YSU FOOTBALL Heacock in high spirits as camp opens on Monday
About 50 of YSU's 70 players worked out over the summer; the Penguins return 19 starters.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- There will be between 18 and 20 players in camp Monday when Youngstown State University officially opens workouts for the 2001 football season at Stambaugh Stadium.
Freshmen will report Monday and Tuesday, while veterans are scheduled to report Wednesday. The team will hold its physical testing on Thursday and the entire team will go through its first session that afternoon.
Jon Heacock begins his first fall as head coach of the Penguins. The veteran YSU assistant coach was named head coach last February after former head coach Jim Tressel became head coach at Ohio State. Tressel, in 15 seasons at YSU, won four national championships and played for two others.
High hopes: Heacock, the former defensive coordinator with the Penguins, is excited to get started.
"The summer has gone very quickly," he said. "But it's been a good summer and the coaching staff has taken full advantage of it, getting better acquainted with one another."
The summer has also been good for the players, Heacock said.
"We can't actually monitor summer workouts, and although they are not mandatory, we probably had 50 of the 70 players on our roster working out regularly this year," he said.
Heacock will get a good look at his first recruiting class as a head coach beginning Monday. Eight recruits, plus another eight-to-10 walk-on freshmen, are expected to be in camp along with one transfer.
Freshmen recruits are: running back Pete Perry of Poland; offensive lineman Tony Limongi of Niles; offensive lineman John Bartos of Ursuline; defensive back Antwaun Foster of Xenia; running back Scott Good of Texas; linebacker Joe Juby of Garfield Heights; linebacker Justin Scholes of Mentor Lake Catholic; defensive lineman Scott Wahl of Cincinnati; and wide receiver Damian Wright of Florida.
Walk-ons: A couple local players highlight the walk-ons.
Boardman High wide receiver Shawn Carlson and Niles running back Matt Estes are expected in camp, as is Lisbon High graduate Rob Davis, younger brother of YSU sophomore tackle Josh Davis.
Two quarterbacks will arrive early: Aaron Marshall, a freshman from Chicago, and Justin Green, a junior transfer from Bethany College.
Other walk-ons are wide receiver Alexander Bailey of Columbus and long-snapper Tanner Dunlap of Zanesville.
"There could still be a few more," Heacock said. "We won't know until after Wednesday when the veterans report and then again on Friday when the final summer school grades are released."
A couple of veterans are on the bubble regarding eligibility, he said.
"We'll know some on Wednesday, but a lot more by Friday," Heacock said.
The Penguins are expected to have 90 players in camp by Thursday, including 21 seniors. They have 41 lettermen back and 19 starters -- 12 on offense and seven on defense.
"We've got some good young kids on this team," Heacock said. "Pat Crummey is as good an offensive lineman as we've ever had here, and [quarterback] Jeff Ryan is one of the best at what he does.
"We've got defensive standouts like Matt Mechling and Bruce Hightower, who have already received a lot of accolades, but then we've got a lot of others who are working very hard and haven't got those laurels yet," Heacock said.
Defensive star: Heacock singled out junior defensive lineman Guy Mazzard of Miami, Fla., who last year reported to camp at 325 pounds and was never in shape. This season, Mazzard has worked all summer at the University of Miami, trimming down to 270 pounds. He is in the best shape of his life.
"Guy worked very hard this summer and he looks great," Heacock said. "We're very excited because he can be a big help on that defensive front for us."
The Penguins also have senior safety Carlos Pearson back on the roster. Pearson came back to the team in the spring after missing the last two seasons.
Monday's first session begins at 8:40 a.m. and the afternoon session will start at 1:45 p.m. The Penguins will practice in shorts until Aug. 13, when they put the pads on for the first time.
The first jersey scrimmage will be on Aug. 16 at 5 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium.