Others were hoping to find that first elusive scholarship offer, but four of the better players attending Tuesday's final senior camp were William Bland of Withrow High School, Garrett Celek of LaSalle High School, Broc Miller of Northview High School, and Drew Kiel of Columbus East High School.
William Bland is a 6' 7"/214 pound defensive end for Doc Gamble and his Withrow Tigers. Despite entering his senior year, William is only 16 years old with a huge upside. Doc Gamble commented on this underrated youngster. "Will's a skillful guy with a lot of tools. He may be considered raw, but he's a heady kid. If you show him something once, he picks up on it real fast. He's a guy of high interest right now, especially when recruiters come to the school and bump into him. When they find out he's only 16, they're even more intrigued."
Last season William missed all of Withrow's two-a-day summer practices because he was needed at home, and it caused him to get behind. That meant little exposure for a guy that was already somewhat of a secret. Doc explained further. "He's a guy that needs to get out to the camps because there's not much film of him last year. If he would have had a bunch of film, he would have been an early offer guy, but he missed two-a days. He missed a lot of practice and didn‘t show up with us until the first game of the season. It took him two weeks to get caught up, but once he got up to speed, we played him on a rotating basis with a senior. I made a point that Will had to get snaps in every game. When we send out highlight tapes of some of our other guys, Will Bland will show up on the film."
Another player with a very familiar last name for Bearcat fans is Brent Celek's younger brother, Garrett. Despite playing offensive tackle for LaSalle High School, Garrett worked out with the tight ends on Tuesday. The main recruiting question about this young man is his size. There isn't much need for college offensive lineman who stand 6' 6" and weight 228 pounds, but that could be an ideal size for a college tight end. When you factor in a 4.65 forty time, Garrett really starts to show outstanding tight end numbers.
The younger Celek did a nice job with the tight ends despite having almost no time to prepare. Garrett explained, "I didn't know I'd be with the tight ends until about a week ago. I went to two or three practices at my school to help prepare. That was about it."
If you know anything about the Celeks, you know this is a tight knit family so certainly Brent had to have helped. "He showed me some routes I should run and told me to catch the ball." Incidentally, Brent is now up to 260 pounds.
Garrett was pleased with his performance, and so was the Bearcat coaching staff because Garrett was offered a scholarship almost immediately following today's camp. " I'm very excited about the offer. Coach Dantonio took me into his office and made the offer. They want me to play tight end."
Garrett is also receiving interest from North Carolina State. He said he wanted to take some time to mull over the offer before making any decision, but during our interview prior to the offer, Garrett sure sounded like a guy headed to Cincinnati. "It would be nice for my mom and dad to see me play in Cincinnati, and it's worked out well for my brother. I really love it here in Cincinnati."
The next player comes from Indiana and is being recruited more as an athlete although he worked out with the quarterbacks on Tuesday. Broc Miller is getting interest from Cincinnati, Ball State, Louisville and Indiana. His summer is busy with scheduled stops at all the preceding schools plus Northwestern and Purdue.
Broc has no position preference; he just wants to play football. He plays quarterback and defensive back at Northview High School in Indiana. This 6' 2"/193 pound athlete is a good enough student that Tim Murphy from Harvard visited with him at his school and watched him workout. Coach Murphy told Broc he would love to have him if he improves his ACT slightly. Broc estimated his GPA to be a 3.8 or 3.9.
The final player but the one that may have been the most impressive to me was Drew Kiel of Columbus East High School in Indiana. Drew is a 6' 3" quarterback that had to leave camp early. He threw the ball very impressively during the camp and clearly impressed Bearcat quarterback coach Dave Warner. Drew's uncle is Blair Kiel, who played quarterback at Notre Dame.
The Indiana quarterback has lost only one game as a starting quarterback since the 7th grade, and in addition to being an extremely accurate thrower, Kiel ran a 4.61 forty at Tuesday's camp.
Drew was asked about what he was told when leaving camp early. "They told me I did a good job, and Coach Warner said I was the real deal." Despite that glowing praise, Drew has no offers at this time."
Drew somewhat admitted to having a favorite conference, "It'd be nice to play in the Big Ten, but it's not necessary. I just want to play somewhere."
Coach Warner made certain Coach Dantonio spoke to Drew and his father before they headed back to Indiana. I wouldn't be surprised if an official scholarship offer wasn‘t far behind.