Category Archives: The Next Level


glenville3.pngBad news, Tarblooder fans: The Des Moines Register is reporting that former Glenville QB Arvell Nelson is, well, now a former Iowa Hawkeye.

Coach Kirk Ferentz dismissed Nelson and WR James Cleveland (Baytown, Texas; no connection to NEO) yesterday after their recent arrests on misdemeanor drug charges. During a search of the players’ room (Nelson and Cleveland were roommates), police found prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants — for which Cleveland has claimed ownership — and found marijuana on Nelson’s desk. Cleveland has already pled not guilty to the charges. Nelson has yet to plead.

Sadly, Nelson isn’t even the first NEOan whose weakness for weed cost him his pigskin privileges. Last month, West Virginia coach Bill Stewart booted DL James Ingram, a former star at Cleveland Heights, just three days after police found individually wrapped bags of weed in Ingram’s car. He’s facing felony distribution charges.

We’re not going to dwell on this. It’s just sad that two guys who’ve accomplished so much — in Nelson’s case, second-team all-state after throwing for 2,605 yards and 34 touchdowns as a senior, and some snaps last year as a redshirt freshman — would gamble it all on something so stupid. Here’s hoping they learn from the experience, and earn a second chance in different uniforms.


Leave a comment

Filed under The Next Level


From Aurora to University School, Adams to Yoder, here they are, listed alphabetically. (Congrats to everyone and their families, too.)

1. Buchtel DB Johnny Adams — Michigan State (story)

2. North Royalton LB/FB Gus Armbruster — Lake Erie (story)

3. Cuyahoga Falls LB Jordan Beach — Ashland

4. Mentor OT Brad Bednar — Miami (Ohio) (story)

5. Akron East LB/RB Demetrius Bentley — Southern

6. St. Ignatius LB Steve Bigach — University of Iowa (post)

7. Mayfield LB/DE Karson Bodnovich — Columbia (story)

8. Shaker Heights OT Chris Browne — Southern (story)

9. Archbishop Hoban OL Christopher Ciraldo — Ashland

10. Chardon OL/DL Alex Coates — Colgate (story)

11. Olmsted Falls DL Cody Connare — Lehigh (story)

12. Ravenna DB Jon Davis — Bowling Green (story|post)

13. Mogadore RB Cody Destro — Ashland

14. Madison Central TE Nic DiLillo — Ohio State (News-Herald|Star-Beacon)

15. Cuyahoga Falls QB Mike Dugger — University of Charleston (W.Va.)

16. Glenville DE/TE Winston Etheridge — Bowling Green (story|post)

17. Glenville CB/WR Donnie Fletcher — Boston College (story)

18. Archbishop Hoban S/LB Will Fleming — Akron (story)

19. Cleveland Heights DE Corey Freeman — West Virginia (story)

20. Mentor DE Josh Freeman — Lake Erie (story)

21. Lake Catholic DE Joe Gaglione — Iowa (story)

22. Hudson QB/LB Alex Gedeon — Harvard (story)

23. Glenville WR/S Toriel Gibson — Ball State (story)

24. Madison Central OL Kyle Glass — Lake Erie (release|story)

25. Avon WR/DB Kyle Gregory — Lake Erie (story)

26. Solon LB Steve Greer — University of Virginia (story|post)

27. Shaker Heights TE Christian Hanna — Southern Illinois (story)

28. Cuyahoga Falls RB/DB Marcus Hardy — Lake Erie (story)

29. Mentor K Kevin Harper — Pittsburgh (story)

30. Lake Catholic OT Chad Hounshell — Central Florida (story)

31. Notre Dame Cathedral Latin OL Mike Hounshell — Lake Erie (story)

32. Akron East DL Mark Humphrey — Mercyhurst

33. Solon K Pat Jacobs — Princeton (story)

34. Euclid WR/DB Devon Jennings — Ashland

35. Brunswick DB/WR Ben Karaba — Hillsdale College (story)

36. Cleveland Heights QB Travis Kelce — University of Cincinnati (story)

37. Aurora OT/DE Andrew Knapp — Lehigh (story)

38. Normandy OL Andy Kowicki — Youngstown State (story)

39. Akron East RB Courtney Latson — Tiffin

40. Akron East WR Rico Law — Glenville State

41. Nordonia K Nate Lewis — Ashland

42. Glenville RB/CB Willie Lowe — University of Iowa (story|post)

43. Beachwood DE/OT Evan Luxenberg — Northwestern (story)

44. Chardon OL Joe Madsen — West Virginia (story)

45. Strongsville OT D.J. Main — Youngstown State (story)

46. Glenville FB Jermil Martin — Ohio State (story)

47. Strongsville OT Mike McCarthy — U.S. Naval Academy (story)

48. Akron Garfield DE Whitney Mercilus — Illinois (story)

49. Gilmour Academy OT Matt Mihalik — Virginia (story)

50. Hudson LB Mike Niam — Wofford (story)

51. Tallmadge DB Patrick Pakan — Brown University (story)

52. Nordonia QB Aaron Pankratz — Bowling Green (PD|Beacon Journal)

53. Chardon LB Alex Petroff — Lehigh (story)

54. Akron East LB Brandell Rudolph — Lake Erie

55. Riverside CB/WR Lane Robilotto — Bowling Green (story)

56. Glenville DT Shawntel Rowell — Ohio State (story)

57. Massillon K Steven Schott — Ball State

58. Glenville WR/DB Cordale Scott — Illinois (story)

59. University School QB/S McConnell Smith — Yale (story)

60. St. Edward LB Mike Spooner — Cornell (story)

61. St. Edward LB Justin Staples — Illinois (story)

62. University School OT/DE Jake Stoller — Yale (story)

63. Northwest LB Anthony Stover — Bowling Green

64. Strongsville RB Eric Stoyanoff — Princeton (story)

65. Medina DE Richard Sumlin — Findlay

66. Twinsburg K/P Matt Weller — Ohio University (story|post)

67. Mayfield RB/LB Ashante Williams — Illinois (story)

68. St. Peter Chanel DE/TE Nick Womack — Fordham (story)

69. Strongsville WR D.J. Woods — Cincinnati (story)

70. St. Ignatius K Nick Yako — Villanova (story)

71. Archbishop Hoban RB/LB Steve Yoak — Robert Morris

72. Massillon OL Steve Yoder — Ball State

To date, we don’t know where Glenville DT Dawan Whitner is headed. He’ll make 73.

We’ll do our best to keep adding names as more NEOans ink up. (You can help, too — shoot us an e-mail with your scoop.)

Leave a comment

Filed under The Next Level


stignatius.pngSt. Ignatius LB Steve Bigach, Ravenna RB/DB Jon Davis and Twinsburg K Matt Weller have all settled on new digs, says the Plain Dealer.

Bigach will join Glenville RB/CB Willie Lowe at the University of Iowa, where he expects to play defensive end. That’s a smart move, we say — last season the Hawkeyes carried nine freshman linebackers.

But Bigach knows this — kid’s got an A average, after all — and two-point stance or three, the Hawkeyes would be crazy not to find room for a front-seven guy with 4.65 quicks. Last fall Bigach collected eight sacks and 93 tackles, 63 of them solo. No doubt the brass in Iowa City were most impressed by the last 18, collected heroically during the Wildcats’ 26-23 playoff loss to Lowe’s Tarblooders (who, as we’ve stated previously, are becoming serious Big Ten feeders).


Davis is heading to Bowling Green, where his 4.4 speed and maximum slash-ability — he lists himself as a “QB/RB/WR/CB/FS” — should make him equally valuable, if and when the Falcons can limit him to one position. Glossing over his stats, it might not be easy:

PASSING: 12 completions in 22 attempts, 19.3 yards/completion, 4 TD passes

RUSHING: 934 yards (9.3/carry), 12 TD

RECEIVING: 22.3 yards per catch

DEFENSE: 51 tackles (29 solo), 11 passes defensed, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 blocked kick

Still, for Gregg Brandon, this is not a bad problem to have (unlike, say, giving up 63 points on national television). But more important for the Falcons: Davis is the second NEOer they’ve bagged before Signing Day. Last week they landed Glenville DT/TE Winston Etheridge. Nice work, recruiting coordinator Troy Rothenbuhler.

twinsburg.pngAnd finally, punch Weller’s ticket for Ohio University. He’s a versatile guy — almost 42 yards a punt, with a 47-yard field goal — which is good, because we’re not so sure Frank Solich is a real easy guy to play for. In three seasons in Athens, he’s used three different punters and four kickers.


Filed under The Next Level


solon.pngAccording to a Plain Dealer blog, Solon LB Steve Greer has committed to the University of Virginia.

Greer spurned North Carolina (sorry, Butch) and Oklahoma State, which reportedly sent two coaches, head coach Mike Gundy (“I’m a man!”, remember?) and defensive coordinator Tim Beckman, out to NEO this week to make a final pitch.

He’ll stick to playing linebacker in the Cavaliers’ 3-4, but joins a crowd at the position. Last year Virginia coach Al Groh started a senior and three juniors, but had four redshirt freshmen behind them and recruited four more last year.

Greer was the Comets’ leading tackler each of the last two seasons. In 2007, he collected 125, including 25 for a loss. Solon finished 9-3 and reached the regional semifinals, losing to eventual state finalist Mentor.

1 Comment

Filed under The Next Level



It’ll be a year before Harvey WR Chris Fields has to don one school’s cap and leave a dozen or more empty-handed (or is that “empty-headed”?). But when you can play like this, it’s no wonder Signing Day 2009 can’t get here fast enough for some.

Kent State, Akron, Ohio University, and Southern (La.) University have all offered Fields a scholarship, according to the News-Herald; but Fields’ top two choices right now are Ohio State and Illinois, and, not coincidentally, both are making it very clear those feelings are mutual.

On Tuesday, Illinois coach Ron Zook was the first to reach the hallways of Harvey High. Zook has four commitments from the area this year — Akron Garfield DE Whitney Mercilus, Glenville WR/DB Cordale Scott, St. Ed’s LB Justin Staples, and Mayfield RB/LB Ashante Williams — and at least ten more ‘ballers, including Glenville DT Dawan Whitner, Bedford RB Aaron Roberson, and St. Ed’s CB Branden Williams, are considering bolting the NEO for Champaign. And yes, Zook now has a scholarship for Fields, if the dude wants one.

A day later, it was Jim Tressel’s turn — and he didn’t disappoint, turning in a primo schmooze job with school administrators. Tressel, up to watch Madison TE Nic DeLillo play basketball, went to Baldwin-Wallace with the Red Raiders’ former coach, Mike Scullin, and remembered Scullin’s apparently stellar kick-return skills. That always plays nice with the secretaries. “He is the nicest man,” one of them, Scullin’s wife, Marilyn, told the PD.

But stay tuned — the Chris Fields Derby is just getting started. Recruiters from Notre Dame, Iowa and Penn State have also visited Harvey recently. And besides, there’s only so much red carpet to go around until the fax machine goes cold next Wednesday.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Next Level



According to The Plain Dealer, Tarblooders RB/CB Willie Lowe has committed to the University of Iowa, and DT/TE Winston Etheridge III is headed to Bowling Green.

For Lowe, expected to play corner, the timing couldn’t be better — the Hawkeyes just graduated three of their top four corners. He’ll also rejoin four of his old G’Ville mates: DE Lebron Daniel, LB Bruce Davis, QB Arvell Nelson and DB Derrick Smith, all of whom just completed their freshman or redshirt-freshman years.

Etheridge joins a young d-line unit (ten of the 14 on the roster are freshmen or sophomores) that should improve — actually, that has to improve — after a rough 2007. Last season the Falcons gave up more than 30 points seven times in 13 games, including an embarrassing 63 to Tulsa in the GMAC Bowl. They also surrendered almost five yards per rush, third-worst in the Mid-American Conference.

And, finally, for the Tarblooders, that makes four commitments with a week to go, still, before National Signing Day. Before Christmas, WR/DB Cordale Scott committed to Illinois and DT Shawntel Rowell chose Ohio State.

Not counting these four recruits, I’m counting six Glenvillians at Ohio State, four at Iowa, three at Wisconsin and two at Indiana, even. Any thoughts on adding Northwestern to the Senate Athletic League, or maybe just changing the Big Ten’s name to, say, “THE BIG ‘GLEN?”

1 Comment

Filed under The Next Level


strongsville.pngSpeedy Strongsville WR D.J. Woods has kept busy since “softening” on his oral commitment to Nebraska, paying visits on successive weekends to Iowa, the University of Cincinnati and Auburn. The interest in UC , though, appears even softer – rather than soak up the atmosphere of Nippert Stadium, Woods was actually there to see West Virginia.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Next Level