As I was driving to the high school game I was covering Friday night, I got an idea for a new feature here at Hammer & Rails. Thanks to the Internet, we can track most of our incoming recruits through newspaper articles and stat sites. I have seen a few other blogs do this, so I thought I would do the same with our own incoming recruits. I might get to see one or two play this season - for example, Charles Torwudzo and Joe Gilliam - but if someone else sees any other guys, feel free to chime in with eyewitness reports.
Indiana started its high school season on Friday night, so many of our recruits already have an official game under their belts. I am trying to get the go ahead to cover the Anderson at Southport game this week in order to get an in-person look at Gilliam. Here is what everyone did last week:
Sean Robinson - QB - Rochester, IL (Rochester) - Robinson's season does not get underway until this coming Friday, when the Rockets face Mahomet-Seymour High. Rochester is currently ranked 12th in the preseason class 4A Illinois poll, while their opening game opponent is ranked 7th.
Joe Gilliam - LB - Southport, IN (Southport) - Southport dropped its season opener to Class 4A No. 10 Indianapolis Roncalli 21-13. Southport began the season just outside the Class 5A (Indiana's largest class) top 10, but they were unable to avenge last season's only regular season loss. MaxPreps has yet to post any stats for Gilliam, but I am sure he was involved as he was a major part of Southport's impressive turnaround last year.
Charles Torwudzo - WR - Brownsburg, IN (Brownsburg) - Brownsburg won its season opener 19-8 over McCutcheon, one of the three big schools in the Lafayette area. They will actually be playing this coming Saturday afternoon against Noblesville at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy. Torwudzo did not catch a pass, as he was served a one game suspension.
Jeremy Cornelius - WR - Harrisburg, PA (Bishop McDevitt) - Bishop McDevitt does not begin its season until September 5th when they travel to Harrisburg. Bishop McDevitt is ranked 4th in the state's class 4A preseason poll.
De'Ron Flood - TE - O'Fallon, IL (O'Fallon) - Like Robinson, who also plays at an Illinois school, O'Fallon does not start its season until this week against Cahokia. Cahokia is ranked 9th overall in the state of Illinois and #2 in class 5A. O'Fallon is unranked.
Josh Davis - DT - Plain City, OH (Jonathan Alder) - Jonathan Alder does not begin its season until this Friday with a home game against Worthington. Alder is ranked 13th in the preseason poll for Ohio's Division IV. Alder made the state playoffs last year, but lost a first round game 12-10 to Dayton Oakwood.
Mike Lee - LB - Pittsburgh, PA (Woodland Hills) - Woodland Hills also will not begin its season until September 5th with a home game against Steubenville. Woodland Hills is unranked in the preseason polls after a 4-5 season last year.
Ryan Isaac - DE - Michigan City, IN (Michigan City) - Michigan City obliterated Gary Roosevelt (yes, the same Gary Roosevelt that produced Glenn Robinson) 63-0 to start the season. It is the 10th straight year in which the Wolves have beaten Gary Roosevelt to start the year. Isaac had a pretty good game, recovering a fumble and nearly taking it back all the way.
E.J. Johnson - DB - Cocoa, FL (Cocoa) - Cocoa has a very late start, not getting underway until September 11th with a home game against American Heritage. Cocoa carries a #1 ranking into the season in Florida's class 2A. That is to be expected though, as they are the defending state champion in that class.
Will Lucas - LB - Lakeland, FL (Lakeland) - Lakeland also does not start until September 11, playing at Winter Haven. Lakeland, last year's state runner-up to mythical National Champion St. Thomas Aquinas, begins the season as the #2 team in Florida's class 5A.
Jess Schmitt - LS - Louisville, KY (Trinity) - Trinity's season gets underway this Friday when Lawrence North will make the drive down from Indianapolis to face the Shamrocks. Trinity is the #1 ranked team in Kentucky's class 6A to start the year.
What to like so far:
Though only the Indiana kids have started playing yet, Seven of the 11 commitments play for teams that appear near the top of their respective state rankings. A couple of guys like Schmitt and Johnson play for #1 ranked teams. That tells me these guys know what it takes to win, and as division I recruits on their teams they are likely looked to as leaders.
As the season progress we'll keep our eyes on them, as well as any other commitments that get added to this list.