Mount Carmel Loaded Again With Prospects

One of the perennial powerhouses in Illinois football is Chicago Mt. Carmel. The Chicago Catholic League school has had numerous winning seasons under coach Frank Lenti and turned out many top college and pro players including Simeon Rice and Donovan McNabb. So when Lenti says he has three top players in his upcoming senior class, he knows what he is talking about.

Frank Lenti has coached at Mt.Carmel High School 25 years. He has an overall record of 272-46, has won 9 state championships and finished second four other times. He has also won three Prep Bowl Championships. Frank didn't win a championship in 2008, but he didn't do badly.

"Last year, we lost in the state semifinals. We finished 10-3. We have a lot of good kids that can overcome the coaching. We generally do ok."

Lenti isn't one to brag unnecessarily about a player. After all, it is production on the field that matters. So when asked if running back Milton Greer and defensive tackle Nathan Ollie were his best players, he was reluctant to form such a conclusion.

"I don't really look at that stuff too much until they get to the summertime. But Milton Greer and Nathan Ollie are two kids that are gonna get some recognition. It's too early to say if they're the best players on the team. There's no doubt they have talent. And they're good kids."

Greer is somewhat of an unknown commodity, but his recent offer from Minnesota made people more aware of him.

"Milton Greer (5'-11", 190) wasn't even a starter at the beginning of the year, but he kind of emerged. He's got great speed, great quickness, and he's got great instincts when he gets the ball.

"So much of a college offense today is zone reading, linemen at the line of scrimmage type stuff. We've been doing that since I took over in 1984. So our kids are very well acclimated to those types of things.

"I have yet to see Milton get caught from behind. That doesn't happen too often. Without a doubt, he has an extra gear."

Frank also likes the play of Nathan Ollie.

"Nathan will be a two year starter in the defensive line, but there's also a good chance we may have him play some offensive line as well. He's such a good-sized kid. Right now, he's about 6'-2", 270-275. He'd be an interior defensive lineman. He's not an edge rusher. He's not gonna be our next Simeon Rice."

Ollie and Greer may be getting more publicity, but they haven't started as long as some others.

"This will be Nathan Ollie's third year on the varsity. And there are three other kids who will be three years on the varsity. Our center Mike Kuzar will be a three year starter. Nathan's only a two year starter. Mike's dad played for Bo Schembechler at Michigan."

Lenti, whose son Frank Jr. lettered at Illinois as a wide receiver and placement holder, has another top player he expects will emerge during his senior season.

"We also have a tight end/wide receiver named Jack Sherlock who on the lower level had been a quarterback. We turned him into a tight end/wide receiver last year as a junior, and he had a great year. Senior year he will start at split end for us.

"There's a kid whose dad played at Purdue and his granddad played at Notre Dame. Not many people know about him because we converted him from quarterback to another position. He'll be an impact player for us as well."

Sherlock is fast, but Lenti has not yet measured any of his upcoming seniors for the 40 yard dash.

"Sherlock has good speed. We don't normally time the kids until the end of their junior years, and that's just so we'll have something for the college guys. To me, it's all about how fast you play. You've seen guys that look pretty good on the clock, but then you get to game day and you hardly notice them. And then other guys, when they get to the games, turn it up another couple notches."

Lenti is convinced all three players will excel at the college level. Besides excellent ability, they have the intangibles all coaches seek.

"All three of those kids exhibit leadership roles through their work ethic and team first attitude. Milton being a ball carrier and receiver, he never worries about how many carries he's gonna get or what he's got to do to be successful."

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