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Declaring Athlete Season

I talk about athlete season a lot. For newcomers I will tell you what athlete season is. It is the period that runs from spring to early summer. It includes track and field, combines and finally camps at various schools.

Marcus Foster is a name to watch this spring.

What happens at those camps can change players’ futures. Sometimes players look great on film but need to show speed.
Some need to show they are as big as listed.

Sometimes coaches want to get a good look at their bodies up close to see if they have the kind of body that can add the weight and still keep their speed and athleticism.

Others put themselves on the radar with surprising athlete season performances.

I know that is always a puzzle to fans.

You have to keep in mind how much this is about development. Development is what leaves the great high school players taking a back seat to a teammate that does not get anyone’s attention on the field but has the superior scholarship offers.

The best of the best high school players are great players and great athletes. Make no mistake who is next in the pecking order. It is the superior athlete. College coaches are going to look at a player with great measurables and think about what he can do with him in the next three years.

The better high school player with the full grown body and average measurables is done as far as coaches at big time schools are concerned. That player is limited but he believes he can teach that superior athlete how to play football as well if not better than the superior high school player. There are exceptions to the rule all the time but there is no doubt about the superior athlete theory.

It is sound and time-tested.

DeShawn Hall of Canton GlenOak might be growing into a new position.

Some players do not have the offers you would expect based on their films. Others have no offers. Sometimes it is a matter of grades.

Other times it is a matter of needing to show well in the athlete season. Here is a list of players who will change their lives with superior performances in the athlete season.

Right at the top of my list is Troy’s Marcus Foster. He jumps out at you on tape both on the ball and as a tackler. After seeing his film it is a surprise to see his offer list only includes one school outside the MAC. His grades are strong even though I have not heard about him taking the test. He plays both ways and is impressive with the ball in his hands but does not show the kind of speed a big time receiver needs. His ferocious hitting had me penciling him in at safety anyway but the lack of speed is what kept me from listing as an athlete who could play corner or receiver.

I went back and looked at his film again. That is when I noticed he got run down from behind. Not pulling away is one thing. Getting caught from behind is another. He will get more offers. He is too good a player not to. Who those offers will come from will be determined by what he does on stop watches starting in the very near future.

Cameron Wilson is a receiver from Dublin Jerome. He has a nice offer list featuring Boston College, West Virginia and Iowa but this is a Big Five talent. The question has always been the same.

Does he have the speed? He is such a big, strong, athletic kid that he does not need to run 4.4. But he does need to get out and run 4.5. If he does that offer list becomes that much more impressive.

One of my favorite players in this class is Middletown athlete Zach Edwards. He is a player on both sides of the ball. If he shows speed I think he could blow up as much as any player on this list.

Matthew Bingaya is a receiver prospect you probably have not heard of. That is because he plays quarterback mostly and at Delaware Hayes which is off the beaten path of recruiting. He is 6-foot-4 and about 200 lbs. He is very athletic. If those measurables get confirmed and he can run 4.6 or better he will see some offers start coming his way.

For one thing he just needs to get out and be seen. Mark Porter found this kid. He was not on my radar. I know nothing about his grades.

Allen Gant is another of this outstanding defensive back class that has questions as far as what kind of athlete he is. It is actually more than that. It is where he fits. He has the talent to play receiver but I have never believed he had the speed. The big question will be if he is fast enough to play safety and if not does he have the frame to grow into an outside linebacker?

I think Glen Oak's DeShawn Hall gets a complete do over. I heard last summer that he was no longer a safety. The kid was that big. I saw his junior film and confirmed it. If you did not know who he was and saw his junior film you would ask why they are playing that linebacker at safety. He is listed at 6-2 205 but he looks more like 6-3, 215-220. He resembles Centerville’s Ifeadi Odenigbo quite a bit. We know I.O. is being recruited as a linebacker who might grow into a defensive end.

Speaking of off the beaten path, North Royalton is another school that does not get regular visits from college coaches. There is a DE up there named Azarie Battle who would be getting a lot more pub if he was at a school that can expect college coaches to stop by every year just because. He is a big kid with a great frame and a non-stop motor. The athlete season will do wonders for him if he shows well.

Houston Boone from Euclid is a new player to me. He is a tall corner at 6-1 with long arms, and he shows good instincts. He is listed as having a 4.51 forty. If he can run that sometime in the athlete season he is going to make a name for himself. Tall corners are highly sought as receivers are getting so much bigger.

The athlete season is huge. Time to get ready. Start by looking for football player names in track and field results.

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