It’s on the Haus: January 8

It’s on the Haus is a daily installment of sports and esports news from the past day. Rather than waiting an entire hour to see the big news on a television program, or come to multiple stories on multiple websites to get your sports fix, It’s on the Haus gives you the biggest sports and esports happenings, all in one place. You may feel guilty for reading this concise article that gives you everything you need to know, but don’t worry, It’s on the Haus.

 

Get Dumped Then, Oakland and Detroit

The Houston Texans took down the depleted Oakland Raiders 27-14 in the first game of the 2017 NFL Playoffs. I was rooting for the Raiders to pull this one out, hoping Connor Cook would avenge Derek Carr’s broken leg. Of course, whichever team I root for loses in the first round (#WhoDey), so I guess I should’ve rooted for the Fighting Brockweilers, so as to not curse the beautiful and classy Raider fans. Whatever Houston. Have fun getting whipped by whomever you play in the divisional round.

In the second wild-card game of the day, the Seattle Seahawks euthanized the Detroit Lions, 26-6. I don’t recall watching a team die as slowly and miserably as the Lions did. I feel for Lions fans because as much as you want your team to win, sometimes it’s not meant to be.

However, Twitter dot com has shown me how annoying Lions fans are by calling for Matthew Stafford to be named MVP, elite, and savoir of all things good. I retract my previous statement. Just sit there and sulk, Lions fans. Blaming the refs for 20 years of terrible football really fills the void, doesn’t it?

High Schoolers Play Football on National Televisions

January 8 sports news

Jeffrey Okudah could make an immediate impact next year for Ohio State. (Photo: Eleven Warriors)

The 17th edition of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl was played yesterday afternoon. The East defeated the West, 27-17 and the majority of people who watched the game are older than those that played in it.

Seven All-Americans announced where they intend to attend school this fall, including the number two ranked player in the nation. You can find where each of the seven teenagers decided to attend school and which schools were closest to landing the coveted prospects in this neat table below.

OT Foster Sarell, No. 2 overall, No. 1 T Stanford University, over Washington and others
CB Jeffrey Okudah, No. 7 overall, No. 1 CB Ohio State, over others
CB Darnay Holmes, No. 12 overall, No. 2 CB UCLA, over Ohio State and others
S Bubba Bolden, No. 55 overall, No. 6 S USC, over Ohio State, Arizona State, and others
OT Chuck Filiaga, No. 98 overall, No. 14 OT Michigan, over USC, Oklahoma, and others
RB Eno Benjamin, No. 143 overall, No. 8 RB Arizona State, over Texas, Iowa, Michigan, and others
WR Jamire Calvin, No. 254 overall, No. 36 WR Oregon State, over Nebraska and others

East quarterback Hunter Johnson was named the game’s MVP. He threw for 91 yards and one touchdown. Johnson will take his talents to Clemson next season, and sources tell me there’s a job opening at quarterback next season for Clemson.

It is Finished

After two days of speculation, Kyle Korver is officially a Cleveland Cavalier. Cleveland shipped a protected first-round pick to Atlanta and gave away Mo Williams and Mike Dunleavy in the deal. The Cavs also gave away this year’s first-round pick to Portland for their 2018 first round pick in order to make the deal work.

This seems like a good deal for Cleveland, but LeBron James is still not impressed. King James demands a backup point guard, so it looks like Cavs general manager David Griffin still has some work to do. Either way, with all the weapons already in Cleveland, “Kyle Korver” and “splashes a wide open three” should be paired together a lot as Korver becomes accustomed to his new offense.

I’m supremely convinced that this move was made to replace the GOAT of all GOATS, Joe Harris. Harris averaged a modest yet respectable 2.7 points per game last season for the Cavs, before suffering a broken foot that ended his season. Harris is now averaging 8.9 points per game with the Nets, showing he’s clearly a spectacular player.

I could easily drop 40 points with a 66 overall Joe Harris on any scumbag who tries to front me on NBA 2K, so don’t test me. His range is legit, and his heart just won’t quit.

He Indefinitely Tripped Him

Grayson Allen (maybe) tripped another player in his first game back from his one-game suspension, which came about for tripping players. Take a look at this footage (ha, get it?), and decide for yourself.

Grayson Allen is doing a great job of reinforcing Duke basketball stereotypes. Rather than slapping the floor on defense and diving for loose balls like any white basketball player should, Allen cries like a preppy white-collar teen. I’m convinced Grayson Allen will not rest until he kills a man via tripping, so yeah, he tripped the poor soul.

Hey, Grayson Allen, just stop that.

 

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A Happy Game Haus Thankgiving

We decided a couple of weeks ago that we wanted to do a Thanksgiving piece and give our readers a chance to get to know us a little better! Below are some of the staff members of TGH telling you all what they are thankful for this holiday season. From Our Haus to Yours, have a very happy Game Haus Thanksgiving!

Jared MacAdam- Head of Esports: Well, I’ll go first, being the only Canadian and my Thanksgiving has passed quite some time ago. I’m thankful for the way this site has grown since its inception, how many great writers we’ve had and all the awesome content we’ve produced. I’m also immensely thankful for the way esports has matured in the past year; we’re seeing leaps and strides in key areas like players well being and stability. It’s an exciting thing to experience and to have a little part in. I’m also thankful for all the weirdos in the Front Office who lovingly mock my Canadianisms.

Josh Burris – Editor: I am thankful for sports. I am a proud Cleveland fan and with the exception of the Browns, good things are happening with our teams. I’m thankful I got to see a Cleveland team win a title. I am also thankful for my family and friendships I have at home, school, and from this site.

Ryan Moran – CFO: I am thankful for family, friends, and football. I am also thankful to be working for TGH and to belong to such an exciting community of sports and esports. I am also thankful of the unifying power of sports and their ability to bring anybody together win or lose.

Tim Miller – Vice President: Of course, when talking about being thankful, I have to be thankful for the opportunity to help lead The Game Haus. I’m also thankful to root for the mighty Ohio State Buckeye football team, and that Marvin Lewis should get fired after this year. I’m also thankful for a loving family and loving girlfriend. Finally, I’m thankful to live in a great country with freedoms like no other (no matter how you feel currently), and to go to a solid, christian university in Cedarville University.

Robert Hanes- President: While these last 365 days have been some of the most challenging times in my life, I can say that I have so many things to be grateful for. To start, everyone here at The Game Haus. These people are incredible, as you can read in their paragraphs of what they are thankful for. They have all gone through many things and have worked their butts off while working here. So thank you to all of the Front Office Members, Writers, Podcasters, and League Team Members! I am also very thankful for my friends. They have helped me through some tough times throughout the last year and I do not know where I would be without them. The same can be said for my Father, Mother and Sister. They have been my rocks as I have struggled many times this year. Lastly I am thankful to God and his son, while it sounds cheesy I know they have been with me every step of the way. From Our Haus to Yours, thank you and have a wonderful holiday season!

Terrance Singleton- Social Media Director: I am thankful for the life God has given me. Every time the holiday season comes around I think about how easily I couldn’t be here. My grandfather died on November 19, 2010 right before Thanksgiving. And I was in a pretty bad car accident on December 27, 2012 that broke my neck and cut my scalp open. So every time the holiday season rolls around I always think about how precious life, family, friends, and faith are important in my life and everyone’s life. So on this Thanksgiving when you are watching NFL football games and eating food until you can’t move, tell your loved ones how much you love them because tomorrow is not promised.

Dylan Streibig- NFL Writer: Whether we realize it or not, we all have a lot to be thankful for.  I am no exception this Thanksgiving or any other year. I am thankful to have a roof over my head and a family that loves me. I am grateful for the fantastic sporting events that go on all around the world. They provide me a momentary escape from my life with a physical disability. I am also thankful for my dog and the fact that I am now a published sports writer thanks to The Game Haus. Most of all, I am thankful for the loyalty of my close friends who do not give up on me, even when I give up on myself.

Matthew Hagan- Columnist: I’m thankful for the opportunity The Game Haus has presented me with. Writing about my favorite sport, football, and offering me a column has been one of the best things in my life. I am thankful to have parents, family and friends support while trying to get a degree in college. My mom has been the biggest reason I have made it this far and I am so thankful that I get to fly back to Vegas to spend Thanksgiving with her. I am also thankful I got to see the Cubs win a World Series and attend the victory parade in Chicago. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life. I am thankful for all the opportunities I have had in this amazing country. I am proud to be an American and this Thanksgiving is going to be one of the best ever. Thank you to everyone who reads my articles, weather you agree or disagree with them. I want to wish anyone who reads this, and anyone who may not, a safe, fun and amazing Thanksgiving.

Alex Keller- Recruitment and Retention: What am I thankful for? Where can I even begin… I guess it would have to be with my family and friends. I wouldn’t be in the position I am today if not for their love and support. But it’s so much more than that… the opportunity to even attend an institution like Georgia Tech, let alone graduate from it is an experience I’m incredibly thankful for. And of course, I have to thank everyone who’s been a part of making my experience with TGH so awesome. So, from our haus to yours, have a Happy Game Haus Thanksgiving everybody.

What If The NFL Abolished Tackling?

Whether the increasing amount of lawsuits filed against the NFL for traumatic brain injuries or critics of football exposing more of its brutal nature amass more attention, one must begin to wonder if tackling in football has seen its run.

We should first ask ourselves what we love about football and if we can still have those components in a non-tackling league.  Or, if there is no tackling, is there a proper substitute that will still shoot the same adrenaline down our spines, without the body-bashing injuries?

Pain in football is inevitable; ask any football player from any level and they will tell you.  They’ll also say that they always play with pain, but never with injury.  Sure there are several useful precautions one can take when playing football – keep your head up, low man wins, maintain grounded footwork – but the reality is that even technique can’t compensate for that one false step, that one mishap, that lands you on the ground withering in agony.

Just ask former Steeler and Redskins wide receiver, Antwaan Randel El, who played eight years in the NFL.  “I have to come down (the stairs) sideways sometimes,” he said.  “I ask my wife over and over again and she’s like ‘I just told you that.”

And on the inevitable collisions Randel El adds, “There’s no correcting it. There’s no helmet that’s going to correct it. There’s no teaching that’s going to correct it. It just comes down to it’s a physically violent game. Football players are in a car wreck every week.”

The question remains: What if we eliminated tackling from football?  I have wondered from time to time what the sport would be like if this limitation were imposed.  Would football still be fun?  How would the strategy of the game change?  I’ll take a shot at both questions.

Yes, football would still be fun in a non-tackling league.  When I think about what I enjoy most about football, head bashing and getting the wind knocked out of me are pretty low on the list.  Throughout my four years of just High School football I suffered a sprained wrist, sprained ankle, fractured finger and at least one concussion (I say “at least” one because there were several instances in which I was hit in the head hard, but was unable to make the distinction between a concussion and just another big hit).  Those forgotten injury statistics don’t include the couple of times I was hit so hard that I literally saw colors.

Instead, what makes the game fun and exciting is the passing, the receiving, the running, the intercepting, the fumble recovering, the kicking, the returning, the comradery, the celebrating, and most of all, the friendships.  Football is the ultimate team sport; the linemen block for the quarterback, who passes the ball to a receiver, while the defense rushes the passer and communicates coverage and blitz responsibilities.  As with any players in team sports, football players improve their teamwork skills, become more disciplined workers, and establish a brotherly bond with one another.  Perhaps these advantages to playing can still hold true if the game were touch football.

The strategy of offensive and defensive schemes would most likely alter in the passing game.  Assuming there would be no need for pads, receivers would feel fleet-footed and lighter.  Passing patterns would stretch the field, players would be better able to make quicker cuts, and the concern of coming out of the game from exhaustion would abate.  After all, football pads, helmets, and gear can add as much as 15 to 25 pounds to one player’s load.

As far as the running game is concerned, the existence of running plays will depend on blocking.  It should be no shocker that linemen are the ones in the worst physical shape when they’re conditioned to bulk up and gain weight to either block or evade blocks.  I suppose the manner in which linemen block would have to change and become more…gentle?  But remember, ruling a player down is still no easy task in touch football – athletes are shifty!  This is why flag football is a useful alternative to the current state of football – you can still run the ball outside and you’re ruled down when a defender grabs your flag, which is not easy.

My point is that football would still be a unique, creative, enjoyable sport if the tackling aspect were removed.

Despite playing multiple positions as a receiver, return man and quarterback, Randel El also admitted his regret without hesitation.  “If I could go back, I wouldn’t.  I would play baseball. I got drafted by the Cubs in the 14th round, but I didn’t play baseball…Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football. But, right now, I could still be playing baseball.”

Randel El is also worried about the devastating injuries, and sometimes deaths, associated with High School players. “The kids are getting bigger and faster, so the concussions, the severe spinal cord injuries, are only going to get worse,” he said. “It’s a tough pill to swallow because I love the game of football. But I tell parents, you can have the right helmet, the perfect pads on, and still end up with a paraplegic kid.”  Last year alone fifteen High School players lost their life playing the game they loved.  These young men are being robbed of their futures.

Evan Murray, the 17 year old Quarterback at Warren Hills High, looks onto the field for what would be his last game before passing away from a lacerated spleen.

More evidence looms as time goes by, not necessarily for the end of football, but for a call to change in violent football culture.

 

The Unfair Case of Divisional Alignments in Ohio High School Football

Down in the small town of Chillicothe, Ohio, just off the highway, there sits a school that holds the only Tank mascot in the country. That’s high school, college, or pro. For four years this is where I played my high school football, my final season being just last year. But this isn’t about my playing history.

It’s about an unfair system that needs to be changed.

You see, Unioto High School has had football for 52 complete seasons.  And in 52 complete seasons, the Sherman Tanks have never been to the football playoffs.

That’s not to say there haven’t been some good seasons. In 1967, the U went 10-0. In 1981 they went 9-1 with their only loss coming on a failed fourth and goal play late in the fourth quarter. They got in neither of those years.

But the biggest travesty may have been 2014, when I was a junior and eight teams from each region got to go to the playoffs. We went 8-2. But we could have gone 9-1, it still would not have been enough to get in over the two 7-3 teams that came in seventh and eighth or even the 6-4 teams that were ninth and tenth.

Why? Because the OHSAA bases their divisional alignments solely on the male student body attending a school. We have 229 boys attending our high school, good for division four of seven in the state. Do you know how many of those boys play football? 29. That’s 13 percent participation, and I think most will agree not nearly enough players to compete with top end D-IV schools. But a D-VI school just up the road from us draws a participation of 43 percent with 52 out of 121 boys (numbers from OHSAA.org and chillicothegazette.com). And they beat us consistently, one of the reasons being the greater number of people to rotate in for fresh bodies.  

Why don’t we draw a lot of numbers to our football team? Some of it is laziness, but a lot of it has to do with the dominance of our other sports programs. We’ve won our conference all-sports banner 22 of the last 24 years. Our golf, cross country, basketball, and track programs dominate like Ohio State playing in the MAC. In my class the last four years, a ton of great receivers played cross country, three elite defensive backs played soccer, a lineman played golf, and another top-flight receiver decided to “focus on basketball”. Paint Valley, the school I mentioned from earlier, is dead last every fall in both golf and cross country. There’s nothing else for top athletes to do when the leaves change if they want to be a part of a winning program.

The other thing that makes this system flawed is the way the playoffs are scored by computers. Points stem from the divisional placements of the teams you beat and the teams they beat. So if you are stuck in a conference playing teams with student population densities the levels of which Alaska would be disappointed with (which can still turn out good teams when the kids actually come out) you can have a great season and get Lance Armstronged in the computer points.

In 2015, 8-2 Logan of Division II finished in tenth place while Lake at 6-4 finished in sixth place to get into the playoffs in Region five. In Region nine (division III), three different 7-3 schools finished behind Bishop Watterson for the final seed of eight. And in division IV’s Region eleven, 5-5 Ursuline finished fifth while 8-2 Firelands scraped by in eighth, yet 7-3 teams Streetsboro and Field missed the postseason (thanks to joeeitel.com for those rankings).

Quality of opponent should matter, yes. But does it account for two, even three games difference in record? No. If a team goes 8-2 and misses the playoffs they should be in a lower division, end of story. That isn’t right.

So, since this is just a rant without any proposal for a solution to the problem, here is what I think the division calculation system should look like:

  • 42.5 percent based on male student body (this should still be the number one factor due to a larger talent pool, but it should not be the only factor)
  • 32.5 percent based on average roster size over the previous five seasons (actual numbers, but not the largest factor since greater numbers don’t always equal greater talent)
  • 15 percent based on playoff appearances in the last ten seasons (if a school is never making the playoffs, they are in too high a division)
  • 10 percent based on the competition a school typically plays (this will help level the playing field of potential points for teams, but it should be the smallest factor with the smallest direct effect on team quality).

Does this sound complicated? Yes, but anything done right takes time to compute.

The other thing I like about this system is that it allows for more fluctuation between divisions, as you move up when you improve your overall team quality instead of when your school gets bigger. Some may argue that as a bad thing, but the greatest systems in the world are successful due to their ability to change with the times. I would point to the United State Constitution as a governmental example.

Is my system perfect? No. No system is, and I’m sure there’s a much better way to align schools than some biased eighteen year old’s angry musings. But there is definitely a way better system out there than what is currently in place.

National Signing Day: Pac 12

The conference of champions needs to have more success in football championships and will be able to do so with good recruiting this season. Pac-12 rivalries are being restored and renewed based on good recruiting. So grab your popcorn for the next few years because USC, UCLA, Oregon and Stanford will all be at the top of the Pac-12 for the next few years. Here are the Pac-12 rankings:

Defensive end Oluwole Betiku can be as successful as Leonard Williams at USC. Photo courtesy todaysu.com.

  1. USC- 4 stars- 13, 3 stars- 4, Total 18

USC doesn’t have that many players signed, but has plenty of good four stars that carry their class. Clay Helton has a great first recruiting class for the Trojans.

Defensively two players are going to be instant play-makers. Defensive end Oluwole Betiku will get some playing time, especially in pass rushing situations. Safety Jamel Cook is six foot four inches tall and can provide a great strong safety for the Trojans immediately. Corner back Jackie Jones will likely need to wait at least a year to get significant playing time, but has the potential to be a star.

USC got a great quarterback in this class in Matt Fink, who still needs to grow into his frame. The Trojans got three great receivers for their future. High school teammates Tyler Vaughns and Trevon Sidney will join the class along with Josh Imatorbhebhe. The offensive tackle that could have an impact immediately is E.J. Price out of Georgia.

Quarterback K.J. Costello is following in the footsteps of Andrew Luck by going to Stanford. Photo courtesy pe.com.

  1. Stanford- 4 stars- 9, 3 stars- 15, Total 26

David Shaw will again compete in the Pac-12 North with help from this recruiting class. The Cardinal have recruiting restrictions with who they can recruit because of their academic standards, which makes this class more impressive.

The offense has Christian McCaffrey and needs players around him for the next season or two. Quarterback K.J. Costello is one of the best pocket-passing quarterbacks in the country and is more than capable of taking over for Kevin Hogan who graduated. Stanford signed one of the best tight ends in the country, Kaden Smith, who will fit in with The Cardinal’s pro-style offense. Offensive tackle Clark Yarbrough will come in and compete for a job early to block for McCaffrey.

The Cardinal have gotten a great recruit on every level of the defense, which they needed. Cornerback Treyjohn Butler could be the best defensive back that Shaw has ever had when it is all said and done. Curtis Robinson is a linebacker that will at the very least provide depth for the Cardinal in his first season, but could do more. Defensive tackle Mike Williams already has the size to start in the trenches for Stanford at 305 pounds. All three players have the potential to play a lot in their freshman seasons.

Linebacker Lokeni Toailoa can be another successful UCLA linebacker. Photo courtesy insidesocial.com.

  1. UCLA- 4 stars- 12, 3 stars- 14, Total 27

Jim Mora has been great as the head coach of the Bruins and is recruiting very well. They will be competing with USC for the Pac-12 south for plenty of years to come.

The Bruins have lost a lot of good linebackers in the past couple of years in Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Myles Jack, but have reloaded by signing Mique Juarez, Lokeni Toailoa and Krystopher Barnes, who all could compete for playing time early. Defensive end Breland Brandt is a talented player out of Los Angeles, who needs to put on some weight, but is very promising. Safety Brandon Burton will join a secondary that has plenty of good depth.

Running back Damian Alloway is a small running back, but has a four-star rating and can be a good fit for UCLA’s spread system. Wide receivers Audie Omotosho and Theo Howard will be good targets for Josh Rosen for the next couple of years.

Terry Wilson is a perfect fit to run Oregon’s offense. Photo courtesy omaha.com.

  1. Oregon- 4 stars- 4, 3- stars 14, Total 19

Mark Helfrich has kept bringing great players to Eugene for the Ducks. Oregon is going nowhere in the Pac-12 championship picture any time soon.

The next great Oregon quarterback is Terry Wilson, who may start next season given his dual-threat ability. Four-star athlete Tristen Wallace played quarterback in high school, but will likely play another position on Oregon’s offense.

The defense got a lot of good front seven depth in this class. Defensive ends Bryson Young and Hunter Kampmoyer will provide good defensive line depth for the Ducks. Linebackers Darrian Franklin and LaMar Winston Jr. have chances to grow into stars for Oregon.

  1. Arizona State- 4 stars- 9, 3- stars 9, Total 18

Arizona State had a disappointing season in 2015, but has a good recruiting class to build with for next season. Todd Graham has continued his great recruiting, which has built Arizona State into a solid program.

The Sun Devils have one of the best receiving prospects in the country signed in N’keal Harry, who will be the best receiver they have had since Jaelen Strong. They will have a better offensive line thanks to Cohl Cabral who is a four-star center. Dillon Sterling-Cole is a god four-star sign for the Sun Devils and he will be the quarterback of the future. Running backs Chase Lucas and Tre Turner may have to wait to get on the field, but will provide good backfield depth for Arizona State.

On defense, the Sun Devils have loaded up on JUCO prospects to fill holes in their defense. They have two JUCO defensive ends, Dougladson Subtyl and Christian Hill, should see the field early for Arizona State. Two JUCO cornerbacks, Maurice Chandler and J’Marcus Rhodes, also have a chance to fight for playing time early in their time in Tempe.

  1. Washington- 4 stars- 8, 3 stars- 9, Total 18

Chris Petersen has a great recruiting class coming in for his second season as head coach of the Huskies. He will have Washington at the top of the Pac-12 if he keeps on recruiting like this.

The players that will have the most impact on the defensive side of the ball in this class are cornerback Byron Murphy, linebacker Camilo Eifler, Safety Taylor Rapp and potentially athlete Isaiah Gilchrist.

Two running backs and a receiver highlight the offensive commits for Washington. Brandon Wellington is a running back from Washington, who is an all-purpose back. Sean McGrew is more of a third down back, but could see more playing time if he produces. Four-star wide receiver Jordan Chin weighs 149 pounds and stands at six feet, so he will need to put on weight before he can reach his full potential.

  1. Utah- 4 stars- 3, 3 stars- 24, Total 29

Kyle Whittingham has gotten Utah to compete in the Pac-12, but needs to continue to recruit well to get over the edge for a Pac-12 Championship. Utah has loaded up on offense in this recruiting class to replace Travis Wilson and Devontae Booker.

JUCO offensive tackle Garett Bolles is one of the best tackle prospects in the country and will start from day one if he lives up to expectations. They have two different dual-threat quarterbacks coming in, three quality running backs, three wide receivers and more on the offensive side of the ball for this recruiting class.

The best player in the class defensively is JUCO linebacker David Luafatasaga, who will most likely start for the Utes.

  1. Cal- 4 stars- 3, 3 stars- 19, Total 23

Sonny Dykes may lose Jared Goff this offseason, but he has a decent recruiting class coming in.

Athlete Melquise Stovall is short in stature, but can be the swiss army knife of the Cal offense in coming years. He may play a little running back and receiver, much like De’anthony Thomas at Oregon a few years ago. They got another good offensive weapon in wide receiver Jordan Duncan out of Mississippi. Guard Dwayne Wallace, out of JUCO, is good enough to start next season for Cal.

The Golden Bears got two corners that are the best players in this class defensively. Nygel Edmonds and Camryn Bynum look like they could be a great corner tandem for Cal down the road.

  1. Oregon State- 4 stars- 3, 3 stars- 21, Total 25

Gary Anderson gets his first full year of recruiting kicked off pretty well for the Oregon State Beavers. His main focus was on the defensive side of the ball, because their offense is still young and can improve.

The best player for the Beavers in this class is safety Shurod Thompson, who will get a chance to start immediately for a team that struggled defensively. Defensive ends Isaac Garcia and Phillip Napoleon will also get a chance to play early in their careers to help the bad Oregon State defense. Athlete Christian Wallace can play multiple positions and has a chance to see the field early.

The Beavers also got athlete Christian Wallace who could fill in a lot of holes on the depth chart for the offense or defense.

  1. Arizona- 4 stars- 5, 3 stars- 13, Total 22

Arizona doesn’t have the best class in the Pac-12, but they do have some talented players for Rich Rodriguez to work with.

Rodriguez got a lot of offensive line help in this class. Keenan Walker and Michael Eletsie are both good enough to play next season. The Wildcats also may have found their quarterback of the future in dual-threat Khalil Tate, out of California.

Defensively Arizona got inside linebacker Kahi Neves, form Utah, who has the ideal size and weight for a college linebacker already at six foot four inches and 233 pounds. They also have a commitment from the JUCO ranks in Josh Allen, who will help the defense immediately.

  1. Washington State- 4 stars- 1, 3 stars- 22, Total 28

Washington State just had their best season in a long time, but don’t have a great recruiting class to keep the momentum going. Mike Leach is a coach who is known to get the most out of the talent he does get, so he will find a way to make these players successful.

Their four-star recruit is wide receiver Isaiah Johnson, from Florida, which is good for the Cougars, who run the air-raid offense. Another player who will get playing time in their first season is linebacker Chima Onyeukwu from Junior College. Washington State did a great job recruiting California and will need to continue to do so in the future to compete in the Pac-12.

  1. Colorado- 3 stars- 14, Total 17

Colorado does not have an encouraging class coming in to help them compete in the coming years. Mike MacIntyre is 10-27 in his tenure with Colorado and needs this class to overachieve to help him out.

The Buffaloes loaded up on offense at the top of their class. The best player that Colorado got is one of the best fullbacks in the country, Beau Bisharat, who could play halfback if it is needed. Quarterback Sam Noyer, out of Oregon, was a big score for Colorado. They also got wide receiver Kabion Ento, from Junior College, who could provide some instant impact.

 

National Signing Day: ACC and Notre Dame

The future of college football starts now on national signing day. Plenty of recruits will sign with their future school and will mold the next few seasons of football. Here is how the ACC and Notre Dame rank:

Malik Henry will be the next great Florida State quarterback. Photo courtesy 247sports.com.

  1. Florida State- 5 Stars- 1, 4 stars- 18, 3 stars- 6, Total 25

Florida State has one of the best recruiting classes in the country, which should help them get back to an ACC title in the coming years. They have one five-star prospect, but have a lot of talent that could propel them to the top spot in the recruiting rankings by the end of the day.

Cornerback Levontae Taylor is their best recruit and could help out a secondary that loses Jalen Ramsey to the NFL. They have another good cornerback in this class who is a four-star recruit, Carlos Becker. Defensive end Jamarius Robinson and linebacker Keion Joyner are solid recruits as well, which helped Florida State hit every level of the defense in this class.

Jimbo Fisher may have found his quarterback for next season in Malik Henry from California, who is a great dual-threat for the Florida State offense. Center Baveon Johnson is their best offensive line recruit, and will be a future star. They also bolstered their offensive tackle position by signing Landon Dickerson, a four-star recruit. Wide receiver Keith Gavin will join a good receiving corps and will need to battle to get on the field. Running back Amir Rasul will back up Dalvin Cook next season.

Dexter Lawrence will fill the role of the next great Clemson defensive lineman. Photo courtesy scout.com.

  1. Clemson- 5 stars- 1, 4 stars- 14, 3 stars- 5, Total 22

Clemson is coming off of a National Championship Game appearance and has a great recruiting class to keep their success going. Dabo Swinney has been known as one of the best recruiters in the country and didn’t disappoint this season.

The Tigers have a great defensive class thanks to a great signing day thus far. Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence is their only five-star prospect and is physically big, which means he will be the next great Clemson defensive lineman. Cornerback Trayvon Mullen is a four-star prospect and is needed to replace Mackensie Alexander, who is leaving for the NFL draft. They have two talented linebackers in this class in Rahshaun Smith and Tre’ Lamar, who both should be future starters for Clemson.

The Clemson offense was young this season so they don’t need much from this recruiting class. Their best offensive player is running back Tavien Feaster, who will have the honor of backing up Wayne Gallman in his first season. Diondre Overton is a talented big receiver to put next to Artavis Scott next season. They only have one four-star offensive lineman at this point and that is guard Sean Pollard. They may need more from the offensive line in this class.

Liam Eichenberg has been tested in high school football in Ohio and is a good pickup for Notre Dame. Photo courtesy 247 sports.com.

  1. Notre Dame- 4 stars- 9, 3 stars- 13, Total 23

Notre Dame is abnormally still without a five-star commit at this point. Brian Kelly still has a good class and should be competing for the College Football Playoff next season with help from this class.

The Fighting Irish have their two best recruits on the offensive line in Liam Eichenberg and Tommy Kraemer, who are both from Ohio. The other great offensive recruit is Chase Claypool out of Canada, who is six foot five inches tall and can be a great red zone target.

The defensive players that stand out are defensive end Khalid Kareem, safeties Donte Vaughn and Spencer Perry and defensive end Julian Okwara, which shows they are still looking for a star linebacker in this class.

  1. Miami- 4 stars- 11, 3 stars- 7, Total 18

Miami doesn’t have the most players in this class yet, but they do have a lot of talent. Mark Richt has done a good job of retaining commits from Al Golden’s tenure, to make the recruiting class near the top of the ACC. The Hurricanes did a great job recruiting their own state, getting their top ten recruits from the state of Florida.

The top player Miami has in this class, pocket-passing quarterback Jack Allison, looks to have a bright future, but most likely won’t play as a freshman because the Hurricanes have a star in Brad Kaaya. To go along with Kaaya next year, Miami has wide receivers Sam Bruce, Dionte Mullens and running back Travis Horner, who are all talented enough to compete for playing time next season.

Defensively the Hurricanes have one of the best linebackers in the country signed with them, Shaquille Quarterman. They also have linebacker Zachary McCloud, defensive end Patrick Bethel, Joseph Jackson, and safeties Romeo Finley and Cedrick Wright closing out their defensive four star commits.

5. Duke- 4 stars- 7, 3 stars- 14, Total 21Duke has its best recruiting class in school history this season. David Cutcliffe has completed a successful turnaround of the Duke football program and it doesn’t look like they are going anywhere.

The Blue Devils have a very balanced class. Defensively their best recruit is Chidi Okonya, who is six foot seven inches, but is a slender 211 pounds. The other star defensive recruit is safety Dylan Singleton who is undersized at five feet eleven inches, but is a four-star recruit nonetheless.

Offensively the Blue Devils have four different four star prospects. Offensive tackle Robert Kraeling has the necessary size to compete in the ACC already. Tight end Mark Birmingham and wide receiver Scott Bracey will be great targets for Thomas Sirk in their first season. Running back Brittain Brown looks like he will be productive running the football for Duke for the next few years.

6.Pitt- 4 stars- 3, 3 stars- 20, Total 24

Pat Narduzzi has gotten his first full year of recruiting in, and it paid off. He has been extremely successful keeping players in Pennsylvania.

Cornerback Damar Hamlin is a prized recruit right out of Pittsburgh and decided to stay home to play for the Panthers. He and defensive tackle Keyshon Camp, from Florida, will be ready to play from day one and could have a big impact in their first season. The best offensive recruit is running back George Hill out of Ohio, but he still needs to sign with Pitt to make it official.

  1. North Carolina- 4 stars- 5, 3 stars 20, Total 25

Larry Fedora and North Carolina have done a good job of recruiting, but last year was the first year when that recruiting truly transferred to the on-field play.

Four-star Tomon Fox is a defensive end out of Georgia, who is a little bit undersized, but makes up for it with quickness. Quarterback Logan Byrd is a four-star pocket-passing quarterback, also out of Georgia, is the only offensive four-star recruit for the Tarheels. Athlete Chazz Surratt, cornerback Patrice Rene and defensive tackle Kyree Cambell are all four-star signees that will have a future impact for North Carolina.

 

  1. Louisville- 4 stars- 6, 3 stars- 15, Total 23

Bobby Petrino has Louisville poised to be at the top of the ACC the next couple of years. His recruiting class this season will help their team compete in the tough Atlantic Division.

The best recruit is dual-threat quarterback Jawon Pass, from Georgia. Pass may end up playing another position on the offense, as Petrino gets a lot of dual-threat quarterbacks to play wide receiver and running back. Their secondary was good last season, but they added on to that by getting cornerback Ronald Walker, who is a Juco recruit. They also have three wide receivers and an outside linebacker rounding out their four star recruits.

  1. Va Tech- 4 stars- 5, 3 stars- 13, Total 21

Virginia Tech is in their first offseason without head coach Frank Beamer and now is looking at Justin Fuentes to lead them. Fuentes has big shoes to fill and has to start with recruiting to build the program back to Beamer’s standards.

The top four recruits are all on the offensive side of the ball, including three receivers. Divine Deablo is a big receiver out of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who has the potential to be a star. To go along with Deablo and the other receivers the Hokies have dual-threat quarterback Joshua Jackson who may be able to compete for the starting job next season.

  1. NC State- 4 stars- 1, 3 stars- 22, Total 27

NC State only has one four-star recruit, but has a lot of quality three-star recruits rounding out their class. Dave Doern made a bowl game this season and now needs to make a push and compete in the ACC.

The four-star recruit is tight end Thaddeus Moss, who is six foot four inches and from North Carolina. Jacoby Brissett has exhausted his eligibility, but NC State may have his eventual replacement in three star quarterback recruit, Dylan Parham, who is a pocket passer.

  1. Georgia Tech- 4 stars- 2, 3 stars- 14, Total 18

Paul Johnson has a unique time recruiting each year because he runs the triple option offense. The option offense helps him compete against teams who often recruit better players.

The Yellow Jackets have two four stars this season bolstering their class. Offensive Guard Parker Braun, from Texas, is an undersized offensive lineman, who will fit in perfectly in the triple option offense. Defensive End Jordan Woods will play as a Freshman for Georgia Tech.

  1. Wake Forest- 3 stars- 20, Total 22

Wake Forest has a balanced recruiting class in terms of offense vs. defense. Head Coach Dave Clawson needs to improve his 6-18 overall record to keep his job, making this recruiting class important.

The Demon Deacons have two standout recruits that could have impacts on the team as freshmen. Sulaiman Kamara is a defensive tackle commit, out of Virginia, who could see time next season to help what was a decent defense. Wake Forest needs offense because they only averaged 17.4 points per game. Their best offensive recruit is dual-threat quarterback Jamie Newman out of their home state of North Carolina.

  1. Virginia- 3 stars- 24, Total 24

Bronco Mendenhall is in his first offseason with Virginia and didn’t have too much time to recruit, but will continue to get better at recruiting during his time at Virginia. The Cavaliers don’t have a great recruiting class, but Mendenhall has done well without having the best talent during his time at BYU.

The Cavaliers seem to be targeting offense with their top five recruits coming on the offensive side of the ball. Virginia has three receivers at the top of their class. Joseph Reed and Cole Blackman are both from Vriginia and Hasise Dubois is from New Jersey. Dubois is a big receiver and can create matchup problems.

  1. Syracuse- 3 stars- 18, Total 20

Syracuse has a class that is at the bottom of the ACC once again. They need to capitalize on this signing day to compete in the ACC.

The best recruit is Rex Culpepper, who is a pocket-passing quarterback out of Florida. They also have offensive tackle Sam Heckel, from Wisconsin, and running back Moe Neal, from North Carolina. Syracuse seems to have a focus on recruiting offense this offseason, due to their scoring offense which is the eightieth best in the country.

  1. Boston College- 3 stars- 14, Total 22

Boston College has the worst recruiting class in the ACC, but do have 17 three star prospects. The Eagles have a tendency to find diamonds in the rough, like NFL linebacker Luke Keuchly, and they will be hoping for the same thing in this class.

Steve Addazio needs to get these players to pan out to insure his job security. The two best recruits are wide receiver Kobay White and linebacker Ethan Tucky. White is a six-foot receiver out of Pennsylvania. Tucky is six-foot two inch linebacker out of Ohio.

 

Mechanicsburg, Marion Local Meet in Pivotal Regional Final

(Mechanicsburg awaits their biggest game in school history)

This is what we’ve all been waiting for. This is the matchup that was anticipated in August.

Now, it’s finally here.

The Region 22 Finals will take place Saturday night at Bellefontaine High School. The #1 Marion Local Flyers take on the #2 Mechanicsburg Indians in a fight for the final four in Division VI.

Marion Local sits at 11-1 and took its only loss to Division V Coldwater.

Mechanicsburg is yet to lose a game this season, winning all 12 of their contests.

The majority of high school insiders saw this matchup coming. Marion Local has moved up to Division VI this season, and when it was announced, many anticipated this matchup occurring sometime in late November.

Marion Local has ended their season as state champs in each of the last four seasons.

The Mechanicsburg Indians are entering their second regional final in three years.

Mechanicsburg took a clean sweep of the major Southwest District awards. Kaleb Romero took home the Offensive Player of the Year, Dylan Hartley was crowned the Defensive Player of the Year, and head coach Kurt Forest was awarded the Coach of the Year.

Marion Local did not earn any awards on that scale, but did receive three first-team bids.

The two teams share one common opponent over the 2015 season. Mechanicsburg defeated West Liberty in week six of the season by a final tally of 44-0. Marion Local advanced in the playoffs last week with their 34-0 shutout of West Liberty.

Marion Local’s biggest threat has been senior receiver Hunter Wilker. Wilker earned All-District honors and has 28 receptions for 466 yards and five touchdowns through the first ten games of the season.

The Flyers also own a lot of size on the offensive line. Sophomore guard John Dirksen stands at 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, and is a “sure-fire D1” player according to scout.com. Marion Local’s starting center, John Schwieterman, was named first-team all district and is 6-foot-5, 205 pounds.

Linebacker Cole Unrast earned first-team honors on the defensive side of the ball, and will surely make an impact on the game.

Mechanicsburg’s star quarterback Kaleb Romero will surely impact the game. He’s been a touchdown machine due to his dual-threat abilities as a runner and passer.

Marion Local will also have to deal with Phil Cook, who was named to the second-team in the AP’s Southwest District team. Cook and Romero provide the Indians with enough speed and firepower to beat any team in the state.

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive lineman Dylan Hartley dominates his opposition. Hartley will lead a solid front for Mechanicsburg on Saturday.

The Indians have finished each game of the season with a running clock, proving their dominance even in the playoffs. Their average score is an astounding 46.4-5.7 victory. The Indians are yet to give up three touchdowns in a game, and have not allowed more than 14 points in a game this entire season.

Marion Local’s offense is about ten points behind Mechanicsburg’s, as they average 36.7 points per game. The Flyers keep pace with the Indians defensively, allowing just nine points per game.

This game is the most anticipated game in Division VI this weekend, and is at the top in the entire state.

Many high school pundits think the winner of this game will win the state championship.

The game will be packed, as thousands of fans from across the state will be in attendance to watch a game that has the makings of an instant classic.
The Region 22 championship battle begins at 7:00 P.M., and seats will be limited.