Thursday, March 6, 2014

Five Northeast Ohio college players to watch this spring

Division I and II college football programs begin spring drills this month. Here are five players from area high schools who can position themselves for big seasons by taking advantage of the 15 allotted practices:

Nick Cuthbert (West Geauga, So., Kent State, S): Cuthbert was forced to sit out last season after transferring from Georgia Tech to Kent State. The former All-Ohio selection who accumulated tackles in bunches at West Geauga could be a major part of the Golden Flashes' plans after steady practice work throughout 2013.

Mitchel Hokavar (Perry, Jr., QB, Lake Erie College): Lake Erie College returns many key pieces from an exciting, high-scoring offense. But losing dependable and underrated quarterback Brendan Gallagher stings. Hokavar will compete with sophomore John Banyasz for first-team reps. The winner of the derby could produce some gaudy 2014 numbers.

Mitch Trubisky (Mentor, Fr., QB, North Carolina): Trubisky has entered the biggest competition of his storied career. After redshirting last season, the former Ohio Mr. Football is competing with junior Marquise Williams for the job vacated by three-year starter Bryan Renner. Losing ground in the spring could place Trubisky in a tough spot. The Tar Heels' recruiting class includes four-star Virginia quarterback Caleb Henderson.

John Stepec (Lake Catholic, So., Toledo, DE): Toledo returns one starting defensive end, but loses a starter and backup on the opposite side. Stepec, a leading candidate to seize the open spot, worked his way into the two-deep last season. Stepec attended Toledo with hopes of contributing early in his career. He could be primed to meet his objective.

Colton Wallace (Mentor, Sr., Notre Dame College, WR): A lingering hamstring injury bothered Wallace throughout 2013. With Jack Foy, the Mountain East Conference's leading receiver, gone, Wallace should be a major part of the Falcons' offensive plans if he's healthy.

-- Guy Cipriano | @newsheraldguy


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