With a football feel in the air, the 60th annual Grange Insurance Ohio North-South Classic became a dominate performance by the North squad. When teams were announced for the countries longest running All-Star game, many felt the North held a great advantage just from the number of Division One recruits headed to Bowl Championship Schools.
The Bearcats were responsible for five of those BSC players on the North squad while only two new Bearcats were suited up for the South. While all future Bearcats performed well, it was the guys in Red who stole the show.
With a final score of 45-17 the North showed over 5,000 fans why college coaches signed so much of the talent dressed in Red. Led by game MVP Tyrell Sutton (21 carries, 203 yards rushing, 3 touchdowns), Sutton showed why many schools missed on this super talent headed to Northwestern.
But defense is the name of the game and the North used future Bearcats to help shutdown the South's offense all night. North Defensive MVP Derrick Stewart (Youngstown Ursuline HS, Youngstown, OH) used his shutdown corner work to keep the balls out of receiver's hands. Curtis Smith (Glenville HS, Cleveland, OH) was a beast at the point of attack and made several hard hitting plays. Steve Gawronski (Rogers HS, Toledo, OH) was listed to play offensive line; instead he saw plenty of playing time along the defensive line.
On offense two more Bearcats helped the North to victory. Marcus Waugh (St. John's HS, Toledo, OH) showed why the Bearcats recruited him. With a hard nosed effort Waugh powered his way to 65 yards on 6 carries (despite an injury to his left wrist/hand). Clyde High School (Clyde, OH) product Jared Martin took several reps at wide receiver hauling in 2 passes for 11 yards on the night. But the area Martin was used more often was making key blocks for Sutton on several big carries.
While the North came away with a big victory, two Bearcats were part of the South's effort on the night. Tyler Clifford (Portsmouth HS, Portsmouth, OH) lined up at both defensive end spots during the game. He showed the tough nose approach Coach Dantonio wants from his players and never gave up.
Cedric Tolbert (Xenia HS, Xenia, OH) will be a defensive back for the Bearcats, but tonight he was used at running back and carried the ball 6 times for 13 yards. While I'm sure he's not happy with his performance, the South struggled all night against a more powerful team of All-Stars.
BCI NOTE*** Huber Heights Wayne defensive back Mike Mickens made the trip to Columbus to watch high school teammate Greg Orton (Purdue) and good friend Cedric Tolbert. Mike said he's ready to get started and work towards playing time this fall.
REPORT CARD & VIDEO INTERVIEWS
How did the new Bearcats do in this game? Here is the Bearcat Insider Report Card for all seven new Bearcats and we video interviews with six of them.
**Speical for Bearcat Insider Total Access Members, Here is the link for the video interviews from last nights game.**
DERRICK STEWART - What more can you say... North Defensive Player MVP who was tested by Purdue's Greg Orton and Miami of Ohio's E.J. Morton-Green. Both receivers bring height of 6-foot-4 and Stewart hung with them and shut them down. While we've been looking at Stewart as an receiver, defensive back may be even a better fit after this great performance. GRADE: A+
JARED MARTIN - Jared had to wait his turn to take the field as a receiver as Mario Manningham (Michigan) was in front of him. But when he got in he made sure everyone knew it. While only making a few catches Martin showed great blocking ability and you could see why the Bearcats staff made him an offer. Jared can play on both sides of the football and not sure were he'll lineup when he reports to camp. GRADE: B-
MARCUS WAUGH - Marcus was a player I've only seen on film. While I liked what I saw on tape, I knew there had to be more about this kid then what the tape was showing, I was right! Marcus can play on either side of the ball. I look for him to be a back-up at fullback but could also be given looks at linebacker. He's tough and should be a special team's demon during his UC career; he's also a great kid! GRADE: A
CURTIS SMITH - What's not to like about this top athlete who should become a force at the college level. He's got size, speed and desire to be a great one. In this game he was all over the field and made several tackles. While we still don't know if he will take the field this fall, Smith is a 4-star player with star potential written all over him. GRADE: A+
STEVE GAWRONSKI - While Gawronski was listed as an offensive lineman, he lined up at defensive tackle for the north squad. On defense he should the ability to chase the ball carrier and help make plays. While undersize as compared to other offensive linemen on both teams, Gawronski is a hard-nosed player who should contribute down the road... GRADE: B
BEARCAT INSIDER WASN'T ABLE TO SPEAK WITH STEVE
TYLER CLIFFORD - Clifford has the height needed for the next level. What he lacks is the weight to come in and battle mature division one offensive linemen. Tyler shows great knowledge of the game and has the ability to pursue ball carriers from sideline to sideline. GRADE: B
CEDRIC TOLBERT - The night was a tough one for the Xenia High School product. With the lack of a top offensive line in front of him, Tolbert never got on track. While he won't be asked to run the ball for the Bearcats, I could tell he wasn't happy with his performance. But while most players would have thrown their arms up in the air Cedric keep taking his place and giving his all. GRADE: B-