When the alarm clock sounded at 3:45 A.M. I scrambled towards the shower and prepared for what would be a long but great day ahead. After I was ready, I grabbed my seven year-old out of bed and loaded him into the car. I slapped in my tape of Country Roads (what else can you listen to when headed to West Virginia) and off I went. OK, I only listened to it a few times (20) and then tuned in the radio.
During my drive towards Morgantown, West Virginia I saw many cars with Ohio plates. I figured many were headed on vacation or maybe some even to the Big 33 game. But to my surprise I saw many take I-79 south and head towards Touchdown City U.S.A. AKA: Morgantown home of the West Virginia Mountaineers.
As I pulled up to the Milan Puskar Center I keep seeing more Ohio plates in the parking lot and to my surprise many of Ohio's top recruits standing in the lobby. During the past few years I have told many who listened, that WVU was a hidden Gem. With great fans and everything a football player needs. Today many of the Buckeye natives found out for themselves what I was talking about.
The first top name Ohio native I came across was QB Darryl Clark of Youngstown Ursuline. Darryl had a great day at this one day camp and showed why the WVU staff has already made an offer to him. Will he give them a verbal? Its too early to tell. In talking with Darryl I asked him if Iowa told him he would be the next Brad Banks. Darryl told me yes they did. I asked if the WVU staff said he would be the next Rasheed Marshall? No they have done that, plus Rasheed is a great QB who can do it all.
The next Ohio natives I came across were the parents of Dover High School product Shawn Donaldson. You may have seen some information on Shawn in the past on OhioPrepScene. Shawn's parents told me, they were impressed with what they had seen so far. They went on and said that with them having been to around 9 camps this summer, WVU was second to none. In watching some of Shawn's workouts with Oline coach Rick Trickett I felt that Shawn held his own on this day and improved as the day went along. In talking with Shawn after the camp he talked about Coach Trickett. That man makes you work. He never stops and keeps on you all the time. But I like that in a coach, this has been the toughest camp I have been to this summer next to the one at Louisville.
Another OL prospect was Centerville High Schools Eric Larrimer. Having seen film of Eric I felt he was not getting some of the respect he should be getting. But seeing him at the camp I came away with a different feeling for him. Don't get me wrong. Eric is a DI player, but he needs some work. He's got great size and carries his weight very well, but his hips are real tight and he got beat on several one-on-one drills. Walking up to Eric at the end of the day he had a great smile on his face with a blood stain on his chin. This kid is an effort type player, but knowing what offense the Mountaineers run he's not a fit here in my opinion. This kid will work his tail off for the program he picks and make himself into a very good linemen.
Another Ohio prospect was also from Dover High School. David Filippi is a good looking LB prospect. David had a good day at the WVU camp with a couple of picks and a few pass break-ups during the day. Did he turn some heads at the camp? I don't know but in talking with him I got the feeling he had a great day and came away with more confidence than he may have had before the day started.
Some other prospects I didn't get a chance to speak with were Ron Ball, QB from Carroll Bloom-Carroll. Ron is a good looking prospect but he's not the type of QB WVU looks for in my opinion. Also from the same school was Tom Crabtree a good looking TE prospect. In talking with some family members of the two they stressed that Carroll Bloom has switched to the spread offense and are hoping this change will help both players with better numbers this season.
Several Warren Harding players were at the camp. The one that seemed to get a lot of time was LB, Anthony Hoke. Hoke had the type of season last year you dream about. From what I saw the coaches liked everything about the kid. They even moved him from the LB drills and put him with DL coach Bill Kirelawich to watch him pass rush from the end spot. From what I saw he did great. Other teammates who were with Hoke included Richard Davis, Mario Manningham and more. To all college programs out there take note** a player that is not getting the looks he should is Thaddeus Walter, a solid looking kid who's got great speed. The only thing holding this kid back is he stands only 5'8, but this kid is a player. There was also a few other players from Harding.
There were several other players from the Buckeye state and many showed the staff they had interest in West Virginia. The next step is does the staff have interest in them.
***Note*** Sources have told OhioPrepScene that Dayton Chaminade-Julienne QB Anthony Turner has been offered by West Virginia. We have been hearing this for a week now and feel this is true. Our source also tells us that Anthony may give a verbal in the next week to WVU. We have tried to contact Anthony and at this time have not spoken with him about this. Is WVU looking for two QB's this year or only one. With offers to Anthony and Darryl Clark WVU could fill a spot needed for the 2004 season. Starting WVU QB Rasheed Marshall is a Junior this season and a new QB would have to come from the class coming in or from one of these two. Also I would like to thank those who gave me time during the day. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to speak with all of you or get everyones name.