So far I have seen over 20 high school games in Indiana (thanks to Lucas Oil Stadium) and have watched 40 plus players who are listed in the Indiana Varsity Scout database. Let's talk about what's happening in Indiana and what impact players are having on Indiana high school football.
James Hurst is continuing to build his legacy as one of the most prolific linemen to come out of Indiana high school football. His Plainfield Quakers are 3-2, but that has not diminished Hurst's skills or abilities that have won him multiple offers and a verbal commitment to North Carolina.
Roderick Smith is smooth and one of the best BIG BACKS I have ever seen. I watched him play against 4A power Ft. Wayne Bishop Dwenger. He is smooth, fast and powerful. He is a multifaceted player and he can catch the ball. He also punted, kicked extra points, and fielded kickoffs and punts. At 6-3 and 220 lbs….did I mention he is fast and has committed to Ohio State.
Blake Lueders is coming off a setback in which he had surgery, but is back at full strength and playing at his linebacker position. In last week's football game he played fullback and scored 3 touchdowns. He is 6-5 and 250lbs. He is committed to Notre Dame and probably will play the defensive line.
I am going to watch the Pike connection on Friday night where Dyjuan Lewis and Anthony McClung are receivers in tandem for the Red Devils. Neither one has made a verbal commitment and Lewis says he will after the season. McClung caught 4 passes for 58 yards against Bloomington North in a 31 to 30 Pike victory.
Kofi Hughes is the athlete everyone knew he was and is leading the Cathedral Irish in a season to remember. Beating super powers Carmel and Warren Central raised the Indiana football followers' eyebrows. Cathedral has a stable of D1 possibilities which are listed on Scout. Cameron Beard has made an impact, along with hard hitting Jake Zupancic and running back Nick Najem.
Ben Davis has a group of committed players that are going to step off the field right into college. Phil Dudley has had a solid year and is committed to Ball State. Defensive backs Jeffery Garrett and Keith Suggs are headed to MAC schools (Northern Illinois and Toledo). Isaiah Lewis is headed to Michigan State. Ben Davis has had two close losses and has the talent and ability to be standing tall in November as the playoffs begin.
Warren Central's James Manuel just committed to Minnesota, but there are a bevy of players who are waiting for those letters offering the opportunity. Shakir Bell is one of the most electrifying running backs in Indiana. Derek Hart has the arm and size to play QB at a D1 school and with the right match can be the passer several schools are looking for in a quarterback. Michael Gegner anchors the center of the Warren Central line that is ripping holes for Shakir Bell. Then there is Big Elijah Jones who has offers to Eastern Illinois and Toledo as a defensive tackle. Warren Central is my favorite to win it all at 5A.
Austin Ahrens, quarterback for Jasper, has led his team to an outstanding 5-0 record. In a vast field of quarterbacks, he has stood out, not only in southern Indiana, but the news of his abilities has spread.
Another quarterback may be one of the greatest passers in the history of Class 1A football. Chris Mills has set the standard at Lafayette Central Catholic and seriously has thrown almost at will against anyone he has come up against in 2009. This player deserves a look as he hopes to lead his team to Lucas Oil in November.
Connor Kelley of Batesville self admittedly wants to play in the Ivy League. I watched him dismantle New Palestine High School in Lucas Oil Stadium on a Saturday afternoon. He is an option QB with a good arm. With coaching, he could be the running-throwing quarterback in college because he is an athlete. I promise you, there is no stronger quarterback than Connor Kelley. He lifts lineman numbers and has not lost any speed because of it.
Landon Feichter of Ft. Wayne Dwenger...some say he can do it all. Landon looks very normal until you watch him play. The most impressive thing I have noticed about Landon is he has one of the quickest bursts of speed I have seen this year. He looks fast and he is. He played DB in his junior year and he still does, but he has caught 7 touchdown passes as a WR. He also runs back kicks. He is an athlete and should have the opportunity to play.
Alex Hines is the quarterback at Fishers High School. Alex is (as one fan told me recently) "a quarterback's quarterback." He is smart, intelligent and I believe a field general. He can throw! He has helped lead Fishers to a 5-0 start. A big opportunity lies ahead of Fishers (and Alex) when they meet up with Zionsville.
Joe Gilliam at Southport has continued his legacy of strong play. He is committed to Purdue and brings a brand of "Intelligent mayhem" to his style of play. Last year Southport had a breakout season and is currently 3-2, has played extremely competitive and Joe Gilliam is a reason why.
Jack Denton is committed to Indiana University. He is playing just about anywhere Zionsville needs him. He is multi-faceted on both sides of the ball. Plain and simple, he is not just a good athlete, he is a great athlete. So what has Jack Denton improved on the most? I am told it his blocking. He has become a devastating blocker. He has a 6-2 frame with 230 lbs and 4.6 speed. He may be a guard at IU.