Tuesday, May 20, 2008

2008 Team to Watch: St. Xavier

PrepNation.com continues to look ahead to the 2008 high school football season. We're still a couple months away from the start of our expanded preseason national rankings release, but it's not too soon to whet your appetite with mini-previews of teams that are likely to figure very prominently on the national scene this season.

The defending National Prep Poll champion will play arguably the nation's toughest schedule for the second straight season, despite returning only four starters (two on each side of the ball.)

"They say competition breeds success," says St. Xavier coach Steve Specht. "With our schedule, the players have no choice but to compete."

Specht is optimistic about staying at the top of the heap in Ohio even after saying good-bye to 18 starters and a senior class that was instrumental in winning two Division I state championships. "We do return 65 juniors and 64 sophomores excited about the opportunity to compete for a spot on the field," he says.

Two talented members of a defense that limited opponents to less than 9 points per game last year are among the veterans. End Pat Muldoon (6-4, 255) is a three-year starter with an explosive first step and non-stop motor. Linebacker Luke Kuechly (6-3, 210), who led the team in tackles in '07, is a physical player who can rush the passer and stop the run equally well.

Leading the Bombers' offense will once again be 6-5, 200-pound junior Luke Massa. He started the final seven games of this sophomore season and passed for more than 1,200 yards with 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Specht says Massa is a major DI talent with a strong arm and quick release. The line will be anchored by mammoth tackle Matthew James (6-7, 285), who started all 15 games as a sophomore.

St. Xavier (Cincinnati)
Coach: Steve Specht (51-3, 4 years)

2007: 15-0, No. 1 in final National Prep Poll

Top returning players: QB Luke Massa (6-5, 200, Jr., 1,200 yards, 11 TDs in seven games); DE Patrick Muldoon (6-4, 255, 3-year starter, multiple major offers); LB Luke Kuechly (6-3, 210, leading tackler, multiple DI offers)

Key losses: RB Darius Ashley (Louisville), WR/K Danny Milligan (Cincinnati), WR Stephon Ball (Louisville), RB Luca Romero (Cincinnati), S Fred Craig (Stanford), DE Greg Scruggs (Louisville), WR Jon Scheidler (Cornell), LB Nick Schneider (Yale), LB Evan Miller (Columbia), DB Ross Morand (Columbia)

All systems go: Recent tradition, depth with 129 returning seniors and juniors

Questions must be answered: Replacing 18 starters and a tremendous senior class

Toughest games: vs. Colerain at UC (Aug. 22), vs. Prattville, Ala. at Paul Brown Stadium (Aug. 30), vs. Don Bosco Prep, N.J. (Sept. 13), @Louisville, Ky., Trinity (Sept. 19), @Elder (Sept. 26), @St. Edward (Oct. 11), vs. St. Ignatius (Oct. 18), vs. Moeller (Oct. 24)

Forbes Report Scouting Video: Luke Kuechly vs. Winton Woods and Colerain - 2007

1 comment:

Naughts said...

WOW! Another tough schedule... but getting Prattvile & Don Bosco Prep at home helps! Go undefeated and you will quite possibly be national champs again... GOOD LUCK!

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