Ohio Junior One to Keep an Eye on

The State of Ohio had a very good offensive line class for 2006, and you should expect that to continue as we start to look at the 2007 recruiting class. One player Irish fans should keep and eye on is lineman Nick Schepis of Walsh Jesuit high school (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio).

Notre Dame will sign one of the top offensive line classes in the country shortly, but one thing they didn't do is land a lineman from Ohio. The Irish recruited Justin Boren and Aaron Brown, but both decided their future was best served elsewhere. Looking forward to the Ohio juniors, there is some noise being made about Nick Schepis (6-4, 280). Irish Eyes recently spoke with Walsh Jesuit head coach Gerry Rardin about his standout offensive lineman.

"He's real athletic," coach Rardin said of Schepis. "A couple coaches that have looked at him thought he could make a great center or guard. On the offensive line, he's off the ball quicker than anybody, and that jumps out at you on film. He's very good with his feet and he has very good overall strength.

"The guys that I've had that played at that level, they all shared the work ethic that Nick has shown. They've all shown the athleticism that Nick has shown. And he has the God given size."A kid with that work ethic, combined with athleticism and you got the whole package and I think Nick brings it all that to the table."

"You can mature into that," coach Rardin said of a young player's willingness to work hard. "I've seen kids develop the work ethic as they get older and then something clicks and they learn how to push themselves. Nick has had that since his freshman year, and that is what is exciting about him. I know the Stanford coach who saw his film said, ‘You don't see junior lineman film like that, that just jumps out at you. The way he can move and the way he gets after it.'"

Another attribute that many young players lack is the mentality to complete the play or play through the whistle. Rardin feels Schepis is well on his way to understanding what it takes to be a complete player.

"I would say Nick got to that point mid-way through the season," coach Rardin said of Nick's ability to consistently work until a play was over. "We have a very good offensive line coach. He talked to Nick about it when he started as a sophomore. He said ‘Nick you have all the tools, you don't miss blocks, your guys don't get involved in plays and the next step is to finish them off with a little killer instinct.' In the second half of this year Nick started to understand what that was all about. Now I think that has made him a complete linemen.

"He's not a vocal guy at all, but he's one of the most dedicated workers that we have. We have the kids on a four-day a week program now and he uses the fifth day to go to one of those training sites to work with speed and quickness guys. He's just non-stop."

From a recruiting standpoint, Stanford seems to be the schools pursuing Schepis the hardest at this point, but Rardin believes if the Irish picked things up, that Nick would certainly listen.

"Yes he would," Rardin replied when asked if Schepis would be interested if the Irish came calling. "The last discussion I had with he and his father, they were very interested in Notre Dame. We're a Jesuit school so he's been out to Boston College, with Notre Dame's reputation I think he'd be thrilled.

Other than Schepis, Welsh Jesuit also has a tailback, Mark Woolridge that Notre Dame might take serious look at. Woolridge has competed at the Army All-American junior combine the past two years.

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