17 October 2011
I was fortunate enough to see the GlenOak Golden Eagles twice in the past few weeks. This year was GlenOak's turn to travel to my Youngstown area for their games against both Austintown Fitch and this past Friday at Boardman. I have never wavered in my infatuation with Eagle star running back Bri'onte Dunn, but I got a good look at a few other big time prospects in each of these games.
You all know about Bri'onte by now, and all the hype is well warrented. The Fitch game is where I believe he first suffered from that hip pointer that cost him some time these past few weeks. He was limited to I believe just nine carries, all coming in the first half. Against Boardman he clearly had the attention of the Spartan defense, but was still impressive and physical running the football in his first full game back. He even split out as GlenOak attempted a late comeback and was impressive in the downfield passing game. I believe Duane has made a comparison between Dunn and Shaun Alexander and I would totally agree. He is a complete back.
But the title of this article is referring to the fact that Bri'onte Dunn is not the only name worth mentioning on that team. I'll start with Dunn's classmate, senior outside linebacker DaShawn Hall. Yes, this is the same DaShawn Hall that you remember bursting onto the scene as a safety with his impressive ball skills in his sophomore highlight reel. I wanted that ball-hawking nature to stay at safety, but the word was always that a move down was iminent. Having seen him in person, I see why. Hall's ball skills are still there and he's an excellent wide out at the high school level, but I wouldn't ask him to cover too many guys one on one. GlenOak doesn't ask this of him too much either anymore as he is now playing linebacker. His name belongs on the radar again at his new position. He is more than adequate in zone coverage because of his athleticism, instincts and d-back background. What really caught my attention is that he has stepped up his physical game. He's a linebacker now and he plays like one. Last year I questioned why he wasn't impacting the run game more as a safety. This year he brought that physical nature that I was waiting for. He'll only get better with taking on blockers, but he is now an aggressive tackler at and behind the line of scrimmage. I definitely see a Big Ten caliber player at his new position and I wouldn't be shocked to see a Big 5 offer.
While the Eagle backfield lost Hall to a position change, they gained another good one in junior corner Tyler Lancaster. The undersized Lancaster had the tall task (pun intended) of guarding Boardman's 6-foot-6-inch wide receiver Dayne Hammond on Friday. Even at his listed height of 5-9 which may be generous, that's 9 inches he's giving up in that match-up. I do not recall a catch for Hammond and certainly not an impactful one. Boardman tried to find their tall receiver on a corner fade route in the second half and Lancaster showed excellent closing speed and ball skills as he came up through a slightly underthrown ball for the break up. I would have been impressed if the same play was made by a 6-foot corner. Later in the game he diagnosed a jet sweep, beat his man and cut down the ball carrier for a loss. I saw the same kind of explosive and scrappy player that I see in Najee Murray. There's nothing he can do about his height, but if he hits the weight room hard I still see interest there, even to be on Big Ten recruiting boards.
On the other side of the ball, junior offensive lineman Steve Mathie has already been on the radar. His body is ideal for a BCS level tackle prospect. I think they list him at 285 and there is no floppy belly here. He moves his feet pretty well but can get caught leaning. He looks like someone that you would keep on the right side of the line to me. He's a Big Ten prospect, but not going to solve anyone's quest for a left tackle.
Lastly, I have another junior to mention. Add QB Reid Worstell to the long list of 2013 signal callers that will garner big time attention. If I coached that game on Friday he would have thrown the ball 40+ times. The Spartans were intent on stopping Bri'onte Dunn and Worstell had a lot of success throwing the ball downfield. We know the Buckeyes just offered Malik Zaire from Alter, but I doubt Worstell would have ever ended up on their radar anyway. Still, he's a guy that should get a free education for what he can do with a football.