NORTH TEAM NOTES:
-If there is one spot on Michigan's roster that playing time will be hard to come by, it's wide receiver. That said, the competition doesn't scare Mario Manningham one bit. On the issue of whether he would red shirt his freshman season, the answer is simple; "No, they already said." Manningham is fresh off an 81 yard, two touchdown performance in the Ohio North-South All Star game. Having come up for the weekend to attend three orientations, it is his last step before his full stay at Michigan. "I go up there for good right before July the 5th; we have to be there because that's when camp starts."
"Super Mario" will be the roommate of senior Jason Avant who should do an excellent job mentoring the young star. "I know he's going to push me!" said Manningham. " I know I'm going to work hard, I know he's going to do the leadership stuff, taking me down the right path because I'm only going to have a year left with him." Warren G. Harding has always had the reputation of being a workout warrior school, and Manningham has carried that same mentality in preparing for the fall camp. "I've been working out, lifting, running and getting my feet work together."
Mario is also preparing for possible playing time elsewhere other than receiver: "a little bit of kick return, a little bit of punt return but I'm not sure yet." Manningham is also scheduled to participate in the annual "Big 33" All Star Game, which pits the top stars from Ohio against the Pennsylvania All Star squad on July 23rd.
-For the past few years I've heard people who have seen Tyrell Sutton play say that he's one of the best players in Ohio, if not the best player. I thought what many others did; if so, where are the offers? Where is the attention for Ohio's Mr. Football. I didn't believe it. Now after seeing him dominate an All Star game, I ask the same questions but I am a Tyrell Sutton believer. Folks, I've seen Kevin Grady run, and I can tell you there is not much difference. Power, moves, the inability of defenders to bring him down. The kid is a huge sleeper in my opinion. So why was there no love for Tyrell Sutton? Size. Yes, he is 5'8, but so is Mike Hart and Kevin Grady isn't but a hair over it. 5'8 didn't stop JJ Arrington from gaining 2,056 yards last season, averaging seven yards a carry and scoring 15 touchdowns. Size didn't stop 5'6 Anthony Davis from being an excellent back when healthy and 5'8 didn't stop Ryan Moats from gaining 1,774 yards last year for Louisiana Tech.
Ohio State needed immediate help at tailback and let it slip right through their fingers. Sutton will be an excellent back for Northwestern and MANY teams will regret not offering an excellent talent and an even better young man.
-Ohio State High School aka Cleveland Glenville has been a school I've seen a lot of and had three players in the North-South All Star game. Two players who I've raved about since day one, Curtis Smith, a defensive end prospect who committed to Cincinnati and linebacker Fred Lenix from Ohio State. Smith has put on at least 25 pounds since the season ended but still looked every bit as good of a pass rusher as he did in High School. Smith is another sleeper type who could be a surprise for the Bearcats.
-Fred Lenix will have to attend prep school next year before heading to Ohio State but this man's potential is off the chart. Fred is a bit undersized for linebacker at 6'0, 215 but he has shown in the past he has impressive speed retention when adding bulk. He's a well-documented track star and the speed translates onto the field. Lenix is one of those "pure football" players who has a nose for the ball and is a natural on defense. Had his academics been better, he would have seen more national offers than he did. I think Lenix will someday be a fine linebacker for the Buckeyes, either on the weak size or in the middle. He's one of those kids who got what he deserved, a scholarship to the school he wanted to go to.
-Then there's Jamario O'Neal. While the other two players were overlooked somewhat, I think the spotlight has shined a bit too much on this young man as an elite corner. Don't get me wrong, O'Neal has the ability to be All Big Ten as a safety, he's a total natural there, but as a corner, he needs a lot of work. While he may be forced in there because there is playing time available at corner this year for him, Ohio State would get a much better product if they let him play safety. O'Neal is very fast and his ball hawk skills really show when he plays free safety, and it was apparent once again in the All Star game.
-Alex Boone had a solid game, and reaffirmed my belief he was the best prospect in Ohio this year. Boone is a true road-grader, when he gets his hands on you, it's over. I think the preseason magazines have hyped his entrance into Ohio State a bit much; he still has some work to do before contributing as a true freshman. Ohio State has potential this year at right tackle with Kirk Barton and Tim Schafer, so it yet to be seen if Boone will be needed so quickly.
-It will be interesting to see what Indiana does with kicker/wide receiver/safety Joe Kleinsmith. You see, Kleinsmith was expected to be the future at kicker for Indiana but the kid is a solid safety prospect as well. It will be odd but don't be surprised to see Kleinsmith as the kicker this year, and down the line work on defense as well as kick. He's too good to keep off the field. One thing is for sure, he won't shy away from tackles on kickoffs!
-Rocco Cironi had an excellent day at tackle and is another underrated kid. Cironi got overlooked by some Big Ten programs but he will be a solid left tackle for the Michigan State Spartans.
-Speaking of left tackles, Ohio State commit Lawrence Wilson from Akron St. Vincent/St. Mary is going to be a hard day's work from them in the Big Ten. Wilson has put on some weight in the off season and combines quickness, power and aggressiveness to get to the passer and play the run well. The former Michigan recruit is going to be a future starter for the Buckeyes, and I would say think a poor man's Will Smith.
SOUTH TEAM NOTES:
-Hats off to Joe Tiller for signing two excellent receivers this year in Selwyn Lymon and Greg Orton. Orton who is 6'4 and played in the Ohio Classic, shows excellent athletic ability, size and feel for the position. These two are going to give opposing corners a very big and speedy receiver duo to deal with which won't be easy.
-Ohio State signee Andre Amos showed what an overall excellent athlete he is, contributing as a wide receiver and sticking with Mario Manningham as a cornerback.
-Austin Spitler, yet another future Buckeye had an excellent day recording 10 tackles.
-Former Michigan recruit Robby Schoenhoft had a very rough day completing only eight of his 23 passes but I still think he will be fine at the next level. He has a strong arm and good mobility for a guy his size. An excellent North pass rush prevented him from getting a rhythm in the game and he didn't have much time to set up and throw, hence the poor stats.
-Hit of the game goes to Bruce Palmer from Indian Creek. Palmer on a South kickoff flew down the field and went right through the North's Jamario O'Neal, drawing a collective "ooh" from the crowd. Palmer is heading to Malone to play football on a scholarship. North's Jamario O'Neal, drawing a collective "ooh" from the crowd. Palmer is heading to Malone to play football on a scholarship.
Turel's Ohio All Star Game Notes
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