It’s no secret: The first two games of the 2017 season will dictate what schools will offer scholarships to DeMatha 2018 quarterback Ty Lenhart and which will slowly back away.
Lenhart visited Indiana over the weekend, and coaches were not shy about where he stood on their recruiting board.
We like you, Hoosiers Coach Tom Allen told him, but we like two other guys as well. Let’s see what happens Week 1.
“They want to see me under the pressure and handling the fire,” Lenhart said. “That’s fine. I would, too.”
Lenhart battled with All-Met quarterback Beau English last season for the top spot on the Stags’ depth chart. When English emerged as a starter, other area high school coaches — Lenhart won’t name them — called to try to pry him away from DeMatha. Lenhart turned them all down.
“In my mind, I was never going to leave,” he said. “I never thought about it.”
In a backup role, he still made a strong enough impression on scouts to secure mid-major scholarship offers.
At 6-foot-3, 203 pounds, he is steady enough in the pocket for Power Five conference schools, is tough to bring down and has an arm strong enough to make most throws. His performance at passing camps and skills combines over the summer has piqued the interest of Boston College, Northwestern and Indiana.
And though most rising seniors like to choose a college before the season starts, Lenhart doesn’t have that luxury. He hasn’t seen enough live action for most major colleges to evaluate him.
And if being DeMatha’s starting quarterback — the biggest of big men on campus — isn’t pressure enough, his all-important Week 1 start isn’t against some pushover; it’s at national powerhouse Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.
“I know Game 1 is a big game,” he said. “I know it can open doors. I want to play my game and see what happens. I’m not the guy to be impatient and make a decision before I give myself a chance.”
» Virginia picked up a commitment from St. John’s 2018 defensive back D.J. Brown last week. It was still a bad week for the Cavaliers on the recruiting trail.
First, the good news: Brown is a three-star cornerback with true Division I size at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds. He chose the Cavaliers over Arizona, Vanderbilt and Boston College.
Now the bad news: It’s only the second local commit Virginia has taken in its 2018 class, and it’s not for lack of trying.
The Cavs were the first to offer Hylton five-star running back Ricky Slade back in 2014. They were fourth to offer DeMatha four-star lineman Austin Fontaine. They were the second to offer H.D. Woodson three-star cornerback Vincent Flythe III.
All three of those players (and the list goes on with plenty more examples: four-star wideout Daniel George, three-star wideout Brian Cobbs, three-star defensive tackle Cam Goode) were wooed by national programs and chose to stay local and go to Maryland, or somewhat local in the case of Slade at Penn State.
Virginia hasn’t won those recruiting battles. In fact, last week was probably a net loss, since South County four-star wide receiver Dillon Spalding — a high-academic local prospect — didn’t list Virginia among his top five schools.
» Here’s who Spalding, considered maybe the state’s best wideout in his class, left on his list: Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Temple, East Carolina and West Virginia.
West Virginia, Virginia Tech and East Carolina especially sting for Virginia. That’s three direct competitors on the recruiting trail.
Scouts love Spalding, who measures at 6-foot-2 and 216 pounds, for his physicality and size. He excels at outmuscling defensive backs and hauling in passes with near-artistic body control. He had 67 catches for 1,069 yards and 14 touchdowns his junior season.
» Centreville 2018 long snapper (yes, long snapper) Brock Assel verbally committed to Air Force in late June.
Assel is a 4.5-star snapper and ranked 17th in his class by Rubio Long Snapping. Specialists — kickers, punters and long snappers — are often awarded “priority walk-on” assignments, a status that guarantees them a roster spot and potential to earn full scholarships.
Air Force coaches offered Assel a full scholarship right off the bat. He accepted five days later.
— Brock Assel (@BrockAssel) June 24, 2017
» Finally, the District’s two top public school teams have agreed to play annually outside the playoffs. H.D. Woodson, a public school, and Friendship Collegiate, a public charter school, have only played three times in the regular season between 2009 and 2015.
D.C. Councilman and former mayor Vincent Gray negotiated a memorandum of understanding between the two schools so they will play each regular season for a college rivalry-style trophy. The game is called the “Ward 7 Clash of the Titans.”
Coaches and players from each school signed the agreement on Friday. The Warriors will host the Knights, the reigning city champions, on Sept. 15.
The last game between the two teams, the city championship game, ended early because of a brawl between players and coaches.
» All 10 teams will return to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference for football in 2018 and compete in two tiered championships, Commissioner Steve Colantuoni announced.
DeMatha, Good Counsel, Gonzaga, St. John’s and McNamara will play in the upper tier “Capital” division. Carroll, Ireton, O’Connell, Paul VI and St. Mary’s Ryken will play in the lower tier “Metro” division.
O’Connell, Paul VI and St. Mary’s Ryken will not play WCAC schedules in 2017.
Teams are free to schedule across division lines for regular season games, and the league will revisit the division alignment every two years.
» Good Counsel 2018 linebacker Tyler Baylor released his final six schools last week, and they include some familiar names.
Maryland still has a chance at the three-star pass rusher. Georgia, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Tennessee are also among his top six.
— Tyler Baylor (@KB1__) July 6, 2017
But perhaps most intriguing is Kentucky. The Wildcats are working on a bluegrass pipeline to Olney after taking All-Met linebacker Joshua Paschal and offensive lineman Naasir Watkins from the Falcons last year.
Kentucky, a seven-hour drive from Olney, can offer the same kind of regional feel of Penn State or Pittsburgh, but also the chance to play in the Southeastern Conference, hands down college football’s best league.
» We’re trying to keep a running list of all the players in the area with Power Five conference offers. And we’ve recently added a page for the class of 2020.
Are we missing anyone? Let us know by commenting on this article or tweeting @jacobbogage, and we’ll make updates.