CLEVELAND - Glenville coach Ted Ginn Sr. knows a big thing when he sees it. As the father of one of the most explosive players in college and a coach that has sent countless players to Division I schools, he knows when a player has the goods.
So Thursday afternoon before his team began to practice, Ginn was asked who his top underclass prospect was. The answer didn't take long to come out - Jer'Male Hinds.
"He is our best underclassmen without a doubt," Ginn said. "He's special."
Saying that means a lot because Glenville has become one of the top talent producing programs in the country. Over the past four years, the program has produced 18 Division I recruits and this year's class has around nine players expected to sign with college programs.
But when Ginn says that Hinds is his best junior it makes you pay major attention.
"He's a guy that will probably be a WILL linebacker in college," Ginn said. "He's so talented; we're getting him snaps at quarterback. He's such a great athlete that we have to find a way to get him in the field and get his hands on the ball or attacking the quarterback."
Even some of Ginn's top senior players agree that Hinds is the next big thing at Glenville.
"Just look at him," four-star recruit Ray Smalls said. "He already looks like he's ready to play in college. He's going to be fun to watch this season. He's so big, so strong and he's really, really fast."
Hinds blushes when he hears the talk.
"Man, I don't even know what to say," Hinds said. "I know that I'm a pretty good football player, but I still think I could be a whole lot better. I need to keep working hard to get bigger, stronger and faster, but the talk it's pretty cool."
That might be the only thing cool with him. Hinds doesn't have any offers yet - but that's only a given - but he is already getting tons of mail from all the big-time programs that traditionally recruit Glenville.
"I like O-State," Hinds said. "Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State, Virginia Tech and Florida are some of the others that are really sending me a lot of mail. I want to see how this thing plays out and take some visits, but it's really hard for me to think about all this since it's still a year away."
A DEEP TALENT POOL Hinds isn't the only junior that will be heavily recruited. Coach Ginn calls his class of 2007 one of his deepest he's had, even if it might not match the numbers of this year's blue-chip laden group.
Gino Sturdivant is a name that has already that has already popped up on quite a few lists - including the Rivals.com 100 players to watch for 2007. At Glenville, the 5-foot-9, 175-pound Sturdivant plays linebacker, but in college he'll likely be a cornerback.
So why does he play linebacker?
From watching practice on Thursday it was clear why. He's a heat-seeking missile that flies around all over the field and sticks his nose into almost every play. He's definitely fast enough to play defensive back, and college coaches will love that aggressive nature he plays with.
Joining Sturdivant on the defensive back prospect list for 2007 are David Garrett (5-9, 168) and Eric Haislah (5-10, 170). Both are physical for their size and Haislah believes his class will be able to carry the Glenville banner next year.
"Everybody says we have a great junior class," he said.
"We'll go out there and prove it on the field this year and show it again next year. We have all dreamed about playing college football, so we have to do what it takes to make sure that we reach and fulfill those dreams."
Kyle Jefferson is other big-time prospect to keep an eye on at Glenville for 2007.
The 6-foot-5, 195-pound tight end/defensive end looks like a basketball player now with his thin frame, but he does create match-up problems with his size in passing situations. Jefferson said he's working hard at adding weight to his frame and is already getting quite a bit of mail.
"Purdue, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Indiana and Penn State are sending me stuff already," he said. "It's starting to get exciting."