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Just Smile at Pre-season Recognition

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Now is the time, that newspapers, recruiting media, and internet recruiting media are beginning to list the top football players in Ohio. Some places, like Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, and Toledo will recognize the local talent. Smaller towns will do much the same.

Eric Franz list talent to watch throughout the state. He separates the players into three divisions. Smaller school, middle level schools, and the large school division. He seems to do a good job, and I know that he puts work into it. He recognizes a lot of players.

The Cleveland media lists the top 100 players in the state. The list covers the complete state and  even tries to rank the players 1-100. I guess the list sells,  but I really do not take the list seriously. One cannot, simply because not every player has been seen by the writers. Plus, I have yet to read what criteria they use in their rankings.

I actually conceded to Dave Berk last Saturday that 24/7 finally has the power to make people believe that they know what they are doing in Ohio. They do not, for sure, but everybody uses their rankings and refers to the “star” system that they  have. The biggest advantage is 24/7 is owned by CBS. Money – money – money!

A few years ago, I remember how the three reporters doing Ohio prospects traded off some prospects to help each other in their part of the state. I believe that it was Canton and Massillon who needed some love. Those same writers made sure Ohio State prospects were high on the list. I get it, but it does not make it right.

I simply have one request to the Ohio prospects – DO NOT LET WHAT THE FOOTBALL RECRUITING REPORTERS PRINT IN REGARDS TO PROSPECT RANKINGS INTERFERE WITH YOUR SEASON.

To explain – Sometimes when a prospect is rated high, that rating goes to his head and he does not handle it well. Now, “me-me” starts to set in and his teammates will be the first to sense this. Actually this situation can hurt a complete season.

The problem is that often the player does not deserve the ranking. That prospect cannot handle the pre-season recognition. Worse – teammates are the first to see the change.

Obviously, the opposite can happen. A very good college prospect can be “under-ranked.” Hopefully, if this happens, the prospect has enough self-confidence not to worry. That “chip” can soon can become a “baseball.” In most cases, the under ranked prospect, has a better season because of the slight. Team chemistry is not usually hurt.

Years ago, in my magazine, I ranked players by position. For example, the top offensive linemen kin Ohio. I do not do that anymore. Was always fun. Back then it was hard to rank a ” Top 100.” Actually, I did a top 200 for colleges who bought my service. Never made the list available to the public.

I can relate many funny stories centered around the rankings that I did back in the day.

I rated “Big Ben” the 3rd best QB prospect in his class. But he never started a game his junior year. Coach’s son played QB and Ben was a receiver for the Findlay Trojans. But I knew Ben had potential. He joked with me that I only rated him 3rd. My answer was – “NO one even rated you except me.” True story.

One of the top high school sports writers in Ohio and a good friend of mine, will question me, when I say that a certain player in Ohio is over-rated. Of course, he is going on what an Ohio State recruiting reporter says or one of the 24/7 recruiting reporters says. Usually, I am correct.

Lastly, no college coach will ask your coach or you – “Where does 24/7 or the Cleveland Recruiting reporters have you ranked in Ohio? Better yet, they will not ask you where the Dayton Daily News or the Toledo Blade has you ranked. Pretty sure that this question will not be asked.

Focus on your team. Control what you can control. Enjoy the football season ahead. Play as hard as you can, and everything else will take care of itself.

 

 

 

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