The smell of dirty, stinky practice uniforms, fresh cut grass and the sound of pads hitting told me one thing. High School Football is only a little over a week away. What did we see today at Wayne High School? Take the time to read on.

One thing we try and pride ourselves on is taking the time to get out and see players in person. We did just that today. I had the chance to see three teams go live and let me tell you the pads were cracking.

Let me start by saying a lot of top talent was on hand today. And some of it wasn't even senior players. The three schools I saw were Huber Heights Wayne, Lakota West and St. Xavier. All three schools put on a good show today as they worked on getting ready for the regular season kickoff next week.

Lets start with Lakota West and its massive line. Folks this line is just plain huge. And not just because of OSU recruit Steve Rehring. While I have been hard on Steve, today he showed me more than I have seen before. Steve looks massive and the weight is starting to head in the right places. While he still needs work on his quickness off the line, he's improved greatly. In my opinion, Steve is suffering from what many players with his size do. When going against players who are 5-8 inches shorter its harder to get a hand on them. At the next level that will change as defensive linemen get closer to his size. While he is playing tackle for West look for him to be a guard at OSU, I just don't think he has the feet to tackle at the next level. Another of this group is Evan Spanogians, Evan played RT during the day due to injury of the regular RT. Evan needs to get use to playing this position because he's going to play on the line at the next level. Evan has a huge upside and shows great knee bend along with long arms and great feet. The area of his game that he needs to work on more is getting in position and using his hands to lock up D-linemen. This is an area most High School players need to learn. Given that Evan was a TE, I see no problem in this area and can see him becoming a top lineman at the next level. Evan and Steve were not the only one's playing on Lakota's line who will be a top recruit. While I didn't get his name, the young man who played center is only a junior and has great size and feet. When I get the name and information on him, I will pass it on. Also West got very good play out of the QB, WR and RB positions. An area that needs work is on defense. Both Wayne and ST. X got the better of the West defense. From what I saw today West should have a very good season ahead of them. PS: John I'm sorry that I didn't get the chance to meet you. I spoke with your son and I'm sure he passed the message onto you.

Next we look at Wayne and its defense. That is the area this team is strong in. With Marcus Freeman and David Day on defense the Warriors can play with anyone. With team speed and quickness at all positions on defense they can cause trouble for any team. That was the case today against both ST. Xavier and West. On offense the Warriors are a team looking for some answers. Wayne has a QB battle on its hands and the next week is going to be a battle for who earns the starting spot. Craig Orton is showing signs of greatness. Craig who is better known for his basketball skills than football is going to be the Warriors next top recruit. Standing 6'4 with great speed and athletic ability Craig is having a strong camp and catching everything thrown his way. More than once he burned DB's for long gains or touchdowns during the day. The other area of concern for the Warriors is the play of its offensive line. In the past few years Wayne has been blessed with linemen who were strong leaders and knew what to do at all times. This is the first line that wasn't influenced by the 1999 championship teams offensive line. This group needs to find its leader and step it up a notch for the Warriors to have a good season. The scariest thing I saw today was Marcus Freeman at tailback. While Marcus is not a every down back having his size and speed back there makes other teams take notice. A play that will give any DB a nightmare is when Marcus comes out of the backfield and catches a swing pass going one-on-one with a DB who is just waiting to be hit by a MACK Truck. Special teams for the Warriors were great with Marcus hitting some long punts and the field goal kickers hitting there mark.

Now for the surprise of the day. Just a few weeks ago I told you about a junior QB from Northmont (Tyler Horner) who showed Ozie and myself some great skill. While we both came away talking about this kid being the #1 or #2 QB in the junior class, today I called Ozie and told him I just changed my mind. Look for big things from Rob Schoenhoft this season. The 6'5 QB has a big time arm and great build for the position. While many people have spoken highly about the current senior QB class, the top three juniors I have seen so far are right there. While all three are drop back passers they all share great touch and the ability to make all the throws. The other area they all share is size, Tyler Horner is 6'2, Tim Hiller is 6'4 and Schoenhoft is 6'5. Keep an eye on all of these players this year.

ST. Xavier as a team is solid. They have very good line play on both sides of the ball with speed on defense. When they tackle they all swarm to the ball and lay a lick on the ball carrier. The O-line has nice size with players who don't have the big names but they play good as a unit and don't be surprised 2 or 3 of them end up getting offers this year or next. They have good speed at the WR position and a nice looking running game. This may not be the most talented team X has put on a field but they had a flow about them and I came away with a good feeling about who there season will go.

While I wasn't able to get all of the names of the players who caught my eye, we will be on the lookout for many of you. I really would like to see some game film from both X and West from this season.

PS: To all of the players on the field today. Great job!! you all showed great sportsmanship and manners after your hard day. Also a great job to Mrs. Minton and her many helpers who prepared and served the food for all teams today. It looked like about 250 players were feed today. So everyone knows this was another area the Wayne Booster Club didn't help with any funds.

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