Harlan: National recruiters keep busy at Central Catholic
When the spring evaluation period closes at month's end, Central Catholic's campus could become a little quieter.
For now, the coaches continue to come.
“We had Ohio State, Penn State and Notre Dame in the same building (at the same time),” said Rick Capretta, the school's Dean of Students and a longtime assistant coach. “One might be in my office. Or one might be downstairs (with coach Terry Totten). It hasn't been overwhelming, but it's been pretty steady.”
Boston College and North Carolina were the latest to visit this week with Totten, who coordinates the visits.
Central Catholic has a national recruit in junior Damar Hamlin, a defensive back with nearly three dozen scholarship offers. But recruiters aren't just coming for Hamlin. The Vikings have eight juniors or sophomores with FBS scholarship offers, a remarkable number even for Central.
“This is the most I've seen,” said Dave Fleming, a Central assistant for 15 years. “The 2004 team was littered with some younger Division I talent as well as the older guys. But as far as the guys on the field, you'd be hard-pressed to find a group like this.”
However, Totten said the 2004 team could have had just as many recruits at once if colleges offered those sophomores as early as they do now.
Along with Hamlin, juniors Bricen Garner, Ron George, Ron Jones and Rashad Wheeler, and sophomores David Adams, Kurt Hinish and C.J. Thorpe all have offers. All are uncommitted.
The spring evaluation period runs from April 15 to May 31.
Penn State offered a scholarship to Wheeler, joining Pitt, WVU, Vanderbilt, Virginia and others. George, a linebacker who missed last season with a broken leg, recently added Virginia to his options.
Thorpe, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound lineman with Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Auburn and Tennessee among his offers, added Wisconsin this week.
Adams, an inside linebacker, recently added Syracuse to a list that already included Pitt, Penn State, WVU and others. Garner, a safety, has Cincinnati and UConn on his list. Toledo offered Hinish and Jones.
“I started asking coaches to come after school,” Totten said, “so that the kids would not be missing class.”
Hamlin, a four-star recruit, announce Syracuse as his 35th offer. Auburn, Clemson, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford and UCLA are among his other national options.
“Everybody who comes in to look at Damar, it's hard for them to walk by guys like Ron George and C.J. Thorpe without noticing,” Fleming said. “When the whole group is together, I start looking around and think to myself, we have a special group here.”