Sunday, September 21, 2014
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Football notebook: Kinlaw, Mitchell, Flacco and more

Football notebook: Kinlaw, Mitchell, Flacco and more

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By Phil Anastasia

The only thing more frustrating than Rashad Kinlaw's junior season was his senior season.

Kinlaw played in just six games as a junior at Absegami. He missed the rest of the season after breaking his right fibula against St. Augustine Prep.

Kinlaw broke the same bone in a USA Football game in June. He ended up playing in just four games as a senior.

"It definitely was frustrating," Kinlaw said. "I knew what I could do, and I couldn't do it."

Kinlaw's injuries didn't stop him from being one of the most higly recruited players in the state. He will sign with Notre Dame on Wednesday.

"I feel like I have my best football ahead of me," the 6-1, 175-pound Kinlaw said.

Kinlaw finally returned to the field for Absegami in an Oct. 26 game against Hammonton. He ran 17 yards for a touchdown on his first carry.

But it was a struggle to regain his explosiveness. He ended up participating in around 25 snaps a game, mostly on defense.

"I wanted to be my old self but I was around 70 percent," said Kinlaw, recruited by Notre Dame as a cornerback.

Kinlaw said he never sensed Notre Dame was wavering on its commitment to him despite his injuries. He was visited at Absegami in mid-January by Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly.

"I can't wait to get there," Kinlaw said of Notre Dame.

Mitchell to Rutgers?

Cedar Creek coach Tim Watson believes All-South Jersey quarterback Damon Mitchell could end up at Rutgers.

Mitchell was scheduled to leave Friday on a recruiting visit to Arkansas. Mitchell had committed to Georgia Tech in July.

Watson said that if Mitchell decides not to accept Arkansas' offer, Rutgers could emerge as the front runner for the 6-3, 205-pound quarterback who passed for 22 touchdowns and ran for 21 touchdowns last season.

Watson said Mitchell knows that Georgia Tech could pull its offer because of his decision to visit Arkansas. In fact, Georgia Tech on Wednesday -- the day after Mitchell said he would visit Arkansas this weekend -- got a commitment from quarterback Ty Griffin of McEachern High in Powder Springs, Ga.

And here's what Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson told the Atlanta Journal Consititution on Thursday about recruits visiting other schools: "I've got news for you. Usually, if they take a visit the last weekend, they're not coming to your place, no matter what you do."

Watson said Mitchell could end up at Rutgers if he decides after his visit that Arkansas is not the place for him.

"Rutgers could get in the backdoor," Watson said.

Interest in Flacco.

Eastern coach Dan Spittal said junior quarterback Tom Flacco, whose brother Joe will start at quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens in Sunday's Super Bowl, has begun to draw major recruiting interest.

Spittal said Penn State, Maryland, Ohio State, Rutgers, Kentucky,
Stanford, Duke and Boston College have shown interest, although none has offered a scholarship. Villanova and Delaware also have shown interest in Flacco.

Spittal said the 6-0, 175-pound Flacco could have a higher "ceiling" than some other high school quarterbacks because he also plays basketball and baseball.

"He is a five-month-a-year quarterback," Spittal said of Flacco, who last season passed for 2,957 yards, the fourth-highest total in South Jersey history. "He's a true athlete. He has what you can't coach -- 'Give me the ball when the game is on the line.'"

Johnson to Coastal Carolina.

 Highland senior Kerron Johnson will sign a letter of intent to Coastal Carolina, Tartans coach Craig Stinson announced Friday.

The 6-4, 185-pound Johnson played wide receiver and defensive back for Highland. He was recruited as a defensive back by Coastal Carolina, a FCS program that competes in the Big South Conference.

Coastal Carolina went 8-5 last season and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Johnson made 12 catches for 250 yards last season for Highland. On defense, he made 80 tackles and three interceptions.

"Kerron has demonstrated the attitude and effort in the classroom and on Friday  nights during his four years at Highland to earn a scholarship," Stinson said.

Hills to Delaware?

 Wildwood running back Wesley Hills declined to confirm a report by shorenewstoday.com that he will sign with Delaware.

Contacted Wednesday night, Hills said there were "a lot of rumors out there." Hills said he will announce his college destination during a signing-day ceremony at Wildwood High School.

Hills confirmed that he has cancelled an official visit to Massachusetts this weekend.

Hills ran for 2,106 yards and scored 35 touchdowns last season, as Wildwood went 6-4 and made the South Jersey Group 1 playoffs for the first time in the history of the program.

This and that.

Cherokee defensive lineman Zach Madden has committed to Penn. Madden made 42 tackles last season and forced three fumbles . . . Stanford football coaches visited Kingsway junior Ray Lawry at basketball practice on Wednesday. Lawry called Stanford "a great program" that "gets you ready" for the NFL . . . Cherry Hill East two-way lineman Tyler Drob has committed to West Chester (Pa.) University, a Division II program . . . Cherry Hill East wide receiver/safety Nick Della Vecchia, who missed the second half of his senior season with an injury, will play at Division III Gettysburg . . . Haddonfield two-way lineman Mike DiNoia will play at Division III The College of New Jersey.

Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.

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About this blog
Born and raised in South Jersey, Phil Anastasia prefers standing on the sidelines at high school football games on Friday nights to sitting in the press box at Eagles games on Sunday afternoons. He’s a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in English. Reach Phil at panastasia@phillynews.com.

Phil Anastasia Inquirer Columnist
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