15. Mike Zordich – Cardinal Mooney – MLB
Bob Lichtenfels: I guess I am getting old, because I still can vividly remember Mike Sr. roaming the secondary for the Philadelphia Eagles back in the day. Another great linebacker headed to Linebacker "U". There is also a chance that the younger Zordich could play fullback at Penn State as well. I had the pleasure of watching Paul Posluszny in high school and this kid has a lot of the same qualities that he had. The Nittany Lions are getting a good one.
Greg Powers: People on the message boards have been selling Zordich short all year, but the simple matter of fact is that this kid just makes plays all over the field. He is not the fastest player or the most physically intimidating guy even on his own team, but he is solid as a rock. He has terrific instincts and nice form on his tackles. He does everything a great high school linebacker is supposed to do.
Bill Greene: In a class filled with great people this might be my favorite of the whole group. I speak with over 250 players a year and I can tell you this kid will be a captain at Penn State some day. I would say the same thing had he decided to attend any school in America. He is a seek and destroy linebacker. He could be a star fullback at the next level as well. The best part about Zordich is the way he leads. He is The Leader on a team filled with leaders. When you see him play, you really like him. When you speak with him, you walk away needing him in your program. He will be a huge asset to Penn State where he will follow his father, a former All-American for Joe Paterno. "Captain Z" will attempt to lead Mooney to back-to-back state titles. Don't bet against them, or him.
Dave Berk: Old-school hardnosed football player who loves contact and seeks it out on the field. Could play fullback and excel but future lies on the defensive side of the ball as a major force in the middle of the Penn State defense. Shows great instincts with the ability to stop the run, rush the passer and even drop back in mid coverage when needed. Love his desire to mix it up and expect big things from him in the future.
14. Nic DiLillo – Madison – TE
Bob: This may be the best year for tight ends in Ohio that we have seen or may ever see it is that special of a group. DiLillo is right there with the best of them. He is a great blocker who is tough as nails. He has very good ball skills and is a solid athlete. Will have a chance to play behind Nate Byham in college who should be a pretty good tutor for him.
Greg: What a great year for tight ends not only in the "Buckeye State," but around the nation. Ohio boasts four potentially great tight ends if you project Stoneburner out at that position on the next level. DiLillo may be the most well-rounded of the bunch. He blocks well, and has nice explosion in route running that allows him to get off the ball and be open on a consistent basis. When watching him live I was impressed with his fluidness working through the drills and running routes. He is not as tall as the other top rated tight ends in this class, but he plays big.
Bill: This is a great year for tight ends in Ohio and DiLillo just might turn out to be the best of the bunch. I saw him at the Elite Skills camp in Cleveland and was amazed at his combination of size and athleticism. Nic looks like a player who will fill out to 250 pounds and still retain his speed. He can go over the middle and make the tough catch, yet he still has the speed to get open down the seam. He can block like an extra tackle and he just seems to be a player that loves to play the game. DiLillo is only going to get better as he fills out and should have a great career at Pitt. You can see he's receiving excellent coaching at Madison.
Dave: In a different year this kid would be the best tight end in the state. But don't be fooled because this kid can flat out play and shows a great passion for the game. Displays great hands and the ability to get positive yards after the catch. Look for Nick to gain another 25-35 pounds and become an even better blocker. Does a great job in setting up out in the flat or coming over the middle getting squared to make the catch and then pivot while keeping great balance and getting positive yards.
13. Zebrie Sanders– Northmont – OT
Bob: Everytime you ever do rankings you see one name that gets you thinking. Did I rank him high enough? Is this kid the one that becomes the biggest star of the group and I kick myself in four years. Sanders has an amazing frame that just keeps getting better. He has a wing span like a pterodactyl. His feet are very good as well. The selling point for me with linemen is that nasty streak, that is the one deficiency I see with Zebrie. If he can develop that then the sky is the limit.
Greg: Zebrie has racked up offers from almost every legit title contender in the country. He is a prototype pass pro offensive tackle. He has a nice frame, and the long arms that the great ones always have. He will need to work on his drive blocking and get meaner on the next level, but I see what many coaches see. A world of potential. I think after a few years in the right program that Sanders could ultimately parlay his intangibles in to an NFL career.
Bill: Sanders is the prototype for a left tackle. Long and lean, he reminds me of a basketball player. At left tackle I want a dancer, while on the right side I want a brawler. Sanders has the feet of Gregory Hines. He is still very raw but the skill level is quite high. His best football is ahead of him and I expect to see a very different body type after 2 years in a big-time weight program. His offer list is impressive and so is the potential of this big man.
Dave: Living in the Dayton area has allowed me the chance to catch several Northmont games over the past few years. Each time I've seen Zebrie play it's come against some great competition and allowed me to see him under the pressures of some very good defensive linemen. You can't hide the talent Sanders shows but there is much work to be done. At times he's shown he's can be soft while other times he's the future All-Conference performer I fully expect to see. The sky is the limit as to how good Sanders will be at the college level as he'll enter the college game with an advanced knowledge of pass blocking. Sanders has not been exposed to a solid diet of run blocking during his high school career, but should pick up on it quick and excel with his great physical size and athletic ability. I feel that Sanders best football is about two years away and won't be surprised to see him playing in the NFL a few years from now if he can continue his work habits and stay healthy.
12. Nathan Williams – Miami Trace – DE
Bob: As is the case with most of the top twenty, they are good enough in most years to be a top five caliber player and Nathan Williams is that good. Most of the kids who were at the Buckeyes Senior Advanced camp were all raving about this kid, saying he was a beast. I believe Williams is just scratching the surface of his abilities and he could be the steal of this class for the Buckeyes.
Greg: People have been talking about linebacker Nathan Williams for a couple of years, but linebacker Nathan Williams has appeared to grown in to defensive end Nathan Williams. He plays for a small program, but he plays a big game. He is quick off of the ball, and does exactly what he should against his level of competition… He dominates. You worry about the small school kids if they are not intimidating and overpowering their opponents, but no worries with Williams as that is exactly what he does. A BUNCH of players and parents were talking Williams up the days following the advanced session of Ohio State's camp.
Bill: Williams game film is as impressive as any player in Ohio. He surely passes the look test and looks like an NFL player in appearance. I see Williams as a DE at Ohio State. He will weigh 275 pounds as a Buckeye and has a chance to be a great one. Has drawn comparisons to Bobby Carpenter but I'm seeing a lot of Mike Vrabel in Nathan, and I saw Vrabel play in high school. Nathan told me he is being recruited to play the Viper DE spot at OSU. His head coach, Jeff Conroy, was very high on Nathan, both as a player and as a person.
Dave: Not to go against the grain or the job Bob has done with these rankings, but I can't believe I'm talking about Nathan Williams outside of the Top Ten. Yes I understand the questions some have about the quality of competition he's faced at Miami Trace. But Williams would compete and have success at any school or conference in Ohio. Strong and physical to go with an already very well built machine of a body helps make Williams one of the top Ohio prospects. If you ever get the chance to meet this kid and shake his hand you'll feel the physical strength he possesses. The talk among many is he'll play the same role of Bobby Carpenter and roam the field making plays. This may be the case, but Williams still have room to add bulk and could end up being a very dominant defensive end with great explosion. Top 10 in my book of rankings in the Class of 2008.
11. Elliot Mealer – Wauseon – OT
Bob: Buckeye fans were hoping that Mealer would get an offer, but it did not come. Instead, the Michigan Wolverines scooped him up and they are getting a good one. A tight end in high school, so you know he is an athlete. Mealer could be a tackle at the next level, but he may be a better guard. He is a road grader that gets it done and has a ton of upside.
Greg: Michigan dipped in to Ohio to nab one of Ohio's best linemen in Elliot Mealer. He has a ton of athleticism, and I can see him making the move inside to be a great pulling guard on the next level, but has the footwork to be a tackle. Mealer plays some tight end on the high school level, so he may be a tackle as well. There are not too many players Mealer's size that can get down the field in the passing game and make a big play and is still be strong enough and big enough to be a dominating O-lineman in college. Like Sanders, Mealer is just starting to tap in to his potential.
Bill: Another kid who once you know him, you will always root for him, even as a Wolverine,LOL. In a class filled with great people, this kid is special. As a player, he will fill out to around 300 pounds and play right tackle at Michigan. Athletic enough to play tight end in high school but his future will be as an offensive lineman. In a class of 25, Mealer is a Buckeye, no doubt about it. In a year where Ohio State doesn't land Adams, Brewster and Shugarts, Mealer becomes a Buckeye. Mealer has the desire and work ethic to be a great one.
Dave: Because of the type of offense he's come up through in high school and being a tight-end, Elliot Mealer still found those talking about him despite the lack of coverage Northwest Ohio receives. When you meet Elliot you're quick to learn he's got legit size and the type of body that will continue to get bigger and stronger. College coaches were quick with offers once they saw him in person and drooled over the chance to sign him. Elliot will have the chance to be a special lineman in the college ranks as he possesses quick feet and explosion from the hips. He still has some things to work on when he gets to college, but when he comes from his guard position at the next level he'll match up well with any defender he'll come across and excel. Great kid who knows hard work will be his ticket for success at the next level.
**Stay tuned as we continue our countdown the rest of the week and it concludes on Monday with our top five.