Withrow High School Reloads

Doc Gamble and his Withrow Tigers should once again be one of the top football teams in the Cincinnati area. Bearcat Insider recently spoke to Doc about a number of his seniors-to-be.

The Withrow Tiger football program has been sending dozens of players off to college on football scholarships for several years now, and 2008 won't be any different.  Withrow seniors Ricardo Thompson and Bryant Thomas will be joining the Bearcats next season as freshmen, and the Bearcat coaching staff is apparently keeping a close eye on several current Withrow juniors.  Bearcat Insider recently spoke to Doc Gamble, the man that has quietly built this inner-city football power, about his 2008 class.


According to sources, three Withrow Tigers attended Cincinnati's Junior Day on Saturday, February 17.  They were Juandez Brown, Eddie Jenkins and Joshua Smith., but Doc believes he has as many as nine Division IA prospects next season.  "We have nine guys getting recruited, and I'm not sure which guys went to Cincinnati last week.  I haven't talked to them at all lately."


A player that has had to bide his time the last two years while playing behind Bryant Thomas is quarterback Juandez Brown (6' 3"/200 pounds).  Doc talked about next year's quarterback.  "Juandez Brown is a legitimate Division IA quarterback, but he's had to wait until it's his time.  We had to play him at cornerback this year just to get him on the field.  We also played him a little at quarterback to get him a few snaps at that position."  Brown completed 22 of 31 passes last year for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns, but Doc believes Jaundez is different from his last two quarterbacks, Dante Love and Bryant Thomas, who were recruited to college as athletes.  "He'll be the first of our QB's to be recruited as a quarterback first.  He has a big league arm.  He's tall and strong.  Heck, he was 1st team all-conference as a cornerback.  I think Juandez was 2nd on the team in interceptions.  That let's you know how talented he is."


Next was safety Joshua Smith (6' 2"/170 pounds) who led the Tigers in interceptions last season.  "Josh was invited to go to a couple other junior days.  I know he's going to Ohio State on March 10.  He's a big time safety and big time hitter.  He has tremendous ball skills.  He's a safety that can cover from numbers to numbers.  Great range but he'll also knock your lights out.  Josh started out as a receiver, but I moved him to safety to get him the opportunity to play sooner.  He wasn't real happy with the move then, but I think he knows now that's where his bread will be buttered.  He's also a good punt returner."


A wildcard in the bunch is Eddie Jenkins.  "Eddie's probably our most versatile guy.  The only knock on Eddie is his height, but he can play any position.  Eddie's only about 5' 8", but he's our fastest guy returning next season.  I joke with the guys and ask if they're faster than Eddie.  If they hesitate with their answer, I know there's a doubt.  We run a 3-3 defense with one adjustor.  The adjustor position is reserved for your best ball player who can do some of everything, and he's our adjustor.  He also played some safety for us this year."  Doc estimated Eddie's forty-yard-dash time to be 4.4 seconds.  Jenkins anchors Withrow's 4 x 100 relay team in track.


Other Division IA prospects at Withrow include receivers Brendton Williams, Isiah Mincy and Brandin Solomon.  All stand about 6' 1" and weigh in the neighborhood of 170 pounds.   Ishmael Pope (5' 10"/210 pounds) and Sir Abernathy (5' 9"/190 pounds) will both play running back for the Tigers next season while Blake Steward (5' 11"/290 pounds) will man the Withrow defensive line.  "A couple of our guys could get hurt because of their height.  Blake Steward, our D-tackle is only 5' 11", but he's just as skilled as Daryle Ballew who's going to Illinois next year."  Ballew was listed at 6' 3"/285 pounds.


The three junior receivers don't have great numbers because they had to share one receiver spot behind three seniors last year, but Williams led the trio with 18 catches in 2006.  Withrow runs primarily a spread offense.     


The Tigers will again open the season against Sycamore High School and will try to avenge last year's disappointing loss.  Then the Tigers have a colossal match-up in week #2 against a very talented Trotwood-Madison club.  That game will be played in Trotwood.


Bearcat Insider will talk to several of the Withrow players this spring and summer.


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