Lederman's time to rise

After playing in the shadow of two Division I athletes, Brodhead lineman will have chance to shine

Kevin Skatrud and A.J. Curtis cast a pair of imposing shadows along the Brodhead-Juda offensive and defensive lines the past few seasons. For a measure of how good Skatrud and Curtis were as preps, consider how much attention they took away from mammoth lineman Mitchell Lederman, a 6-foot-7 ½, 320-pound athlete.

Lederman has become one of the top college prospects in the state of Wisconsin for the class of 2006. But he hardly registered a blip among the top prep players in the state as a junior last fall. That, in large part, had to do with linemates Skatrud and Curtis.

Curtis, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound defensive end and tight end, is headed to the University of Iowa on a track and field scholarship and will attempt to walk on to the Hawkeyes' football team as a sophomore. This spring he won a Division 2 state championship in the shot put (63 feet, 11 ¼ inches) and finished second in the discus (183-5). He won the discus in 2004. On the gridiron last fall, Curtis was a consensus first-team all-state defensive end, the Rock Valley Conference Lineman of the Year, a Wisconsin Football Coaches Association honorable mention all-state tight end and a WFCA honorable mention all-state punter.

Skatrud, a 6-7, 295-pound Northern Illinois recruit, was a WFCA all-state selection at offensive tackle and a second-team all-state offensive lineman by the Associated Press and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He was also a first-team all-conference defensive lineman.

Both Curtis and Skatrud also made the Wisconsin State Journal's all-area small schools first team. Lederman could not be found on that list or any of the three all-state lineups. But as an all-conference performer, Lederman was no slouch. That trio, checking in at nearly 900 pounds, helped the Cardinals wrack up 36 points and 279 rushing yards per game last season, according to the State Journal. Brodhead-Juda reached the Division 4 state semi-finals last year and was a state runner-up in 2003.

This fall, with Curtis and Skatrud embarking on their collegiate careers, Lederman will be anchoring the Cardinals' lines.

"I'd say (Lederman's) right in that category with those guys, obviously because of his size," said Jim Matthys, who is replacing the retired Gary Larsen as Brodhead-Juda's head coach this fall after serving as an assistant for seven years. "He's a real good team leader."

Lederman will start at offensive tackle and defensive tackle for the second consecutive year this fall. "He's been up (on varsity) for three years," Matthys said. "He spot played a little for us as a sophomore."

Lederman has received respectable attention for college recruiters so far. He has a scholarship offer from Duke and Scout.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst Chris Pool reported May 31 that Lederman received phone calls in May from Ball State, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Illinois State and Youngstown State. Lederman was planning to attend football camps at Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Duke and Western Michigan this summer.

"I guess his senior season is really going to be what tells us how good he is," Matthys said. "He played next to those guys (Skatrud and Curtis) for the last couple years and so we'll see this year as a senior…. He's worked real hard but the big test in that will be to see how he does as a senior."

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