August 25, 2011

Prep Preview: Opening Weekend

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High School Football kicks off in Ohio this weekend and there are some huge games being played around the state, particularly in the Cincinnati area as the 14th annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown takes place. BuckeyeGrove.com will be on the road all weekend seeing nearly a dozen games during week one and below we go over some of the top storylines to watch over the course of the weekend.


1. Offensive tackles galore


There are some outstanding offensive tackles in Ohio for the 2013 class and I could make the argument that I'll be seeing the four best within a 48-hour window this weekend. In fact, I will make that argument as from Thursday through Saturday I will see Canton GlenOak product Steve Mathie, Lakota West product Kyle Meadows, Moeller's Alex Gall, and Centerville's Evan Lisle. These four prospects are my top four junior offensive tackles in Ohio at the moment and all four prospects have a chance to be recruited at a national level. Throw in Huber Heights Wayne center Lovell Peterson and I will be seeing my early top five offensive linemen in Ohio this weekend.



Getting a chance to evaluate all four in the same weekend should help shed some light on the early pecking order as all four showed promise as sophomores and look to take the next step in their development.




2. Ohio State targets on the Big Stage


The Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown once again has some huge match-ups that will not only greatly impact the pecking order in Ohio but also around the nation. At the center of many of these big games will be Ohio State recruiting targets.



On Friday night, Elder will travel Centerville in a must-see game for any high school football enthusiast. In a game that will be extremely physical in the trenches, we'll get to take a look at one of Ohio State's biggest remaining targets in the 2012 class in Centerville defensive end/linebacker Ifeadi Odenigbo. It doesn't stop there, however, as Centerville junior offensive tackle Evan Lisle will be a major target for schools all over the Midwest in the class of 2013. We should also get our first look at 2014 defensive lineman Tito Odenigbo, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound defensive lineman and younger brother of Ifeadi.



Saturday features a pair of absolutely huge games as Cincinnati Moeller will square off against Pickerington Central at noon at Nippert Stadium on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Not only does the game feature two of the top receivers in Ohio in Moeller's Monty Madaris and Central's Roger Lewis, but we may very well see some head-to-head match-ups between outstanding juniors Alex Gall and Taco Charlton. Gall, an offensive tackle for Moeller, and Charlton, a defensive end for Central, are two of Ohio's top junior prospects and Ohio State is recruiting both heavily. Also not to be forgotten is Central offensive lineman Jacoby Boren, an Ohio State commit who will have his hands full as Moeller has some big bodies on their defensive front four.



The second big game of the day will be a night game at Dayton Welcome Stadium featuring Middletown against Huber Heights Wayne. Two of Ohio State's biggest targets in the 2013 class will square off in Middletown quarterback Jalin Marshall and Wayne offensive lineman Lovell Peterson.



Things will finally wrap up on Sunday as Cincinnati Taft squares off with Friendship Collegiate Academy out of Washington D.C., in a game that will be aired on ESPNU. Taft duo Adolphus Washington and Dwayne Stanford are among the top priorities for Ohio State as they attempt to put the final stamp on the 2012 recruiting class.




3. Who's got next?


Every single year, numerous sophomores step up in the Crosstown Showdown and put themselves on the map as legitimate division I recruits, this absolutely never fails. Last year players such as Colerain running back Chris Davis, St. Xavier wide receiver Trey Kilgore, Middletown athlete Jalin Marshall, and Lakota West offensive tackle Kyle Meadows are just a few of the names that burst onto the scene during Crosstown weekend.



It's only Thursday but we've already seen one player fall into this category in Walnut Hills product Nilijah Ballew. Ballew, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound safety had an outstanding game on Wednesday night against Wyoming showing a knack for the big hit and a nose for the football. Two more names to watch for this weekend are a pair of receivers in Springfield's Thaddeus Snodgrass and Colerain's Travon Hudson. Both players have had big summers at various camps and 7-on-7's with Snodgrass picking up an early verbal offer from Toledo. So as always, one of the big storylines to follow this weekend will be seeing which sophomores establish themselves as part of the next wave of Ohio talent.





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