Approximately 64 high school juniors will take in the University of Akron football practice this weekend, including a number of noteworthy local players, according to a source close to the program.
The biggest name on the list: Kent Roosevelt quarterback Tra Chapman, who has offers from a number of Mid-American Conference schools and a couple of Bowl Championship Series universities.
Joining Chapman will be one of his offensive targets, wide receiver Trei Thomas. Thomas, according to the web site ScoutingOhio.com, has already been offered by the Zips and Kent State.
Other recognizable names include Tallmadge quarterback Anthony Gotto, tight end Jacob Wood and wide receiver Bryon Cook; and Archbishop Hoban quarterback Aaron Abernathy. Stow receiver Lewis Zaire and tight end Matt Beech will also attend.
As expected, the Zips are already in a battle with other MAC schools for some other talented players who will attend Saturday. Dublin-Coffman quarterback James Walsh, who holds offers from Ohio and Toledo, will attend along with John Stepec, a highly coveted defensive lineman from Mentor Lake Catholic with offers from Toledo, Bowling Green, Kent State and Western Michigan.
One threat at a time
One thing that Zips fans shouldn’t expect this fall is a quarterback who runs the ball a lot.
“We really don’t want a dual-threat quarterback. The reason being our quarterback is in charge of tempo, signal-calling and getting everybody lined up,” coach Terry Bowden said. “If he ran the ball too much, he’d be too tired to run the offense. He’s taught to hand the ball off, look right to me and get the next play started. Running the ball will be the last thing we want him to do.”
That, however, doesn’t mean that Bowden is inflexible when it comes to running from a quarterback. Obviously in scrambling situations, it’s necessary and he’s got few qualms with bootlegs. There is another instance as well.
“If I had [a dual-threat quarterback] that was my guy, we’d run a little bit different offense,” he said.
Right now, there is no such guy with a chance to start.
The Zips released their schedule, which had been delayed because of Temple University’s sudden withdrawal from the MAC. The schedule includes a nationally televised game at Toledo on Nov. 20. Any other TV dates are to be determined.
Home games: Central Florida (Aug. 30); Morgan State (Sept. 15); Miami (Sept. 29); Bowling Green (Oct. 6); Northern Illinois (Oct. 20); Massachusetts (Nov. 10).
Away games: Florida International (Sept. 8); Tennessee (Sept. 22); Ohio (Oct. 13); Central Michigan (Oct. 27); Kent State (Nov. 3); Toledo (Nov. 20).
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com.