Carl Reed’s high school coaching career has taken him from University City (Mo.) to Hazelwood West to Lutheran North over the last few years.
He finished his first season at Lutheran North last fall, where the Crusaders went 8-5 and made a run in the Missouri Class 2 playoffs.
Reed’s group has enough talent that it figures to be a fixture in the playoffs for the foreseeable future.
“We have a bunch of talented kids that will play anywhere from Division I to Division II with quite a few of them getting Division I interest now,” Reed said.
Lutheran North has an intriguing Class of 2017 quarterback in Aqeel Glass, 6-foot-5, 230-pounder who turned out to be a game-changer for the Crusaders’ offense last season.
“He was not the starting quarterback at the beginning of the season,” Reed said. “When I came in they were still running the Wing-T and coming in I didn’t want to make wholesale changes because I got the job so late. We started off kind of slow and we moved him to quarterback into the full-time role and he threw for 2,800, 2,900 yards and 30-plus touchdowns and we went on a big run to the state quarterfinals.”
Glass completed 56.1 percent of his passes for 2,811 yards, with 32 touchdowns against 14 interceptions, and ran for 106 yards and eight scores.
“He’s got the size, he can make all the throws,” Reed said. “There will be several schools in to watch him throw in April. They want to come in and see is he really 6-5, which he is, and does he throw the ball as well in person as it looks on film. Oklahoma State has been in contact amongst other schools at that level. All the FCS schools have been calling. So there’s going to be a big crowd of people coming in to watch him throw and I think after the April evaluation period and the May evaluation period you’re going to see a ton of offers roll in for Aqeel.”
What are the quarterback’s strengths?
“No. 1 is his mind,” Reed said. “He processes information very well and at the quarterback position, that’s something that’s very important. He processes information. He reads coverages very, very well. His arm is strong enough to make all the throws. He can make every single throw on the throwing chart.”
Glass will be a prospect to watch this offseason and then throughout his senior season.
Azubuike, whose last name is pronounced “Ah-zoo-boo-K,” racked up a team-high 84 tackles last season to go along with five sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery. He ran for 248 yards on 44 carries, caught one pass for seven yards and scored four total touchdowns.
“From an ability standpoint, he’s going to be as good as any of the top guys that have come out of here,” Reed said. “He led us in tackles as a freshman and we were a state quarterfinal team. … I don’t think he was ready to play both ways as a freshman and I didn’t want to put that kind of load on him. Had I played him on offense instead of defense he would have ran for 2,000 yards. That’s how special he is. But I’ve got Donovan Marshall who is also a Division I running back.”
Reed isn’t sure what position Azubuike will end up playing in college, whether it will be linebacker, safety or running back.
“He runs the ball very well as his film shows you,” Reed said. “He can catch it. You never know. What you do know is he’s going to be a national-level recruit. … Three-four years from now he might be a running back at that level. I’m pretty confident that he’ll be able to do both (running back or linebacker) and it’s gonna come down more to what school do you want to go to, what are they asking you to do?”
“When he leaves (high school) he’ll probably be a 225, 230-pound guy. He’s very strong in the weight room. He doing everything the right way. His grades are great.”
“Kansas State is his only offer,” the coach said. “That was a surprise offer. … I think he’ll be a 30-40 offer guy. He’ll be one of those guys that just has a ton of schools to choose from and he’ll have to narrow it down when it comes time, but we’re a long ways away from getting into where he’s going to go to school and all of that.”
“I’ve never had a guy get offered that early,” Reed added.
Sommerville, Reed said, is similar to another Division I prospect he coached a few years ago, Ronnell Perkins of University City High School who signed with Missouri and is now a redshirt freshman defensive back.
“He’s a special, special player,” Reed said of Sommerville. “He’ll be as good as anybody here at that position.”
A 6-foot, 171-pounder, Sommerville recorded 34 receptions for 588 yards and eight touchdowns, ran for 61 yards and two touchdowns and racked up 31 tackles and two interceptions during his junior season.
Marshall, who was listed at 6-1 and 180 pounds last season, rushed for 1,160 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt, and a team-high 14 touchdowns in his sophomore season.
“He’s a total package as a running back,” Reed said. “He’s going to be a Division I running back, no question. He’s big time.”
Other players to watch at Lutheran North include Class of 2017 offensive lineman Chris Avery (6-3, 320), outside linebacker-strong safety Kyrell Roberts (5-10, 220) and two-way linemen Devin Hart (5-10, 276) and Jordan McDowell (5-10, 246) as well as Class of 2018 middle linebacker Devin Ruffin (5-11, 215).