In my Sunday paper yesterday I noticed that the 2009 Big 33 Game rosters were announced. For the very few who are not familiar with the game, I'll briefly explain: Every year since (I believe) 1957 an annual game has been played between an all-star roster of Ohio high school football players and their counterparts from Pennsylvania. It is generally seen as an honor to be named to the Big 33 roster, and for good reason-- the talent level is considerate and many players can really make an impression on a national level prior to starting their collegiate careers. Perhaps the more impressive statistic is that A BIG 33 PLAYER HAS PLAYED IN EVERY SINGLE SUPER BOWL. Not a bad track record in over forty years. What's also great is that it combines players, perhaps for the first time in their careers, regardless of school size, so you have A school players alongside Quad-A players.
In recent years, I remember memorable Big 33 performances from Terrell Pryor, Chad Henne, Maurice Clarett, etc. In other words, it's a good indicator of future talent.
Anyway, the rosters for this year's game, held in the summer in Hersheypark Stadium, have been announced. Yes, Hershey Chocolate has a town named after it, that also has a theme park, that also has a pretty large football stadium (I believe the fires started there in the previously mentioned Terrell Pryor's light-up-the-field state title performance last year have finally died out, but that's another story).
Some names worth mentioning that register on the Michigan radar, include:
RB commit Fitzgerald Toussaint
OL visitor Marcus Hall
DB Mike Edwards
DB commit Justin Turner (listed oddly as J.T. Turner)
DB commit Isaiah Bell
and from Pennsylvania:
LB Dan Mason
There were obviously several other players of note on the PA roster but only Mason is the only one I recall who made serious rumblings around here on recruiting lists. One name that stands out (and I'll drop the warning now) is recent Rutgers de-commit/Penn State commit DE Jordan Hill. I watched his state title victory game last year, and I have NEVER seen a Defensive End shape a game as much as this young man did (think Vernon Gholston in the game a few years back x 10!). He could be cause for future concern.
Anyways, what really stood out to me is that Je'Ron Stokes is not going to be one of the wideouts for Pennsylvania. I didn't even really recognize the others at that position, and certainly Stokes has garnered a lot of attention in Eastern PA. AND there's been plenty of Philadelphia talent selected before... very strange.
I'm going to try to make it to the game this summer-- it's not very far from my home and tickets are pretty easy to score. If I do make it there I'll be sure to wear as much Maize n Blue as I can and try to make an impression on our incoming freshmen. I'll also be sure to deliver a strong scouting report to the MgoBlog faithful. Personally I think I'll be there most to get a good look at Fitzgerald Toussaint, who I've never seen play but sounds very promising as a future tailback.