OHIO'S FUTURE STARS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AND CO-PLAYER OF THE YEAR.
I said it a year ago and I will say it again - Louis is the best tight end I
have ever seen in Ohio. His numbers this season were as amazing as his skills.
That is not a lot of balls to put up that much yardage and that many touchdowns.
Watch the current Miami Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow -- that is what
Buckeye fans will get with Louis Irizarry. Louis is a little bigger already than
Winslow, who was in the 210 range coming out of high school. He shows hands and
1. ***** Donte "Lights Out" Whitner 5-11 183 4.3 CB Cleveland
OHIO'S FUTURE STARS DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AND CO-PLAYER OF THE YEAR.
Donte is the nation's # 1 corner and the best corner prospect I have seen in the state of Ohio since Charles Woodson. Yes, he is better than Nate Clements, DeJuan Groce and Antoine Winfield were as high school players. Whitner is that good.
I recently looked over Donte Whitner's highlight film for his senior year, and he is at another level right now. He has thickened up and looks like a little dynamo. He does not need a year in the weight room (not that I ever thought there was a chance he redshirted) and looks like he is playing the game at a completely different speed than anybody else. He runs away from people in an almost comical fashion when he has the ball.
I intend to keep track of Donte through the track season. I want to see what kind of numbers the new and improved Donte Whitner puts up this season. He still plays a lot of safety in the Glenville scheme because he is just too valuable as a tackler to keep him at corner all the time. He plays all over the field. This season, he had 46 tackles, 7 sacks and 4 quarterback pressures. He had 396 yards and 6 TDs rushing on only 26 carries. He had 8 TDs receiving and 7 kickoff returns for 350 yards.
One thing that really stood out this year was the intensity he brought to the
field. Coach Ginn told me his work ethic is second to none. He was the MVP at
the Nike camp at Michigan State, was rated as the nation's # 5 football player
in Student Sports magazine, was named a starter for the National All-Star game,
and has scholarship offers from 73 schools. He is a very mature young man and
focused. He is carrying over a 3.0 GPA. You look for players who are special and
who take it to another level, and Whitner did this year. He's a great football
player and a fine young man. Ohio State leads.
3. ***** David Patterson 6-3 280 4.8 DT Warrensville Heights
David is now in the 280 lb range and is a legit defensive tackle. He was double and triple-teamed all year, but he still came up with 18 sacks. David is a polished, relentless pass rusher. He is a student of the game, always looking for a new way to beat the blockers in front of him.
One thing that stands out about David is he never stops running. He never stops working. The motor is on from the time he steps on the field to the time he hears the final gun. He has an explosive first step and does a great job of keeping blockers from getting underneath his pads and already has pass rush skills of a top college lineman.
We have spent a good deal of time on the phone (David could do my job), and I
feel this is a young man completely dedicated to the game of football. He is
that focused on what is happening on a football field. He regular tells me about
other players he is impressed with. When it comes to technique, he has all the
tools for success. He has the physical tools, the motor and the drive to get
better. He was one of the few national caliber stars to camp this summer, but I
was not surprised, because not camping would have meant a lost opportunity for
David to improve. It also would have meant someone was playing football
somewhere and David wasn't there, and that would have driven him crazy. His
decision will come down to Ohio State and Miami, but I think the Buckeyes win
4. ***** Prescott Burgess 6-4 226 4.55 LB/DB Warren Harding
Burgess did not have the year that we expected from him, but it had nothing to do with him being overrated. He had an injury-plagued year, missing about half of Harding's games. He broke his hand less than a week before the regular season started and then injured his shoulder in the Youngstown Ursuline game about halfway through the year.
I still think he grows into a linebacker, but right now, his skills are more what you would want in a safety. He reads the game well from his strong safety position and has always been physical. He will need to get stronger to handle blockers at the line of scrimmage and needs to work on his technique of shedding blockers, but the raw potential is enormous.
I will point out again Burgess has played so little football. So many basic
things that are second nature for players who have been playing so long are new
to Burgess. He does it all. He makes the every down plays and the spectacular
plays. He will decide between Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and
5. ***** Brady Quinn 6-4 205 4.9 QB Dublin Coffman
No player came out of nowhere to gain the notoriety like Brady Quinn did this year. It started with a great playoff run last year, where he guided Coffman to the regional championship and the final 4. He then picked up in the summer where he left off last fall by taking the camp season by storm getting offers from Tennessee and Michigan at their camps and an offer from Ohio State before their camp was over. He camped at Notre Dame and soon after returning home he was offered. He took some time to think it over and came down to Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan before finally settling on his childhood favorite Notre Dame. Quinn threw for 2183 yards and 21 TDs as a junior. He threw 15 interceptions, but 6 came in the first 3 games. He missed the last couple of games his senior year but still passed for 1931 yards on 124 completions in 232 attempts. He is a tough kid who impressed me when he pulled the ball down and ran. He made good decisions and showed vast improvement in his vision, which has improved steadily. In addition to his physical skills, Quinn is a leader. You didn't need to see him line up under center to see who was in charge out there.