The Massillon Tigers are poised for a big season in 2012, led by several Division-I college recruits. Expectations are always high for one of Ohio's top programs, and they were in top form Thursday in 7on7 action against Louisville.
Kyle Kempt. Senior quarterback. Committed to Cincinnati. Kempt was very good as a sophomore, but dropped off a bit as a junior last season. In Thursday's 7on7, he threw the better than I've ever seen him throw it previously. Everything was on time, extremely accurate, and the zip on the football was better than at any time I've seen him throw. Made several throws from the far hash-mark to the opposite sideline, and that has been a tough throw in the past. Kempt has several targets to choose from, and it's clear he has taken to Massillon's new spread attack like a fish to water. He should put up huge numbers this season.
Gareon Conley. Senior cornerback/wide receiver. Committed to Michigan. The speedster locked down every receiver he covered, which is to be expected, but he was very impressive at wide receiver on offense. Conley will play cornerback at Michigan, but will be the main deep threat for Massillon this season. He had two long catches Thursday where he simply blew by the defenders. Just an impressive athlete, and one of the top overall prospects in Ohio for the class of 2013.
Marcus Whitfield. Junior wide receiver/defensive back. Doubtful too many people in Ohio know about this kid, but that will change before too long. Whitfield (6-foot-1, 170-pounds) is simply a clone of Conley, and will make the same type of splash this season. He won't draw a lot of attention from defenses early in the year, but that will change once he scores a few touchdowns from long distance. Whitfield will be a Division-I recruit within the next month. He has the speed college recruiters covet, and could project to either side of the football.
Kentrell Taylor. Senior fullback/linebacker. The emotional leader of this team, Taylor holds four offers to date. He is in the best shape of his career, and it showed in the depth of his drops in coverage Thursday. Taylor is quicker than last year, and a physical presence at 6-foot, 230-pounds.
Beau Huffman. Junior tight end. Had several outstanding catches Thursday, and continued the fine play he showed at Ohio State's camp a few weeks ago. Older brother (Brett) played tight end at Duke, and the younger Huffman will be a Division-I recruit as well. A near-impossible matchup for a high school linebacker.
Michael Smith. Sophomore cornerback. Impressed in coverage, picking off one pass and taking it the distance. Smith showed great hip turn and the ability to play man-to-man coverage. One to watch for the class of 2015.
OTHER TOP PROSPECTS:
Nathaniel Devers. Junior offensive tackle. Will play both ways for Massillon, but his future will be as an offensive guard. One of the top 2014 prospects in Ohio, and a future Big Ten recruit. Devers (6-foot-3, 265-pounds) is hearing from all the big schools to date, and has the strength and footwork needed to play at the next level.
Chase Lash. Junior offensive tackle. Will pair with Devers as bookend tackles for Massillon. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound, Lash will also be a Division-I recruit, although not as highly rated as Devers. Started last year as a sophomore, and had success blocking Se'Von Pittman of Canton McKinley. Needs to build on that performance this season.