Year in and year out, Ohio pumps out some of the top football players in the country. Some of the top college football players, of all positions, hail from the Buckeye State. This year, you'll know who some of these guys are a year or two before you see them playing on Saturday afternoons. OhioPrepScene.com is proud to bring you the first of an eight part series - Players to Watch 2003. In this edition, we'll look at some of the elite QB's in the Buckeye State.
The Quarterback position is referred to as "A Coach on the field." Quarterbacks need to be strong not only physically, but mentally. They need to be natural leaders in the huddle. Ohio has traditionally been very strong at the QB spot. Guys like Art Schlichter, Bobby Hoying, Dave Ragone and Roger Staubach really put Ohio on the map. Recent recruits like Justin Zwick and Troy Smith two years ago, and Todd Boeckman, Brady Quinn, and Benjamin Mauk this past season have really kept the trend going.
This season should be no different for Ohio. OhioPrepScene.com will get you up to par on the top Ohio Quarterbacks for the upcoming football season.
Northeast Ohio, referred to by some as the biggest recruiting hotbed in America, has some big Quarterback prospects this year. Darryl Clark and Brian Hoyer stick out the most. Hoyer hails from football powerhouse Cleveland St Ignatius. He filled the very large shoes of graduated Nate Szep last season and put up some impressive numbers. The 6'4 205 Junior threw for over 2,000 yards in only 11 games last year. He led his Wildcats to a 7-3 regular season, before losing a heartbreaker to eventual D I Runner-Up Warren Harding the first round of the playoffs. Hoyer has one of the strongest arms in Ohio, but needs to work on his accuracy a little. He had a tendency to overthrow receivers last year. He's got a great frame, but could benefit from adding 10-20 pounds. He's got above average mobility for a QB (4.7). Brian should be a top three Quarterback prospect in the 2003 season.
Darryl Clark, despite being a Division IV athlete, is also considered one of the best QB's in Ohio. The Youngstown Ursuline Irishman has a nice frame (6'2 185) and an extremely strong arm. He also has great escapability and speed (4.6). He should put up some good numbers this year as he is surrounded by the most talented team in Division IV. The loss of running back Delbert Ferguson (transfer to Warren Harding) should give Mr. Clark more throws and opportunities to shine. Clark led the Irish to an 8-6 season, they lost to Portsmouth West in the Div IV State Semifinals.
Another kid from Northeast Ohio, one who's name you probably haven't heard, is Jon Brown of the Westlake Demons. Brown wasn't supposed to start last season as a sophomore, but filled in when Senior Doug Jones was injured in a preseason scrimmage. Brown took the reigns and flew. The sophomore standout threw for almost 3,000 yards last year, despite not having great talent around him. Brown is not blessed with great size (5'11 180), but has good instincts and throws a nice ball. The big downfall of Brown is the success of his team. The Demons were 2-8 last year, certainly not a record that will help get a QB some exposure.
An unfamiliar face will be stepping on the field as a Warren Harding Raider this upcoming season. Mr. Alex Engram, originally a Irving MacAurthur Cardinal (TX), has transferred to Warren Harding where he hopes to return the Raiders (14-1) to the Div I State Finals again this season. As a junior in Texas, Engram threw for over 1000 yards and rushed for another 500+. What he lacks in size (6'1 195), he makes up for in speed (4.55).
NE Ohio should be used to seeing quarterbacks like Engram. There is a near exact mold playing for the Akron Buchtel Griffs. Steve Walker is one of the most explosive players statewide. He is a great dual-threat QB that threw for over 2,000 yards his sophomore season, and right around 2,000 last year. Walker can beat you with his legs or his arm. The 5'10 175 Junior is a little size challenged (5'10 180), but once again, the speed is there (4.45).
The last highlighted QB from Northeast Ohio is Thom Abbot of the Mentor Cardinals. Abbot is one of the most underrated players in Ohio. He plays for a great program in Mentor. Abbot led the Cardinals to an 11-2 record, they lost to eventual State Runner-Up Warren Harding in the playoffs. He earned 2nd Team Division I and was an All Ohio pick. Remember his name, you'll be hearing it a lot in 2003.
Now the bulk of QBs have been discussed, I'd like to highlight a different area - Central Ohio. The center of the state yearly puts out some great teams and athletes. One of the best D I programs of recent history has been The Dublin Coffman ‘Rocks. The Shamrocks had some big time players last year in QB Brady Quinn and WR Chinedum Ndukwe (Both going to Notre Dame). They should be set this year with transfer QB Jack Rafferty (Col. St Charles). Rafferty had been wowing people for two years with the St Charles Cardinals. Jack was a 2nd Team All-State pick last year as he threw for over 2,000 yards and helped his team qualify for the playoffs. Look for him to put up good numbers again this year.
Another QB from Central Ohio is Upper Arlington Golden Bear Mike Maciejowski. Maciejowski is a two-year starter for UA and should lead them deep in the playoffs this year. He threw for close to 1,500 yards last season and should repeat that this season.
The last two quarterbacks hail from the SW Corner of the Buckeye State - another area where football is life. Anthony Turner has been drawing attention since early in his sophomore year when Michigan State offered him and then teammate Pernell Williams. Since then, Turner has done nothing but improved and drawn even more attention. Anthony is blessed with a great combination of size and speed. He stands 6'3, 200 pounds and has been clocked in the 4.6 range. He led his Eagles to the D II crown last year with an amazing 14-1 record. Turner threw for nearly 1,500 yards and rushed for 500+. With sophomore standout RB Javon Ringer returning next season, the bulk of defensive attention cannot be