Joe Homan is a 6' 0"/210 pound senior linebacker at Chaminade-Julienne High School. He's also a player with big dreams; dreams certainly bigger than his stature. Joe wants to play Division IA football, but the Division IA recruiters haven't exactly been noticing. Some high school players would adjust their goals or just abandon their dream altogether, but not linebackers. At least, not linebackers like Joe Homan. Rather than just giving up on his lifelong dream, Joe took the initiative. "I've talked to Coach Barnett a few times, but that's all been from my end. He said they've started to review my tape so I don't know what I'll hear from that."
The Cincinnati staff invites many prospects on campus for one reason or another, and Joe has often been among the invitees. He has watched spring practices, participated in UC's senior camp and has attended multiple Bearcat games in Nippert Stadium this fall. Joe's most recent unofficial visit was for the Syracuse game, and Coach Barnett talked then about bringing Joe back for the season finale at Nippert against the nationally ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Although Joe has a lot of interest in the Bearcat program, he knows Cincinnati isn't the only school that can help him realize his dream. "I've been in contact with Ball State, and I've talked with Toledo a little bit. I've also had some contact with Kent State. That's about it."
These days recruiting can be pretty sophisticated and start pretty early. Joe made sure he gave himself every opportunity to be seen by attending a number of camps. "I was invited to the Nike camp this summer in Columbus and attended Cincinnati's, Toledo's and Akron's camps. Then I was invited to the O-D Elite Camp down in Jacksonville." Joe reports a 4.7 second forty-yard-dash time.
Chaminade-Julienne plays in the always tough GCL, and Joe recognizes the advantage of having played in such a prestigious league. "I've played with kids that are advanced in football and closer to the college level. I think that gives me an advantage over guys that have played in lesser leagues." Joe not only played in the GCL; he thrived in it by leading the league in sacks and recording over 120 tackles in 10 games this season. This 2nd team all league performer as a junior accomplished this after being moved to a new position. Joe played inside linebacker for the Eagles last year but went to the outside this season to better utilize his speed. He's a virtual lock to make the GCL's 1st team all-star squad in 2006.
Playing in the GCL gave Joe an up close view of two players with Cincinnati offers. Chaminade-Julienne defensive lineman, Rob Trigg, recently committed to the Bearcats, and Joe's very familiar with Rob. "He's a great person. When he's on the field, there's just a presence. He's a great leader and a great teammate. He'll keep your head straight when you get a bad call. He's a great football player." Another Dayton area player holding a Bearcat offer is Centerville's Will Johnson. Will played his freshman and sophomore years at Chaminade-Julienne. "He's an all around great athlete. We tried him at three positions, and he excelled at all three. He played wide receiver, cornerback and a little bit of safety for us. Now he's making his name at Centerville where he's a running back."
If a scholarship offer isn't in the immediate future, Cincinnati would seem to be a good place for a quality walk-on. Bearcat starting inside linebacker Kevin McCullough was a walk-on as was Tony Carvitti (DL). Also, Evan Sparks (SS) and Ryan Manalac (LB) are ex-walk-ons that have earned scholarships within the past couple years. Joe Homan may be the next to follow in their footsteps. "This has been a dream of mine for some time. I'm hoping to fulfill it with a scholarship, but if not, I'm most definitely looking at walking on."
I spoke with Joe only four days after his football season had ended, but he wasn't interested in taking any time off. People consumed by a dream never do. Joe had spent the better part of this afternoon in the weight room, trying to get stronger.
Joe was asked what Bearcat fans needed to know about him. "If I get the chance to be a Bearcat, I wouldn't let anybody down. I'd definitely give it my all out on the field." For young men like Joe Homan, "giving it all" just seems to come naturally.