Almost Without Compare

Coach Thom McDaniels has been in the high school game for 33 years, and he says that only one safety compares to current senior Sidney Glover, who committed to West Virginia on Friday, Dec. 8.

"There's only one other safety that I can mention in the same class as him, and that's Michael Doss, who's now with the Indianapolis Colts," said McDaniels, who coached the NFLer at Canton McKinley. "He is a three-year starter for us, and we think he is a great player. I don't know of a better safety in the state of Ohio. I haven't seen the safety at Colerain High School (Eugene Clifford), but I would argue Sidney is the best. He is a bit hitter and a smart player who made all of our secondary calls on defense."

McDaniels, who has been a head coach for 23 years, used Glover at a couple of different positions as a sophomore and junior before settling him at safety (with stints at running back) as a senior. Glover's play at different positions demonstrated his versatility, and also helped fill some holes on his Warren G. Harding High School team, but during his senior year McDaniels felt he needed to play one position in order to boost his college stock.

"As a sophomore, he actually played linebacker for us on defense, ant then we moved him to safety as a junior. On offense, we were hurting at quarterback, and he was such a good athlete that we played him there and ran the option. But it's at safety where he gets to take fullest advantage of his ability. That also put him in a position to help our football team the most."

Glover, an aggressive hitter, should have no problems adjusting to run support in college. Slated for either bandit or spur at West Virginia, he should fit nicely into West Virginia's scheme, which emphasizes stopping the run. McDaniels notes, however, that making the leap to excellence in pass coverage in college is a different kettle of fish.

"I think it's true for all kids on defense that the passing game in college is several notches above what you see from even the most sophisticated high schools. Sidney will have to adjust to that, to playing multiple coverages, to seeing different offenses. He will have to make that transition, but I am confident that he will do it. He will have a learning curve that he will have to go through, but that's true of anyone making the jump to college. Whoever you are, you have to adjust."

Harding played a base 4-3 defense, and used Glover primarily at strong safety. He did play some free safety when facing passing teams, the better to use his strong athletic skills against opposing receivers. Thus, he won't be going into college totally blind to the pass. He played against much of the best competition in Ohio, and McDaniels believes he will has all the tools to be an outstanding defender in college.

McDaniels' honest assessment of the improvements that Glover will have to make in adjusting to college passing games indicates that he isn't just blowing smoke about his skills. He was just as honest in recommending that Glover do his best to graduate early and begin his college career ahead of schedule. (Glover will graduate in December 2006 and enroll at West Virginia in January 2007).

"I have had a few players that have done that, and in Sidney's case I thought it was in his best interest to graduate early," McDaniels said. "He has had a, shall we say, interesting background, and getting him out of high school and into a structured college environment is the best thing for him. It's not for everybody, but he is a smart kid and a good student. He worked ahead to make sure the classes were on his transcript so he could graduate, and he accelerated his other classwork to make sure he got done."

McDaniels also kept West Virginia in mind when it became apparent that Glover would continue looking at other schools.

"The West Virginia coaches have always been faithful in coming to our school. When Sidney changed his mind, we connected with those schools that have been regular with us, and West Virginia was one of those that we contacted. The coaches at West Virginia have always been good with us."

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