EDITOR'S NOTE – Today we are beginning a 14-part series where we unveil the top 101 football prospects in Ohio's Class of 2007. These rankings were assembled by Bucknuts and Ohio High recruiting editor Duane Long. They were originally published in the May 2006 edition of Ohio High magazine. Here is the third installment with players ranked No. 21-30.
21. **** John Hughes
6-4 260 Athlete Gahanna Lincoln
If John Hughes is not the most underrated player in Ohio then I am sure he made the final cut list.
I was not ready for this type of player. Hughes is right here in my backyard, so I was aware of him. But after seeing him on tape, I am surprised the chatter was not a scream.
This is an explosive, big athlete. Hughes gets into opponents quicker than any lineman in Ohio but I may be off there in calling him a lineman because he may not be a lineman in the truest sense of the word.
Hughes plays tight end in high school. Just when I was ready to move him inside, I saw a couple of clips of him catching the ball. John Hughes has great hands but he does not have the ideal body for a tight end. He is built more like a guard/center or a defensive tackle. I think that is where he ends up in college.
Hughes is a devastating run blocker. He has great feet, very quick feet, explosive and very strong. So, I just don't see using an explosive, quick and athletic lineman like John Hughes at guard or center. Also, he does not have the reach and the length you want in an offensive tackle.
I see a name jumping up the recruiting charts in Hughes once he gets to camps. There are never too many big kids that can run. This big kid can run and he is quick and explosive, too.
22. **** Daniel Herron
5-10 190 TB Warren Harding
I have to admit, I was not as impressed with Herron as many were when I first saw him. I saw outstanding running skills and vision. I saw a tough back that ran bigger than his size but I did not see a special athlete. It could have just been the tape I had but I was wrong about Herron. Very wrong.
This kid is really something. When I looked at the most recent tape from Harding head coach Thom McDaniels, I saw a kid with the best feet in this really nice running back class, even quicker than Jordan Mabin. His ability to change direction without slowing down is remarkable. He has such outstanding vision and shows the skills of a much more experienced runner, particularly patience.
On one play from his tape, Herron is waiting on the handoff to run a draw as a blitzing linebacker and comes clean. Any other runner is dead right there but Herron waits on the tackler to commit, uses those lightning quick feet to step around him, runs into the gap the linebacker left and scores on a 35-yard run.
I think speed is the most overrated number for a back. I am much more interested in explosion or burst and Herron has that to spare. He does have speed, too. According to McDaniel, Herron has 4.5 speed and you can bet that is an accurate time. Herron is also an excellent pass receiver.
Herron runs the screen pass to deadly effect. He is also a willing and effective blocker.
A top NFL back comes to mind when I think about Herron - Washington Redskin Pro Bowler Clinton Portis. Neither are big backs and don't try to run like big backs, but they are strong and will take on tacklers when need be.
Initially, I was wrong about Herron and I could not be happier to say so now. He received early offers from Boston College, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan State.
23. **** Joey D'Andrea
6-2 245 DE/DT Upper Arlington
D'Andrea is one of those players that the measurables line just doesn't tell the tale on.
He has run a 4.7-second 40 time, but does not show the height and the length that you want in a defensive end. D'Andrea's tape tells the story.
D'Andrea get is off the ball like a shot, finds the ball quickly and delivers a blow. D'Andrea is one of those slippery players that are so hard to block. I have watched stretches of tape, play after play, where the offensive lineman in front of him did not even get a good shot at him. He won't stay blocked.
In one scrimmage last year, D'Andrea was so disruptive that he was taken off the field so the opposing offense could run a few plays.
He played defensive end last year but was a nose guard the year before. His quickness was too much for the centers and guards in front of him. As a defensive end, he reminds me of former Georgia star defensive end David Pollack. He is such a difficult player to block and plays with such intensity that he overcomes the lack of ideal size. He would rather play defensive end but would accept playing tackle.
D'Andrea is hearing from Alabama, Michigan St., Wisconsin, Texas, Minnesota, Purdue, Colorado, Northwestern, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, West Virginia, Georgia Tech, UConn, Akron, Toledo, Miami of Florida, and Miami of Ohio.
He went to Ohio State for junior day and will camp there.
24. **** Vince Harris
6-2 195 LB Cincinnati LaSalle
When fans talk about Cincinnati LaSalle right now, the name that immediately comes into the conversation is Ben Martin. Those that really know what they are talking about say Ben Martin and Vince Harris.
Harris is a very special player. He can really run and coupled with top drawer instincts, he is a player that always seems to be around the football. I don't have a 40 time on Harris, but his football speed is quite impressive.
In the LaSalle scheme, Harris is all over the place. He can be on either side of the ball or in the middle of the field. Most of the time, he is lined up outside Ben Martin. He attacks the line of scrimmage like a defensive end but is as good as a safety in coverage and is very comfortable in that assignment. Moving back is not easy but if any player can make the move it is Harris.
Harris is a very good tackler and he is a playmaker - plain and simple. He is one of the best linebackers in Ohio.
Unfortunately, it is going to be very difficult for Vince to be a Division I college player his first year out of high school. His academics are not up to par. However, someone will stay with him and whoever it is will find one of the real gems in this class.
25. **** Kyle Jefferson
6-4 175 WR Cleveland Glenville
Jefferson is the biggest enigma in the class.
He is a thoroughbred. Jefferson is an outstanding hurdler and sprinter but we are still waiting to see him blossom on the football field.
I saw him last year and was not impressed with his route running and he dropped too many catchable balls.
So why do I have him rated this high?
When he is at his best, Jefferson is a unique blend of size and speed. He can run away from corners and go over the top of safeties then outrun either after the catch. Too often we did not see that out of him last year. With Ray Small and Daven Jones as the starting Glenville receivers in 2005, he needed to make the most of his opportunities.
Right now, Jefferson is more a sprinter and hurdler than he is a football player. He will have the chance to step up this year as Small and Jones have moved on to college. If Kyle Jefferson puts it all together, he will be a top-10 player in this class and will be mentioned in the same conversation as Ted Ginn, Jr., Mario Manningham, Fred Davis and the best Ohio has produced in my time. He has that kind of potential.
I will go so far as to say if this kid pulls it all together, Kyle Jefferson could be the best ever in Ohio. Nobody that I have seen in this state brings the size, athleticism and this kind of speed to the field.
Jefferson received early offers from Akron, Indiana and Wisconsin.
26. **** Vincent Browne
6-5 240 Athlete Lisbon David Anderson
I am not going to forget anytime soon the first time I saw film of Vincent Browne. I chastised myself for not doing my job. How could I possibly miss such a prospect?
Browne is every bit the listed 6-5, 240 pounds. He is one of those players that passes the look test. "Specimen" is the word that comes to mind when discussing Browne. All I needed to see was three plays and I knew I had found a big time prospect.
He was playing offensive tackle on those three plays and he put all three defenders on their backs. The fact that he needs work on his technique makes his blocking all that more impressive. He is so naturally strong and gets into defenders so quickly they can do little about it, but he does not drive through them. He simply knocks them down.
Browne gets moved around from tight end to offensive tackle at the next level. He plays middle linebacker on defense and I can't say I have ever seen an offensive tackle/middle linebacker before, but Vincent Browne is pretty unique. He does a really good job there.
He is not necessarily out of place at the high school level at middle linebacker. Browne has a 4.75-second 40 and his football speed looks even better. There are several plays on his tape in which he shows a turn of speed that left me wide eyed. He can really run.
I list him as an athlete because I really cannot decide where he plays. He is even more athletic than Springboro's Jacob Ballard, who signed with Ohio State in February. Browne could be a defensive tackle, a defensive end or even grow into an offensive lineman.
He is very raw, but his size and athleticism is something that every school in the country is looking for. Once Browne hits the camp circuit this summer, he will be one of the most talked about players in Ohio.
27. **** Nick Schepis
6-4 270 OT/DT Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit
This is the most complete offensive lineman in the class of 2007.
Schepis is a high school offensive tackle and plays on both sides of the offensive line. He does not have the length that I like to see in a college tackle, but he has the rest of the package. Schepis has superb feet and is as lean as a 270-pound player can be.
He does an excellent job in pass blocking with those great feet and has a very competitive nature. He stays with his blocks to the whistle. One characteristic that will give him a leg up coming into college as a pass blocker is how quickly he comes out of his stance. So many high school kids are baffled once they get to college and find they are still in their stance as a veteran college defensive end blows past them. This kid is out of the blocks and into his pass pro like a college player.
As a run blocker, he gets and stays low getting good leverage. He has a natural tenacity.
This is a player athletic enough to play not only defensive tackle but defensive end for the Warriors. He does a very good job but I don't think there is a chance he plays on defense in college even though he is a pretty good high school defensive lineman. This is not a matter of a coach looking to add a big body to his defense.
Something I see lacking in so many high school linemen is nastiness. College line coaches are not going to have to worry about that with Schepis.
If he had the longer arms, I would project him as a college tackle. Schepis has such good feet with better technique than most high school kids and is such a competitor that he will most likely get a shot at tackle.
28. **** Diauntae Morrow
6-0 185 S/LB Lakewood St. Edward
We have quite a number of safeties that could end up playing linebacker in college in this class. Morrow is a high school linebacker that will end up playing safety in college.
Morrow has been a cornerback and a safety, but St. Edward needed a linebacker last year and Morrow stepped up. He is a very physical player and is not out of place at the high school level as a linebacker. We see high school linebackers this size all the time.
He is one of the biggest hitters in the state this year and is also a solid tackler. Morrow has the longest arms I can remember seeing on a kid this size, and uses them to good advantage. He runs great and plays with a high motor and has outstanding instincts.
To say Morrow is nasty is an understatement. He is absolutely fearless mixing it up against the big guys when he is called on to turn plays in from his outside linebacker spot.
I have tape of the St. Edward-Brunswick game and it is a Diauntae Morrow highlight film. Morrow had tackles for loss in that game, forced fumbles, fumbles recovered and several highlight reel hits. He can be an outstanding safety at the next level and would be getting a lot more ink if not for the depth of the safety class here. He had 75 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and eight sacks as a junior.
His time as a high school linebacker will serve him well as a college strong safety.
Morrow received early offers from Indiana and Wisconsin.
29. **** Dan Barry
6-3 280 OL Mentor Lake Catholic
After watching only the first couple of plays on Dan Barry's tape it is apparent he is one of the best offensive linemen in this class.
In his tape, Barry goes up against Euclid product and current Ohio State Buckeye linebacker Thaddeus Gibson, who was the best pass rusher in Ohio last year. Any other kid Barry's size would need a cell phone to make contact with a player of Gibson's speed. Barry hung right with him.
He has excellent feet and looks taller than his listed 6-3. Barry plays right tackle and has the long arms I like to see in a tackle prospect. He is an excellent pass blocker already as the Lake Catholic system prepares linemen well for pass blocking. That experience will give him a leg up on getting into the lineup faster when he gets to college.
However, his run blocking will get him in the lineup earlier. We use the expression "blowing up" with defensive players. Dan Barry blows people up. We see pancakes with linemen – driving defenders into the ground – and Dan Barry gets pancakes. But what he does that a lot of offensive linemen don't do is explode into defenders. It looks like a bowling ball hitting pins.
Barry went down to the U.S. Army All-Star combine in Texas in January and made the all-combine team. He impressed observers with his work ethic and willingness to do anything asked of him.
His height says guard but I give him a chance to show he can't play tackle. Some of his most impressive plays were when he was pulling.
Barry runs great and has a 4.2 GPA.
30. **** George Tabron
6-3 215 LB Canton Central Catholic
Tabron is Ohio's top middle linebacker. We are seeing a good crop of outside linebackers in the state this year, a good number of them at safety, but the Mike linebackers are few and far between. Actually, it has been some time since we have seen a great Mike in Ohio.
Tabron reminds me a lot of current Ohio State middle linebacker Chad Hoobler. Like Hoobler, Tabron is not as big as you would expect a true middle linebacker to be, but both have the long, lean frames. This will allow them to put on the weight necessary to win battles against big guards and centers and still make tackles.
Tabron reads the game well and takes good attack angles. He is a knock down tackler as opposed to a drag down tackler. Tabron plays with great intensity and he chases every play to the whistle. He is really good in traffic and that is something vital for a middle linebacker. In tight spaces with large people coming at them, too many kids fail that crucial test and this can be the difference. He is also a great blitzer.
He is comfortable as an inside linebacker in the 3-4. He will fill out to 240 or so in no time.
Tabron passes with flying colors. He plays big in the biggest games. The great ones always rise to the occasion.
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