Youngstown Ursuline will shoot for their fourth straight Ohio Division-V state title in 2011, and if Thursday night's scrimmage against Canton GlenOak is any indication, the Irish will be extremely tough to beat this season once again.
Several players stood out in the 12-7 victory, including many who have been strong contributors on past Ursuline squads.
Jesse Curry: Senior linebacker that was all over the field against GlenOak and five-star tailback Brionte Dunn. Curry's size, 5-foot-11, 205-pounds, will probably scare off Division-I recruiters, but he will play college football for someone and make 100 tackles per season. A great high school player, and a capable runningback.
Trevor Smith: Senior linebacker-tailback, and very similar to teammate Curry, in that Smith is not ideal-sized (5-foot-10, 200-pounds), but makes plays at a high level. When coaches talk about linebackers playing "downhill", they are referencing people like Smith and Curry. There is interest from Richmond in both players.
Anthony Davis: Senior safety that anchors an impressive secondary. Davis, 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, is steady and consistent, both against the run and in coverage.
Troy Vasquez-Atkins: The senior offensive guard (6-foot-1, 325-pounds) is technically sound, and probably further along than his brother Ty. He is a powerful run blocker and plays the game with a nasty attitude.
Ty Vasquez-Atkins: Although possibly not as developed as his brother, Ty might be a better prospect because of his size, 6-foot-5, 300-pounds, and could play tackle in the right system. Ursuline loves to dominate the line of scrimmage and the Vasquez-Atkins brothers enable them to do that.
Tramain Thigpen: The junior safety has the size (6-foot, 190-pounds) and speed to project as a Division-I safety, and is also pretty special at tailback. Thigpen impressed as a sophomore last season, and appears to be much improved as a junior. One to watch.
Khalid Pierce: Junior defensive lineman (6-foot-1, 210-pounds) that gave the GlenOak offensive linemen fits all night long. Pierce projects as a linebacker at the next level, using his long frame and quick feet to get to the point of attack.
Shahaun Williams: Sophomore defensive tackle-offensive guard, and an extremely impressive athlete. Could possibly project as a defensive tackle at the next level. Williams is powerful at 6-foot-2, 230-pounds, and was tough to move on the inside of the defensive line.
Chris Durkin: The sophomore quarterback might have been the surprise of the night, as Durkin was quick and consistent throwing the football. He has the size at 6-foot-3, 190-pounds, and the arm strength to project as a potential Division-I recruit one day. Durkin is definitely a prospect to watch in the class of 2014.