Excuse Mike Martin if he doesn't get a big smile on his face when you talk with him about what type of team he'll have for the 2008 season. His Taft Senators finished in the number nine spot in Division Two Region Eight last season just behind Winton Woods. Martin knows he's got a few players capable of helping them take the next step and enter the playoffs.
Martin has prided himself on building a solid program since taking over the Taft program in 2002 and bringing it back from the dead. In 2007 the Senators moved up from Division Three to Division Two and players like Cornellius Carradine helped pave the way while also earning the attention of college coaches.
While Carradine's name has been one of the hottest on message boards and on recruiting sites covering Ohio, it's for good reason. Tank Carradine might just be the best prospect in the state of Ohio for the Class of 2009.
There is a reason he's called Tank and with just a look college coaches start to drool. Carradine list himself at 6-foot-4 but looks taller. He also claims to weight 210-pounds but looks thicker. One thing is for sure, Carradine has a legit frame that a college strength coach will love to work with. Long, lean and very athletic Carradine is a "Major" talent that I'd place next to anyone I've seen so far.
Carradine doesn't have a clue as to how fast he runs but on film you see a player with a quick first step and the ability to go sideline-to-sideline with ease. Over the past couple of years Ohio has seen several defensive ends with major talent and Carradine doesn't take a backseat to any of them. Off the edge he creates major match-up problems for offensive tackles and tight ends as he's got a quick first step and brings a couple of moves that allow him to swim over the top of linemen. It will be interesting to see just how fast Carradine runs.
A lot of times you'll hear about what type of competition has a player played against. When looking at Carradine being in the city of Cincinnati many may feel he's not faced enough good players to be tested. Looking back and talking with Coach Martin you soon learn he's placed his teams against teams like Chaminade-Julienne and La Salle from the GCL (Greater Catholic League) as well as playoff teams like Withrow. Carradine will have some adjustment to make at the next level as he'll come across more players like him but he'll learn how to win the battles and advance.
The future is bright for Carradine as players with his physical abilities are things you want to see. If we tried to breakdown all of the positives in Carradine we'd fill a page. He's a legit major prospect and one that should be looked at as a national recruit. Carradine's best football is ahead of him at the college and maybe even the pro level.
I always worry about players that have such natural gifts. Are they willing to work hard and bring a work ethic needed to have success at the next level of play? On the field Carradine is at times slow coming off the line. This is normal for players like Carradine who have always been bigger than others and can react and make plays instead of blowing off the line. I'm confident this area of his game will only improve as he receives more coaching and is tested daily at the college level.
Much has been said about Carradine and possible grade issues. Coach Martin and Carradine both told us on our visit that he's sitting with high enough grades and they shouldn't be an issue in his recruiting.
Carradine has picked up an offer this week from Wisconsin to go with his offers from West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Cincinnati, Miami Ohio and Ohio University. He'll be on the campus of The Ohio State University on Sunday for a Junior Day and I'd be very surprised if he doesn't leave with an OSU offer in hand.
You can watch a few highlights by clicking the video link below.
Cornellius "Tank" Carradine Video: