It was the day I arrived at Ohio State for practice.
Now all of the sudden I was worried about the All-American in front of me on the depth chart as opposed to the All-American coming in next year. Fortunately, time has healed some of my wounds and I once again find pleasure in watching the elite in high school football. What three players stand out in this banner Buckeye class?
Ray Small – Ray brings speed to the playing field. Wide open offenses look great when the offensive players can run and they look downright ugly when you have sluggish perimeter players. Mr. Small is electric, athletic, quick and creative. He comes from a good program that has big expectations for its alumni. At Glenville, getting a D-I college scholarship makes you another face in the crowd. What are you going to do with that opportunity on the college playing field? Your alumni brothers expect you to represent well.
The bar is raised for Ray Small. He will answer. I'm not worried about size. This guy has the vision and foot speed to excel early and often.
Connor Smith – Colerain played a tough schedule and I think that is important. All-World hype doesn't mean much to me when you don't play any competition. Colerain has seen the best of the best…and by the way that best of the best always gave Colerain their best shot. He practiced against great players and took great coaching very well. In addition, his physical tools are dominant. Connor Smith will be a staple to this o-line for multiple years.
Chris Wells – This guy can hit the gas pedal. Sure he has the size. Sure he can long stride that 30-yarder or 50-yarder. What I love though is his ability to jam it up there for 5 or 6 yards. Many high schoolers with his ability will just sub-consciously think, "I can outrun everyone to the outside and turn that corner." Chris is beyond that. Shoulders square, great body position, and vision make for an impact player in his freshman season.
The great ones seem to get that ugly 4 yards. They seem to turn that 5-yarder into an 8-yarder, and Chris will have that ability because he hits that hole vertically with great speed. Hitting the hole with speed makes a finesse runner tough to take down. Hitting the hole with speed makes a back with such a big body nearly impossible to take down. Pittman and Wells will be dangerous in ‘06.