Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Starting July 15: The PrepNation 101 Preseason Football Countdown

PrepNation.com will kick off the 2008 high school football season in unprecedented fashion. On July 15 we will begin counting down to the release of the preseason National Prep Poll.

Each day, from July 15 to August 3, four teams will be profiled -- from No. 101 to No. 26 -- leading up to the release of the National Prep Poll Top 25 on August 4.

To the best of our recollection, this will be the most in-depth batch of preseason high school football rankings ever released. (If you know of an organization that did preseason sketches on more than 101 teams, please let us know and full credit will be given.)

August 1 is the release date for the Forbes 400 Preseason All-American team, selected by the staff of the Forbes Report. With more than 60 combined years in college coaching and more than 80 years in coaching overall, the staff of the Forbes Report has been in the scouting and recruiting video business since 1988 and boasts a client list of more than 300 college coaching staffs.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's some work. Looking forward to it.

I'm guessing Hutchinson, Kan., might be ranked. They have an early season matchup with Rockhurst (KCMO) that people in these parts are excited to see.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that Byrnes(SC) will be highly ranked... probably in the top 10 nationally. Here are two other football programs from SC that should get consideration for you top 100, South Pointe and Dorman. South Pointe was already pretty stacked before DeVonte Holloman decided to transfer there from Indepence(NC). Put him on defense with Stephon Gilmore, arguably the best player in the state pryor to the arrival of Holloman, South Pointe are a serious challenger to Byrnes in Division I-4A. Dorman also has an excellent team coming back. They have athletes all over the field.

oldMLB67 said...

Looking forward to the upcoming season. Followed you closely last year and the only helpful comment I can make is to 'somehow' consider more than some team's local reporters. I know for a fact that one of the main reporters in Cincy realy bad and would not know a good HS team if he saw it. He has been bias for Colerain or other also ran inter city schools that St X, other regional and national ranked caliber teams did not get press they should have.

I guess you have to rely on local papers but see if you can work around these poor journalist.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hey idiot, since when has anyone outside of St. X or Colerain made any noise in R4 in Ohio??? Elder? 2003? Come on. It's not bias, it's fact. And if you're speaking of Tom Groeschen at the Cincinnati Enquirer, I'd say he does a pretty good job.

oldMLB67 said...

I am a idiot- dont think so. Hey 'anonymous', I was at the Colerain vs X game in 06 and Colerain did out play X in that playoff game. Elder has always been a hardnose fball team. I have seen Moeller and the Princeton both win the state in the 85-86. I know good fball and also bad reporting.

Based on what I read by Groeschen, I doubt seriously that he even attended an X game last year.

Last year X team's played the toughest schedule the nation and they did not get the press due that team.
I have been reading a lot about Colerain f-ball players - in the crime section of local papers.

Here is a real writer that says it all with details and facts.

By Steve Helwagen, Editor in Chief
stevehelwagen@bucknuts.com
Posted Jul 7, 2008

Cincinnati St. Xavier Bombers
It has been quite a four-year run at St. X for head coach Steve Specht. Since taking the Bombers’ head coaching job in 2004, his teams have combined to post a 51-3 record with two 15-0 state championship seasons. This year the Bombers will try to add another title although it won't be easy. Questions and a daunting schedule await.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

DE Pat Muldoon (6-4, 255, Sr.), ILB Luke Kuechly (6-3, 215, Sr.), QB Luke Massa (6-5, 200, Jr.),
OL Matt James (6-7, 290, Jr.),
RB Connor Earley (5-11, 195, Sr.)

SEASON OUTLOOK

2007 Record: 15-0, State champions

It has been quite a four-year run at St. X for head coach Steve Specht. Since taking the Bombers’ head coaching job in 2004, his teams have combined to post a 51-3 record with two 15-0 state championship seasons.

Specht is a 1986 graduate of St. X, where he was a team captain. He spent eight years as a St. X assistant before replacing longtime coach Steve Rasso in 2004.

Last year, St. X plowed through Greater Catholic League rival Cincinnati Elder (45-14), Centerville (31-6), Cincinnati Colerain (29-14), Dublin Coffman (10-7) and finally Mentor (27-0) in the playoffs to claim the title.

But winning a third title in four years could be difficult. St. X has just two starters back on each side of the ball.

“I don’t think the expectations ever change,” Specht said. “We go into every year with the same focus – we want to win in Week 1. Then, we want to win our league. We know if we win the GCL South we will get into the playoffs.

“We like our kids to be challenged. You never graduate tradition. We had a good senior class last year and we are usually a senior-dominated team.”

The Bombers have won four straight GCL South titles. Specht said the lack of experience does not bother him.

“On our 2005 team, we only brought back four starters on our whole team,” he said. “The year before we were 11-1. We are a senior-dominated team year in and year out. These kids challenge themselves to get better. We think we can win with seniors.”

One key senior is Muldoon, who had scholarship offers from Notre Dame and Ohio State. Muldoon is rated as Ohio’s No. 26 senior prospect, according to Ohio High magazine. He had 10 sacks and 13 tackles-for-loss in 2006 and 12 sacks and 16 tackles-for-loss in 2007.

“He’s explosive,” Specht said. “His first step is as explosive and as quick as anybody I have ever coached at this level. I know the college coaches like him because he is big enough to play inside and quick enough to play outside. He will be able to do a lot of different things depending on what team or college he selects.

“He can do a lot of things and he has a great motor. He’s a 4.0 GPA kid and he plays with high energy. He never stops. He’s just a great kid.”

Muldoon is not the only major college prospect at St. X. Specht noted that Kuechly, a nice sized inside linebacker, has also “been offered by just about everybody. He can really run.”

Another key senior is Earley, who sat behind standout Darius Ashley at tailback.

“He is track fast,” Specht said of Earley. “Unfortunately for him, he was playing behind four seniors last year. One of them is now at Louisville and another is at UC. He has been biding his time. We think he is going to open some eyes this year.”

Massa, a junior, got some spot duty at quarterback last year and threw for 375 yards and five touchdowns against just one interception.

“We think Luke is going to be a great one,” Specht said. “He started our last seven games after our senior starter suffered a broken knee. He has a chance to be a great, great quarterback here before he is done.”

St. X has a handful of receivers who could contribute, including Drew Grombala, Trevor Hoedker and Ian Cummins.

“Those kids are all going to be seniors,” Specht said. “Drew is a little guy at 5-9, 160, but he can run. He played a bunch last year. Those guys have an opportunity to step in and play for us.”

The schedule, as always for St. X, is a meat grinder. The Bombers open against their Cincinnati-area nemesis, Colerain. The teams combine for three of the last four state championships with Colerain’s 2004 title and St. X’s wins in 2005 and 2007.

St. X took two wins over Colerain en route to the state title in 2005. Colerain then reached the state final four with a regional final win in 2006. St. X returned that favor with its regional final win last November.

The teams will again meet on neutral ground at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium as the featured game in the Crosstown Showdown event on Aug. 22.

“My biggest issue with that game is that we are playing one of the top teams in Region 4 and we will each find out real fast where we are and what we need to work on,” Specht said. “That first game will expose some flaws and I think you make the most improvement from week 1 to week 2. To open with a team of that caliber, it shows you very quickly. I know the kids are excited about it. That’s what high school football is supposed to be about. It should be a great game for our city.”

The next four weeks will feature opponents from four different states as St. X meets Prattville, Ala., (a two-time state champion) in the Kirk Herbstreit Ohio vs. USA Challenge before hosting Indianapolis Cathedral and Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep and visiting Louisville (Ky.) Trinity. Trinity, led by Ohio State verbal LB Jordan Whiting, won a state title last year.

“Our schedule covers five states,” Specht said. “Because of the (OHSAA playoff points system), we do not get to play a lot of local games. When was the last time a team played teams from five states?”

Of course, the focus of any season for St. X is the Greater Catholic League and the battles with rivals Elder, LaSalle and Moeller. Specht knows each of those tradition-rich schools will be looking to end the Bombers’ run at the top of the GCL South.

“Every year, we want to compete for a shot at the GCL South championship,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate the last few years to win the title. In any given year, any of the four schools can win the title.

“We know Elder, Moeller and LaSalle will be looking to knock us off. We are the reigning GCL champions. But the perspective never changes. We don’t want to rest on our laurels. Our goal is just to prepare every day and work on how we can get better.”


SCHEDULE

Aug. 22 Colerain, 8 p.m.
Aug. 30 Prattville, Ala.,8p.m.
Sept. 5 Indianapolis Cathedral
Sept. 13 Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Sept. 19 Louisville (Ky.) Trinity
Sept. 26 Elder
Oct. 3 LaSalle
Oct. 11 Lakewood St. Ed
Oct. 18 Cleveland St. Ignatius,
Oct. 24 Moeller

SCfootball said...

The post about SC football is wrong, South Pointe will play in 3A and will not play Byrnes - They lost too Dorman team last year with this so called stacked talent. Dorman lost too many on Defense to contend with Byrnes this year. Plus there shuffling Qb's to find a fit. In SC, Byrnes is in a class of there own. They should be a strong consideration for #1 in the country - with the whole team pretty much coming back!!!

Beef said...

How comparable is this Byrnes team to the 2006/2007 versions? I just didn't walk away impressed from their showing at the Herbie against Cincinnati Moeller, or last year against Centerville. In 06 I thought Willy Korn was one heck of a thrower, but I thought the line blocking was abysmal. In both years the defense seemed a bit undisciplined.

Anonymous said...

scfootball,

You are wrong!!! South Pointe is a class 4A school and will in fact be playing in region 4-4A this year. You can find a story about it here: http://www.heraldonline.com/sports/prep/story/669527.html

I agree that Byrnes is the class of the S.C. and one of the best high school programs in the southeast. They will be very good both this year and next year with this year's team looking very similar to the 2005 teams that may have been the best SCHS team since the 1991 Spartanburg team. However, that doesn't mean that they can't lose. Remember, the 06 Byrnes team was highly regarded and lost twice to Gaffney at the Reservation.

Anonymous said...

Beef,

You're right, the problem with the Byrnes team in 2006 was the O-Line. That's why they lost twice to Gaffney... Gaffney controlled both lines of scrimmage.

As far as the 2007 Byrnes team, they were a lot better at the end of the season than they were when they played Centerville(OH) or Dr. Phillips (FL). They improved drastically and truthfully, they overachieved somewhat.

This year's team on paper seems to be awesome. Their O-Line is much better than it was the past two years and they have speed and athletes all over the field. Marcus Lattimore (who will be a HIGHLY regarded recruiti in the 2010 class) is probably the best RB in the state right now and they have a load of other skill players. The issue with them is the schedule which is tough. They open up in Georgia against N. Gwinnett which has been one of the better teams in GA the last few years. They play Tallahassee Lincoln which has been a traditional power in Florida AND they play Pahokee who are NO JOKE!! All that added on to the teams they play in state like Gaffney, Dorman, Spartanburg and maybe either South Pointe (who'll be very good this year) or Northwestern in the playoffs.

Byrnes will be highly ranked going into the season (probably in the top 5). On paper this looks like the best Byrnes team since 2005 which was a tremendous team. However, I don't know if they'll end up undefeated because of such a tough schedule. It'll be fun to watch.

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