While Columbus has produced some high-profile, impact players over the past few years — think of Columbus East quarterback Gunner Kiel and tailback Markell Jones — this season could be one of the best ever in terms of Division I football prospects.
I am looking forward to tonight’s opener with East at Bloomington North and Columbus North at Franklin to see these guys perform. Here is a look at some of the top, at least in my eyes, prospects. Keep in mind that a host of others are knocking on that door as well and that I didn’t mention North linebacker Brice McDaniel because he already is committed to playing baseball at Purdue.
1. North’s Coleman Tennyson. The junior defensive tackle simply overwhelms anyone standing in front of him and teams will have to double him. If he has a big season with all the attention he will get, the Big Ten will take notice. Too bad he isn’t a little taller than his 6-foot-2 frame, but I definitely see a Division I school taking a shot.
2. East’s Steven O’Neal. He’s only 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, but his tremendous speed makes the senior attractive for Division I schools that want to take a chance on a little guy. In college, he would project as a Darren Sproles type who could be a split end or third-down running back.
3. East’s Rhett Myers. The Air Force Academy already has gotten a commitment from Myers, a senior, and that means that not only is he a terrific tight end but a solid citizen and student. East coach Bob Gaddis oozes with pride when he talks about Myers, and Gaddis is not normally very demonstrative. That says a lot.
4. North’s Drew Schoeberl. Moving the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder to primarily defensive end duties from his job as tight end should open up some Division I possibilities. It’s up to Schoeberl, a senior, to be a dominating presence.
5. North’s David Redding. The junior offensive tackle has very little varsity experience and yet he is certain to get a lot of looks this season from college programs. That’s because at 6-foot-5, 280, he passes the eyeball test. A solid season should open a host of opportunities.
6. East’s Harry Crider. The junior offensive and defensive lineman is not the biggest at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, but he is very athletic and might fit nicely on a college’s defensive line. He has got the quickness and strength, so now it might be just a matter of growing a bit.
Here are this week’s picks.
Columbus East 35, Bloomington North 20 — Josh Major is, indeed, a huge talent, but he is still a sophomore filling in at quarterback for senior K.J. McCarter, who has a hamstring pull. Look for the Olympians to be sloppy a times but to get the job done.
Columbus North 42, Franklin 7 — It is a season of hope for a North team that appears to headed for a big season. It all starts against a Franklin squad which hasn’t had a winning record in the new century.
Batesville 30, Jennings County 20 — The Panthers’ new coach, Rick Zimmerman, might have his hands full with rebuilding. Batesville is coming off a solid season.
Brown County 21, Edinburgh 20 — The Eagles are rebounding from a winless season, and they start with the smaller-school Lancers.
South Decatur 26, North Decatur 12 — The Cougars clubbed the Chargers in the sectional playoffs last season.
Silver Creek 19, Seymour 12 — Owls coach Josh Shattuck did a wonderful job squeezing the most of his team late last season, and 2015 should be a brighter campaign. Silver Creek, though, might be a tall order in the opener.