By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s a stifling August Monday morning, and across the area, high school football players are reporting to their schools for the “official” beginning of high school training camp.
It promises to be an interesting season with many top-level players returning. As a whole, Southeastern Pennsylvania was stung hard by graduation, losing many of its top players. Defending PIAA Class AAA State Champion Archbishop Wood lost a treasure trove of talent alone, including seven players that made Division-I commitments.
But the area does come back with a group of gifted players, topped by Imhotep running back David Williams and including two Notre Dame commits, Roman Catholic’s Will Fuller and Penn Charter’s Mike McGlinchey; a Penn State commit, Council Rock North’s Curtis Cothran; a Rutgers’ commit, Archbishop Wood’s Nick Arcidiacono; and Michigan State signee, Jay Harris, from Downingtown East.
Here’s a thumbnail look at the top 10 players in the Philadelphia area (in alphabetical order).
Nick Arcidiacono, Archbishop Wood: The 6’4”, 240-pound tight end was a cornerstone for one of the greatest teams in Southeastern Pennsylvania last year. Arcidiacono committed to Rutgers, where he’ll join his older brother, Brandon, next season. Arcidiacono is also a relentless pass-rushing defensive end. He’ll again anchor a very good Wood team, which went wire-to-wire as the area’s best team last season—as well as best in the state—and finished 2011 by winning the PIAA Class AAA state title.
Curtis Cothran, Council Rock North: The 6’5”, 250-pound defensive end/offensive guard is a high-energy speed rusher who will cause chaos for every team the Indians face this season. He committed to Penn State–before the NCAA’s sanctions–over UConn, Rutgers, Maryland, and Virginia. Cothran’s college choice may change. Stay tuned.
Will Fuller, Roman Catholic: The 6’1”, 170-pound senior receiver is one of the most dangerous long threats in the state. He caught 46 passes for 760 yards and 10 touchdown passes last year. One of the most sought-after recruits in the country, he de-committed from Penn State and instead chose Notre Dame on August 5.
Matt Galambos, Haverford School: The 6’2”, 225-pound senior is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who’s received offers from Temple, Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, Yale and Harvard. He was looking at Penn State—but Penn State wasn’t looking at him. It looks like Penn State may have missed the boat on this high-academic, athletic talent. Galambos recently committed to Pitt.
Jay Harris, Downingtown East: The 5’11”, 180-pound receiver has already committed to Michigan State, choosing Sparty over Penn State, Temple, Rutgers, Pitt and Maryland. Harris, combined with Downingtown East quarterback Kyle Lauletta, makes the Cougars one of the most explosive offenses in the state.
Jaryd Jones-Smith, West Catholic: The offensive tackle can appear as if he’s blotting out a city block based solely on his sheer size—6’7” and 290-pounds. What makes Jones-Smith that much more attractive is his athleticism. He has offers from Pitt, Temple and Arizona—and expect that list to grow.
Kyle Lauletta, Downingtown East: The Cougars have a chance to do some special things this season as one of the top teams in District 1 Class AAAA, meaning one of the top teams in the state. Lauletta, a Richmond commit, is a big reason why, after completing 134 of 212 passes for 2,042 yards and 23 touchdowns last year against seven interceptions. He also rushed for 382 yards and five touchdowns, and with Michigan State-bound Jay Harris to throw to, Downingtown East possesses one of the state’s most dynamic offenses.
Mike McGlinchey, Penn Charter: The massive 6’9”, 270-pound offensive tackle committed to Notre Dame over 21 other schools and is a future pro—it’s in the gene pool—provided he stays healthy and continues on his current upward arc. He’s obviously large, moves extremely well with great footwork, and we mentioned gene pool: he’s the first cousin of Atlanta Falcons’ star quarterback Matt Ryan.
John Reid, St. Joseph’s Prep: The speedy 5’10”, 170-pound defensive back has already received offers from Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers and Temple. And he’s just a sophomore. Clearly, he’s one of the best—if not the best—shutdown corner in the area. By the time he’s a senior, every major college in the country will be after him.
David Williams, Imhotep: Williams is arguably the best high school football player in Pennsylvania. The 6’1”, 200-pound senior tailback has received offers from Tennessee, South Carolina, California, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Auburn, Notre Dame and Temple after rushing for 1,950 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior for West Catholic. He transferred to Imhotep Charter in March.
Other players that bear watching this season: Ryley Angeline (running back, Downingtown East), Jordyn Bennett (running back, Garnet Valley), Mike Class (running back, Pennridge), Sean Coleman (wide receiver, La Salle), Tim DiGiorgio (quarterback, Frankford), Elijah Griffin (defensive line Downingtown East), Chris Jones (wide receiver/defensive back, Coatesville), Mike Keir (quarterback, Roman Catholic), Justin Moody (defensive tackle, George Washington), Aron Morgan (kicker, Haverford School), Pat Moriarty (quarterback, Harriton), Joe Viviano (quarterback, Conestoga), Fran Walsh (two-way lineman, Archbishop Wood), Ryan Winslow (punter/kicker, La Salle), Daryl Worley (defensive back, Penn Charter).