One of the more interesting local prospects for next season and a guy that will certainly get a good look from a number of schools is Larry Black from Wyoming High School. Black played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Purcell-Marion before moving into the Wyoming district last year. The 6' 3.5"/270 pound lineman with an estimated 4.9 or 5.0 forty-yard-dash is getting some attention from a few BCS schools. Larry played on both the offensive and defensive lines for the Cowboys, who made the Ohio Division IV playoffs last season before losing in the first round to 2007 Bearcat signee Drew Frey and his Clinton Massie Falcons.
Although Black likes both offense and defense, he's hoping to play on defense at the college level. "I like getting after the quarterback, and I also like getting a pancake block. But in college, I prefer to play on defense." Larry recorded 56 tackles last year to go with 4 sacks on his way to earning all-league recognition. He's already been named a Cowboy captain for the 2007 season and is a good enough student that he is hearing from schools like Vanderbilt and Air Force. The personable Black is versatile on and off the football field as he proved this winter when he performed in the school play, To Kill A Mockingbird. Larry played the role of Tom Robinson. He said he was also interested in performing in the spring musical except for a couple problems. "I'm not sure I'd have the time with track, and I really can't sing. That could be a problem."
If Cincinnati were to step up Black's recruitment, they would have the inside track since current Bearcat Khalil El-Amin is Larry's cousin, which brings us to our next prospect-Kashif El-Amin.
Like his older brother, Kashif attends Purcell-Marian High School, but that's where the similarities end. Khalil is an offensive lineman that stands 6' 5" and weighs 300 pounds. Kashif, on the other hand, is a 6'/185 pound safety with estimated 4.5 or 4.6 forty-yard dash speed. Kashif was left scratching his head about the size disparity in the family. "I don't know what happened. There's a lot of people in the family that have the same body frame as me, but I guess my brother and Larry get their size from the other side of the family."
Kashif may not be as big as his brother or cousin, but Larry said Kashif is a hitter. "Don't be surprised by his size. He can really bring the wood." Kashif confirmed Larry's assessment. "Larry's right. I can bring it. I like to hit."
As a junior, Kashif said he was 2nd in the GCL with 6 interceptions and recorded 54 tackles.
Kashif talked a little about his older brother and his dislocated kneecap injury. "He's dying to get back on the field after sitting out last year. He's doing pretty good. I think it's good he didn't rush back from that injury. That knee has never been right. It's always given him trouble. He said the knee is feeling much stronger. He's got a lot of energy built up waiting to get back on the field."
Many of those in attendance on February 17 were recommended by their high school coaches. That was the case with Kashif. "One of the Cincinnati coaches (Ernest Jones) came to my high school and asked my head coach if he had anyone that could play college ball, and he told him about me. My coach brought Coach Jones over and gave him my name and number."
It was then Kashif's turn to talk about his cousin Larry. "He's a good athlete. I'm not going to lie to you. I think he'd make a good defensive end. There aren't many guys his size that are fast on their feet like he is. I think he can run the forty faster than 5 flat. There's a chance he could even play tight end with the way he moves. Plus, he's strong on top of that." Kashif laughed at the thought of his massive cousin singing and dancing in a musical. "I couldn't picture Larry singing at all." If college programs still have initiations where the freshmen perform in a talent show, there is no doubt in my mind that Larry would be a big hit.
Another local athlete to visit Junior Day came from Anderson High School, and he got his invitation by simply filling out a form. He's Nick Aylward, a 5' 10"/175 safety. Nick explained how he came to visit Cincinnati a couple weeks ago. "Our head coach told us about it during our lifting, and he said if we wanted to go to fill out the form." Nick attended with a teammate, Kevin Chapman, a 6' 1"/215 pound outside linebacker for the Redskins.
As all these young men head into their senior seasons, it's impossible to tell who might have a breakout year and start to get a lot of college attention, but one thing is certain. Junior Day at Cincinnati allowed the Bearcat staff to showcase its facilities and get a head start into recruiting a lot of the local players.