The Zips will enter this season with two juniors on top of their depth chart at safety: Chris Brown and Chevin Pace.
Two years from now, coach J.D. Brookhart (I pray every night he's still here then) will have to replace both safeties. There's a good chance one of them will come from this list of recruiting targets...
- David Arnold, a 6-foot-1, 183-pound safety from Copley High School. You may remember Arnold from the Beacon Journal's enterprise feature on him a couple weeks ago on A1. Gary Estwick's story told about the legions of schools who are contacting Arnold, and offering him a scholarship. In the story, Estwick wrote Brookhart sent Arnold letters telling him he could help propel the Zips to being on of the elite mid-major schools in the country. Scout.com says that list includes Akron, Illinois and Syracuse. Other schools of interest include Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana and Purdue. Rivals.com adds Minnesota and Notre Dame to that list. A recent journal entry in the ABJ includes Toledo, Boston College and Penn State, without mentioning Akron. Arnold, who runs track at Copley, has a 40-yard dash time of 4.47 seconds. At this point, it seems like Illinois is the favorite, but if Michigan and Ohio State step up their pursuit, who knows?
- Phillip Sheridan, a safety from Drexel Hill, Pa. Scout.com does not list his size, weight or speed. Rivals.com does not mention Sheridan at all. All I know is that Temple and Akron have offered him a scholarship, according to Scout.com. Florida, Penn State, Pittsburgh and Rutgers are other teams of interest.
- Trenton Hughes, a 5-11, 170 safety from Virginia Beach, Va. Yep, another recruit from this area. It seems that the coaching staff is establishing a strong recruiting base in this area, to go along with its Florida connections. That's good. Anyhow, Hughes runs the 40 in 4.53. He has offers from Akron, Syracuse, Kent State and Wake Forest, with interest in Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Rivals.com lists Hughes as an "athlete" who runs a 4.4. The site adds East Carolina and South Carolina. Hughes also competes in the long jump in high school, according to the Virginian Pilot.
As for cornerbacks, senior Reggie Corner and junior Davanzo Tate will start next season, with sophomore Brandon Anderson and senior Dionte Henry as backups.
Brookhart may need a corner as a backup in 2007. Here are his recruiting targets at that position:
- Chris Rucker, a 6-1, 185 cornerback from Warren. Akron is the only offer for Rucker, who runs a 4.5 in the 40 and intercepted five passes last year as a junior. Schools of interest include Pittsburgh, Indiana, Kent State, Minnesota, Purdue and Syracuse, Scout.com says. Rivals.com actually lists Rucker as a wide receiver, which is where Rucker may project in college. He also had six touchdown receptions as a junior. A story on Scout.com says Pittsburgh is the early favorite.
- Lester Bell, a 5-11, 170 cornerback from (you guessed it) Virginia Beach, Va. Bell runs the 40 in 4.43, Rivals.com says. Bell has offers from Akron, East Carolina, Kent State, Syracuse and Wake Forest. Other schools of interest include Virginia and Virginia Tech. Rivals.com adds Maryland to the list.
- James Butts, a 5-10, 172 cornerback from Norfolk, Va. He runs the 40 in 4.5 and has offers from Akron and Boston College. Other schools are Florida, Maryland, Penn State, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Clemson and Notre Dame should also be included, Rivals.com says.
We shall see if Brookhart's Virginia Beach plan is as effective as his Florida recruiting last year.