Monday, January 30, 2012

National Letter of Intent Signing Day

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

It's not quite a national holiday, but for high school and college football fans alike, National Letter of Intent Signing Day keeps getting bigger every year!

Over the past decade, a lot of the mystery of the day has been eliminated with various national websites like, and breaking news of the top recruits' verbal commitments.  And, then there's the made for TV announcements that we saw earlier this month during the national all-star football games where players posture for the cameras while playing a "shell game" with several hats before announcing "I choose so-and-so"!!

On Wednesday, ESPN will dedicate over 10-hours to the day when all of those verbal commitments become official...or in some cases change...when high school football players around the country put their signatures on the dotted line.  Part of the program includes top recruits announcing on live TV "I'm going to so-and-so".

Maybe the name of National Letter of Intent Signing Day should be called "I'm going to so-and-so day"!?

Once Wednesday ends, the focus will immediately turn to next year's graduating class.

That brings me to a video that our fine partners at NCSA Athletic Recruiting put-up on their YouTube channel.

NCSA Athletic Recruiting matches college coaches with qualified student athletes through their college sports recruiting system. More than 35,000 college coaches and more than 1,700 colleges and universities use NCSA to meet their recruiting needs.

In the below video, NCSA's Randy Taylor, who has over 30 years of experience in the college football recruiting business, including bringing in a #1 ranked class while he was an assistant at UCLA, addresses the question of whether a student-athlete should transfer from a losing high school team to improve his chances for a college scholarship.

To learn more about NSCA Athletic Recruiting, click here to fill-out your child's free profile.

You can also learn more by listening to a recent interview I did with Coach Taylor.  Click here to listen to that interview on November 17, 2011.

As far as National Letter of Intent Signing Day is concerned, click here to listen to my interview with MaxPreps' Steve Spiewak previewing signing day on last week's High School Football America radio show.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Super Bowl Streak Continues for Big 33 Classic

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

When Super Bowl XVI is played next Sunday in Indianapolis, officials of the Big 33 Classic that is played annually in Hershey, Pennsylvania will be once again celebrating.

What will they be celebrating?

The streak.

What streak?

For the 46th straight Super Bowl, a Big 33 alum will be playing on football's biggest stage!

It's quite a calling card for the Big 33 Classic that began back in 1958.

Through the years, Pennsylvania’s top 33 football players have squared-off with all-star teams from Maryland, Ohio and Texas. There have been games against an all-USA all-star team, plus sometimes the eastern part of the state battled the western part of the state for bragging rights.

For the past 19-years, the Big 33 has pitted the Keystone State against stars from Ohio. It’s been a very competitive series with Ohio winning ten games and Pennsylvania winning nine.

This year's game between the New York Giants and New England Patriots will feature an incredible number of eight former Big 33 participants, which would have been nine if Dan Koppen, Patriots' center was on injured reserve.

Here are the the former Big 33'ers that will take the field on Sunday:

New York Giants: (WR) Mario Manningham, (FB) Henry Hynoski, (LB) Chase Blackburn, (G) Chris Snee and (RB) Da'rel Scott

New England Patriots: (QB) Brian Hoyer, (P) Zoltan Mesko, (FB) Lousaka Polite and (C) Dan Koppen (injured reserve)

On January 12th, I spoke with Mike Brennan, head coach of the 2012 Pennsylvania all-stars.  During that interview, Brennan talked about the incredible streak.

Click here to listen to that interview.

This year's Big 33 Classic will be played June 16th.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Maxwell Football Club Names Pennsylvania Player as its National Player of the Year

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Ohio State recruit Noah Spence of Bishop McDevitt High School (Pennsylvania) has been named the fifth winner of The Maxwell Football Club's National High School Player of the Year Award.

Spence had a great senior season that saw him lead his school to Pennsylvania Class AAA championship game.  The 6-4, 240-pound defensive end recorded 108 tackles with 12-and-a-half sacks, plus 27 tackles for losses.

Spence joins past winners DeVier Posey (Cincinnati LaSalle, OH), Jamarkus McFarland (Lufkin, TX), Sharrif Floyd (George Washington, Philadelphia, PA) and Jeff Driskel (Hagerty HS, Orlando, FL)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Former NFL Quarterback Jon Kitna Reportedly In-line for High School Job

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

According to KING-5 TV, 15-year NFL veteran quarterback Jon Kitna will be named the new head football coach at Lincoln High School in Tacaoma, Washington later this week.

Kitna was a three-sport athlete at Lincoln, playing football, basketball and baseball.

In the NFL, Kitna played with Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit and Seattle.  In 141 games, he passed for nearly 30,000 yards and 169 touchdowns.

Kitna is the second former QB to take a high school head coaching job in the past week.  Shane Matthews accepted the job at Tim Tebow's alma mater, Nease High School in Florida last week.

Last season, Lincoln was 4-6 under Michael Merrill.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tim Tebow's High School Hires Former NFL Quarterback

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Two days after Tim Tebow's NFL season came to an end, a new chapter opened at his high school.

Former NFL quarterback Shane Matthews has been named the new head coach at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida.

Matthews, who played with several teams including the Chicago Bears during a 14-year NFL career, takes over for Danny Cowgill after he wasn't brought back after a 4-6 season in 2011.

This will be the former University of Florida star's first head coaching position in high school.

Last year, another former NFL QB, Gus Frerotte took-over the reigns of John Burroughs in Missouri.  Frerotte led his school to a runner-up finish in Class 3.

Don Beebe, the former Buffalo Bill and Green Bay Packer, led Aurora Christian to an Illinois Class 3A state title in 2011.

Click here to listen to my interview with both Beebe and Fererotte on the December 1st High School Football America radio show.

Brother Rice's Al Fracassa 2011 High School Football America Coach of the Year

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

With over 50 years coaching experience and 400+ victories, it's hard to say if Brother Rice's (Michigan) Al Fracassa could say one season is better than the other.  But, there's no doubt that 2011 has to rank high on his list.

After a 4-4 start, the state's all-time winningest head coach went on a six-game win streak to capture Michigan's Division 2 state championship.  That championship, his seventh overall, coupled with winning his 400th game led to Coach Fracassa being chosen as High School Football America's 2011 Coach of the Year.

Fracassa is the tenth coach in America to win 400 games.

Fracassa was selected over finalists Bob Beatty of Trinity (Kentucky) and Hank Carter of Lake Travis (Texas)

Before the start of the 2011 season, I spoke with Coach Fracassa on the High School Football America radio show.  Click here to listen to that interview.

Johnathan Gray Named High School Football America's Player of the Year

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

All three of our finalists were deserving of being called the first-ever High School Football America Player of the Year, but in the end Aledo High School's (Texas) Johnathan Gray's three consecutive state titles paved the way to him being named our top player in 2011.

Gray, who set the national record for touchdowns in a career with 205, beat-out Kenton (Ohio) quarterback Maty Mauk and wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham of Hillcrest (Missouri) for the national honor.

The University of Texas recruit finished his career with 10,908 yards, which was just 330 yards shy of the all-time national rushing record.

Click here to listen to my interview with Gray back in October on the High School Football America radio show.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mullen High School (Colorado) Fires former NFLer Dave Logan as Head Coach

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Dave Logan will be in his usual position as the radio play-by-play voice of Denver Broncos on Saturday  when Tim Tebow and Company try to dispatch of the New England Patriots in the NFL playoffs.  However, his position as head coach of the Mullen High School (Colorado) football team is another story.

Logan, who is considered one of Colorado's all-time greatest athletes, has been dismissed as the school's head coach after winning four Class 5A titles since 2003.  Published reports indicate that the former NFL wide receiver with the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos, was let go because school officials would like to have a coach who was in the school on a full-time basis.

Logan, who has amassed a record of 201-43 at three (Mullen, Chatfield and Aravada West) different high schools in 19 years as a high school head coach, has many business interests outside of Mullen, including a daily afternoon talk show on KOA-850 AM.

As a senior at Wheat Ridge High School, Logan was named the Denver Post's Golden Helmet winner, an award that is given to Colorado's top senior football player, scholar and citizen.  He was a two-sport letter winner at the University of Colorado before being drafted by three professional sports league...the NBA, MLB and NFL.

Logan led Mullen to three straight 5A titles from 2008 through 2010.  This past season, Mullen had a 34-game win streak snapped.

Mullen's top player, quarterback Cyler Miles, was just named co-player of the game at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.  Miles will play at the University of Washington in the fall.

No replacement has been named for Logan.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

West Tops East, but Recruiting Announcement Still Take Center Stage

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

The granddaddy of national all-star high school football games was won by the West All-Stars 24-12, but ahead of the final score at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl is - which college team won the recruiting game.

Fourteen players announced their verbal commitments Saturday during the nationally-televised game in the Alamodome in San Antonio.

If you were keeping score, the University of California won with three recruits; Louisville and Miami finished second with two players each.

On the field, Mullen High's (Colorado) Cyler Miles and Dorial Green-Beckham of Hillcrest High School in Missouri, who ranks as the nation's top recruit, hooked-up on the longest touchdown pass in the history of the all-star contest.  The 79-yard catch-and-run by Green-Beckham in the second quarter was the key play that led to the players share the game's MVP honors.

Miles, who last year gave his verbal to Washington, finished 7-of-8 for 155 yards and that one touchdown.  He also ran for a touchdown in the first quarter.  Green-Beckham caught two passes in the game for 88 yards.

The game was played before a crowd of 39,011 fans, which set a record.

Below is the players who gave their verbals on Saturday:

QB Anthony Alford (Petal HS, MS): Southern Miss
LB Keith Brown (Norland HS, FL): Louisville
DE Jonathan Bullard (Shelby, N.C.): Florida
S Deon Bush (Columbus HS, FL): Miami
LB Nick Dawson (Phillip O. Berry, NC): Louisville
S Jordan Diggs (Briar Wood HS, VA): South Carolina
DT Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia HS, CA): California
DE Tyriq McCord (Jefferson HS, FL): Miami
LB Brian Nance (Euless Trinity, TX): Baylor
WR Jordan Payton (Oak Christian, CA): California
RB Barry J. Sanders (Heritage Hall, OK): Stanford
CB Kevon Seymour (Muir HS, CA): Southern Cal
S Elijah Shumate (Don Bosco Prep, NJ): Notre Dame
DB Shaq Thompson (Grant HS, CA): California

Just remember, none of this is official until National Letter of Intent Signing Day on February 1st.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Listen to U.S. Army All-American Bowl West Head Coach Tony Severino on High School Football America

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is the granddaddy of all national high school all-star football games.

90 of America's best are facing-off in the Alamodome in San Antonio in front of 30,000-plus fans and a national television audience on NBC.

I spoke with Rockhurst High School (Missouri) head coach Tony Severino, who is the head coach of the West All-Stars, on Thursday's High School Football America radio show.

Click here to listen to that interview.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Team Blur Beats Team Highlight in Under Armour All-America Game

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Team Blur lived-up to its name in dispatching of Team Highlight in Thursday night's Under Armour All-America Game in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Team Blur, behind quarterback Jameis Winston (Hueytown HS, Alabama) and wide receiver Amari Cooper (Northwestern HS, Florida), used its talent and speed on offense, defense and special teams to win the game 49-16.

Winston, who was named the game's MVP, was 8-of-9 in the passing department for 178 yards and two touchdowns.  Winston has given his verbal commitment to Florida State.

Cooper scored two touchdowns - one on a 75-yard pass from from Winston; the other on a 93-yard punt return.

On defense Team Blur was led by Cyrus Jones and Brian Poole.  Jones, who gave his verbal commitment to Alabama during the game, had a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown.  Poole scored on a 93-yard interception return.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

West Wins Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl on 4th Quarter FG

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

It’s a busy week for many of the nation’s top high school football recruits with three national all-star football games being played across America.

The first, and the newest, the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl was played Tuesday night at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona.

The West All-Stars beat the East All-Stars 17-14 in the inaugural game that was televised by the CBS Sports Network.

The game, which was played with a running clock in the second half because of television time constraints, came down to a 46-yard field goal by Marshall Morgan of Archbishop McCarthy High School (Florida) with 5:30 left in the game.

It was a back-and-forth contest in the first half with all of the game’s touchdowns being scored before the break.

The East took a 7-0 lead on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Phillip Nelson of Mankato West High School (Minnesota) to JaQuay Williams of Sandy Creek High School (Georgia).

The West tied the game at seven when Washington recruit Jeff Lindquist of Mercer Island (Washington) tossed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jaydon Mickens of Dorsey High (California). Lindquist then gave the West a 14-7 lead on a touchdown toss to Corey Batey of Ensworth High (Tennessee).

The teams entered the halftime locker rooms tied at 14, thanks to a 9-yard TD pass from Nick Patti of Dr. Phillips High School (Florida) to Maxx Williams of Waconia High (Minnesota). The score was set-up by a 53-yard kickoff return by Donaldven Manning of Miami Central (Florida).

Dorsey’s Mickens was named the game’s MVP.

Still to come this week is the Under Armour All-America game Thursday night in St. Petersburg, Florida. The game will be televised on ESPN with former NFL head coaches Herm Edwards and Steve Mariucci coaching the high school stars.

On Saturday, the granddaddy of national all-star football games will be played in San Antonio. The 12th annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl will be played in the Alamodome and will be broadcast on NBC.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Gray, Green-Beckham and Mauk Finalists for High School Football America Player of the Year Award

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

It would be an understatement to say 2011 was a record-breaking year for high school football.

Thanks to the arms and legs of quarterback Maty Mauk of Kenton High School (Ohio), Aledo High School (Texas) running back Jonathan Gray and Hillcrest High School (Missouri) wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, several major national offensive records fell by the wayside.

As a result of their incredible senior seasons, those three are finalists for the first annual High School Football America National Player of the Year Award.

Mauk, who’s given his verbal commitment to play at Missouri next year, set four national passing records 2011, plus he also became the nation’s all-time total offense leader with 22,681 yards during his four-year career as a starter for the Wildcats.

The 6-2, 195-pound Mauk holds the national career record for passing yards (18,932), touchdowns (219), passing attempts (2,110) and completions (1,353). Interestingly, his brother Ben, who served as his younger brother’s quarterback coach the past two seasons, previously held three of Maty’s new records.

In 2011, Mauk passed for 5,413 yards and 68 touchdowns, plus ran for 1,768 and 24 scores.

So where do the Mauks rank against the famous Manning family?

Ben and Maty combined to throw for 36,296 yards, while Peyton and Eli are nearly 22,000 yards behind with 14,596. The Mauks also are head-and-shoulder above the Mannings in touchdown passes with 397 to 181.

In Texas, Gray of capped his incredible four-year career leading his school to its third straight Texas state title. In his final game, Gray scored his 205th touchdown to become the country’s all-time leading touchdown-maker.

Gray, who has given his verbal to the University of Texas, also challenged the nation’s all-time rushing mark set by Ken Hall of Sugar Land High School (Texas). Gray finished with 10,908 yards, 330 yards shy of Hall’s record of 11,232 yards.

Round out the record breakers is Green-Beckham, who many recruiting services rank as the nation’s top recruit.  Green-Beckham set the national record for receiving yards with 6,356 yards.

This year the 6-6, 225-pound wide receiver caught 119 passes for 2,233 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Tune-in to Thursday night's High School Football America radio show to find-out who wins our National Player of the Year Award.  The show airs LIVE starting at 7 PM Eastern Time.

Click here to listen.