Saturday, February 27, 2010

NFHS Strengthens High School Football Concussion Rule

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America


The National Federation of State High School Associations isn't sitting back when it comes to concussions.

Effective this falls, any player who shows signs, symptoms or behaviors associated with a concussion must be removed from the game and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional.

The previous rule directed officials to remove an athlete from play if “unconscious or apparently unconscious.” The previous rule also allowed for return to play based on written authorization by a medical doctor. Now, officials are charged with removing any player who shows signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion, such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion or balance problems, and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional.

“Given that the vast majority of concussions do not include a loss of consciousness, but that athletes often show obvious evidence of concussion, the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) strongly believes that officials must continue to be empowered to remove these athletes from play, thus protecting them from further injury,” said Dr. Michael Koester, chair of the SMAC. “Continued participation in any sport following a concussion can lead to worsening concussion symptoms, as well as increased risk for further injury to the brain and even death.

“The safety of the athlete is of paramount concern during any athletic contest," added Dr. Koester. " Officials, coaches and administrators are being asked to make all efforts at ensuring that concussed athletes do not continue to participate. Thus, coaches, players and administrators should also be looking for signs of concussion in all athletes and should immediately remove any suspected concussed athlete from play.”

The rule change is similar to what's going on at the state level when it comes to creating rules. Last year, the State of Washington implemented legislation to protect injured players.

Two California lawmakers are also considering introducing concussion legislation.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Preferred Walk-On vs. the Walk-On

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America


Education time today...

A couple of weeks ago, when I was building the state-by-state list of players signing on National Letter of Intent Day, I noticed more-and-more high schools mentioning that one of their players would be a Preferred Walk-On.

Of course, we're all familiar with the term Walk-On, but to be honest, I had to check on the definition of a Preferred Walk-On.

So here it goes, courtesy of a good story written by Greg Johnson of the Grand Rapids Press in Michigan...

Preferred Walk-On...
A player who is promised a roster spot, and reports with the scholarship players for fall camp a few weeks before classes start. He is not on scholarship, but can earn scholarships as they become available.

Walk-On...
A football player who joins a college team once classes have started in the fall, and hopes to demonstrate he should be given a roster spot. He is not on scholarship.

So there you have it...end of lesson. I just figured if I didn't understand the term fully, others might need some help as well.

Also, if you're still looking to see where you favorite player is going to college, every state huddle has a list that I'm updating everyday. The various state huddles can be accessed by going to the 50 States Huddle Links on the righthand side of the blog.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Vintage High School Football Video of Eric Dickerson

by Jeff Fisher
The High School Football Huddle


Spending some time today searching the internet for some cool high school football video to post on the various High School Football Huddle state sites.

Here's a good find on YouTube from TexasPreps, it's video from Eric Dickerson's last high school football game.

The NFL Hall of Famer played at Sealy High School, which is 50-miles west of Houston. In his senior season, he rushed for 2,642 yards, leading his team to the 2A state championship.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Ginn Way in Cleveland

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America


Ted Ginn, Sr. is a man that is know for doing great things on the football field as the head football coach at Cleveland's Glenville High School.

Ginn's son, Ted Jr., plays for the Miami Dolphins and he coached Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith in high school. Last season, the Tarblooders played in their first-ever Ohio state championship game, losing to Hilliard Davidson 16-15 in the Division I title game.

Today, I found a great story that CBS News ran on Ginn in December. Ginn is helping at-risk youth in the city at his brand new school called the Ginn Academy. While Ginn has a lot of victories since taking over at at Glenville in 1997, his biggest wins may be coming in the classrooms with the children at Ginn Academy.


Watch CBS News Videos Online

Friday, February 12, 2010

The HIgh School Football Huddle Hits Milestone

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America


For the last three years, I've been dutifully been trying to centralize all that is high school football in one convenient location for all of my readers.

It's been a tough task, seeing as I don't have a staff to do such a task. However, the feedback from readers has made it all worthwhile!

Today I'm happy to report that I just posted my 5,000th piece of material on The Huddle and my other 50 state huddles. In addition, I'm less than six-thousand page views away from 800,000 page impressions since I started this "little hobby".

I'd like to thank all of my faithful readers for their participation, and I look forward to an even better 2010 as Trish and I continue to work on launching High School Football America.

High School Football America is designed to be the quintessential high school football roadshow that will take our readers to small towns across America where high school football is woven tightly into the fabric of the community. We are currently in the middle of editing over a dozen vignettes that we shot last season from Connecticut to Iowa, and they will be posted at various times over the next four weeks.

Right now, we're working on our trip to Miles, Iowa, a town of 425 people in the eastern part of the state. We checked out the East Central High School football team that plays in Iowa's 8-Man classification because of the school's size.

Even though it drizzled most of the day, Trish and I met some of the nicest people in the world that care about their school and each other.

As a sneak peak to the upcoming video, below is a clip of Trish checking-out the Lions Club's concession tent that was grilling butterflied pork chops and brat burgers that were simply THE BEST things we ate on the road this year.

video

So once again, thanks for your dedication to our sites, and we look forward to a great 2010 high school football season!

Jeff & Trish

Sunday, February 07, 2010

New Orleans Saints: From High School to Super Bowl Champs

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America


Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints, who may be one of the most uplifting sports stories of all-time when you meld it together with what happen during and after Hurricane Katrina.

With the celebration freely flowing on Bourbon Street, I thought I'd take the time to look at the Saints roster and also salute where the championship began...at the high school level.

QuarterbackDrew Brees, who was 28-0-1 in two years as a starter at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, now has a Super Bowl ring to go along with the Texas 5A title he won as a senior.

And, not all Super Bowl stars had long high school football resumes. Tracy Porter, who iced the victory with his inception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, only played two years of high school football at Port Allen High School in Louisiana. However in his two years, he was named first team all-district as a senior, and second team all-district as a junior...even though he missed seven games with an injury.

The speedy Porter was an all-purpose player, who was a quarterback, running back, wide receiver and cornerback. In his final season, Porter averaged 47-yards per kickoff return and 28 years per punt return. He also picked-off 11 passes as a senior, returning one for a touchdown.

Finally, there's linebacker Scott Shanle, who played 8-Man football at St. Edward High School in Nebraska before going-on to play with the Cornhuskers in college. St. Edward is a tiny school that has just over 100 students.

So what's the high school make-up of the Saints?

Texas leads the way with seven high school football players on the roster, California has six, followed by South Carolina with four. There are three homegrown athletes from Louisiana on the Saints roster.

Congratulations to the Saints and the high schools where it all began!

New Orleans Saints Roster

5 - Garrett Hartley, Southlake Carroll HS (TX)
6 - Thomas Morstead, Pearland HS (TX)
9 - Drew Brees, Westlake HS (TX)
10 - Chase Daniel, Soutlake Carroll HS (TX)
11 - Mark Brunell, St. Joseph HS (CA)
12 - Marques Colton, Susquehanna Twp. HS (PA)
15 - Courtney Roby, North Central HS (IN)
16 - Lance Moore, Westerville South (OH)
17 - Robert Meachem, Booker T. Washington (OK)
19 - Devery Henderson, Opelousas HS (LA)
20 - Randall Gay, Brusly HS (LA)
21 - Mike Bell, Tolleson Union HS (AZ)
22 - Tracy Porter, Port Allen HS (LA)
23 - Pierre Thomas, Thornton Fractional South HS (IL)
25 - Reggie Bush, Helix HS (CA)
27 - Malcolm Jenkins, Piscataway HS (NJ)
28 - Usama Young, Largo HS (MD)
30 - Lynell Hamilton, Edison HS (CA)
31 - Pierson Prioleau, Macedonia HS (SC)
32 - Jabari Greer, South Side HS (TN)
36 - Kyle Eckel, Episcopal Academy (PA)
39 - Chris Reis, Roswell HS (GA)
41 - Roman Harper, Prattville HS (AL)
42 - Darren Sharper, Hermitage HS (VA)
50 - Marvin Mitchell, Virginia Pilot HS (VA)
51 - Jonathan Vilma, Coral Gables HS (FL)
52 - Jonathan Casillas, New Brunswick HS (NJ)
54 - Troy Evans, Lakota HS (OH)
55 - Scott Fujita, Rio Mesa HS (CA)
57 - Jason Kyle, McClintock HS (AZ)
58 - Scott Shanle, St. Edward HS (NE)
59 - Anthony Waters, Lake View HS (SC)
60 - Nick Leckey, Grapeview HS (TX)
64 - Zach Strief, Milford HS (OH)
67 - Jamar Nesbit, Summerville HS (SC)
69 - Anthony Hargrove, Port Charlotte HS (FL)
73 - Jahri Evens, Frankford HS (PA)
74 - Jermon Bushrod, King George HS (VA)
76 - Jonathan Goodwin, Lower Richland HS (SC)
77 - Carl Nicks, Salinas HS (CA)
78 - Jon Stinchcomb, Parkview HS (GA)
80 - Darnell Dinkins, Schenley HS (PA)
84 - Tory Humphrey, Saginaw HS (MI)
85 - David Thomas, Friendship HS (TX)
87 - Adrian Arrington, Washington HS (IA)
88 - Jermey Shockey, Ada HS (OK)
90 - DeMario Pressley, Dudley HS (NC)
91 - Will Smith, Proctor HS (NY)
92 - Remi Ayodele, South Grand Prairie HS (TX)
93 - Bobby McCray, Homestead HS (FL)
96 - Paul Spicer, Northwest HS (IN)
97 - Jeff Charleston, Central HS (OR)
98 - Sedrick Ellis, Chino HS (CA)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Football's Version of the Triple Crown

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America


I woke-up this morning thinking about how I could tie-in Super Bowl XLIV with high school football, but with more than just the casual...so-and-so played high school football at so-and-so high school.

My thoughts somehow wandered to baseball and the elusive Triple Crown, which is when a player leads the league in batting average, home runs and RBIs. And no, I'm not like modern day journalists that say it should be RBI without the "s", because they think they are smarter than tradition.
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Baseball's last Triple Crown winner was the Red Sox Carl Yastrzemski back in 1967. In over 130 years of professional baseball, there's been only 15 Triple Crown winners with Ted Williams and Rogers Hornsby being two-time winners.

Also, I'm not a horse racing fan, so it's version of the Triple Crown doesn't even come to my mind for this little exercise.

Today's goal is to try to figure-out if any football player has won a Super Bowl, a national championship in college and a high school state championship?


My first thought was Peyton Manning.

Surely the first family of quarterbacks was able to accomplish the feat, but then I remembered, Peyton never won a national championship at Tennessee. My research also showed that despite a 34-5 record as a starter at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans, Peyton never won a Louisiana state football title.

In high school, Peyton played with his brother Cooper, who caught a doezen of his sophomore brother's 23 TD passes.



So after striking out on my first guess, I decided to start with players that have won a Super Bowl ring and a national championship in college. To my surprise, I could only come-up with nine, and one of the eight, Colts running back Joseph Addai will play in tomorrow's game against the Saints.

Joseph Addai - LSU (2003), Indianapolis Colts (Super Bowl XLI)
Derrick Brooks - Florida St. (1993), Tampa Bay Bucanneers (Super Bowl XXXVII)
Tony Dorsett - Pitt (1976), Dallas Cowboys (Super Bowl XII)
William Floyd - Florida St. (1993), San Francisco 49ers (Super Bowl XXIX)
Michael Irvin - Miami (1987) , Dallas Cowboys (Super Bowl XXVII, XXVIII, XXX)
Joe Montana - Notre Dame (1977), San Francisco 49ers (Super Bowls XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV)
Joe Namath - Alabama (1964, New York Jets (Super Bowl III)
Ken Stabler - Alabama (1965), Oakland Raiders (Super Bowl XI)
Grant Wistrom- Nebraska (1994, 1995, 1997), St. Louis Rams (Super Bowl XXXIV)

So with a much smaller list, I was able to come-up with the ONLY player to win a Football Triple Crown.

Grant Wistrom is Mr. Championship having led his Webb City High School football team to two Missouri Class 4A titles in the early 90's. In all, Wistrom has won six championships, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame last year.

What is odd about this journey is the fact that I met Grant back in the early 90's at one of the first national high school football all-star games in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I remember Grant as being a very polite and sincere teenager, who acted a little older than his age.

That's still evident in his charitable work. The Wistrom Family Foundation was created in 2002 to provide pediatric oncology patients a camp experience that is presented in a safe, supportive, happy and medically sound environment.

By the way, Jimmy Johnson (Miami & Cowboys) and Barry Switzer (Oklahoma & Cowboys) are the only two coaches to win a college national championship and a Super Bowl.

In closing this fun little journey, remember it's just me sitting at the computer, so I'm more than willing to get some help from the readers on this one. So if there's someone out there with more knowledge, please email me at jeff@highschoolfootballamerica.com.

Friday, February 05, 2010

13 Year Old QB Commits to USC

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America


I hesitate to post this, because it just seems too crazy to be true! And...if it is true, it just disgusts me.

There are reports all across the internet that 13-year old David Sills of Bear, Delaware has given his verbal commitment to Lane Kiffin after the new USC boss offered the 7th grader a scholarship. According to the LA Times, the offer came through Steve Clarkson, who privately tutors young quarterbacks.

Clarkson has worked with current USC quarterback Matt Barkley, who started 12 games as a freshman last season. Clarkson believes the 6-foot, 145-pound Sills could be better than Barkley or Jimmy Clausen.

Clarkson introduced Sills to Kiffin via the video below.



I know that Kiffin didn't overtly go after Sills, but I hope when this news reaches the appropriate people, someone will step-in and create a rule that prevents this from ever happening again.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

2010 National Signing Day

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America


Once again, I'm on my soapbox when it comes to the way high school football is being covered, especially on National Signing Day.

I remember back in 1994 doing a four-minute feature story at WFMZ-TV on all of our area football players signing their letters, but it was even-handed, meaning we did everyone, not just the blue chip guys. Division II and Division III (although the Ivy League and D-III don't officially take part in signing day) players were celebrated with the same sort of pomp-and-circumstance. That's the way it's going to be today here on The HIgh School Football Huddle.

Because we have so many fans, I will, on the individual state sites, list where all the blue chippers are signing, but I'm also going to dig deep and give you signings at all levels. If you have information about a signing/commitment that you'd like to tell me about, please email me at jeff@highschoolfootballamerica.com.

Now it's time to step off the soapbox and congratulate every player, along with their family and friends for a job well done! Best of luck wherever this great game of high school football takes you!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Super Bowl Streak Continues for Big 33 Football Classic

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America


Being a Pennsylvania native, it's always fun at Super Bowl time to check-out THE STREAK from the annual Big 33 Football Classic played annually in Hershey for the last 52 years, as it relates to the NFL's championship game.

If you're not familiar with the THE STREAK, all you need to know is that there has been a Big 33 alum in all 43 Super Bowls played. The question now is, will the streak continue at Super Bowl XLIV?

The answer is yes!

THE STREAK reaches 44 thanks to the Saints offensive lineman Zach Strief, who played for Milford HS and the Ohio All-Stars before attending Northwestern. Tight end Darnell Dinkins, a former PA 33er (Schenley HS), is on the Saints 53-man roster, but didn't make the 45-man active roster for the NFC championship game against the Vikings.

The Colts have three former Big 33 alums (Bob Sanders and Marlin Jackson - PA, Anthony Gonzalez - OH), who won't play because they are on the injured reserve.

The Big 33 Classic began in the late 50's when a central Pennsylvania sportswriter decided that Pennsylvania all-star high schoolers should be challenged by a team made-up of all-stars from around the country. The game has gone through many changes, including an East-West Pennsylvania match-up in the early 60's, plus the Keystone State taking-on teams from Texas and Maryland. Since 1993, it's been border neighbors Pennsylvania and Ohio slugging-it-out for bragging rights.

Some notables that have played in the Big 33...Joe Namath in 1961, Tony Dorsett in 1973 and Joe Montana in 1974. Of course all three are in the Hall of Fame. Click here to see the entire list from the Big 33 website.

Last year, ESPN's E:60 did a great piece on the Big 33 game, so for those of you that missed it...here it is again.