The Mahoning Valley is filled with talented players who will continue their careers after high school.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Jim Tressel knows.
If you want to see the best high school senior football players, just check out the early major college recruiting lists.
New Ohio State football coach Tressel has already landed the best running back in the Valley, Maurice Clarett from Warren Harding, and the top offensive lineman, Doug Datish from Howland.
The obvious: When Tressel recruits an athlete, especially before the athlete's senior season begins, that's a give away that the young man is a blue chip prospect.
There's at least a dozen more fine Division I college prospects in the area and many more seniors who will find themselves on college teams in the future.
Clarett (6-0, 231, 4.55 speed in the 40-yard dash) is a rare find. He just could be the best back in Ohio.
Due to an injury as a junior, he was held to 128 carries and 959 yards (7.5 average) with seven touchdowns.
Easily, those figures could double if he's healthy as a senior. As a sophomore, he ran for 1,128 yards in nine games.
Datish (6-6, 300, 5.0) seems to have it all. He can bench press 400 pounds, can dunk a basketball and is 59th in a class of 267 academically.
John Angelo and Jimmy Riley of Ursuline, Evan Beard and Steve Vallos of Boardman and Dave Herron and Steve Golden of Harding should be six more Steel Valley Conference players who become major college footballers of the future.
Attributes: Angelo (6-0, 225) is a punishing blocker as a fullback and a stud as a inside linebacker (90 tackles).
Riley (6-0, 185, 4.5) was the featured receiver (58 catches, 1,472 yards, 18 TDs) on the Irish state championship football team last season.
Beard (6-0, 215, 4.5) is already the top rusher in Boardman history but may play linebacker in college. He ran for 1,350 yards as a sophomore and 1,380 on 108 carries as a junior. He can bench 350 and squat 380.
Vallos (6-3, 285, 5.0) is thought of just behind Datish as an offensive lineman. He can bench press 340, has a 3.2 GPA, is a fine wrestler and participates on the track and field team.
For Clarett to be most effective, Herron (6-2, 229, 4.8) will be his lead blocker from his fullback position, and Golden (5-9, 150, 4.6) is a fine defender at cornerback.
How good of a cornerback prospect is Anthony Smith (6-2, 175, 4.5) of Hubbard? Both Ohio State and Notre Dame had requested his films. He's also the best running back for the Eagles.
Three-point threat: No relation to this writer, Bill Sullivan (6-0, 175) of Niles will be the best kicker in town again this year and had a 43-yard field goal as a junior.
Howland's Greg Parrish (6-4, 225, 4.8) should be able to play outside linebacker in college. He has great speed for his position and recorded 65 tackles as a junior.
Another outstanding college prospect is defensive lineman Zack Williams of East Liverpool. Williams (6-2, 285, 5.1) has a 2.5 GPA and collected 62 tackles and five sacks as a junior.
Marty Hutchinson (6-5, 192) rushed for 1,000 yards for Newton Falls as a junior but likely will play safety in the college ranks.