Morning Huddle: Is Braxton Miller really the top 2011 quarterback in the country?


Bound to be a Buckeye. Does Wayne’s Braxton Miller live up to the hype?

• Deconstructing Braxton Miller
• Buckeyes basketball may have their newest star in Columbus Northland’s Jared Sullinger
• One of the most anticipated football matchups of the fall, Steubenville vs. Inkster, morphs into giant event
• Sports are back on in Canal Fulton
• Canfield names new varsity basketball coach in Muckleroy 

Hype machine: Does Braxton Miller (Wayne/Huber Heights) really live up to the hype? At least one writer thinks so. Analyst Michael Pinto goes through each of the Top 5 quarterback recruits on the Rivals and Scout lists and gives his opinion on each. Rivals ranks Miller the No. 2 quarterback in the country behind Jeff Driskel. Scout, on the other hand, pits Miller as No. 1. Scout is on the money, Pinto writes. “Braxton Miller is the complete package at quarterback. He throws well in the pocket or on the run. He can beat you with the deep ball, the intermediate ball, down the sidelines, and dump-offs. If the defense gives him room, he’ll hit the jets and blow past them. If they crowd the line, he’ll throw over them. … Scout nailed it with this pick.”

Tearing up the camp: After busting into the Sweet Sixteen in the fall, Ohio State basketball could have been facing a scoring vaccuum this winter. But, there’s some light ahead in the form of Jared Sullinger, a forward from Columbus Northland. “Little has been said outside recruiting circles about (the No. 2 basketball recruit in the country). That’s Sullinger, a 6-foot-8 interior monster, the gem of another impressive Matta recruiting class, and Ohio State’s best post-Turner chance of immediately returning to the college hoops elite,” writes ESPN on the superstar recruit. Sullinger worked out last weekend at the Chicago Nike Skills Camp. “He’s a big boy,” Ohio State junior guard William Buford said. “He could give us a major interior presence.”

Sullinger impressed onlookers with his baby hook and a rather vicious rebound/dunk. “These are the best big men in college basketball today,” Sullinger told reporters. “I’m adjusting to that level.” Still, ESPN wasn’t spouting all praise: “The 18-year-old isn’t exactly out of shape, but compared to the muscular veterans surrounding him, it was clear how much he could benefit from a college-level fitness regimen at Ohio State,” Eamonn Brennan writes, adding: “Still, Sullinger’s size is his advantage. Few players are gifted with his wide, lane-clearing shape, and even fewer have so much athleticism to go with it.” The 2009 Ohio Mr. Basketball winner led Northland to its first state
title last year. Read the full article here.

Hanging up the hat: Lebanon High baseball’s head coach, Lee Day announced he’s stepping down after 29 years of coaching the Warriors. “Lee Day instructed baseball as well as any coach in Ohio,” Mason varsity baseball coach Ken Gray told the Western Star. “Whenever your opponent was Lebanon, you knew it was going to be a battle. Lee instilled character and discipline in the men he coached. Ohio high school baseball is losing an outstanding baseball coach and person.” Day put up a great showing this spring, compiling a 20-9 record for the Warriors.

From Streetsboro to Canfield: Canfield landed a new boys varsity basketball coach in Todd Muckleroy, a social studies teacher who also spent the past five years coaching basketball at Streetsboro. Muckleroy takes over for John Cullen, who resigned in early June as Canfield’s basketball coach after 28 seasons. “It’s a high-profile position, there is going to be that pressure that comes from the outside,” Muckleroy told the Youngstown News. “There will be people questioning my decisions … but I think that my experience has prepared me for those challenges.” Muckleroy put together a 68-42 record at Streetsboro. Not bad.

Out from under the gun: The passage of a last-minute levy for Northwest (Canal Fulton) High School has taken a lot of pressure off the coaches there. Before the levy passed, athletes and coaches weren’t sure if they’d have a team to play on in the coming years. “You catch yourself (when you talk to the kids) because you think ‘I don’t even know if we’re going to have sports in two years,'” says varsity boys basketball coach Mike Lower. “It was always there, so it’s a nice change from that. … We’ve definitely weathered a storm and hopefully we’re coming out better for it. I’m excited about next season, the talent we have coming back and the classes we have coming.” I guess it’s a sign that we should all be thankful for the athletic programs that we do have.

Not just a game: One of the most anticipated DIII football matchups in Ohio will now be televised and broadcast on local radio as part of a fundraising kickoff night sponsored by McDonald’s and Trinity Health System. Dubbed the “McDonald’s OVAC Kickoff Night,” there’ll be four matchups in all: Wheeling Central Catholic vs. cross-state rival Bellaire. Morgantown vs. Wheeling Park and Steubenville Catholic Central against Bridgeport. The granddaddy of them all, though, will be hosted at Harding Stadium where the Steubenville Big Red will take on the Vikings of Inkster High School of Michigan. Inkster’s the only team that’s beaten Steubenville during the regular season in their last 70 games. WTOV (Steubenville) will rebroadcast the taped games, and the event will serve as a fundraiser for the participating schools, the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference (OVAC) and the Ronald McDonald House. From the event’s humble roots as the “Ohio Valley Football & Band Jamboree,” kickoff night just keeps getting bigger and better every year. If only the ESPN cameras would show up…

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