The Alliance football program is a program on the rise. I spent an afternoon with coach Ron Kuceyeski and the team last week, during one of their camp days. Coach Kuceyeski has the Aviators talking playoffs as the 2004 season approaches. This optimism is based on 16 returning starters, including 3 of the top rated players in Ohio. Kendell Davis, ranked No. 10 in the latest Ohio High magazine, Charles Baab and Chris Banks are all future Division I college players.
Davis has indicated a preference to continue his career in the Big 10, and his top five schools are Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State and Purdue, in no particular order. Davis is working hard to improve his standing academically, and Coach Kuceyeski is quite confident Davis will be qualified. Davis recently competed in the state track meet, winning both the 100 and 200 meter dashes, quite an impressive feat. In a camp held recently in Massillon, Kendell was clocked at an eye-popping 4.32 in the forty yard dash.
Kendell is 6' 0" 190 pounds, and bench presses 275 pounds. Davis appeared with the Aviators in Columbus this past Saturday to compete in a 7-on-7. Davis only competed in two of the five contests, due to taking the ACT test in the morning, but still impressed with two long TD's. Davis will travel Wednesday with Coach Kuceyeski to meet with Walt Harris at Pitt. Later this summer, Davis will also attend a camp run by Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. An appearance at OSU's camp is also possible.
Sophomore QB Charles Baab also was very impressive Saturday throwing the football. Baab completed 80 of 111 passes for 1,200 yards during the five scrimmages. Baab, who is one of the top rated QB's in the sophomore class, caused quite a stir last season after taking over the QB duties in week one. He had an outstanding season, leading the Aviators to their most successful campaign in years. Baab is 6' 0" 170 pounds, and runs a 4.7 forty. When asked to describe his coach, Baab said "He's such a good man, so humble."
Charles' goals this year are to see the Aviators make the playoffs and get better as a QB. Looking down the road, Baab is interested in Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa and Kansas, with OSU being his favorite. Baab finished his freshman year with a 3.7 grade point average.
Chris Banks is emerging as a top flight WR-FS entering his senior year. Banks is 6' 3" 175 pounds, and recently ran a 4.55 forty. Banks is currently being recruited by the MAC schools, but Coach Kuceyeski feels with a big senior campaign, Banks should be drawing attention from the bigger schools as well. Banks, who is qualified academically, has no favorite school, at this time.
A future star could be freshman Jeff White. White will start out playing at the freshman level, but could move up depending on his progress. White is 5' 10" 175 pounds and ran a blistering 11.2 hundred meters as an eighth grader.
Coach Kuceyeski has implemented a family atmosphere at this Division II public school, and it's no secret he's the driving force behind the current Aviator success. It's obvious the players have tremendous respect for their leader, and hopefully the momentum generated last fall will carry the Aviators into the playoffs in 2004