CTE worries has really made a lot of kids in the north east stay away from football. The same thing is happening in Ohio, NJ, and NY.I'm from and Live in Harrisburg and the talent pool has dropped in the recent years. Don't get me wrong there are a few good prospects every year. its just not the same in my opinion.
Great Story....No. I am sure we don't scout it. Why?
It takes place in the summer and the players are graduated seniors, most of whom have already signed with the colleges of their choice. When I went to the game in '88 I noticed that most, but not all, have listed college choices. Not everybody in the game is elite.
The 1988 game featured two of our recruits, WR Leslie Shepherd of Forestville, MD, and Dale (Diego) London of Riverdale Baptist, MD. We had no one on the Pennsylvania team that year.
The game ended at halftime because of lightening. We all stood under the stands, waiting for the game to resume, but it was finally called, giving Pennsylvania the victory. I saw the MD kids, especially Leslie, and they were unhappy.
Leslie caught four passes in the one half that was played. He was smooth and fast, I thought maybe a bit like Paul Warfield. I described him looking already like a pro. I told some of my friends down there in Miami (true "insiders") and I'm sure they told the coaches. I later received a report that JJ gave the same description, so either my description made its way to Jimmy, or Jimmy heard it from someone else who was there and had the same reaction.
Other than that--coaches wanting to keep up with their recent signees--there's nothing really for college coaches to see for recruiting purposes.
Diego played OL and DL. Couldn't really get an impression. A friend sitting next to me mentioned that a PA pass rusher ran right around him on one play.
The star of the Pennsylvania offense (and team) was Raghib (Rocket) Ismail. He was swift and MD could not stop him.
He gave us headaches a few years later at South Bend.
One thing that was interesting was that when you got on the grounds of the park (Hershey Park) or wherever the stadium was located in Hershey, you could smell chocolate in the air. It was very noticeable. We must have been very close to a Hershey chocolate factory.
Interestingly, I spoke to a UM alum back during those years who told me the Big 33 game, while well-known nationally, was not where all the Pennsylvania talent played. This guy told me that there was a separate game in Western Pennsylvania where more of the talent from that part of the state played. And that would have been the bulk of the best talent in the state.
Whether that's true, I don't know.
The Big 33 achieved fame by being one of the oldest all-star games, and having a national orientation by pitting then-football rich Pennsylvania against an all-star team from another great football state, e.g., Ohio.
We no longer recruit much from Pennsylvania. Bluntly, you want speed, you need to recruit other areas, including Florida. Back in the 50's, 60's, etc , we had tough blue-collar white kids, but we were not known for being fast. Every year in the early '60's we would lament the absence of a breakaway back who could take it the distance at any time.
Another notable HS all-star game that started in Pennsylvania was the Dapper Dan basketball game. It brought in top basketball players from around the country. I knew a kid from Miami Beach who played in the '65 game.
I think the Dapper Dan game might still exist, but I don't think it's as prestigious as it used to be. I think it left Pittsburgh years ago. I guess the McDonalds game might be the big game but I don't follow basketball recruiting.
Oh, just thought of a UM recruit who was invited to the Big 33 but skipped the game: Dwayne Johnson. The UM coaches wanted him to enroll for the summer so he had to skip the game.
I do recall discussing Dwayne with his position coach in May if 1990. Bob Karmelowicz would only say he's "fast." Bob didn't heap praise, said nothing else. I think they saw him as developmental and they needed DL help. Johnson was slated to play in that game for Pennsylvania in 1990.
EDIT: I forgotten to mention, Leslie never matriculated at UM. Something fell apart late in the process and apparently Leslie didn't get a test score or something. I heard a rumour that Leslie's father and JJ got into a disagreement. Shepherd ended up at Temple and then the Redskins.
Interestingly, Leslie visited UM with his teammate, RB Rico Marshall, from Forestville High School in Maryland. Rico ended up signing with South Carolina. Shortly after that, he was dead from an overdose. It was weird--I happened to call down to AllSports to order some UM gear. Ended up talking to a young woman student who was also part of that group of women students who showed recruits around. She told me she had shown Leslie and Rico around. Just a few weeks before. I ended up telling her Rico was now deceased. I think Rico was out on the street, late at night, maybe in a drug deal, and cops came up. Rico swallowed all the drugs, coke I think, and died. Local TV covered it, interviewed his parents, and showed Rico's bedroom. His made-up bed had South Carolina and UM blankets on it. He died just days after LOI day. Leslie either signed with UM or stayed committed pending clearing admissions.
I checked the Big 33 site and it was played against Maryland this past May. No longer played at Hershey Park in the summer but now some middle school. I couldn't even tell from the game's website who won. The game in 1988 was a big deal, massive traffic jams heading into Hershey.
I guess all the emphasis is on these big national games now. There used to be some great regional all-star games. The Georgia-Florida game from the '80's was awesome. So much talent from both states on display.
The Dapper Dan game is now history. It moved to Detroit as the Magic Johnson Roundball Classic and then Chicago. It died about 12 years ago. McDonalds game helped kill it.
When I lived in NYC in late '80's it seemed young people were just interested in baseball and basketball. When I see recruiting videos the high school stadiums are almost empty. This is true in a lot of communities around the country especially inner-city schools. Sad that HS kids are not that interested in HS football just as fans and an activity. When I was in HS many many students looked forward to attending games. There was a lot of excitement about the games and getting together with friends.CTE worries has really made a lot of kids in the north east stay away from football. The same thing is happening in Ohio, NJ, and NY.
When I was growing up in the 90s and 00s it took a back seat to basketball and Boxing, but there were some good kids that would go play in NJ. Now every parent is pushing their kids to baseball and basketball because they don't want to ruin their kids brains just to get them into college.When I lived in NYC in late '80's it seemed young people were just interested in baseball and basketball. When I see recruiting videos the high school stadiums are almost empty. This is true in a lot of communities around the country especially inner-city schools. Sad that HS kids are not that interested in HS football just as fans and an activity. When I was in HS many many students looked forward to attending games. There was a lot of excitement about the games and getting together with friends.