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Father Ryan coach Bruce Lussier remembers a play against Ensworth’s freshman football team in 2009 that gave a hint of Corn Elder’s potential.
Ensworth quarterback Andrew Bowers broke his collarbone in that game, so the Tigers replaced him with Elder.
“(Ensworth) snapped it over Corn’s head, and he runs back 10 or 15 yards to go retrieve the ball,” Lussier said. “We’re chasing him, and then he ends up going 60 yards for a touchdown. That created some space for him.”
Opponents have learned since then that giving Elder space is a big mistake.
The Tigers’ tailback went on to lead his team to three straight Division II-AA titles. He is The Tennessean 2012 high school football player of the year.
“I think he’s as good a running back as I’ve been around, and I’ve seen a lot of them over the years,” said Lussier, a 39-year veteran. “But he has other skills as well. He’s a tremendous punt returner. He can go out and play receiver. He does a great job for them at safety on defense, so he can do a lot of different things.”
In Buckeye Empire’s latest Q&A, I spoke with the 2014 4-star, 5-9 195-pound RB Mikale Wilbon out of De La Salle Institute (Chicago, IL). According to 247sports.com, Mikale has a 92 overall rating, is ranked the 152nd best overall player in the country, the 12th best running back in the country, and the 4th best overall player in his home state of Illinois. Mikale proved to be one of the most impressive recruits I have spoken to, and any school that lands him should consider themselves very fortunate. Get to know this stud 2014 recruit here:'
A 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive linemen from Fitch holds Cory Linsley, J.T. Moore and John Simon in the highest regard. Now, young Buckeye fans in Northeast Ohio will practice to become the next Billy Price. Bound for Ohio State, Price knows the responsibility he takes on playing for one of the most passionate universities in the country. He’s already lived it his entire life.
“In Youngstown, we’re known for hard work,” Price said. “There is a lot of hometown pride for me to carry down to Columbus.”
Price was offered by some other top Division I programs, like Notre Dame, Michigan and West Virginia, but the big city atmosphere with a close-knit community really hit home.
“They want to bring the families in to be a part of the program,” Price said. “It’s what Coach [Phil] Annarella preached and it’s exactly what Coach [Urban] Meyer is going to do.”
Ezekiel Elliott was able to accomplish some things in three seasons at John Burroughs that some of the best running backs in the area's history were not.
But the 6-foot, 210-pounder from Alton, who has verbally committed to continue his football and track careers at Ohio State, wasn’t able to accomplish all of his goals.
“I’m happy that I was able to achieve what I did, but I wish I could have at least won a state championship. At least one,” Elliott said. “We had a chance to get three and came out empty-handed. But me and the rest of the seniors, we left a good mark on the school.”
It has been an incredible run for the Bombers the past three seasons. Burroughs won 40 games and lost just four, but three of those came in the Missouri Class 3 championship game.
Elliott was at his best at the Edward Jones Dome in late November. He rushed 18 times for 218 yards and two touchdowns, caught five passes for 72 yards and returned four kids for another 129 yards, including an 84-yard return for a touchdown.
He finished his senior season with 2,153 yards rushing, 2,533 total yards, 3,022 all-purpose yards and 50 touchdowns.
“He’s just a phenomenal player,” Burroughs coach Gus Frerotte said following the Bombers’ 35-22 loss to Maryville in the state title game. “A great mind for the sport. He really carried our team in a lot of these games. He wanted to put us on his back, and he did that quite a few games, and he hasn’t let us down yet.”
Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson always tries to have his priorities in order, and the scope of his day-to-day activities is not just limited to football, where he led the Red Elephants to the Class AAAAA state championship recently at the Georgia Dome.
Watson heeds the lessons instilled by this mother, Deann, and tries to remain humble, even though he’s well aware of his status as the state’s new leader in career passing yards (9,360), all-purpose touchdowns (155) and passing touchdowns (108).
This season, Watson became only the third 4,000-yard passer in state history and second to throw for 50 touchdowns in a single season.
No matter where Watson goes, he tries to keep things in perspective. He’s determined not to let football success go to his head.
“I’m going to stay the same low-key person I’ve always been,” Watson said. “I always try to smile when people talk to me and say ‘Yes sir, yes ma’am.’”
BuckeyeNation Week in Review
- Urban Meyer laments missing the 15 bowl practices that would have helped the Buckeyes' underclassmen.
- Receiver Verlon Reed, who had just one catch in 2012 after being a starter early in 2011, is leaving the team.
- The Buckeyes made it official that the spring game will be in Cincinnati because of Ohio Stadium concrete work.
- Cornerback pledge Eli Apple has a great reason for changing his name.
- Will the Buckeyes go for another offensive lineman in this class?
- The biggest need is still at linebacker, and Mike Mitchell and Trey Johnson will announce at the nationally televised all-star games. They're both among the top #BlueChipBattles.
- Urban Meyer has Georgia on his mind in recruiting, almost as much as Ohio. Two prospects from South Georgia power Camden County got Ohio State offers this week.
- Ohio State will get the first official visit of ESPN 150 safety Vonn Bell.
- Five things to know and five things to learn and needs vs. wants in Ohio State's 2013 class.
- Ohio State doesn't offer scholarships to many junior college players, but there was one they missed on this week.
- 2014 TE Jeb Blazevich loves Ohio State's coaching staff.
- The Buckeyes are firmly in the race for a top linebacker in the 2014 class, as well as massive OT Orlando Brown Jr.
- 2014 QB Drew Barker grabbed two more offers, but not Ohio State yet.
- 2014 athlete Lonnie Johnson postponed his announcement.
- Urban Meyer did the most underrated coaching job in the country this year, writes Travis Haney.
- The NCAA is weighing some proposals to change the recruiting calendar.
- Does Ohio State's monitoring of athletes' spending go too far in compliance? (New York Times)
- The Buckeyes' goal was to be the best secondary in the country, and they have a great shot at that next season. (Dispatch)
- The Buckeyes' toughest opponent next season could be ... San Diego State? (Plain Dealer)
- John Simon says his injured knee will be ready for the Senior Bowl. (Dispatch)
- Former Buckeyes lineman Kirk Barton earned an MBA while serving as a GA. (Dispatch)
- Kansas has the Buckeyes' number.
- It didn't happen Saturday, but Ohio State is developing scoring options beyond Deshawn Thomas, who is one of the top 10 matchup nightmares in the country.
- The Buckeyes struggled a bit, but got past Winthrop.
- Amedeo Della Valle is the people's bomber. (Eleven Warriors)
- How the Big East/Catholic 7 saga affects the Buckeyes. (Land Grant Holy Land)
The Gang's All Here
- The Indians are using Nick Swisher's Ohio State ties in order to recruit him to Cleveland.
- The men's volleyball team is aiming to get back to national prominence. (Dispatch)
- Thirty-three student-athletes graduated after the fall semester. (OSU)
- Those holiday treats are tough on Ohio State wrestlers. (Dispatch)