ESPN HS Football Kickoff schedule

August, 20, 2012
8/20/12
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Christian HackenbergTom Hauck/ESPNHS Fork Union Military Academy (Fork Union, Va.) quarterback Christian Hackenberg is one of 11 recruits in the ESPN 150 who will be playing in the ESPN High School Football Kickoff on Aug. 24-26.

A showdown between two top teams in Illinois will kick off the high school football season in style as the third annual ESPN High School Football Kickoff gets underway in August.

In all, 26 teams from 15 states and five teams in the ESPN 25 Power Rankings will play on ESPN’s family of networks from Aug. 24-26, beginning with Joliet Catholic Academy (Joliet, Ill.) playing at Providence Catholic (New Lenox, Ill.) at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. That game features one of the nation’s top recruits, rising senior Ty Isaac of Joliet Catholic. The USC commit is rated the nation’s No. 68 player in the ESPN 150.

Other Friday games include Minnetonka (Minn.) at Arrowhead (Hartland, Wis.) at 8 p.m. on ESPN3. Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) will play at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) at 9 p.m. on ESPN2, and Mullen (Denver) will play at Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) at 10 p.m. on ESPN3.

Friday is the first of three days of coverage that also includes 17 teams appearing on ESPN for the first time as well as 11 athletes who are currently ranked in the ESPN 150. That list is headlined by Fork Union Military Academy (Fork Union, Va.) QB Christian Hackenberg, the nation’s No. 1 quarterback and No. 16 recruit in the ESPN 150. His team will play Hermitage (Henrico, Va.) at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, Va. on Saturday at 3 p.m. on ESPNU.

The slate of games includes 12 defending state champions, including two games which have dueling state champions – Good Counsel against Bishop Gorman as well as Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) taking on Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) at 7 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.

Champion Gridiron Kings rosters

July, 25, 2012
7/25/12
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Shane MorrisMiller Safrit/ESPN.com Michigan-bound QB Shane Morris is one of 64 elite football players picked to play in the 2012 Champion Gridiron Kings at the ESPNHS Games in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The Champion Gridiron Kings, which features 65 of the nation's top skill-position football players, will be held this Friday through Sunday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., as part of the 2012 ESPNHS Games.

Sunday's championship game can be seen live on ESPN3 at 12 p.m. ET and also on ESPNU at 7 p.m. ET Sunday. Below are roster highlights as well as full rosters for the four regional teams.
  • 47 athletes listed in the ESPN 300
  • Two prospects rated No. 1 at their positions in the ESPN 150 (CB Vernon Hargreaves III and OLB Matthew Thomas)
  • Four Elite 11 QBs
  • SPARQ Rating national champion LB Mike Mitchell
  • 22 states represented
  • Florida has the most players represented of any state with 14

All players listed are class of 2013 unless otherwise noted.

Southeast
WR Alvin Bailey – Hometown: Seffner, Fla.
LB Larenz Bryant – Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
RB Ryan Green – Hometown: St. Petersburg, Fla.
CB Vernon Hargreaves III – Hometown: Tampa, Fla.
TE O.J. Howard – Hometown: Prattville, Ala.
RB Alvin Kamara – Hometown: Norcross, Ga.
CB Will Likely – Hometown: Belle Glade, Fla.
S Leon McQuay – Hometown: Seffner, Fla.
LB Quinton Powell – Hometown: Daytona Beach, Fla.
QB Brice Ramsey – Hometown: Kingsland, Ga.
CB Sojourn Shelton – Hometown: Plantation, Fla.
WR Tony Stevens – Hometown: Orlando, Fla.
LB Matthew Thomas – Hometown: Miami, Fla.
WR LeVonte Whitfield – Hometown: Orlando, Fla.
CB Shaquille Wiggins – Hometown: Tyrone, Ga.
ATH Reggie Wilkerson – Hometown: Ocala, Fla.

Midwest
LB Alex Anzalone – Hometown: Wyomissing, Pa.
S Quin Blanding (’14) – Hometown: Virginia Beach, Va.
ATH Tyler Boyd – Hometown: Clairton, Pa.
CB Cam Burrows – Hometown: Trotwood, Ohio
CB Devin Butler – Hometown: Washington, D.C.
RB Ezekiel Elliott – Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.
LB Holland Fisher – Hometown: Midlothian, Va.
CB Kendall Fuller – Hometown: Olney, Md.
WR Paul Harris – Hometown: Upper Marlboro, Md.
TE Travis Johnson – Hometown: Tampa, Fla.
WR Jalin Marshall – Hometown: Middletown, Ohio
RB Taquan Mizzell – Hometown: Virginia Beach, Va.
QB Shane Morris – Hometown: Warren, Mich.
LB Jonathon Reschke – Hometown: Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
S Jayme Thompson – Hometown: Toledo, Ohio
WR LaQuon Treadwell – Hometown: Crete, Ill.
CB Eli Woodard – Hometown: Voorhees, N.J.

West
S Hatari Byrd – Hometown: Fresno, Calif.
WR Darren Carrington – Hometown: San Diego, Calif.
RB Justin Davis – Hometown: Stockton, Calif.
S Tahaan Goodman – Hometown: Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
CB Chris Hawkins – Hometown: Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
LB Myles Jack – Hometown: Bellevue, Wash.
TE Arshad Jackson – Hometown: Lovejoy, Ga.
WR Jermaine Kelly – Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
RB Craig Lee – Hometown: Redlands, Calif.
CB L.J. Moore – Hometown: Fresno, Calif.
LB Kevin Palma – Hometown: Tulare, Calif.
WR A.J. Richardson – Hometown: Harbor City, Calif.
LB Tyrell Robinson – Hometown: San Diego, Calif.
WR Dominic Walker – Hometown: Orlando, Fla.
QB Troy Williams – Hometown: Harbor City, Calif.
CB Priest Willis – Hometown: Tempe, Ariz.

Southwest
CB Tony Brown (’14) – Hometown: Beaumont, Texas
CB Noel Ellis – Hometown: New Orleans, La.
LB Jermaine Grace – Hometown: Miramar, Fla.
S Marcell Harris – Hometown: Orlando, Fla.
LB Deon Hollins – Hometown: Houston, Texas
QB DeVante Kincade – Hometown: Dallas, Texas
LB Mike Mitchell – Hometown: Plano, Texas
WR Jake Oliver – Hometown: Dallas, Texas
LB Marcus Robinson – Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.
WR Ra’Shaad Samples – Hometown: Dallas, Texas
CB Maurice Smith – Hometown: Sugar Land, Texas
TE Durham Smythe – Hometown: Belton, Texas
ATH Stanvon Taylor - Hometown: Tulsa, Okla.
RB Altee Tenpenny – Hometown: Little Rock, Ark.
WR Jacorey Warrick – Hometown: Houston, Texas
RB Dontre Wilson – Hometown: DeSoto, Texas

Get Familiar: Stanford commit Peter Kalambayi

June, 27, 2012
6/27/12
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Peter KalambayiTom Hauck/ESPNHSButler (Matthews, N.C.) linebacker Peter Kalambayi (left) picked up an invitation to The Opening at the Charlotte NFTC.
While the Miami Heat was building its Big 3 in the summer of 2010, the Butler (Matthews, N.C.) football program was getting set to unleash its own Big 3 in hopes of repeating as Class 4AA champs. On offense, there were sophomores Riley Ferguson at quarterback and Uriah LeMay at wideout while sophomore linebacker Peter Kalambayi helped anchor a strong defense.

Kalambayi stood out because he was one of just three players in his class to skip JV and play varsity as a freshman. The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder hasn't disappointed in his three years, pushing the Bulldogs to a second straight title in 2011, posting 80 tackles and six sacks in just eight games last season and earning the No. 300 spot in the ESPN 300.

But while Kalambayi has done most of his damage on the east coast, he will soon be well acquainted with the west. During a visit earlier this month to Stanford, the senior committed to the Cardinal and in July, he'll join 150 of the nation's top recruits at The Opening. It's time to Get Familiar with Peter Kalambayi.

ESPNHS: After participating in NFTC camps the last three years, what was it like to get invited to The Opening and join 149 of the nation's top players?
Kalambayi:
I've been working hard all these years and I knew what I had to do, so it was great to have that work recognized and get invited to The Opening.

ESPNHS: What are you hoping to prove while you're at The Opening?
Kalambayi:
What a lot of people don't know is how fast I am, so I'm looking forward to working with and competing against some other fast guys to show I can play with them. I want to get a good 40 time in the SPARQ competition. I've been timed at 4.47, but it'd be nice to have a good time officially in the books there.

ESPNHS: Based on your goals for your upcoming senior season, in what ways will being at The Opening help?
Kalambayi:
It will help a lot, especially with my coverage skills, which I want to improve. I'll be going against some great guys there and I'll be able to take what I learn at The Opening into the season and adapt it to our defense.

ESPNHS: You won state titles in your first two years of high school along with 31 straight games at one point, so how hard was it to endure your first two varsity losses to begin and end last season?
Kalambayi:
It's terrible and it puts you in a bad mood. I'm still in a bad mood about it, really, because I'm just not used to losing. Even in eighth grade, my team didn't lose a game, so last year was my first loss in about five years. In my mind, last year was a failure because we didn't win the state championship and if we don't win this year, it will be another failure because that's what we play for — to win state championships.

ESPNHS: You just came off a spring season where you competed in the shot put and discus. When did you start competing in that and how does it affect your play on the football field?
Kalambayi:
I started in eighth grade and competing in those events definitely helps with football. You have to be very coordinated to do the discus and shot put, so it helps with my footwork and agility on the football field.

PETER KALAMBAYI
School:
Butler (Matthews, N.C.)
Class: 2013
Position: Linebacker
Height: 6-3
Weight: 235

FAVORITES
Food:
Fried Chicken
Movie: "2 Fast 2 Furious"
School subject: History
Athlete: Bo Jackson
Team: Philadelphia Eagles

Get Familiar: Casa Grande star Elijah Qualls

June, 25, 2012
6/25/12
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Elijah QuallsTom Hauck/ESPNHSCasa Grande (Petaluma, Calif.) junior defensive lineman/running back Elijah Qualls has been one of the nation's most talked-about recruits following his impressive display at the Oakland NFTC.

It’s truly a sight to behold.

Here comes Elijah Qualls of Casa Grande (Petaluma, Calif.), listed at 6-foot-1 and 285 pounds but probably bigger, into the offensive huddle. He blends in just fine until the huddle breaks, the players clap, and the offensive linemen take their set positions -- and Qualls is nowhere to be found.

Instead, the rising senior has taken his spot behind the quarterback. He’s a running back, and he’s a pretty good one at that. He carried the ball 166 times last fall, rushing for 1,139 yards and 14 touchdowns. But he’s more than a bowling ball in the backfield, as he also caught 13 balls for 215 yards and another score. He even passed for a score once last season.

Of course, Qualls does more than just punish opposing defenses on the ground. On the other side of the ball, he takes a position more befitting of a player his size on the defensive line. The combination of skill, power, speed and agility has made him an intriguing recruit, and he’s been heavily recruited at both offensive and defensive positions.

Last season, Qualls led Casa Grande to a 9-4 record, and the Gauchos advanced to the second round of the CIF North Coast Section Division II tournament. But this season, Qualls and his teammates have higher hopes.

So who exactly is this larger than life running back? It’s time to Get Familiar with Elijah Qualls.

ESPNHS: How’d you get started with football?
Qualls: I got started when I was 5. I grew up in a horrible neighborhood, and my dad got me into it to keep myself out of trouble. I had a bit of a bad temper, too, so I got to use my anger for something productive.

ESPNHS: Were you always a bigger kid?
Qualls: I was always kind of wide, but never really tall. I didn’t really grow until the summer of my sophomore year. I’ve never been that big a person, and so I was always training as a running back, working to add agility and balance. And then all of a sudden I blew up, but I kept my speed and agility.

ESPNHS: You play some running back and some defensive end. Do you have a preference?
Qualls: It doesn’t really matter to me. Both positions are fun. I just want to ball out and have fun.

ESPNHS: How about the schools that are recruiting you? Who’s on your list right now, and where are they recruiting me?
Qualls: I’m down to six right now – Washington, USC, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon State and Cal -- and a couple want me just on the defensive line, a couple want me to do both, but some of them want me just as a running back, which is pretty cool. I’m still getting to know these coaches. I’m narrowing it down every few weeks, but I’ll probably make a decision within the next couple of months.

ESPNHS: How do you feel like you did at the Oakland NFTC?
Qualls: It went pretty good. Last year was my first year on the D-line, and I’m not extremely good at it yet. I’m not that good technique-wise. I played more with leverage and speed, but my hand technique isn’t that great. But I still won 60 or 70 percent of the time. I did use a little bit of my hands and I had a good move here and there. The rest was just speed.

ESPNHS: What was it like to walk away with an invite to The Opening?
Qualls: To be honest, at first, I didn’t really know what it was. But then my cousin explained it to me, and then I was really excited. It’s an honor to be considered one of the top players.

ESPNHS: Tell us a little about your high school team. What are some of the expectations for this season?
Qualls: We exceeded expectations last season. It was a good season, but this season is going to be a lot better. We have a lot of talent. We’re young, so we’re a little raw, but when we get the experience and the reps, we’ll be good.

ESPNHS: And I’m sure you’re looking forward to getting back out there at running back.
Qualls: It’s not every day you see a 280-pound running back. I’m really blessed.

ELIJAH QUALLS
School: Casa Grande (Peteluma, Calif.)
Class: 2013
Position: RB/DB
HT: 6-2
WT: 285
2011 Team Record: 9-4 (Lost in CIF North Coast Section Division II tourney)

FAVORITES
Food: Spaghetti
Athlete: Barry Sanders
Musical Artist: Hopsin & Wiz Khalifa
Video Game: “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3”
Movie: “Friday Night Lights”
Ezekiel ElliotTom Hauck/ESPNHSJohn Burroughs (St. Louis) running back and Ohio State commit Ezekiel Elliott earned one of five invitations to The Opening at the Champaign NFTC.
Ezekiel Elliott was a relative unknown heading into 2012.

Last season, the 6-foot, 200-pound running back rushed for 1,802 yards and 34 touchdowns on 211 carries (8.5 yards per carry) and scored 42 total touchdowns while leading John Burroughs (St. Louis) to a Class 3 state runner-up finish.

Yet, Elliott was barely a blip on the national radar. A big reason why is that Elliott had never attended a national combine or camp, choosing instead to focus on his other passion during the offseason — track.

But it all started to change this spring when Elliott began to receive serious football interest from big-time college programs. And on April 1, he committed to Ohio State over Missouri, where his dad played football and his mom ran track, and Notre Dame.

The No. 255 recruit in the ESPN 300, Elliott followed his commitment by attending his first major football camp, the Nike Football Training Camp in Champaign, Ill. There, Elliott was named running back MVP and earned invitations to both The Opening and Champion Gridiron Kings.

So what’s this Buckeyes commit got planned for the rest of the summer? Get Familiar with Ezekiel Elliott.

ESPNHS: Why did you never attend a football camp before this spring?
Elliott: It’s something I didn’t think was very important. I could have went to some if I wasn’t getting the looks I was getting. Also, I’m a track guy, so I’m competing at meets every weekend. I went to Champaign because of The Opening. I had seen it on TV and I was hearing about it from the other recruits. And then I heard from all the Ohio State guys who were going. It’s a great chance to go out and compete. I’m not necessarily ranked among the top guys in the country. It’s a great way to improve my ranking, compete and have fun.

ESPNHS: What did it feel like when you received The Opening invite?
Elliott: It felt great. Last summer, I wasn’t on anybody’s radar. To think in a year’s time that I’d be invited to The Opening and Gridiron Kings is incredible. It just shows that hard work pays off.

ESPNHS: You ended up missing most of your sophomore year with a broken collarbone. How tough was that to deal with?
Elliott: I broke my collarbone during the fourth game of my sophomore year. I had eight touchdowns at that point. It was tough to have to watch. My guys did great and made it to the state championship. But it was tough not being able to be physically part of the games.

ESPNHS: Your team lost in the state final for the second straight year last fall. How much has that motivated you and your teammates this offseason?
Elliott: It was very heartbreaking. It’s something I still think about every day. Now we know what it takes to get there and not get what we want. We just have to work hard, stay humble and stay motivated.

ESPNHS: You’re also a track star. Are you planning on running track at Ohio State and why do you love running so much?
Elliott: Running track has been in the conversation. I’m going to try it my freshman year and see how it goes. I just love to compete. Track helps me stay in shape, and being a hurdler helps my flexibility and my hips. I just can’t sit out a season. I also play basketball during the winter. I’ve been doing this since I was 7. I also run summer track and two-a-days start for football on Aug. 6. It just doesn’t feel right for me not to be physically active.

ESPNHS: What led you to pick Ohio State on April Fool’s Day?
Elliott: Nobody thought I was serious. I narrowed it down to three schools — Ohio State, Mizzou and Notre Dame. I visited each school twice. After I came back from the second visit at Ohio State, I sat down with my parents. It was tough. We wanted to wait it out, but it became overwhelming. When we came back from Ohio State, we talked about it and I woke up (the next day) and committed to Ohio State. I called coach (Urban) Meyer and told him I wanted to be a Buckeye. It felt great.

ESPNHS: How much did your parents help you through the process?
Elliott: I wouldn’t be where I am without my mom. She drives me to every practice and every game. My dad has been there for me, too. My dad played football at Missouri and my mom ran track at Missouri, but they supported me in every decision I made. They both love Ohio State. They’ll still be rooting me on. I credit everything I’ve accomplished to them. It’s great to have two parents who support you. I’m grateful for everything they’ve done.

EZEKIEL ELLIOTT
School: John Burroughs (St. Louis)
Class: 2013
Position: Running back
HT: 6-0
WT: 200
College: Ohio State

FAVORITES
TV Show: “Criminal Minds”
Movie: “Air Bud”
Musical Artist: J. Cole
Athlete: Lolo Jones
Pro Team: Miami Heat
School Subject: Physics
Food: Fried chicken

Elite 11 Watch: Stockton QB Zack Greenlee

June, 14, 2012
6/14/12
10:12
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video

Is Lincoln (Stockton, Calif.) junior quarterback Zack Greenlee the nation’s best quarterback without a scholarship offer?

He’s certainly in the discussion. Rated the nation’s No. 21 pocket passer by ESPN, Greenlee is one of only two QBs in the top 25 without a reported offer from any college. That doesn’t mean there’s not interest -- schools such as Boise State, BYU, Cal, Colorado and UCLA are among those who have reached out to the 6-foot-2, 187-pound signal-caller. But no school has extended an olive branch.

Their loss could soon be some school's gain. Greenlee performed exceptionally well at the Oakland Elite 11 regional, going toe to toe with some of the nation’s best QBs on a blustery day by the bay.

Last season, he and teammate Justin Davis (a USC pledge) helped Lincoln to an 11-2 record. Davis led the team on the ground with 36 touchdowns, but it was far from a one-dimensional offense. Greenlee completed 59.1 percent of his passes for 2,340 yards and 22 scores with just five interceptions.

Maybe the college coaches need to see more. So Greenlee will take his talents to Las Vegas on June 16 for another Elite 11 regional. Until then, we’ll help you get to know this budding young star.

ESPNHS: Between you and Justin Davis, that’s quite a formidable offense. Tell us a little bit about what it’s like to have him in the backfield with you.
Greenlee: It’s a strong tandem. We feed off each other, and teams have to prepare for both of us. They’re fighting to stop the run, so we can come at them through the air, and then when they adjust for that, Justin just pounds it up the middle. It’s nice having him out there, too, because teams have to respect the play-action.

ESPNHS: What are some things you’re working on this summer in preparation for your senior season?
Greenlee: I’m just working to get bigger and stronger and building chemistry with my wide receivers. I was pretty small [as a sophomore], I was maybe 165 or 170, so I’ve been putting on a lot of weight. I’m 190 now and I want to be at least 200 by the time I leave high school.

ESPNHS: Be your biggest critic here. What do you think you need to do to take the next step?
Greenlee: I have to progress as a leader for our team. And I just have to keep working on footwork. As a player, I need to make sure I get all of my reads down and just work on improving on learning to read defenses.

ESPNHS: You had a chance to compete at the Oakland Elite 11 regional. How do you think it went?
Greenlee: I thought it went really well. I got a chance to compete with some of the best QBs in the nation, guys like Max Browne and Cooper Bateman. It was nice to put a face to a name and talk to them. And it was great to compete out there and show the coaches what I can do. I feel like I did really well. It was hard to get used to the wind and battling the elements, but I settled down. I had fun going through the drills.

ESPNHS: What were some things you learned from the coaches while you were there?
Greenlee: They talked a lot about ball placement. Stuff like when I’m dropping back, where to hold the ball. It was a big learning experience for me.

ESPNHS: You’re going to be at the Las Vegas regional. What would it mean to you to get an invite to the finals?
Greenlee: It would mean a lot. I’ve been working hard all summer to get there. That has been my goal since my sophomore year, and I’m looking forward to it. I just have to show the coaches that I can continue to keep competing.

ESPNHS: How’s the recruiting process going?
Greenlee: I’ve talked to quite a few schools, but I haven’t gotten an offer yet. I’m looking to get out to some camps. I’ll be headed to the Fresno State and UNLV camps shortly.

ZACK GREENLEE
School: Lincoln (Stockton, Calif.)
Position: QB
Class: 2013
College: Undecided
2011 Team Record: 11-2 (Lost in CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinals)

2011 Stats
Attempts/Completions: 127-of-215 (59.1 percent)
Passing Yards: 2,340
TD: 22

FAB 50 Offseason Primer: Oscar Smith

June, 13, 2012
6/13/12
9:57
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Oscar Smith FootballAP Photo/The Daily Progress, Sabrina SchaefferOscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) won the Group AAA Division 6 state title last season to finish No. 43 in the POWERADE FAB 50.
During the offseason, we’ll check on one team per week that looks like a sure bet to be among the best in the nation this fall.

FAB 50 Offseason Primer archive

This week’s team: Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.)

2011 Season: 14-1, Group AAA Division 6 state champion, No. 43 in the final POWERADE FAB 50.

Projected 2012 Preseason Ranking: Top 50. The Tigers continue to produce touted skill players, and this season should be no different. At the head of the pack is Zack Jones, a wide receiver/defensive back who caught 49 passes for 993 yards and 16 scores as a junior. He has committed to Virginia, where his brother, Perry, is a team captain and running back. The Tigers have a chance to make a statement in August when they entertain South Carolina power Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) in a showdown of defending state champions. Byrnes was ranked No. 30 last season in the FAB 50. Oscar Smith went unbeaten versus in-state competition in 2011 and reeled off 14 straight wins after losing to FAB 50 No. 21 Gilman (Baltimore). The Tigers have won eight straight district titles in the competitive Tidewater area and will be the team to beat again in 2012.

Team Strengths: Besides Jones, the Tigers return the team's top tackler in pass-rushing defensive end Kanyia Anderson , who recorded 110 tackles, 22 sacks and forced six fumbles. Two touted underclass prospects include freshman running back DeShawn McClease and sophomore wide receiver Jaylen Bradshaw (5-11, 170). Both already are on the radar of college recruiters. Another running back gaining attention is junior Marcus Smith (5-8, 170). All three will need to step up to replace J.C. Coleman, who signed with Virginia Tech. The other main offensive concern is at quarterback with productive J.J. Williamson off to Hampton University. His backup, Dashawn Blow (5-8, 175), is primed for the job. Other players to watch include sophomore defensive lineman Drew Varner, sophomore linebacker Marquise Cook and freshman kicker Brad Davis.

Another Virginia team to watch: Salem (Virginia Beach, Va.) gave Oscar Smith its biggest in-state scare last season before falling 35-34 in the Eastern Region Division 6 championship and finished 11-2 overall. The SunDevils return touted quarterback Bucky Hodges, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound junior who has committed to Virginia Tech. Hodges completed 64 percent of his passes last year for 2,142 yards and 26 touchdowns with only six interceptions. Leading the defense is top linebacker Andrew Motu'apuaka, who recorded 97 tackles and had three interceptions as a junior. When all is said and done in the Tidewater area, Salem could hold bragging rights over Oscar Smith and other contenders.

Get Familiar: OL Scott Quessenberry

June, 11, 2012
6/11/12
9:43
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Portland SPARQTom Hauck/ESPNHSLa Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) center Scott Quessenberry, rated No. 183 in the ESPN 300, had a strong day at the Portland Nike Football SPARQ Combine.
Despite measuring in at 6-foot-4, 285 pounds, Scott Quessenberry often gets overlooked when he's on the football field. It's not the La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) junior's fault — that's just the way it goes for offensive lineman, who rarely ever make the box score with their play. But by using a combination of quickness and strength, Quessenberry has still earned his fair share of attention.

Ranked No. 183 in the ESPN 300, Quessenberry made his mark last season at right tackle, paving the way for a potent rushing attack and leading the Mavericks within one win of the CIF San Diego Section Division II championship game. His play has garnered offers from the likes of Arkansas, Oregon and Wisconsin.

Fresh off competing against some of the nation's best players at the Oregon Nike Football Training Camp this past weekend, Quessenberry is now focused on improving his skills enough to help the Mavericks win a title this coming season — and perhaps bring a little more attention his way.

ESPNHS: How long have you been playing on the offensive line?
Quessenberry:
I've been on the line my entire life. I actually wasn't really that big going into high school — I was about 5-10. Then, the summer before my sophomore year, I grew to 6-4 and got called up to play varsity that season at center. I played right tackle last year as a junior, will play left tackle as a senior and I'm being recruited to play center in college.

ESPNHS: What's the hardest part of being an offensive lineman?
Quessenberry:
Just being overlooked. Everyone sees the receivers and quarterbacks throwing the ball. Me and my guys up front are doing what we have to do, but we don't get our names in the newspapers. Of course, the biggest thing is winning and we know we did what we had to do to help our team, but sometimes it's tough to be overlooked when you're putting in a lot of work out there. A lot of times, offensive lineman get noticed only when they mess up, but at the same time, the only way to get better is to learn from your mistakes. No one is perfect, so you have to always look to improve.

ESPNHS: You made the latest ESPN 300 rankings at number 183 and are ranked as the second-best center in the nation. What's it like being recognized in that way?
Quessenberry:
It's great to be on the list. I'm always on there looking at rankings and when I don't see my name in there, I'll say 'That's cool,' but the in back of my mind I know I can play with anyone. It's great to be recognized for your hard work, but you can't focus too much on the rankings. I just have to go do me.

ESPNHS: Recently, you narrowed your list to four colleges. Where does your recruitment stand right now?
Quessenberry:
I had it down to four with Nebraska, San Diego State, Wisconsin and UCLA, but I was only at 12 offers at the time. Now, I have 17 and those new ones that came in were Oregon, Cal, Arkansas, Oregon State and Washington, so that changed things up a little. Those four schools I had it down to are still in the mix, but as of those point, I'm pretty wide open and want to take some visits before making a decision.

ESPNHS: Players have different experiences with the recruiting process — some good, some bad. What's your experience been like so far?
Quessenberry:
It's very interesting process. You hear different pitches from different coaches, which is cool and humbling. You also have to be sure to choose the right words, but if you say something the wrong way, the coach might think you don't want to go there when that's not the case. You have to be very intricate at times, but it's not a frustrating process.

ESPNHS: What are your strengths and what are some things you want to work on in the next year?
Quessenberry:
Playing outside the last two years, I want to work on improving my pass blocking. My strengths are my physicality, I'm very good in space and blocking the corner and safeties. I just try to get after it and have a motor that keeps going and going.

SCOTT QUESSENBERRY
School: La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.)
Class: 2013
Position: Offensive line
Height: 6-4
Weight: 285

FAVORITES
Food:
Southern California Mexican food
Athlete: Nick Hardwick
Team: San Diego Chargers
Car: Ford F-150 Raptor
School subject: History
Music artist: Guns N' Roses
Auburn (Ala.) linebacker Reuben Foster, the nation’s No. 2 recruit in the ESPN 150, highlights the latest top players selected to play in Champion Gridiron Kings, an elite 7-on-7 football event that will field 64 of the nation’s top skill position players — quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties.

Now in its fourth year, Gridiron Kings will take place from July 27-29 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., as part of the ESPNHS Games presented by GNC.

Foster, an Alabama commit, will be joined by the likes of Eastern (Voorhees, N.J.) corner Eli Woodard, an Ohio State commit and the No. 11 recruit in the ESPN 150, and Cedar Cliff (Camp Hill, Pa.) tight end Adam Breneman, who’s the nation’s No. 42 recruit and a Penn State commit.

De La Salle (Warren, Mich.) quarterback and Michigan commit Shane Morris was one of the first players chosen last month.

Click here to see the 38 Gridiron Kings selections.

Elite 11 Watch: Gilman QB Shane Cockerille

June, 7, 2012
6/07/12
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Shane CockerilleTom HauckGilman (Baltimore) quarterback Shane Cockerille shined at the NYC Elite 11 regional in April and will compete at the final Elite 11 regional in Las Vegas on June 16.
Throughout this offseason, we’ve spotlighted Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week, we profile Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) junior Shane Cockerille, who shined at the New York City Elite 11 regional in April and will be competing at the Las Vegas regional on June 16.

Shane Cockerille didn't quite know what to expect heading into the New York City Elite 11 regional competition.

The Gilman (Baltimore) junior quarterback was widely regarded as one of Maryland’s top football recruits, but he hadn’t yet made a name for himself outside the state. He was hoping to change that at the event at Randall's Island, but he wasn't familiar with the drills or the format.

All he knew was that he’d be going up against some awfully tough competition.

But Cockerille is no stranger to good competition. His Gilman team routinely faces some of the best schools in the region, and this fall the Greyhounds will open up against perennial powerhouses Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio), Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) and Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.), the latter of which finished this past season as the nation's No. 1 team in the POWERADE FAB 50.

A dual-threat quarterback, Cockerille will be tough for even those top teams to slow down. He threw for 1,100 yards last season and rushed for 1,300 more, accounting for 26 total touchdowns just one year after transferring from DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.). Cockerille helped Gilman finish 10-1 on the season, beating Calvert Hall (Baltimore) in the second overtime for the MIAA A Conference championship. The Greyhounds finished the year No. 21 in the FAB 50.

Now, as Cockerille prepares to make a run at an Elite 11 finals nod at the Las Vegas Elite 11 regional, we caught up with the 6-foot-2, 207-pound Maryland recruit to find out what he’s looking forward to this time around.

ESPNHS: How do you feel like you did at the New York Elite 11 regional?
Cockerille: I thought it went pretty well. I came out wanting to compete and to make myself known. I knew I was competing against some of the best guys in the area. I feel like I learned how the camp works. I didn’t know what a lot of those drills were, but I got a good feel for them.

ESPNHS: What are some of the things you’ve been doing since last season to prepare for your senior year?
Cockerille: I’m lifting four times a week and I ran track this season to work on getting my speed up. And I’m training with my quarterback coach on Sunday and Monday nights, too.

ESPNHS: Here’s a chance to be your biggest critic. What are some of the things you feel like you need to improve on?
Cockerille: I definitely want to work on my accuracy, and I am always working on my pocket presence.

ESPNHS: One of the knocks on you is that your accuracy suffers sometimes because of your arm slot being a little too low. Is that something you’ve worked on?
Cockerille: I’ve been working on that all offseason, getting my arm up. People have told me that in the past, that my arm is kind of low, and I’m working on it. You can definitely tell when my arm is up that my accuracy is better.

ESPNHS: Is that a tough thing to do? It seems like it’s a move from a natural movement to something that takes you out of your element.
Cockerille: It’s how I threw the ball naturally. I guess I relied more on my athleticism than just being a quarterback.

ESPNHS: You committed to Maryland in April. What made you choose the Terrapins?
Cockerille
: Our [third] game of the season, against Good Counsel, coach (Randy) Edsall was out there and he saw me play in person. One day later he called and said he liked the way I played. For your hometown school to offer you to be a QB was really exciting. I looked through the process a little to see what else was going on, but when I went to the spring game, I felt like it was time to commit to Maryland. It’s a dream come true to go to your hometown school and try to help them turn things around.

ESPNHS: Are you looking forward to being the leader for this team this season?
Cockerille: Definitely. I love to do that. I feel like when I have the spotlight on me, I play better.

Shane Cockerille
School
: Gilman (Baltimore)
Position: QB
Class: 2013
College: Maryland
2011 Team Record: 10-1 (Won MIAA A Conference championship)

2011 Stats
Passing Yards: 1,100
Rushing Yards: 1,300
Total TD: 26

FAB 50 Offseason Primer: Staley

June, 6, 2012
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Trent HosickTom Hauck/ESPNHSJunior quarterback and Missouri commit Trent Hosick guided Staley (Kansas City, Mo.) to its first state title this past fall.
During the offseason, we’ll check out one team per week that looks like a sure bet to be among the best in the nation this fall.

FAB 50 Offseason Primer archive

This week’s team: Staley (Kansas City, Mo.)

2011 Season: 14-0, Class 5 state champion, No. 12 in final Midlands Region rankings.

Projected 2012 Preseason Ranking: Top 50. While the Falcons didn’t win the highest division in Missouri’s Show-Me Bowl last December, they made a strong case that they were the state’s top overall squad. Not only were they unbeaten, but they posted a win against Blue Springs (Mo.) early in the season and Blue Springs was a team that also notched a win early in the season against Class 6 state champion Blue Springs (Mo.) South (Blue Springs, Mo.). This year’s Staley team once again will feature the talents of Trent Hosick (6-2, 220), one of the top-ranked quarterbacks in the nation. A Missouri commit, Hosick rushed for 2,403 yards and 31 touchdowns as a junior and passed for 1,422 yards and 10 scores.

Team Strengths: Hosick’s return automatically makes the Falcons a choice to be one of Missouri’s best teams for this fall. He has committed to Missouri after getting offers from most schools from the Big 12 and Big Ten. For the team to repeat and be higher in the rankings, however, a replacement will need to step up for graduated standout Morgan Steward. He rushed for 2,226 yards and scored 36 times in his senior season. A good bet to become that feature back is Tre Childs, who averaged nearly eight yards per carry as a backup. Another plus will be the return of all-state offensive lineman Austin White. The defense also could be in rebuilding mode and will need some younger players, including sophomore linebacker Parker Mertz, who played varsity as a freshman, to become team leaders.

Another Missouri team to watch: Webb City (Mo.) begins 2012 as a two-time defending Class 4 state champion and with on a 30-game winning streak. It’s hard to tell how the Cardinals would fare against bigger schools, but early in the season they are going up against Har-Ber (Springdale, Ark.), a solid Class 7A program from Arkansas. This year’s team at Webb City also is loaded with returning standouts, led by running back Phoenix Johnson, who rushed for 1,920 yards and scored 33 touchdowns last fall. Three others who earned Class 4A all-state honors as juniors are defensive lineman Jose Speer, kicker Alex Easley, linebacker Nate Brown and tight end Kohl Slaughter.

Get Familiar: USC commit Ty Isaac

June, 4, 2012
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Ty IsaacTom Hauck/ESPNHSJoliet Catholic (Joliet, Ill.) running back and USC commit Ty Isaac, the No. 68 recruit in the ESPN 150, received one of five invitations to The Opening at the Champaign NFTC.
When it came time for Ty Isaac to make his commitment, the Joliet Catholic (Joliet, Ill.) running back didn’t want any bells and whistles.

So no hats in front of a table, no fancy props and certainly no televised announcement.

Instead, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior called the coaches from USC and Michigan — the two schools he was considering — and then announced his commitment to the Trojans via Twitter.

That’s about as Hollywood as the low-key Isaac would go with his pledge. He’d rather make his noise on the field.

He's made plenty of it during his junior year. Rated the nation’s No. 68 recruit in the ESPN 150, Isaac earned ESPNHS Underclass All-American honors this past fall after rushing for 2,629 yards and scoring 51 touchdowns. His best game of the season came in the Class 5A state final against Montini (Lombard, Ill.) when he rushed for a state-title game record 515 yards and six scores, though Joliet Catholic lost 70-45.

And on Sunday, he earned an invitation to The Opening with a stellar performance at the Champaign Nike Football Training Camp.

Now that his commitment is out of the way, Isaac took some time to talk about his decision, preparing for his senior season and comparisons to Marcus Allen.

Get Familiar with one of the nation’s top running backs.

ESPNHS: How much of a relief is it to have your college decision out of the way?
Isaac: It’s huge. You don’t have to worry about 100 phone calls or texts asking you about what you want to do. It was getting to be a lot. It really started the end of my freshman year. I felt like I was so far along in the process that I was ready.

ESPNHS: What led you to pick USC?
Isaac: I like the staff, I like the players, the people around the program and obviously the whole school. It’s nice to be able to focus on my team now.

ESPNHS: What made you announce on Twitter and not make a big deal about your commitment?
Isaac: It’s not my style. I don’t like that kind of stuff. I like to be under the radar.

ESPNHS: You ended up making an impact on varsity as a freshman. Did you feel any pressure that year considering your dad used to be a star player at the school? (Note: Isaac’s father caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the 1987 Class 5A state final.)
Isaac: It taught me how to work. When you’re up on varsity, everyone is held to a higher standard. I felt a little pressure, but you just have to go out and make a name for yourself.

ESPNHS: How tough was it to take that loss in the state final?
Isaac: It was rough because we were in it the whole way. Then it just broke down. We have to take care of this season. That last game taught us how much harder we have to work. You learn from it and hopefully we’ll be a lot better off this season.

ESPNHS: What do you think of the comparisons to Marcus Allen?
Isaac: There’s no pressure. A lot of high school players are compared to somebody. But at the end of the day, you’re going to go out and build your own legacy.

ESPNHS: Who do you credit the most for getting you to this point?
Isaac: My dad. He’s taught me how to handle myself and take care of my business. He taught me there’s more to life than football. You have to take care of your academics. You’ve got to have a degree. You’re not going to go anywhere without one.

TY ISAAC
School: Joliet Catholic (Joliet, Ill.)
Class: 2013
Position: Running back
HT: 6-2
WT: 225
College: USC

FAVORITES
TV Show: “Pardon the Interruption”
Movie: “Contraband”
Musical Artist: YG
Athlete: Russell Westbrook
Team: San Francisco 49ers
School Subject: History
Food: Shrimp
Jared GoffTom Hauck/ESPNHSMarin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.) junior quarterback Jared Goff was one of seven finalists at the Oakland Elite 11 regional. Goff has committed to Cal.
Throughout this offseason, we’ve spotlighted Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week, we profile Marin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.) junior Jared Goff, who shined at the Oakland Elite 11 regional.

When you play quarterback in Northern California, wearing the number 16 carries extra meaning. After all, it’s the same number Hall of Famer Joe Montana wore while leading the San Francisco 49ers to multiple Super Bowl titles.

Marin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.) junior Jared Goff has worn the same number since he started playing quarterback as a 7-year-old. While he was too young to catch Montana during his playing days, Goff quickly learned the significance of wearing that number.

“I look up to him,” said Goff. “It’s got a lot of meaning to me.”

While the 6-foot-4, 190-pounder has a long, long way to go to match “Joe Cool,” he has become a star in his own right in the Northern California high school football realm.

Rated the nation’s No. 14 pocket passer by ESPN, Goff has committed to Cal. He threw for 3,179 yards and 44 touchdowns as a junior while leading Marin Catholic to the North Coast Section Division III final, where the Wildcats were edged by Campolindo (Moraga, Calif.) 20-18 on a last-second field goal.

Since then, Goff has focused his offseason training on improving his skills to help Marin Catholic capture the crown this fall. He’s also aiming for an invite to the Elite 11 finals, and he took a great step in that direction on May 18 when he was one of the finalists at the Oakland Elite 11 regional.

We caught up with Goff to talk about his commitment to Cal, his goals for this upcoming season and what an Elite 11 invite would mean to him.

ESPNHS: When did you first realize you wanted to play quarterback?
Goff: I’ve been playing quarterback since I was 7. I liked how if the game isn’t going well, it’s all on your shoulders. I like the leadership part of it, how everyone looked to you when things weren’t going well.

ESPNHS: Your dad played Major League Baseball. Did you ever have the urge to play baseball beyond high school?
Goff: I think I have the ability to play college baseball. But it’s too demanding a position at quarterback, it’s too much of a commitment. So I won’t be playing college baseball. I’ve always loved baseball. My dad was totally clear that if I didn’t play sports, he’d be happy. He just wanted me to have fun. I like them both, but it was nice he didn’t pressure me.

ESPNHS: What led you to pick Cal?
Goff: I committed to Cal over Boise State and Washington State. (Cal head coach) Jeff Tedford puts a lot of guys in the NFL, especially with a guy like Aaron Rodgers. And it’s second to none academically. You can’t really ask for more than that. Both my parents went there and it’s 30 minutes from home. I knew when I was at Cal that nothing could beat it for me. Everything fell into place. It was perfect. They were the first to offer, so that added to it.

I’m super excited to work with coach Tedford. Between him and (quarterbacks) coach (Marcus) Arroyo, they have 40-plus years of playing or coaching the quarterback position, and I’ve never heard of that anywhere else. I’m really excited to get better working under them.

ESPNHS: How relieved are you to have the process over with so early?
Goff: It definitely helps a lot, because I don’t have to worry about calling coaches all the time or keeping up on the recruiting news. I can focus on being a better leader and getting that state ring.

ESPNHS: Talk a little bit about the section final. How much has that weighed on you this offseason?
Goff: That was a tough one. We had plenty of chances to win that game. It was frustrating and disappointing because of how good we were and how poorly we played. But I think that’s a good thing for us now. It showed we have to bring our best effort and focus to every game. But Campolindo deserved it that night.

ESPNHS: How would you describe your experience at the Oakland Elite 11 regional?
Goff: It was a lot of fun going up against the top guys in the country. Being able to compete and do well against them was awesome. It definitely helped a lot. I went out with the goal of getting MVP but just came up a little short.

ESPNHS: You did end up beating out Oakland Elite 11 MVP Max Browne for MVP honors the next day at the Oakland NFTC. How did that feel?
Goff: It was nice to win it, just to come away with something from the weekend. Max was one of the first people to come up and congratulate me. We were obviously competing, but we formed a friendship there. Cal-USC (where Browne has committed) is a big rivalry, and we were talking about how fun it’s going to be to compete against each other for four years.

ESPNHS: What would an Elite 11 invite mean to you?
Goff: It would mean everything. I’ve been working for it since my freshman year. I knew then it was something I wanted.

Jared Goff
School: Marin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.)
Position: QB
Class: 2013
College: Cal
2011 Team Record: 13-1 (Lost in North Coast Section Division III final)

2011 Stats
Passing Yards: 3,179
TD: 44

FAB 50 Offseason Primer: Don Bosco Prep

May, 30, 2012
5/30/12
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TBD EditorJeff Skopin/ESPNNewYorkDon Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) won its sixth straight state title last season to finish No. 1 in the POWERADE FAB 50 for the second time in three years.
During the offseason, we’ll check out one team per week that looks like a sure bet to be among the best in the nation this fall.

FAB 50 Offseason Primer archive

This week’s team: Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.)

2011 Season: 11-0, Non-Public Group IV state champion, No. 1 in the final POWERADE FAB 50.

Projected 2012 Preseason Ranking: Top 25. The Ironmen have an almost unmatched resume in recent seasons, winning six straight state titles, achieving three consecutive unbeaten seasons and earning two FAB 50 national crowns in the last three years. Don Bosco will take a 46-game win streak -- the second-longest active winning streak in the nation -- into the season. This year, the Ironmen will once again face a difficult schedule. Season-opening opponent Gilman (Baltimore) finished No. 21 in the FAB 50, while St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) was the 2010 FAB 50 champ and Alta (Sandy, Utah) is a strong program. Don Bosco could move up the FAB 50 ladder with early-season success against the non-Jersey foes, but it faces its biggest task in recent years. The Ironmen must replace several talented starters, including ESPNHS All-American and Rutgers recruit Darius Hamilton and sophomore running back/cornerback Jabrill Peppers, an ESPNHS Underclass All-American who transferred to Paramus Catholic (Paramus, N.J.). While coach Greg Toal’s track record has to be respected in the preseason FAB 50 positioning, top 10 might just be too high in the early going.

Team Strengths: The major strength of this fall’s squad will be on defense, especially along the line, which returns standouts Alquadin Muhammad, who’s the No. 145 recruit in the ESPN 150, and Razohnn Gross. Also expected back is junior linebacker Spencer Scannell and junior defensive backs Isaiah Hill and Justin Wimberly. The Ironmen won the FAB 50 crown with a first-year starter, Mike Yankovich, at quarterback. They’ll have to do the same this year. Sophomore Eric Meile could be in line for the starting nod this fall. Sophomore running back Aaron Guzman could be another key offensive performer.

Another New Jersey team to watch: Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) could be the team that ends of the domination of Don Bosco. Bergen Catholic’s losing streak against the Ironmen is 10 games, but they did lead after three quarters in the first of last year’s two losses. The Crusaders, however, have the returning personnel to get the job done. The veterans for coach Nunzio Campanile, a former Don Bosco coach, include quarterback Jon Germano, who passed for 2,359 yards and 31 scores for the 8-3 team; wide receiver John Tsimis, who caught 50 passes for 754 yards and 11 scores; top rusher James Dawson; and linebackers Parker Tobia and Dan Grasso.

Get Familiar: Super soph. Da'Shawn Hand

May, 28, 2012
5/28/12
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These days it’s tough to find a college football team that isn’t interested in landing Da’Shawn Hand. The sophomore from Woodbridge (Va.) has more than 30 offers from Alabama to Stanford and just about everywhere in between.

It’s easy to see why. Hand is as gregarious off the field as he is ferocious on it. And on the field, he’s a sight to be seen. The 6-foot-4, 238-pound defensive end put up a ridiculous 21 sacks to go with his 84 tackles this past fall. The Vikings finished with a 6-4 record, but expectations for this season are much higher.

It’s numbers like those that have made Hand one of the most popular athletes in the Class of 2014. Following his impressive performance at the Baltimore NFTC, Hand took down Top Underclassman honors as well as an invite to The Opening at the Nike Headquarters in July, and he has some speculating he could be the nation’s No. 1 recruit next season.

None of this, however, has gotten to Hand’s head. Despite all the offers and attention, Hand says he’s still got plenty to prove. What’s left for the stellar soph? We’ll let him tell you as we Get Familiar with Da’Shawn Hand.

ESPNHS: What was your reaction when you were told you got an invite to The Opening?
Hand
: I was just shocked and honored. I’ve seen clips of The Opening on YouTube and ESPN, and I was excited to be a part of it. The top 150 players in the country, and it’s Nike, so you can’t do better than that.

ESPNHS: What are some things you felt you did that impressed the coaches at the event?
Hand
: My technique, footwork and balance and stuff were good. I felt pretty good, overall, but I definitely noticed what I needed to improve on.

ESPNHS: Was there one event you felt like you really shined in?
Hand
: The one-on-ones, definitely, in terms of the competition. It was a good learning experience for me. I went up against some great offensive linemen.

ESPNHS: What are some things you feel like you learned from the coaches at the Baltimore event?
Hand
: There was a lot. There were a lot of very, very good coaches and they influenced me a lot. There were some pass rushing techniques and a lot of just basic knowledge of the game. It was cool just to see how they look at everything and just seeing what they did. It was a nice learning experience.

ESPNHS: Your popularity has skyrocketed this summer. Do you feel like a lot has changed?
Hand
: I don’t really worry about that stuff. I just try to focus on improving myself as a player, as a student and as a person.

ESPNHS: Tell us a little about your summer, what else do you have planned?
Hand
: Oh man, the summer is going to be really busy. I’m going to some camps at Virginia Tech and at Alabama, and I’m headed to The Opening on July 5 … and after that, it’s back to practice to get ready for the fall season.

ESPNHS: What’s the goal for Woodbridge this season?
Hand
: We want to win states, have the No. 1 defense in the state, be ranked No. 1 in scoring defense and just be dominant.

ESPNHS: Oh that’s it, huh?
Hand
: Our defense has a lot of returners, and our offense is piecing things together. I think during two-a-days they’ll get that all sorted out.

ESPNHS: You’re going to be one of the leaders this fall. Is that something you’re looking forward to?
Hand
: I’m definitely looking forward to seeing my team grow. A lot of people say I’m going to be the one that other teams targeted, but we have a lot of pieces on defense. If those other teams don’t worry about a lot of our other key players, they’ll get beat, and then they’ll stop worrying about me as much.

ESPNHS: What else do you have planned for this summer other than football?
Hand
: Definitely hitting up some amusement parks. I love roller coasters. No matter where I go, I always have to find the best roller coasters. I even get the fast pass so I can get right to the front of the line. Maybe the next time we talk, we’ll do our interview on a roller coaster. I bet we’d be the first guys to try that.

DA’SHAWN HAND
School: Woodbridge (Va.)
Class
: 2014
Position
: Defensive end
HT
: 6-4
WT
: 238
College
: Undecided

FAVORITES
Food: Seafood
Athlete: Jason Pierre-Paul
Video Game: NCAA Football 12
Pre-Game Song: Anything that cranks with a nice bass

Christopher Parish covers high school sports for ESPNHS. Follow him on Twitter @CParishESPN.

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