Some items that fell off my laptop keyboard
Tom Lemming, nationally-known high school football talent scout for CBS Sports/Maxpreps, has released his top 100 players in the class of 2012 and Hopewell running back Rushel Shell is No. 11.
Shell, a junior who has a chance to break WPIAL and state rushing records next season, is the No. 2-ranked running back in the country, according to Lemming. Barry Sanders, son of former NFL star Barry Sanders Sr., is the top-ranked running back and No. 10 overall. Sanders Jr. plays at Heritage hall in Oklahoma City.
Shell (pictured scoring a TD against Franklin Regional) said a few weeks ago that his top five colleges are Pitt, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Oregon. For a while, Shell had always said Ohio State was one of his favorites, but he says the Buckeyes are no longer in the top five.
On a side note with Shell, he decided a few weeks ago to give baseball a try and is on the Hopewell team. Coach Joe Colella said Shell still has a long way to go with his baseball talent, but get this: Shell did smack a grand slam in a recent non-section game against Langley. Shell hasn't played baseball since Little League.
In Lemming's list of the top 100, the No. 1 player is Dorial Green-Beckham, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound receiver from Springfield, Mo.
A Pennsylvania player who is rated higher than Shell is Noah Spence, a tight end-defensive end at Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg. Spence is No. 4 in Lemming's rankings and No. 6 in scout.com. Shell is ranked No. 10 in scout.com and the No. 3 running back behind Jonathan Gray of Aledo, Texas, and Keith Marshall of Raleigh, N.C.
Scout's No. 1 player in the country is Arik Armstead, a 6-8, 275-pound offensive lineman from Pleasant Grove High in Elk Grove, Calif. Funny, Lemming has Armstead at No. 32. Definitely some differences of opinions on this kid.
*** Three other Pennsylvania players, including two from the WPIAL, are in Lemming's top 100. The WPIAL players are McDowell (Erie) running back Greg Garmon, a running back-defensive back. Maybe a lot of WPIAL fans aren't familiar with Garmon because McDowell isn't close to Pittsburgh, but this is a tough kid with talent. At No. 99 in Lemming's rankings is Sto-Rox linebacker Deaysean Rippy. The other Pennsylvania player in the top 100 is Pennsbury offensive lineman J.J. Denman.
*** When covering high school sports and now with writing this blog ,it has to be kept in mind that we are still writing about high school kids and they shouldn't be treated by professional or even college players. But I am supposed to give some insights on subjects from players to hot topics. that's what you want, right? So I will say this about Sto-Rox football player Deaysean Rippy: It is a little surprising at how high he is ranked.
Yes, there is a lot of potential in Rippy. He is 6-2, around 200 pounds and has plenty of athletic ability - and that's why he has scholarship offers from Pitt, Florida and Ohio State, among others. He looks good and runs well. And that's what so many colleges like, more than how a player actually plays in games. But for Rippy to really deserve these high rankings, I just believe he has a lot of proving to do as a senior. He plays in Class A and just hasn't made enough plays and dominated like a top 100 player should at the Class A level.
You might think I'm a fool when you look at the the colleges that have offered him. And I don't want this to come off as having a dislike for the kid or that he is a poor player. It's just that I think he needs to show more this year to deserve such a high ranking, and I know some other coaches who feel the same way.
But good luck to Deaysean. Sometimes when kids get to be high school seniors, they take their game to a level unforseen from them. I hope he gets it all together and has a terrific senior season.
*** I've been seeing some AAU basketball games at various levels recently and here is something good to see: DeJuan Blair is sponsoring some teams around the area. I've seen some teams at various grade levels called "DeJuan Blair All Stars." Nice for the Big Fella to give back to the Pittsburgh community.
*** J.J. Jankowski (pictured) was a terrific baseball player at Peters Township a few years ago and hit more home runs in a career (36) than possibly anyone in WPIAL history. Jankowski was taken in the 34th round of the MLB draft in 2008, but went on to play at Miami, Ohio, in the Mid-American Conference the past two seasons. But, for whatever reason, he transferred to Catawba, an NCAA Division II college in North Carolina.
It's nice to report that Jankowski is doing well, just not as a hitter. A look at Catawba's statistics shows Jankowski isn't hitting at all. He is only pitching. But he is 6-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 10 starts for Catawba, the 21st-ranked Division II team in the country.
*** I'd hate be a high school athletic director in the spring, scheduling and re-scheduling all the time because of the rain. It has to be a pain. But wait a second. I think I'd hate to be an AD's secretary, since many of them are heavily involved in the postponements and re-scheduling. Hats off to you, ladies.