ARKON, Ohio - Ohio is the crossroad to America and players from Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and even as far away as Washington D.C. traveled to the second Rivals.com Junior Day on Saturday at the University of Akron.
The event attracted more than 200 Division I prospects, including several kids that already have multiple scholarship offers.
The event held in Akron's new Indoor Athletic Complex gave prospects a chance to learn more about the recruiting process from Joe Hornback, a coach that has sent prospects to the Division I level and also lettered at the University of Kansas, and Sean Adams, who recently penned a book called Sports For Life. Hornback focused on everything from academics to how to talk to college coaches for the first time during the spring evaluation process. Adams spoke to the prospects about what it takes to get emotionally and mentally prepared for the next level.
The program hit home for a lot of prospects.
"I learned a lot, especially about what reasons you should or shouldn't go to summer camps," said Detroit Country Day receiver/defensive back Chris Rucker, who reported offers from Bowling Green and Cincinnati.
"I also learned that you have to always be on top of your game and to not take any thing for granted. If you're not working hard somebody else out there is, and they'll get the spot that was meant for you."
Miamisburg, Ohio, tight end Kendrick Bruton said the event was a worthwhile experience, even though his older brother recently went through the recruiting process and is now at Notre Dame.
"I didn't know what all these letters I'm getting mean," said Bruton, who recently picked up an offer from Akron and measured in at 6-foot-2 ï¿½ and 201 pounds. "This really helped me prepare for what to expect over the next few months."
Tony Tucker, who came to the event all the way from Washington (D.C.) St. John's College Prep, was pleased he made the trip in the end. He said it was well worth the trip over from the Washington D.C. area.
"This really gave me a good idea at what the college coaches are looking for in players," said Tucker, a 6-foot-1 ï¿½ and 225 pound defensive end that reports an offer from Boston College. "The part about the academics was also very good. I learned how important it is to do well on the ACT. If you do well on that, then it makes it a lot easier for you to qualify."
The eyeball test
Rivals.com will have more over the next couple of days on some of the top players that looked physically like Division I prospects from Saturday's event, but there were several that clearly stood out from the crowd.
Three linemen that looked the part were Walsh Jesuit offensive lineman Nick Schepis, Westlake lineman Mike Flood and Maple Heights lineman Shawn Sailor.
Schepis, a player that Rivals.com profiled last fall, has an amazing frame of 6-foot-3 and 271 pounds and should be able to easily add more solid weight to his frame by the time he hits college.
Flood looked great at 6-foot-4 and 295 pounds, and Shawn Sailor earned recognition as the biggest prospect at the event at 6-foot-6 ï¿½ and 307 pounds.
The linemen weren't the only ones that looked college ready.
There was a great collection of athletes that ranged from 6-1 to 6-6, each of which were lean and had great frames.
Northmont quarterback Clay Belton already has picked up offers from Bowling Green and Cincinnati, and he seemed in great shape and measured in at 6-foot-6 1/4 and 219 pounds. He probably was the most impressive looking non-linemen at the event.
Weakside defensive end Solomon Thomas of Lakota West is a name that has been talked about quite a bit and it's easy to see why college coaches are already offering scholarships (Cincinnati, Illinois and N.C. State). He looks the part of a high-level prospect with a 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame.
Safety Carlton Peake and Carson Byrd were two of a very impressive looking crew from Trotwood Madison. Madison had has many as seven or eight kids at the event that are expected to sign Division I scholarships, but Peake and Byrd are the starts of the team.
Peake appeared to be in peak condition with long arms and a great frame. He measured 6-foot-2 ï¿½ and 216 pounds. Byrd measured in at 6-foot-1 and 229 pounds.
A few other guys that passed the eyeball test on first glance were quarterback Chris Schneider (6-2 ï¿½ and 234) of Findlay, receiver Mark Dell (6-1 ï¿½ and 177) of Farmington Hills (Mich.) Harrison, Jeff Lucas (6-1 ï¿½ and 222) of Lakewood St. Edward, and quarterback Tyler Sparks (6-3 and 189) of Olmsted Falls.