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Monday, August 27, 2012
Midwest week 1 top performers

By Jared Shanker

It was a busy weekend covering games, and after close to 900 miles of travel, two states and six football games, it is time to reflect on what I saw.

I made it to Massillon (Ohio) Washington vs. Akron (Ohio) Buchtel on Thursday; Cleveland Heights vs. Toledo St. John’s on Friday; Detroit Martin Luther King vs. Southfield (Mich.) and Detroit Cass Tech vs. Brother Rice (Bloomfield, Mich.) on Thursday; and ended it with University School (Fla.) vs. Trotwood-Madison (Ohio) and Cincinnati Moeller vs. Baltimore Gilman on Sunday.

I tried to pick one top performer from each team, but it would have been unfair to do that for some of thee teams and players. But here is who impressed me the most this past weekend:

Kyle Kempt, QB, Massillon Washington: The Cincinnati commit was inconsistent last season and even benched at certain points, but he looked great in the opener. He is dealing with his fourth offensive coordinator in four years, and this year the Tigers are running a lot of pistol formations, which suited him well Thursday. He could have a big year.

Elijah Bell, WR, Buchtel: The Buchtel passing game was close to nonexistent, but its biggest play came when Bell saved what should have been an interception and turned it into a long touchdown. He suffered an ankle injury last season and missed the summer camp scene, but Bell is a name to watch. Air Force and Boston College have offered.

Matt Miller, OG, St. John’s: The St. John’s offense as a whole did not do much, but the Wisconsin offensive line commit was very strong in the run game.

Shelton Gibson, WR, Cleveland Heights: Arguably the fastest player in Ohio, the ESPN 300 prospect showcased his speed by blowing past defenders on a long touchdown along the sideline early in the game. Later in the first half, he converted a fourth down on a drag route across the middle and took it for 24 yards and a TD.

Mycial Allen, S, Detroit MLK: Allen was the best player on the field, a factor at safety and a receiver. He nearly won the game at the end with a long reception while juking out three defenders, and he pulled MLK within one in a second overtime period with a touchdown. MLK missed the PAT and lost.

Brandon Bean, WR, Southfield: Bean has very good size for a receiver and caught what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown in double overtime.

Damon Webb, CB, Cass Tech: With offers from the likes of LSU, Michigan, Ohio State and many more, it is no surprise Webb made a major impact even as a junior. He forced a fumble, recovered two and recorded an interception. After his first fumble recovery, he yelled to the media on the sidelines “I make plays!” He sure did Saturday.

Jon Reschke, LB, Brother Rice: At one point Saturday I tweeted that I would love to have Reschke on my team. He is a bruiser at linebacker and never takes a play off. He will endear himself to Michigan State fans sooner rather than later.

Cam Burrows, CB, Trotwood-Madison: The Ohio State commit and nation’s fourth-best cornerback blanketed ESPN 150 receiver Jordan Cunningham. The few catches Cunningham grabbed did not come easy.

Maquedius Bain, DT, University School: The ESPN 150 DT and FSU decommit was constantly doubled teamed -- and still constantly in the backfield. The only thing that stopped him was flu-like symptoms and cramps.

Jordan Scarlett, RB, University School: Not sure I have ever been more impressed with a sophomore than I was with Scarlett. He’s physically imposing and runs like he has something to prove on every play. University’s offense would have been anemic without him Sunday. He will be able to handpick his college. Almost the entire SEC is already on him, including reigning champion Alabama, which has offered.

Troy Vincent Jr., CB, Gilman: Moeller did not throw the ball much, but you can’t help but be impressed by Vincent on and especially off the field. The 2014 prospect isn’t afraid to come hit either. Wisconsin is in good position to land Vincent Jr.

Alex Gall, OT, Moeller: Committed to Miami, he plays with a mean streak you saw from the stout offensive line the Canes showcased in the early 2000s. He is a guy who plays through the echoes of the whistle.

Shane Jones, ILB, Moeller: Once again, Jones shined on the field. The nation’s sixth-best ILB and a Michigan State commit was all over the field, delivering big hits and coming up with big plays. He recovered a fumble deep in Gilman territory in the first half to help give Moeller a 28-0 lead.

Honorable mentions: Tyman Ollison (Buchtel), Kai Locksley (Gilman), Keith Watkins II (Moeller), William White (Cass Tech), Deon Drake (Cass Tech), Gary Hosey (Cass Tech), David Dawson (Cass Tech), Dennis Finley (Cass Tech), Marcus Bagley (Cleveland Heights), Marcus Whitfield (Massillon), Gareon Conley (Massillon), Leon Alexander (MLK), Lawrence Marshall (Southfield), Verondtae Wilkinson (Trotwood-Madison), Ashton Jackson (Trotwood-Madison), Mike McCray (Trotwood-Madison), Quincy Wilson (University Prep), Skai Moore (University), Jordan Cunningham (University).