Recruiting Update: Withrow Tigers

One of the area coaches that does an outstanding job with his kids is Doc Gamble of Withrow High School. Bearcat Insider recently spoke with Doc about a number of his players.

As we head into mid-July and the summer camps begin to wind down, Bearcat Insider was able to talk with Withrow's outstanding head football coach, Doc Gamble, about a number of his college prospects. 


One Tiger player that has recently sparked conversation on the Bearcat Insider message board is Withrow running back Sir Abernathy.  Doc Gamble spoke about the 5' 8.5"/185 pound running back.  "He's not a blistering fast guy, but he's also not slow.  He split time with Ishmael Pope and Tyrone Berry last season.  We usually run the ball 20-25 times a game, and those guys would share the carries.  We don't have players who are selfish, and we run the spread so we can get all our quality athletes on the field.  We throw to our backs, and he has excellent hands.  He catches balls with his hands first, not his body, and we can line him up in the slot if we want to."  Abernathy has attended some camps this summer, and according to Doc, Sir is getting considerable college interest.  "He doesn't have any offers, but he's getting a lot of interest.  He did real well at the Miami of Ohio camp."


The Tigers have eight to ten seniors that could end up at Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools (previously known as NCAA Division IA), but presently, only two have offers.  One of those two is safety Josh Smith, who owns offers from Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Ball State, and Ohio University.  Doc believes some Big Ten school could be joining that group very soon.  "He'll have one from Minnesota as soon as I fax his transcript up there.  They said they needed to see his transcript first.  Michigan State and Indiana are also recruiting him."  Bearcat Insider featured Josh in a story on March 21st, and I saw Josh at the Bearcat Bowl spring game, but he apparently does not hold a Cincinnati offer.


Juandez Brown is the other Withrow Tiger with early scholarship offers.  Bearcat Insider featured Juandez on May 11.  Doc talked about his 2007 quarterback.  "He has pretty much the same schools as Josh, but you can add Maryland to his list.  He camped with them and did real good, but they're bringing in only one QB.  Louisville is also recruiting him." 


As the Tigers worked their way through the spring and early summer by attending camps, Doc identified which of his players he felt were the most consistent with their performances.  "I'd say Josh Smith (S), Juandez Brown (QB), Brendton Williams (WR) and a transfer from Idaho, Darrion Brown (WR)."  Doc commented on the unlikelihood of his getting a transfer from Idaho.  "It's unusual for us to get any kid from Idaho and especially a black kid, but he lived in Cincinnati up until middle school.  His dad wanted him to come back and compete against a little better competition.  He was all-everything out there."  Juandez Brown will have a formidable group of receivers.  In addition to Williams and Brown, Brandin Solomon is another excellent college prospect.  All three wideouts stand about 6' 1" and weight between 170 and 175 pounds.


Another Withrow Tiger that is having trouble getting the college interest he might deserve is Eddie Jenkins.  Doc thinks he knows why.  "He hasn't had a ton of interest, but some guys came in and liked him a whole bunch.  His height (about 5' 8") seems to hurt him with some people, but speedwise, that's not a problem."  Jenkins has played several positions at Withrow and will probably be recruited as an athlete.


As mentioned earlier, the Tigers use a spread offense with only one running back and rotate two or three players through that position.  Sir Abernathy will rotate with Ishmael Pope (Sr.) and possibly LaSalle transfer, Jalani Alford (Jr.) in 2007.  "Purdue came in and only wanted to talk about Pope, and another coach will come in and only want to talk about Abernathy so it depends on what they want."  Jalani Alford is a name to keep in mind for 2008, and the addition of Alford is presenting Coach Gamble with a welcome problem.  "Jalani's only going to be a junior, but he's a good multi-purpose back that we'll probably use at running back.  We could also line him up at receiver.  He has outstanding receiver skills.  He's pretty much a running back first, but I'm trying to figure out how to use him the right way."  Alford is 5' 8" and 170 pounds and transferred to Withrow last year after playing for LaSalle during the season.


Blake Steward, a 5' 11'/285 pound defensive tackle at Withrow, seems to be benefiting from the great career Terrill Byrd is enjoying at Cincinnati.  "Guys from West Virginia came in, and they were so impressed with the job that Terrill Byrd has done at UC that they looked at Blake.  They said Byrd's been kicking their butt so they were interested in Blake."  As Bearcat fans know, many college coaches believed Terrill Byrd was too short to play defensive tackle in college.  Doc continued, "I know Ohio University is very interested in Blake.  He had a great day up there and that was the only camp he attended."


As always, Bearcat Insider thanks Coach Gamble for spending time with us.

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