Sunday, June 29, 2014

Chris Chambers Foundation Football Camp

        Yesterday, I made my annual trip to Bedford High School to evaluate campers at the Chris Chambers Foundation Football Camp. Now retired from the NFL, Chris lives in Florida, but comes back to Bedford to host his camp every June.
        First met Chris when he was staring at Bedford High School as a wide receiver. He went on to Wisconsin and later to the NFL. With all of his success on the football field, he is still the same Chris Chambers who I knew in high school. Class act!
       Ted Ginn, Jr worked the wide receivers at the camp. Just talked with "Little Ted" for a few minutes, but he seems to be happy with the Arizona Cardinals. As I would expect, he just enjoys working with kids and trying to make them better.
       A lot of good young prospects were on the field, but for most, I need to see more  this fall. Spent a lot of my time watching the younger players. However, there were some older ones who continue to impress me.
       Warren Harding's James Daniels (2015) came to the camp to work out for his Uncle who helps run the camp. The camp is for skilled players. Being 6'4-280, James is an OL/DL guy who among others has been offered by Ohio State and not a skilled player. But he ran in all of the drills and ran well. Good bender. Strong. Best of all, good character kid. Non committed now. Just has something that I like about him.
        Brandon Harris (2015) from East Cleveland Shaw recently committed to Bowling Green. Bowling Green offered him as an "athlete." Honestly, they got a "steal." Guessin 6'2-205 and he is all over the field. Can run, catch, and change direction. Really competitive. Will either be a receiver or an inside DB. One of the best players at this camp.
        Linebackers Marquise Copeland and London Cloud both in the 2015 Class at Bedford played well in 7on7 competition. Both strong and fast enough. Of course, they are more effective with pads on. Marquise is going to Cincinnati and London will play for Ohio Universty. Have watched both since their sophomore years.
       Former Glenville linebacker Matt Draper is playing his senior year at Brush High School. As a sophomore, he drew a lot attention as an LB. Surprised that he has gotten heavy and does not run as well. Honestly, I am somewhat concerned about effort. Although just a camp, he needs to be more focused and get better.
       Chawntez Moss from Bedford has the quickness, burst, and speed that a coach likes in a running back. Only a junior, I really like his physical tools. Guessin 5'11-190. Guessin 4.6 every time he runs the 40.  Also like his toughness. This fall, I am looking forward to see him getting around the corner, because I know that he can run between the tackles. Could be one of the tops in his 2016 Class.
       There is just something about Glenville QB Marcus Drish. Guessin 5'10-185 (at least). A back-up last year as a sophomore, this will be his time. Strong arm. Good feet. Deceptive speed. Really athletic. Good enough to be a receiver. Like his leadership skills. Once he gains some game experience, he should be okay.
        As I said earlier, I like the potential of many of the younger players, but too early to mention them. East Cleveland Shaw has two good young prospects. Bedford has a sophomore WR/DB planning to go both ways. Just too early.
        Chris Chambers always runs a disciplined camp. Actually, we talked about working together on some ways to get kids better. That would be interesting.

Monday, June 23, 2014

OL Commit Kevin Feder from New Jersey

       Read in the Dispatch this morning, that Ohio State received a commitment from a big offensive tackle from Don Bosco High School in New Jersey. Actually he had committed to University of Miami back in December, but "flipped" after attending Ohio State's camp  I watched Kevin Feder at Ohio State's one day camp last Thursday. The more I watched and learned about him, the more impressed I became.
       I watched with some caution, however, because had only rated him a three star. He was only ranked 18th best prospect in New Jersey and the 82nd best offensive tackle nationally. Because I put so much credence in the recruiting sites like, Rivals, and 247sports, and the "star" system, I was afraid that I was wasting my time. (Hopefully, reading my "stuff," you realize the sarcasm here.)
      An leg injury last year and the fact that he only played defense at Don Bosco High School, made the judgment of OL coach Ed Wariner's unique. At Ohio State's camp, was the only real offensive blocking that he has done. Listed 6'9-310, so probably 6'8-300, the cat can run. Fastest OL guy at the camp. This was proven by a sprint at the end of camp.
      Watched him a lot. In the one on one's, which for the most part is a waste of time, he did okay. He was beaten off the edge a few times. But he bends well. Feet are okay. Does not play basketball. If you keep remembering that this camp was the first time that he lined up on offense or that he is listed 6'9-310 and trying to block smaller quicker DE, you realize Ohio State has a possible big time player.
       For me a "no-brainer," because I like long tall offensive linemen, who can move their feet and have the potential to add lots of weight. Sounds silly, but he is almost a "freak," because he runs so well and has the potential to get huge. Plus he is smart. Another silly comment, but if he keeps working and is coached well, he will make money on Sundays. But what do I know, I told Taylor Decker the same thing.
       Since this is not an Ohio State recruiting site, I really am not applauding the work of Ohio State. They did some work, however, and Ed Wariner saw what I saw.. The point that I am trying to make is that the "star" system is meant to be entertaining. Please do not take them seriously. Smile, but please do not take them seriously. Some college want the "splash, which is scary.
       Kevin Feder believes that he is a potential 5-star, but is rated a 3-star. If he keeps working hard and stays focused, he will be a top left tackle at Ohio State University. If he keeps working hard and  stays focused, he will make money on Sundays. That is good enough for me.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Thank You Urban Meyer and the Ohio State

        Although I am going to attend three college football camps in July, the college camp season is over for me. In some ways, I am glad, and in some ways, I will miss them. Quickly reminding myself about standing out in the sun for six hours, maybe I will not miss them at all.
       All of the camps that I attend are good. Whether it be Michigan's large number, the satellite camps of BGSU, Toledo, or Ohio University, camps for me are what I make them. Hopefully, I make them good. Have not been to Michigan State or Notre Dame lately, but they are good, as well. From what high school coaches and recruits tell me, they are all good.
       I often get asked, "What camps should we attend?" My answer, " 1. They are all good. 2. Go to the camp that the schools you are really interested in are hosting. 3. Go to a smaller camp. 4. Go to a MAC satellite camp to save on travel expenses."
       Years ago former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel began allowing Mid American Conference staffs to come a senior camp. Two assistant coaches from a college would help at Ohio Sate, but Tressel opened the gate. Full staffs eventually were allowed to evaluate.
       A practice at many schools is to allow assistant college coaches work bigger BCS schools. The Division 2 colleges will allow Division 3 schools to work their camps. Satellite camps will allow both D-2 and D-3 colleges to work.
       Coach Urban Meyer, when he first came to Ohio State, had some different views on allowing complete staffs to evaluate prospects. Not only that, he was concerned about college assistants working the camp. This past winter I had even heard some "stuff" that he was going to change some of the format this summer. Although I do not always agree some of Coach Meyer's ideas, I can see his point.
       The purpose of this blog entry is to thank the Ohio State staff, and, of course, Urban Meyer, for putting on the best camp that I have been to, since Coach Meyer's been on the scene. Being an Ohio high school football "kid's guy," the camp was good. 1 A solid turnout. 2. A variety of prospects in the Classes of 2015, 2016, 2017, and some from the Class of 2018. 3. Really good instruction.
       Mid American coaches, including some head coaches, were allowed to walk around and evaluate. Urban Meyer was giving many high school players a chance to be evaluated by other D-1 schools, and mostly schools from Ohio. Of course, no BCS schools, other than Ohio State. were present. Will not put a number on how many recruits OSU was really evaluating, but I really appreciate the fact that so many campers were evaluated by other D-1 schools.
        Finally, I enjoyed the freedom that people were given. Of course, parents and observers had to stay behind the red lines. Recruiting reporters were allowed more freedom. Most importantly of all, I was allowed to roam within reason. Huge for me. Keep my mouth shut and my ears and eyes wide open.
       This blog is not a knock on any other BCS schools and their camps. Especially the ones that pay for my service. Anytime so many college staffs, regardless of Division, can evaluate players, mostly from Ohio, every high school football coach in Ohio should be pleased.
       Thank you, Urban Meyer and Ohio State football staff for hosting such an event.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Some Campers at the Showcase

As I blogged earlier in the week, getting really good looks at football players in continuous rain is really hard to do. When no testing is done, and when few agility drills are run, evaluating a prospect is difficult. However, players got to "ball" for almost three hours, and they really seem to enjoy that.
Offensive Lineman
     Jeff Nogai - Johnstown HS -  Passes eyeball test. 6'5-291. Needs to keep working on feet.
    Elijah Woolam - Jackson HS -  Like size. Saw him play last year. Good feet. Better bender.
    Dylan Murphy - Watterson HS -  6'6-262. Explosive. Strong. Be better bender.
          Like potential.
    Nick Rosi - Olentangy Liberty HS -  Good feet. 6'2-245. A freshman with lots of potential.
    William Strawser - Olentangy HS -  Hurt ankle and did not see many reps. Potential.
    Andrew Rosi - Olentangy Liberty -  6'4(almost)-215. Athletic. Excellent frame. Competes.   
          Huge upside. Will be either one of the top TE's or DE or OL's in the Class of 2017. A top
     Dalton Strunk - Lakota East HS -  Big frame. Good explosion.
     Seth Vargo - Danbury HS - Strong arm. 6'2-190. Needs to work on release. Like his    
    AJ Hughes - Revere HS -  Strong arm. 6'3-203. Needs to work on technique. Potential.
   Alec Foos - Bellevue HS -  Measured 6'0-165. Needs to get stronger, but like his release.
   Dustin Crum - Midview HS -  Like his potential. Needs to work on technique.
   Kyle Vantrease - Stow HS -  Strong arm. Measured 6'2-197. Really like his potential.
   Zach Larkin - Hamilton Badin HS - Strong arm. 6'4-190. Like release. Improved arm strength.
          Toughness surprised me. Could be one of the top QB's in the Class of 2016.
   Gunnar Hoak - Coffman HS -  Keeps getting stronger/bigger. Quick release. Like his release.
          Will be one of the top QB's in the Class of 2016.
   John Henry - Marietta HS -  Athletic. Strong arm. Need to see more. 6'3-200. Really like his   
   Trent Burke - Westerville South HS -  Continues to improve. Strong arm. 6'1-193.
  Running Backs
     Antwuan Johnson Dayton Dunbar HS -  Excellent hands. Good hips. 6'0-213. If he keeps    
              focused will be one of top RB's in the Class of 2018.
     Daniel Banks - Nordonia HS - Both RB/CB. Track fast. Excellent hips. 5'9-155. Will be one
              of the top recruits in the Class of 2017.
      Stephen Headings - Coffman HS - Strong runner. 5'11-207. Need to see more. Like his
      Nick Cox - Wellston HS - Strong runner. Fast. 6'0-185. Need to see this fall.
      Terrell Washington - Thomas Worthington HS -  Athletic. Quickness. Also plays QB.
             5'11-187. Need to see more.
      Erik Davis - Rossford HS - Also plays DB. Fast. Tough. A better DB prospect.
      Robert Fusner - Central Crossing HS -  6'1-209. Runs well. Liked his lateral movement. Tough.
       Landon Hall - Wapakoneta HS - Runs well. Athletic. Wrestled at State Meet. 6'2-185. One to watch.
       Roen McCullough - Kilbourne HS - One to watch. 6'1-216. Like his toughness. Runs well.
       Derrick Harvey - Buchtel HS - Fast. Like lateral movement. 6'1-198. Competed hard. Like potential.
       Jarrid Fisher - Lakota East HS - Runs well. Like his toughness. Started as a 10th grader.  Really like potential.
       Andrew Malick - Westerville North HS - Closes well. 6'1-211. Need to see more. Competed hard.
       Griffin Hoak - Coffman HS - Like his toughness. 6'1-195. Runs well. Good hips. Could be one of the top five LB's in the Class of 2018.
Defensive Lineman
      Chris Williams - Wellston HS - Powerful. Good burst. 6'1-265. Ran well for size.
      Antonio Shelton - Westerville North HS - Excellent quickness. Explosive. Strong. Needs to
           work on balance, but will be okay. Could be really good.
      Ryan Strawser - Olentangy HS -  Athletic. Good balance. Needs to get bigger and stronger.
     Collin Brown - Upper Sandusky - Explosive. Strong. Powerful. Needs to continue to work on technique. 6'2-280. Sleeper.
     Travis Sanders - Thomas Worthington HS - Need to see more. Strong. Good balance. Be better bender.
      Dalton Jordan - Thomas Worthington HS - Strong. Athletic. Need to see more.
Defensive Backs
      Jatairis Grant - Akron Garfield HS - All of the tools. Fast. Good hips. Recovers well. Fast.
           Will be one of the top CB's in the Class of 2016. BCS level. Special
DeJon Jordan - Walnut Ridge HS -  Fast. 6'1-192. May grow into an OLB.
Michael Ayers - Walnut Ridge HS - Needs to get faster/stronger, but should. Getting faster.  
          6'2-150. Liked his attitude. Good hips.
Brendan White - Olentangy Liberty - HS - Wants to be a wideout. If he continues to get
          bigger/faster, he will be one of the best FS in the Class of 2017. Smart. Tough.
Wide Receivers
Cole Virgin - Elyria Catholic HS -. Need to see more. Good size. Excellent hands.
Jacob Dues - Minster HS -  Athletic. Catches well. Speed? One to watch.

       I have made all kinds of excuses for my not doing a good job of evaluating many of the campers at the Showcase. My coaches gave me many of these players to watch. Tried to see most. Obviously, I have missed listing some. All of the campers are on my list. If I can, I will list some more names in a blog next week.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Brief Summary about the Showcase

       After the Showcase last Sunday, I have spent the last three days doing the "satellite" college football camp circuit. For people looking for the Showcase summary and names, something should be up by Friday morning.
      Due to the weather, evaluating players was somewhat difficult.
      Testing was eliminated. Just could not see running 40's and the proshuttle in the rain. Players could slip and hurt themselves. Times would not have been as fast. I wish that I could seen some of the DB's and WR's run, but not worth the risk.
      Wet floors caused me to have the players measured in shoes, which I do not like to do. Not as accurate. After about 45 players getting weighed, it was discovered that the scales needed adjusted. - 12 pounds too light. Of course, not as accurate.
      After registration was completed, wind caught the tent and water poured over the registration forms. Still have the cards, so all was not lost.
      Along with not doing testing, I also skipped the football agility drills and went straight to position specfic drills. I really like the agility drills as a way to evaluate prospects. Also we use the same agility drills, that most of the colleges use, which helps college prospects get ready for camps.
      Hopefully, because of the rainy weather, we only had 141 campers. But the campers  played football for almost three hours. The OL/DL guys went "one on one" for a long time. Along with the agility drills, and the indivdual drills, they spent alot of time "getting better."
       Quarterbacks got a ton of work. Footwork drills. Lots of throwing. Only McCallister would still push QB's to throw hard and accurately, even though the balls were totally soaked after being in the rain for 3 hours. The QB talent impressed me. Really like the potential of some of the young QB's.
        Some good young LB'ers worked out. DB's and WR's were good. Although only going into their freshman year, two of the "potentially" top players in the Class of 2018, worked out. Of course, as silly as it sounds, these two are going to be good.
        I have already started working on changes for next year. Some areas, I need to do a better job of explaining to coaches want I want. We lost some of the underclassmen to college camps held on the same day. To some extent, I understand. A young lineman travels to Virginia Tech? Underclassman need exposure and only a few camps in the Midwest can do that. Last year, the weather was really hot. This year the weather was really wet. Two major changes are possible and could really help attendance.
         Bottom line - players seemed to enjoy the work. Received some nice emails from parents. As long as the McCallister Scouting Service can help "kids" get better the right way, can help "kids" get educated about football recruiting the right way, and can help "kids" get exposure the right way, we should be okay.
         Some campers' names and some brief comments about them by Friday. Now to Paul Brown Stadium for some football.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Choosing Between BCS and MAC Schools

       Last summer, I asked Marion Local head football coach Tim Goodwin if he ever has aspirations of moving up to a bigger school head football coaching job. He thought for a moment and answered that he does at times. But his next comment was - " I do, but winning a state championship at Marion Local is the same as winning one at a big school. A state championship is a state championship." Big is not always better.
      For me, earning and accepting a football scholarship at a Mid American Conference program is still a football scholarship. I read where recruits are going to places hours away to just because it is a BCS school. Last year a receiver in Southwest Ohio was all set to go to Kent State. A Big Ten school came in really late. He made the "flip," and I was disappointed. Of course, I had only had a partial scholarship when I went to college in 1966. Two things stopped me from earning a full scholarship- Fear of getting hurt. A serious lack of ability. Other than that, I was good.
      The three things a recruit must ask himself. One - Am I comfortable here? If I break my leg, will I enjoy campus for four years? Two - Relationships - Can I play for this coaching staff? What are my teammates like and is it a good fit? Three - Is the head coach's job reasonably secure? Does he have to win next year? Will he move up the ladder to a bigger school?
      Last night, while watching players at Bowling Green's satellite camp in Columbus, I was told that two players that I really like had committed to a MAC school. Both of these recruits have a chance to be really good. I mean really good. But the non verbal, I got from some people was that they have committed too early. One person promised that some BCS schools will "be in for sure." But both parents have told me that they just love the school.
      Let it go. If the players like the school, then let it go. They are the ones who are playing ball. They are the ones going to class. They are the ones who need feel a "good fit." Not the parents. Not the high school coach. For heavens sake, not the "handlers."
       So often a high school recruit will go to a place like Boston College. Red-shirt the first year. Red-shirt freshman the second year. No playing time, the second year. Depressed. Grades suffer. Quit football. Back home. This does not happen all of the time, of course, but it happens more than you might think.
        Big is not always better. Maybe for a recruit's internet following and a dad's ego, but not in what's best for the recruit. If getting a chance to play in the NFL is a goal, every year it is proven that players from all levels of college football can get a chance. I research players with Ohio high school backgrounds who get drafted in the first six rounds. You would be surprised.
        If just wanting to be a part of BCS football team, but have little chance of playing for three years, take the scholarship. If mom and dad really encourage you to go BCS, you might have to take it. If your high school coach encourages you to go take the most impressive offer to make him look good, you might have to take the highest offer. Bottom line, however, you the player have to be comfortable and like the "fit."
        Again, easy for me to give an opinion, because I do not have to make the choice. Because of fear and lack of talent, Michigan or Ohio State was not an option. Also, opinions are just like noses, everybody has one.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Thoughts on the NIKE Football Camp

       Time to move on from the NIKE mystic of the combine last March and of the football camp last Sunday and Monday.
       But first, both the NIKE Combine and the NIKE Football Camp are tremendous marketing venues. I mean shirts, shoes, and other things for sale. Players get a free shirt and a bag and whatever was in the bag. HUDL, a video service that has taken by storm has also partnered with NIKE. Of course, NCSA was making their pitch. Be careful.
      First, I will say that the NIKE Camp is a really a good way to get better and improve your football skills. Really a good way to compete. Really a  good way to measure your talent against other talent. Really a good way to get some type of exposure. Most of all, it is FREE.
        A parent came up to me and asked when they were going to test. Test? She said that her son had scored well in the SPARQ at Massillon and wanted to improve his scores. Problem - they do not use SPARQ at their camp. After telling her that, much disappointment. Time for football drills and one on ones. Time for football and no more combines.
       Also had a parent from Maryland asked me to evaluate her son. A sophomore - short, solid arm, but that was all. I said that in such a short time, I could not evaluate her son and appreciated her speaking with me.
       A mother talked to me about her son, a senior to be from Northwest Ohio. Colleges are in contact with him and he will make the camp circuit. Her concern was that he was not "ranked" by any recruiting site. My answer, "Big Deal." If he has college coaches communicating with him, he will be okay. Rankings are only important to fans and college head coaches wanting to make a slash.
       Actually felt bad for the campers. For some reason NIKE must feel that the more non-football related drills that they do, the more parents, players, and fans will be impressed. The players were really tired, and one-on-ones had not really started. Football work drills are really important for all positions, but how long does it take for a "solid evaluator" to see what he needs to see.
       Speaking of one on ones. OLvs DL. If a DL guy does not win most of the time, he is not very good. If an OL guy gets beat more than he wins, so what. What I look for in DL guys - does he keep his feet moving, does he bend, and does he punch? Most important - does he have fire in his eyes. What do I look for in OL guys. Does he bend, can he slide, and does he lock out? Most important - does he hate to get beat.
      Speaking of one on ones part 2. DB's vs WR's. A DB always lines up nose to nose to the receiver. Almost touching him. Is this offsides in a real game? Of course. DBvsWR turns into a wrestling match. Move the defender 3 yards off. Now watch his backpedal, his handcheck, and , most of all, his recovery speed.
       A dad sent me an email this morning, including the evaluation that someone made of his son. He had never heard of his son, until the camp, but knew that his school did not throw much. The problem with many recruiting reporters is that do not watch as many prospects as they should. They rely too much on who the college assistant coach tells them to watch. And, yes, that is the way it works most of the time.
       Finally, with NIKE it is a marketing business. Granted some players get exposure. Usually, the ones who have the "big time commitment," or who have the huge offers, or who are rated 4 and 5 stars, are the ones headed to the "Opening.
       As I said earlier, NIKE combines and camps give players a big chance to get better. Ninety percent of the parents should go into this process with "eyes wide open." The one choice who goes to the "Elite Eleven," might be out of reach, unless your son has verbaled to a big time program. Getting invited to the Opening is tough, but possible. Warning - you do not have to go to a NIKE football camp to get invited to the Opening. Glenville kids did not.
        Anytime a player has a chance to get better, he should really look into it. NIKE is probably the best dance.