Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Appetite for Basketball.... and Football

It's tough today, let's face it. On "National Letter of Intent Day", you're out on the internet, just like me, with an appetite for the latest information on anyone who might have signed for the Brown and White. We won't be getting a list of recruits today. But tonight, and this weekend, for sure we'll have plenty of steak to sink our teeth into.

For appetizers, the Lehigh men's basketball team (10-14, 5-3) will be facing off against Navy (11-12, 1-7) tonight at 7:00PM at Stabler Arena. With Army's home loss yesterday to league-leading Holy Cross 70-54 and Lehigh's thrilling win at American last Saturday (56-54) a win over reeling Navy would give Lehigh a near-stranglehold on third place with an eye towards Bucknell for the #2 spot. Navy, who hasn't won a Patriot League game on the road yet this year, needs to win to simply avoid being cannon fodder for Holy Cross in the tournament. If Lehigh holds serve, Lehigh will be in a pretty good position come March.

For the main course, Saturday also features a great family weekend to come to Stabler arena as well with the best deal in the Lehigh Valley for Lehigh sports fans and families on a Saturday night. Lehigh features a women's/men's basketball doubleheader starting at 5:00PM, where for starters you can see the women (8-15,3-6) try to pull off the upset against powerful Lady Knights (20-4, 7-2). That's followed by the men, who will be trying to avenge their 64-59 loss at West Point last month.

As if that weren't enough, the 2006 Lehigh football team is going to be honored at halftime for their eighth Patriot League title and ninth straight winning season. There will be a celebration at halftime where the crowd can honor this year's team, so you can also whet your appetite to look back at football in 2006... but also peek ahead at 2007. Finally, it's also "Kid's Day", which means there will be lots of activities for kids all afternoon from 4:30-7:30PM. Two meaningful basketball games, a taste of football, and to top it off entertainment for the kids. Tickets are only $5 in advance, and $7 at the door. It should be great!

As for today, there's still a lot of steak to go around. With the rest of the Patriot League world still obsessed about hoops or hockey, the Morning Call had a lot of articles today talking about the realities of recruiting for Lehigh and Lafayette - three must-read articles.

Mastering The Art
Upshot: ''There's more crossover right now between the Patriot League and the Ivy League than there's ever been,'' said Coen, who has been on both sides of the battle since he spent six seasons at Penn between his two stints at Lehigh. ''Right, wrong, or indifferent, there's great amount of prestige associated with the Ivy League institutions. While I feel a Lehigh education doesn't have to take a backseat to anyone, the Ivy's name recognition carries a lot of weight, especially in a need-based situation.''

Old-School Tavani Adjusts To New World
Upshot: Starting this April with the recruiting class of 2008, Lafayette will be using a database and software company known as CyberSports Inc., a recruiting service that will hook it up with every high school in the country and give it interactive access. Princeton received more than 300 hits within hours of going operational recently with CyberSports Inc. ''CyberSports will expand us nationally,'' Tavani said. ''We can prospect more. You have to go farther and farther because there are less and less kids. You have to go somewhere where your competitors are not so you aren't going head to head on every kid. You can't win every battle.''

This Year, Coen Starts On Time
Upshot: ''The difference between this year and last year has been amazing,'' Coen said. ''Last year, it was a real scramble coming in as late as I did [replacing Pete Lembo]. The connection I have with the kids who are visiting us, getting to know them, their parents, has been so much different.''

Finally, here's the latest rumored names for the Brown & White. Courage! Lehigh should announce the incoming class soon! [UPDATED... look here for continued updates]

OL/DL Keith Schauder
(Boyertown HS, Boyertown, PA) 6'4, 260 lbs. Cousin of rising senior OL Jimmy Kehs, article says he's committed to Lehigh. An all-Berks lineman, according to this article mentioning his commitment to Lehigh, Schauder's being looked at as a center or "quick tackle" on offense.

OL/TE Dan Jones (Upper Perkiomen HS, PA) 6'3, 250 lbs. A TE and DT for Upper Perk, Lehigh goes back to the well in the Pottstown area in which they've got some good players before, notably rising junior (and possible DL starter) Jon Warren. Article mentions that some freshman are being asked to travel for spring ball - Jones hopes to be one of them.

TE Ben Flizack
(Jim Thorpe HS, Jim Thorpe, PA) 6'5. A talented football and basketball player for the Olympians, he's a bit of a gamble with a slew of knee surgeries in high school - but one that could pay off handsomely if he's healthy as a Mountain Hawk at 6'5. May have to fight off coach Taylor if they need another low-post player. An academic champion with a 3.8-4.0 GPA.

WR/QB Craig Zurn (Jim Thorpe HS, Jim Thorpe, PA). A speedy WR before pulled into playing QB in his senior year, he's another guy with a great GPA who is rumored to have chosen Lehigh over Lafayette and Colgate. Must be wise beyond his years.

OL Alex Rowe (Notre Dame HS, NJ, Lawrenceville, NJ) 6'5, 270 lbs. Coach Coen keeps pulling in the big bodies on the "O" line. The article which mentions his commitment describes him as a "hard-working, team-oriented guy". Sounds good to me!

WR/DB/KR Jarard Cribbs (Lackey HS, Indian Head, MD) Speedy wideout and kick returner who is an all-purpose yardage sort of player. Rumored to already be committed to Lehigh.

DT Phil Winnett (Jackson HS, Akron, OH) 6'2, 290 lbs. Good size in a position where it's needed. All-county and second-team all-state performer. Another rumored commit.

DT/NG/OL Charlie Brallier (Elk Grove HS, Elk Grove, CA) 6'4, 295. ESPN notes that Brallier "is a big bodied two gap presence in the defensive trenches." and others have reported he's going to be part of the Brown & White. Looks like an awesome pickup - and shows that Lehigh will continue to look at California for talent.

DL/OL Ricardo Clerge-Appolon (St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, FL) 6'1", 240 lbs. Looks like he could play DL or LB for us - a kid from a High School football powerhouse in St. Thomas Aquinas.

QB Derek Riefenbury (Monarch HS, Coconut Creek, FL) 6'3", 190 lbs. If I'm coach Coen, I'd check the trunk of my car during Florida recruiting trips - chances are you'd see RichH there. A pure pocket passer.

OL William Rackley (Riverdale HS, Riverdale, GA) 6'4, 270 lbs. Don't know much about him, but as RichH says, he's 1-star rated by Coach Coen has been looking for linemen, and getting them in spades.

OL R.J. McNamara (Demarest HS, Demarest, NJ) 6'4", 265 lbs. A top NJ lineman with great size and strength. Could see him as a T in college eventually if he stays injury-free and works hard. Paper has reported he committed to Lehigh over Lafayette and William & Mary.

DE Bill Dokouslis (Manalapan HS, Englishtown, NJ) 6'1", 230 lbs. Paper has reported he has committed to Lehigh. Among the state leaders in sacks. More beef for our "D" line.

LB Sean Linder (Avon Lake HS, Cleveland, OH) 6'0, 220 lbs. Paper has reported that he has committed to Lehigh. Article states he is one of the top players in his conference. Several local FBS schools, including West Virginia and some MAC schools, had interest but Lehigh won the battle.

WR/DB Travis Artim (Whitehall HS, Whitehall, PA) 5'10, 165 lbs. Looks to possibly become a speedy slot receiver at Lehigh. Coach has faith in his big-play ability. Was teammate of curent Mountain Hawk WR Jim Pocotnie. Grew up going to Lehigh games - could be a real local favorite.

WR/DB Brad Walter (Wilson/Fork Hill Military Academy, Easton, PA) 6'1, 180 lbs. At Wilson, he was a speedy impact receiver. Had commitment to UConn which fell through, and Lehigh nabbed him according to the Allentown Morning Call.

QB J.B. Clark (Jupiter HS, Jupiter, FL) 6'3, 205 lbs. The board posters are all gaga over this 17 year old kid who ran the Wing-T offense in high school. Was pursued by some FBS schools (including UConn who had a scholarship offer on the table) but it's rumored Lehigh won the battle after UConn pulled out. Unclear whether coach Coen is going to be bringing back the Wing T for this kid, but if the reality is as half as real as the hype, we've got a great kid here.
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