with good speed. As they grow, speed will increase, as well as overall strength.
          One to watch - Saalith Muhammad, a member of the Class of 2016, could develop into one of the finest athletes in this Class of 2016. Played QB at Springfield Shawnee last fall. Measured 6'2-205 at the MSROHIO Combine last March. Needs some fine tuning as a QB, but will get that from  Coach Chris Wallace this year. No one wants to hear this, but if not a QB, he would be a an excellent DB at the next level. That is at the highest level. McCallister being McCallister. Tremendous attitude.
         Apologize for not mentioning more prospects, cold and dampness, along with not doing my homework, made my trip short.
         Did get to visit with the new head football coach at Centerville High School, Rodney Roberts. Of course, he is excited about his new job. No, Luke Kennard is not transferring to Centerville.
         Talked with Dave Berk, the top football talent evaluator in Southwest Ohio. Berk is a football guy, so seeing him a track meet surprised me somewhat.
         Every trip is what I make of it. This was another worthwhile one.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

NCAA - Academic Preparedness

       The NCAA has made some new changes in the  eligibility standards for prospective student athletes and have increased standards.
       The latest changes in eligibility standards will apply to this fall's high school freshman class, but their full effect will not be known until 2016, when those students prepare to step foot on college campuses. The changes are really drastic- a jump in the required minimum GPA from 2.0 to 2.3 and, more challenging, a rule that requires high school athletes to complete 10 of the 16 required core courses before their senior of high school.
      For those who can meet the old standards but not the new ones, there is a recourse. The NCAA is calling it an academic redshirt, a sort of variation of a partial qualifier. Students may receive a scholarship and will be eligible to practice with their teams but will not be able to compete. Provided they pass 9 credit hours in their first college semester, they can compete the next season as a redshirt freshman.
     The intent is simple: The NCAA and its Eligibility Center no longer want to see transcripts in which athletes essentially backload the better part of their academic curriculum at the end of their high school careers.
     Now the NCAA is demanding that high school students follow a typical pattern in which learning is built on prerequisites. Before, students could take geometry before algebra. Another example, students could take English Four, at the same with English Three.
    To support this move, the NCAA's research - 43.1 % of men's basketball players, 35% of football players, and 15.3 % of all student athletes who enrolled as freshmen in 2009-10 to play Division One sports would not have met the 2016 standards.
     I read this article, but do not have time to discuss the pro's and con's. But in doing some more research, I found the most basic information about the new standards.

Go to

NCAA Initial Eligibility//

I am still learning about these new changes, so be patient with me.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ashland University's First Camp

       Sunday afternoon, I traveled to Ashland University to watch their first football camp. The "Rising Star Camp." Always fun to watch high school football players working to get better. Also, I always enjoy chatting with the Ashland coaching staff, as well as the high school coaches.
      As a guest at the camp, talking about players publically would not be my style. There were players from grades 9-12. Of course, the majority of prospects were upcoming seniors. Every drill that the prospects did, they will do all summer long. Great way to get better. And, yes, there were some prospects that needed to be evaluated.
       I often get asked about good "Quarterback Camps" for high school players, especially ones for the younger prospects. Naturally, I think that what we do at the Showcase, is as good as any. More individual attention, more reps, and no "over coaching." As far as private camps, to me, way to expensive for what you get. A guy in northeast Ohio charges at least $75 per hour. Really pricy. Rewards ??
       Ashland assistant football coach Tom Stacy will direct a youth QB camp at Ashland University for grades 5-8 on Tuesday, June 10. Coach Stacy works well with quarterbacks. Watching him work with QB's, his patience and knowledge always stands out. On Wednesday, June 18th, he will direct a Quarterback "Shotgun" Camp, at Tiffin Columbian High School in Tiffin, Ohio. Drills, skills, and fundamentals - all from the gun. Costs - $40. Contact Coach Stacy at 330.309.9880.
        As most people who read my blogs know, I really respect Division II football. With that being said, I want to mention All position camps at three very good D-2 programs.
         The University of Findlay will host an "Elite Prospect Camp on Monday, July 7. The camp is opened to grades 9-12. Registration begins at 5:00 and Camp starts at 6:00. This is an all positions camp. Campers will be working with not only the Oiler staff, but other collegiate coaches, as well. Email
        Ohio Dominican University will host a junior/senior camp on July 13. Registration is from 1:00-2:00. The Camp will run from 2:00-5:00. Position specific drills. Agility workouts. Speed instruction. Big man competition. One on one competition.
        Ashland University will hold an Offensive/Defensive Skills Camp on June 12. This camp is for QB-WR-RB-TE-LB-DB in grades 9-12. . On July 23, Ashland will hold a Big Man's Camp for grades 9-12. For more information go to
        As I always say, "big is not always better," especially for younger prospects. Plus, these three schools have played some good football in recent years.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Congrats to Cody Latimer

       Over and over I repeat that being a 5star or a 4star rated football prospect is nice, but, too me, a highly overrated way to promote prospect. Over and over again, the size and/or the wins/loses of the college football program is often overrated. Getting a college football scholarship is important and getting better is important. Finding a coach and program who can make you better is the key.
      Every year, after the pro football draft, I research the success of the players with Ohio high school football backgrounds. First, check the first three rounds and then the last four rounds. Amazing how many Ohio players drafted who were not "4 or 5 Stars." Also, amazing is the number of players who did not play college ball at perennially top 20 programs, but get drafted in the first three rounds.
      As I glanced at the cover of the USA Today paper this morning, I thought that I recognized the name, Cody Latimer, who played football at Indiana University. After I arrived to my office, I checked the name and, sure enough, Cody was an Ohio guy, who played his high school football at Dayton Jefferson High School, west of Dayton. He went on to play football at Indiana University. Draft people talk about the surprising Cody Latimer.
     Ironically, Cody was more serious about basketball in high school. He was a very good basketball player. Big 6'2-200 wide receiver. In high school, just solid speed. Tremendous athlete. Excellent hands. Tough. Excellent ball catching ability. Raw talent. Rough as an "unmade bed."
     Now listed 6'2-215 and still raw and learning the nuances of the game. Tremendous body strength for a wide receiver. Improved 40 time - 4.4 or better. Pro Scouts like his combination of size, strength, catching ability and toughness.
     Stats wise - caught 72 balls for just over 1,000 yards. Against Illinois, he caught 11 balls for 189 yards and three TD's.
     I could not find any "star" ratings for Cody coming out of the small school Dayton Jefferson High School. According to Dave Berk, he was a 3-star, but at the time, Berk did not rate Ohio players. Berk would have done a better job.
     My point is that if you work hard and have some talent, do not worry about star ratings. Work and make yourself better. If you want to be a "part of, " of a top BCS school, and not get much playing time, but still enjoy being a "part of"  of a top BCS school, then commit to that school. Mid American schools and lower level conference schools can prepare you for the next level.
      Congrats to Dayton Jefferson's Cody Latimer. Regardless of draft results, he has done well. And to think, he was only a "three star." Over and over, I say, "If you are good enough, someone will find you." Over and over, I also say, "Big is not always better."

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Breck Turner - RB from Norwalk High School

     Since Bellevue High School is only about 45 minutes from home, I made the trip this morning to watch the field events and prelims at their invitational track meet. Due to having to wait for one and half hours for the finals, I came home to work outside on my four acres of land.
      Saw some players, especially from Fremont Ross and Bellevue. The "cat" that really impressed me the most was Breck Turner from Norwalk High School. Guessin 6'0-205, Breck is one of the top RB's in the Class of 2015. Also had watched him on the court, as Norwalk is a state champion on the basketball court. Since I do not pay much attention to stats or individual awards, I can not help much there.
       What I know is that he has excellent vision and has a good burst. Durable. Makes plays. On the basketball court, he was much the same way. In track, he runs anchor, a leg given to the fastest and most competitive runner of the four. But coming from Norwalk High School and, although Norwalk has a very good program, he will need to prove to top BCS schools that he can play at that level. Already has proven that to some mid-level majors.
       Talking to him for only a few minutes, we briefly talked of "offers." But he has six from the Mid- American Conference. We talked basketball. We talked track. We talked some football. Although he is a running back, I did warn him, I liked him as an OLB. (McCallister being McCallister). But Breck is a scholarship football player. To me, top RB's better have the total package. Schools recruit one RB and 4 LB's. Breck could line up on either side.
       Grades are good. 3.3GPA. 20 ACT. Told me that was the first time that he took it. Is going to retake the ACT to get a better score. I joked with him that I could name a few recruits who would take that 20 score in a heart-beat. His mother is a teacher. Of course, he probably does his homework every night.
        Above all else, I walked away really impressed with his persona. Articulate. Smart. He even used some words that, for some, might require a dictionary. Communicates well. Had nothing but praise for a freshman punter at Norwalk. Talked positive on every subject.
        I reminded him about the importance of getting into summer camps. Told him to both: 1- go to camps with different college coaches working the camps 2- go to camps that are seriously recruiting him and that he is serious about. Do not go to some camps just because they are top rated BCS schools. Waste of money for him, but not for them.
        Funny comment. When I reminded him that he needed exposure, because "Norwalk is not like "a Glenville," I got a quick response. His quick answer - " I can play with those guys." My quick answer - "I do not mean that. I mean that many college coaches stop at Glenville ever year. How many stop at Norwalk every year?" And, yes, I believe he would do well at "a Glenville."
       Before the recruiting sites call him "under the radar," he is not. On my radar and tonight he will be on more college list. The only reason that recruiting sites use that term is because they did not know about him.
       Talking with Breck Turner was refreshing for me. As Bill Belichick says, " I only know what I see." McCallister liked what he saw.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Is Spring Football Near for High Schools?

       Last night at the Miami Valley Football Coaches College Night, I learned that Ohio high school football could be a little happier after the May 12 meeting of the Ohio High School Athletic Association's monthly meeting. Spring sports coaches in track, baseball, and lacrosse may not be quite as happy.
       Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer last month at the Ohio State Football Clinic expressed concern that the Ohio high school football coaches needed more instruction time to work with their football players in the off season.
       Recently, the OHSAA has allowed all sports to be able to instruct four players at one time. The OHSFCA's regional directors would like to have more players at one time. Maybe as many as seven.
       Last month, Urban Meyer met informally with Commissioner Dan Ross. On May 12, Coach Meyer is scheduled to meet the OHSAA Board. At that time, he will present his ideas.
       He is in favor of spring football and believes that high school coaches should be able to instruct their own  players in the off season. He  said at the clinic that since his son is going to be a freshman, he, also, has a personal concern.
       To me it would seem that 10 days in the spring would allow college coaches to better evaluate the high school players. Legally they could watch them work out and go through drills. Really the OL/DL could block each other.
       I am guessin ---  
        A.  Starting next year high schools will be allowed 10 days of instruction in late April and/or early May. Avoid the league and state tournaments for spring sports. College coaches would be on the road and would be able to evaluate. 
        B. They will wear helmets only.
        C. They will allowed to work with either 7 or 14 players at one time. This would allow offensive and defensive lines to work against each other. This would  allow for 7on7 competition.
        D. If a player runs track, play baseball, or lacrosse, he would have the option.
        E. Down the road. Unlimited how many players to work with.
                                       Shoulder pads will be worn.
                                       7 on 7 competition against another school or schools.
        F. Concern
                    Coach is both head coach in a spring sport and in football
                    Money and coach's stipend
                    Does a spring sport coach have the choice to release or not to release a player.

Jim Tressel was able convince the OHSAA to bring the state football championships to C-bus.  Does Urban Meyer have persuasion skills? Ha Ha! Hopefully something good  will come out of this and will benefit all players and all sports.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Recruits Scheduling Camp Days

      Earlier in the week, I received a call from a parent who is trying to arrange college camp days for his son who is a DB in the Class of 2015. His son is a solid prospect, but needs to get in front of decision makers. College coaches need to see him.
      The prospect plays in a smaller school football program and needs to be seen by college coaches. BCS schools are involved with this prospect. College coaches have assured me that they like him, but need to see more. I believe them and I also believe that he needs to workout for them.
      The problem - Dad is trying work a schedule so that his son can attend the NIKE football camp in C-bus in early June. By going to the college camps, he probably will miss the NIKE Camp. When he asked me my thoughts, the answer is simple. Nobody at the NIKE Camp can offer him a scholarship. What is worse - many of those people at the NIKE Camp are no better evaluators than I. Trust me, I am nothing to write home about.
      NIKE Camp is a nice marketing tool. Get kids' names out there. Honestly, is probably the best at what it does. But NOBODY can offer a prospect a scholarship. Obviously, if a player goes to a college camp, he could earn an offer.
      Sometimes a player can hurt himself at a non college camp if he does not do well. Maybe his times are not as good. Maybe a recruiting reporter writes a bad report. Very few recruiting reporters are good talent evaluators. Maybe the evaluators do not like him for some reason.
      NIKE, as well as some other marketing camps, say that if a player performs well, he has a chance to go to the big show in Oregon. Of course, I can not proof it, but NIKE people already have an idea who they want going to the big show.
       I guess I understand what goes through a parent's head, but when their son his asked to workout in front of decision makers, he needs to do that. I mean NIKE Camps are good, but a player trying to get an offer, should  NEVER substitute his only chance to get in front of a BCS coach to go to a NIKE Camp.
       I would hope that even the powers to be at NIKE would agree .
      My other concern is about players spending time and money traveling to camps outside of the Midwest. Actually I just lost a top member of the Ohio Class of 2016 who was coming to the Showcase. He is going to a camp at Virginia Tech. A junior to be going to Va Tech? Now if it was a school in the Midwest, I could better understand. Only a sophomore.
      If this prospect was a member of the 2015 Class, I understand. As a junior he needs looks.
     Finally many of the BCS schools in the Midwest have Mid major and Mid American coaches working their camps. More exposure.
     Of course, I think that I can do more for an underclassman prospect and get him more exposure than a school outside of the Midwest. But it is what it is. And, I love the Midwest and, but for a few exceptions, most Ohio players eventually play in the Midwest. Because of my respect for the OL coach at Rutgers and the DL coach at Syracuse, these would be two exceptions.