OFS Top Players 6-10

The new issue of OFS is slated to be mailed by within days, and we are giving out the top players early to club subscribers. We will take you through Duane Long's rankings of the top 15 players as well as his analysis, starting today with players 6-10.

6. Brandon Braxton 6-7 295 OL Youngstown Ursuline

I have been waiting on an offensive lineman like Braxton to come along for a few years. It seems like too many years. Braxton always saw himself as a basketball player until his junior year, but he finally got serious about football and it showed.

He is the ideal left tackle prospect. He's tall with long arms, even for a 6-7 kid. He's got great feet and runs like a player half a foot shorter and 100 pounds lighter than his listed height and weight. He is in great shape; you couldn't cut 20 lbs off him if his life depended on it. The question that comes to mind when I think about Braxton is: What could he be right now if he always wanted to play football?

The turnaround has been that dramatic in Braxton. He is already showing he could be special and is just now starting to take the game seriously. He's mobile and agile enough that Coach Murphy uses him to pull on running plays and seems to be a natural pass blocker. Recently, Braxton has been showing that special athleticism on the basketball court as well. His performance in the Ursuline playoff game versus Youngstown Struthers left several people I spoke to amazed at how well he moves for a big kid. After looking at game tape, I came to the conclusion he was the best line prospect from Ohio since Mike Munoz.

7. Ben Person 6-4 290 OL Xenia

Ben has a great body and great feet. He plays tackle in high school but will be a guard in college. He has tackle feet but does not have the height and wingspan that schools are looking for in a tackle.

Person plays hard all the time. That is something I always look for in offensive linemen. Lack of work ethic and motor are consistently the biggest reasons we see so many top offensive linemen fail to live up to their potential, but that is something the schools will not have to worry about with Person.


8. Michael Bell 6-0 170 DB/WR Shaker Heights

The only question about Bell is what position he will play. I say receiver, and so does Shaker Heights head coach David Sedmak. Smooth, fluid and highly athletic, Bell makes playing the game look effortless. He almost looks like he is not playing hard and makes the spectacular look easy.

Bell, who plays very smart football and caught 31 passes as a junior, is both an athlete and a football player. He reads the game well as both a receiver and a defensive back. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time. In addition to his football skills, Bell is a highly motivated character kid and a team leader. He has camped the last two years at Ohio State and will again this year.

9. Brian Hoyer 6-5 190 QB Cleveland St. Ignatius

Brian Hoyer was only the fourth player in school history to start as a junior. That says something about St. Ignatius quarterbacks, and it says even more about Brian Hoyer.

I will not hesitate to say Hoyer has better physical skills than Justin Zwick. There is no shrinking the playbook with Hoyer because he has an "anywhere on the field arm." He also has a very quick release to go with it. There will be no fussing over or tinkering with his motion. He is a tall quarterback who keeps the ball tall and throws over the top. He moves like an athlete, not a quarterback. He has superior athletic ability. I am not going to be surprised if he runs under 4.7.

On film, his arm really catches your attention. That doesn't often happen with quarterbacks. I like to have arm strength judged in person, if not by myself, then by someone from the OFS network. When a quarterback can get your attention just from tape, that gives a good idea of how strong his arm is.

Plenty of schools are recruiting Hoyer, including Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio State. Right now, the Buckeyes and the Wolverines are in front, with Pittsburgh, Colorado, and Maryland up there as well.

10. Ray Williams 5-11 175 TB/DB Cleveland Benedictine

Ray had over 3000 yards on the year as a junior. Some have him penciled in at corner, but he may be just big enough and, more importantly, tough enough and strong enough to be a running back in college. I think he has the body to fill out to 200 lbs.

Williams has that slashing, "quick as a cat" style that is beautiful to watch. He has great vision and explosion to the hole, which he hits fearlessly. He's shown great durability too. With the slight build and his willingness to run inside you would think he would have been dinged up at some point in the year, but to my knowledge, he was not hurt all year.


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