We are back with our second installment of our look at the top 105 prospects in the Class of 2006 in Ohio high school football. This list was published in the May edition of Ohio High magazine, which will be on newsstands and in mailboxes any day. Recruiting editor Duane Long produces these rankings and comments on each player.
We started this series with a look at the players ranked from No. 51 to No. 105. Today, we'll examine the players ranked from No. 31 to No. 50.
31. *** Rob Parris 6-4
175 WR Cleveland St. Ignatius
I was very worried that in Parris, this class would lose another top receiver prospect to basketball, but it looks like he has realized he is going to be a better football player. Parris is a smooth and graceful athlete who looked really good this season. His basketball background shows up when it comes to making catches as he attacks the ball at its highest point and uses his hands, not his body, to make catches.
Parris is an explosive leaper. He has a game like Iowa recruit Trey Stross, who came out of Avon Lake last year. The level of competition at which Parris plays is much better though. A couple of years ago, St. Ignatius head coach Chuck Kyle took a 6-4 team to a state title. The kind of competition St. Ignatius plays year in and year out prepares them for that sort of run.
Sometimes 40 times are overrated, but receiver is one position where I think it is crucial. If he runs 4.5 or better, this ranking is way too low.
32. *** Torrence Nicholson
6-2 260 OL
Nicholson is a wide-bodied player with quick feet and some pop. He has already been out to Iowa on an unofficial visit, and Penn State is asking for tape. He was getting a lot of interest and it started coming early. In addition to Iowa and Penn State, Nicholson is getting mail from Ohio State, Nebraska, Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Maryland.
Nicholson prefers defense, but it looks like most of the attention is coming from schools wanting to make him an offensive lineman. He is an outstanding high school wrestler, qualifying for the state meet with a 35-1 record. I love linemen that wrestle. You learn more about leverage in one month of wrestling practice than you will one year of football practice. He has excellent lower body strength with a 575 squat. Also a good student.
33. *** Troy Pascley 6-1 180 WR Alliance Marlington
Pascley did not have a lot of passes thrown his way, but
his combine numbers put him in the freak category. He posted a 4.39-second 40
and the longest broad jump ever recorded at the Ohio State camp. That is what
Pascley is going to have to make his mark with, as he just isn't getting a lot
of balls thrown his way in the Marlinton wing-T offense. He had 23 catches for
500 yards last season and will likely get moved around next year to get the ball
in his hands more. He plays corner as well.
If the top-20 programs come in on Pascley, it will likely be as an athlete. Camps will be crucial to him. This is the one prospect most likely to make a major move in these ratings depending on what happens in camps, and that move could be up the list quite a bit, or it could be down a lot. Pascley is an excellent student and a fine young man, so you will want to root for him.
Pascley camped at Ohio State last year and will again this year. He favors the Buckeyes and was invited to junior day. Pascley is likely to get his strongest interest from programs like Ohio State that have the depth to wait on a super athletic but raw prospect to develop.
34. *** Jerome Jones 6-7
220 DE/TE Youngstown Ursuline
Despite being 6-7, Jones plays linebacker for Youngstown Ursuline. He is that kind of athlete. What he can be at the college level is what gets everyone excited. He is awfully coordinated for a kid this tall at such a young age, and can he ever run.
Jones will likely play tight end or defensive end at the next level, but I don't know which. He has the kind of frame and reach that you would like in a defensive end, and he has that tremendous wingspan. He is built a lot like Miami Dolphin All-Pro defensive end Jason Taylor was when he was in college at Akron. On the other hand, Jones is very athletic, and I think plays the game with the mind-set of an offensive player. This is a kid colleges should take and just see what happens.
I am excited to see Jones' development in his second year under coach Dan Reardon. He could be one of the fastest rising prospects in the state this year. Last season, Jones had 53 tackles, five sacks, three blocked kicks and four interceptions, taking two of them back for touchdowns. Kansas has offered Jones a scholarship, and he plans on visiting Michigan State unofficially and will camp at Ohio State and Michigan.
35. *** Royce Adams 6-1
175 DB Cleveland Glenville
A transfer from Lakewood St. Edward to Glenville over the winter, Adams is a speed athlete that will likely play his college ball at corner. He played in the defensive backfield and at running back at St. Edward. If he shows hands he could get a look as a receiver as he has explosive speed and very elusive in the open field.
There were not a lot of carries for Adams in the St. Edward backfield as there was plenty of talent there and coach Gibbons was spreading it around. Adams will play like Raymond Small does for Glenville now – mostly at receiver, but also some as a running back. Both Adams and Smalls have running back skills, and I think both are best as running backs, but neither is going to be big enough to play there in college. Adams will likely get some reps at corner this year, too.
36. *** Reilly Lauer 6-7
225 DE Cleveland St. Ignatius
Lauer was not a full-time starter last year, but with Boston College recruit Jim Ramella on one side and top-20 prospect John Ryan on the other, getting playing time at all is a good indication of how talented of a player he is. Lauer played enough – and played well enough – to get my attention. His best is surely in front of him.
Lauer has learned well from his much-celebrated teammates. He learned to play every down like it was his last and to play until the whistle. He needs reps and he needs to add weight, but I think he is going to be a Big Ten player. Lauer runs a 4.9 40, and I think he will improve on that as he matures and gets stronger. Last year, St. Ignatius had as good a pair of bookend defensive ends as you would find in high school football. It looks like opponents will not get a break this year.
37. *** Aaron Huffman 6-3
200 QB Newark
Huffman is another quarterback that makes this a special class in Ohio. The lack of attention he has received to this point is really puzzling. He is a good athlete and has the size, as that 6-3 mark looks legit. He does not have a cannon for an arm but clearly has D-I arm strength. He is playing an OCC schedule, so competition is not the question. He has put up good numbers and won a lot of football games. Maybe it is the depth of the class. I am at a loss. As a junior, he completed 117 of 198 passes for 1,673 yards.
What I like best about him is the poise and pocket presence. You can't think when you are in a panic, and from what I have seen of Huffman, he is never going to suffer from high blood pressure. He shows good mechanics, always coming over the top with his throws.
38. *** Martin Channels 6-1
300 DT Xenia
Defensive tackles rarely get the recognition they deserve, but there is no question they are essential to any good defense. Put aside the stats when talking about defensive tackles. They don't make a lot of tackles, but they do make a lot of plays. That is how I would describe Martin Channels.
Disruptiveness is what you want out of a defensive tackle, and no player in Ohio is more disruptive than Channels. I remember current Ohio State offensive lineman Ben Person telling me about how hard Channels was to block when Person was a senior and Channels a sophomore. He is very smart and explodes off the ball. He does a good job of keeping his feet and won't quit until the whistle blows. He shows good instincts and finds the ball. Channels was as good a tackle as there was in Ohio last year, and coach Ed Mignery is working with him on getting his weight down, thinking he could be even more of a force if he got down to about 280.
39. *** Anthony Echols 6-0
220 LB Cleveland Glenville
Another transfer to Glenville, Echols is moving over from Berea. It looks like Echols will make sure there will be little or no drop-off at linebacker for the Tarblooders this year with the graduation of Ohio State Buckeye recruit Freddie Lenix. Echols played inside at Berea, and Coach Ginn will play him as a Mike, but I think he could play anywhere.
Echols is the third best linebacker I have seen this year. He has great instincts, a nice frame, good technique, and hits like a Mack truck. He does a really good job of avoiding traffic and freeing himself of blockers. Echols shows great closing speed and a high motor, which are two of the most important attributes for a linebacker. Good camp showings could send his stock soaring since he is a bit of an unknown coming into his senior year.
40. *** D. J. Burris 6-4
280 OL Kenton
Other linemen are getting more ink, but this is a fine lineman that brings a lot of experience to the table. He has been a starter since his freshman year when he played on the Kenton state championship team with record-setting quarterback Ben Mauk at the helm. Burris looks to be the strongest of this stellar offensive line crop as he benched 185 pounds 32 times at one camp – and was disappointed in that number. He has done 25 reps of 225 and did a 375 bench at the state power-lifting meet last year and added a 660 squat. Burris also had a 47' shot put and a 140' discus throw in competition.
Burris plays guard at the high school level. Maybe the most impressive thing Burris has done is line up at linebacker in 7-on-7s. Level of competition is going to be the biggest question, but he will likely answer that in summer camps. Burris attended Ohio State's spring game.
41. *** Alex Stewart 6-1
270 DT Columbus DeSales
What a year for Stewart. He was the leader in DeSales' outstanding defense, posting nine quarterback sacks, 23 tackles-for-loss and 73 tackles. I think defensive tackles having big stats is not important, but when they do, it is all the more impressive.
Stewart has a great first step and does an outstanding job of finding the ball once he has penetrated. He has good speed overall (4.85 40), and once he got off blockers, he was quickly on top of ball carriers and quarterbacks alike.
The bottom line is Stewart is a playmaker. He's a relentless pursuer and a high-motor player. Stewart holds the point well, so he could be a nose tackle, but he is better at the 3-technique. He's a sure fire qualifier, with a 3.7 GPA. Grant Bowman recently came out of DeSales and started at Michigan for a couple of years, but Stewart is better.
42. *** Anthony Elzy 5-10
195 RB Warren JFK
Elzy had an outstanding season in 2004, racking up over 2,640 yards and 30 touchdowns. Only Mr. Football award winner Tyrell Sutton, a 3,000-yard rusher at Akron Hoban, had more yards than Elzy during the regular season. And Elzy rang those numbers up even though he played only a quarter and a half in a number of games.
Elzy has shown himself to be a willing blocker and can catch the ball out of the backfield, and Coach Napolet says Elzy has run a 4.5. The one thing that stands out the most about Elzy is his work ethic and character. Even though he plays in Northeast Ohio where there are no weeks off, camps will tell how highly Elzy is recruited. Most schools will want to see that frame and his ability to catch the ball.
43. *** Mike McGee 6-1
190 QB/ATH Columbus Brookhaven
It seems it took winning a state championship for people to realize that Brookhaven is one of the elite programs in the state. Mike McGee quarterbacked that state championship team. He completed 106 of 238 attempts for 1,902 yards, with 22 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. The number that stands out to him is the nine interceptions. That is nine too many if you ask McGee. He just doesn't tolerate the mistakes.
McGee is not a pure passer, but he could be a D-I quarterback in an offense that is just looking for a game manager. He is a very smart and savvy football player. McGee reminds me a lot of Missouri quarterback Brad Smith. He doesn't take sacks. He gets rid of the ball, but more importantly, he has the athleticism and the speed (a 4.5 40) to get himself out of trouble, and he does it without breaking a sweat. I think McGee is likely to move to safety or receiver at the next level, but the one thing I am sure of is he will be the player that always seems to be in the right place, doing the one thing his team needs done to win.
44. *** Josh Cousins 6-1
190 QB Xenia
The things that stand out about Cousins are his competitive drive, his quarterback smarts and his leadership. Cousins is utterly confident in his abilities. He has never really lost a game; time has just run out on him. Cousins throws a nice ball; there's no question he has a D-I arm.
This class is an outstanding quarterback class, and one thing that so many of them are able to do is pull the ball down and make something happen with their feet. Cousins is probably the best of the lot at doing that. As I look at where I have him rated, it shows the strength of this class. That I would have him outside of the top 30 is just amazing to me. If he were 6-3 or better, I don't think I would have him ranked outside the top 30, but height is such an important factor these days with quarterbacks.
45. *** James Allison 6-3
210 LB Lima Senior
Coach Rick Vaughn is back at Lima Senior, and so are the college recruiting coordinators. Back when Vaughn was the defensive coordinator, Lima was always one of those schools that could expect the Big Ten recruiters to swing through just on general principle. There was always talent coming out of this program. He has returned, and that renewed spirit is showing already.
Vaughn moved Allison to linebacker from safety and the results were immediate. This is a great looking athlete, running a 4.6 (but Vaughn feels like he can be faster than that) and posting a 32-inch vertical. All the Big Ten schools invited him to junior day. Iowa is showing the most interest.
Allison is an explosive player with excellent acceleration. He runs through ball carriers. Coach Vaughn was at Lima as defensive coordinator when defensive end Bryan Andrews was there. Andrews was a top-three player when he came out of high school, and Vaughn says Allison is better. One of the Pickerington coaches said Allison is better than former Pickerington and University of Michigan linebacker Lawrence Reid. Allison was an Ohio State junior day attendee and also attended a spring practice at OSU.
46. *** Peris Edwards 6-3
190 S Toledo Rogers
This is a player that has quietly gone about making a name for himself. He had an outstanding junior year, showing a lot of toughness by playing through injuries and leading the team in tackles despite missing time due to those injuries. Edwards has run a 4.43 40-yard dash hand timed, but his electronically timed 4.6 at the junior combine may be the more impressive number. I think with a good summer and an injury free season, we could see Edwards be one of the big movers up this top 100 come December.
47. *** Mark Jackson 6-6
310 OL Columbus Brookhaven
Mark Jackson is one of the most intriguing prospects in the state this year. Before seeing Jackson play, I had never seen a 6-6 center at any level. A smart and physical player, Jackson has played some guard but played mostly tackle going into his junior year, during which coach Tom Blake moved Jackson to center to anchor the line as Brookhaven won its first state football title. That kind of versatility is going to make him very valuable at the next level.
Running backs are the only players that take more punishment than offensive linemen, and having a player who can easily slide into any position on the offensive line is something every coach wants. I think he is better off at tackle, but he really can play anywhere. Jackson received an early offer from Minnesota before February.
48. *** Antonio Reed 6-1
294 DT Warren Harding
Reed is another tackle that is not going to have the size to draw most of the top schools, but what a player he could turn out to be. I say "could be" instead of "is" because he did not have the junior year to match his sophomore year. As a sophomore, he was just a rock in there.
You simply cannot run the ball with a player like Reed in the middle of the line when he is on his game. He is not going to have big tackle totals, but we are seeing some coaches now use a point system to rate the impact a player has, and that is where a player like Reed shows his value. Making the play and making the tackle are two different things. When Reed stops a back from coming up the middle, it doesn't show up on the stat sheet or on the highlight reel, but what he does is just as valuable.
Reed has been a starter since his freshman year against the most rugged schedule that any high school player would ever come up against, playing against the top linemen in Ohio game in and game out. If he were 6-4, Reed at his best would be a top-20 player. Reed attended junior day at Virginia and has been timed at 5.3 in the 40.
49. *** Raymond Fisher 5-10 170 WR/CB Cleveland Glenville
Talk about your open field runners. Look at these numbers: Five kickoff returns for 196 yards and two touchdowns. That is an amazing 39.2 yards per return. Fisher also had six catches for 48 yards and one touchdown as a receiver. There just weren't a lot of big numbers individually for Glenville last year.
I don't know if Fisher is going to be a corner or a receiver at the next level. As a sophomore, he looked really good as a receiver, and the kickoff return numbers speak volumes about what he is capable of after the catch, but everyone wants bigger receivers these days. About the only position where being under six feet tall is not an automatic end of the discussion is at cornerback. He has the feet to play there. He is likely to get more reps opposite Ray Small in the Speedville secondary.
Raymond Fisher is simply a very good athlete and a really good football player. Look at the tape, not at the stats. A good 40 time this summer will really help his stock.
50. *** Dominic Alford 6-3 310 OL Shaker Heights
Just when I thought this line class couldn't get any better, I get Dominic Alford's tape from coach Dave Sedmak. Talk about a big kid that can run. Alford, who plays both tackle spots for Shaker Heights, has very quick feet and really brings it. Coach Sedmak thinks Alford will be a center/guard at the next level, but I am going to have to throw out a "not so fast, my friend" on that. He is not as tall as you would want in a tackle, but he has a wingspan that rivals Lee Tilley. He packs a wallop. When he punches defenders, he stops them in their tracks, and what I really love about him is he seems to like punching them. Nastiness is a much-underrated attribute.
Alford benches 350 pounds, which is all the more impressive when considering those long arms. I am not usually high on these 300-pound high school kids, but this one I would have guessed was in the 275-pound range because he carries it so well. He has a 5.0-second 40-yard time. Alford will also play defensive tackle this year. Coach Sedmak coached recent Buckeye four-year starter Adrian Clarke and says Alford is better. Grades are close, but it looks like he will make it.
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