2000 PRESEASON NEWS
...from the Akron Beacon Journal, Thursday February 3, 2000...
Grizzlies stay home
The high-powered Wadsworth passing attack is staying in the family.
Grizzlies quarterback Mike Hoover and his two favorite targets, tight end Chris Brink and wide receiver Adam Copeland, will sign with Walsh University today.
Walsh is coached by Jim Dennison, whose son, Greg, is the head coach at Wadsworth.
Hoover passed for 3,332 touchdowns and 38 touchdowns in 1999. Copeland had 71 catches for 1,120 yards and Brink had 51 catches for 1,025 yards.
A press conference will be held today at Wadsworth to announce the sign
IF ANYONE WANTS TO KNOW THE SECRET TO STARTING A NEW FOOTBALL PROGRAM,IN THE TOUGHEST CONFERENCE IN THE NAIA, AND NEVER HAVE A LOSING SEASON...?...I THINK IT FIRST TAKES A QUALITY COACH AND STAFF, A FINE COLLEGE, YOU RECRUIT QUALITY INDIVIDUALS (as well as their "families")..AND JUST MAYBE A LITTLE LUCK! WALSH "STOLE" 3 WADSWORTH HIGH SCHOOL PLAYERS FROM NCAA IA PROGRAMS THURSDAY AS THEY SIGNED LETTERS OF INTENT TO PLAY FOR WALSH...CONGRATULATIONS TO COACH DENNISON AND THE PLAYERS. READ THE ARTICLE BELOW..VERY INTERESTING....
....from the Canton Repository, Friday February 4, 2000....
Walsh gets surprise as football trio signs
By CHRIS BEAVEN
Repository sports writer
WADSWORTH — Walsh University football coach Jim Dennison sat in the stands on Friday nights like any other Wadsworth High School football fan the last two years.
Dennison did not come to scout or recruit. He simply came to watch the team coached by his son, Greg.
And at the games, the elder Dennison marveled at the passing game his son’s team assembled. He thought the tall quarterback was a shoo-in for a Division I scholarship. The big tight end looked like a D-1 player, too. And the sure-handed wide receiver certainly could help a college team at that level.
Dennison spent little time thinking about Wadsworth quarterback Mike Hoover, tight end Chris Brink and wide receiver Adam Copeland playing for his Walsh Cavaliers, a five-year-old NAIA program.
Then the twists and turns of the recruiting process changed everything. All of sudden, Dennison had a brand-new passing attack when all three of the All-Ohioans chose Walsh University.
“I was amazed,” said Dennison when he found out all three were being passed over by Division I schools and considering Walsh.
Thursday afternoon, the trio made it official. Hoover, Brink and Copeland signed their letters of intent to attend Walsh in a press conference at Wadsworth High School.
“Walsh is getting three legitimate Division I players,” said fifth-year Wadsworth head coach Greg Dennison. “Just ask any coach we played against. This is a definite coup for Walsh. It says a lot for them and what kind of program they have.”
Walsh has put together five straight winning seasons since adopting football under the direction of Jim Dennison. He has been coaching college football at one level or another for much of his adult life. And he could not be any happier about his latest recruits.
“I’ve been recruiting a long time, and I was totally amazed about Mike, and that’s to our advantage right now,” Jim Dennison said. “There is no question he’s a Mid-American (Conference) quarterback and maybe higher. And Chris has got the whole game for a tight end. He’s big and fast, and makes plays. Adam I was not surprised by because Division I schools look for pure, flat out speed. He’s a possession guy with hands. But he’s good enough to play Division I, too.”
The trio all put up huge numbers this past season for Wadsworth, leading the Grizzlies to a school-record 11 wins. And Division I colleges took notice of two of the three.
Akron, Kent and Bowling Green initially recruited Hoover. Brink heard from those schools as well. But that interest waned as the recruiting process heated up in the weeks leading up to this past Wednesday’s signing day for NCAA Division I football.
“I was too small and not fast enough,” said the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Brink, who could easily fill out to 230 or 240 pounds.
“He runs a 4.6 (40-yard dash), but he’s not fast enough,” Hoover said jokingly.
Copeland, at 6-1 and 172 pounds, also was deemed not big or fast enough for the bigger schools.
And Hoover, who looks like a quarterback prototype at 6-4 and 200 pounds, still is unsure of the knock against him. He just knows the interest dried up, which simply stuns Jim Dennison.
“I think Mike Hoover can be in a class by himself,” the coach said of his new quarterback. “He’s that good. He throws well, runs well, he makes good decision and he’s a winner.”
As the big schools backed away, Walsh moved into the picture with other in-state small schools, including Mount Union. The three never thought much about attending the same school until they visited Walsh two weeks ago.
“It was pretty much after that visit, we all liked Walsh and we all wanted to play together,” Brink said.
“This is the best opportunity for all of us,” Hoover said.
Of course, having family connection at Wadsworth gave Walsh the inside track on the three players. But all three said those ties were never pushed on them, and they all appreciated that.
What sold them on Walsh was pretty much the same thing that sells any program to a player.
“We know it’s a good program with good coaching and a good reputation,” Copeland said. “We know we can win there.”
Last fall, Wadsworth went 11-2, losing in the Division II regional finals to Sylvania Southview.
Hoover completed 192 of 352 passes for 3,332 yards and 38 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. His play earned him first-team All-Ohio honors and a spot in this summer’s Ohio North-South All-Star Football Game.
“He’s got that leadership ability where the other guys know they can count on him because he makes plays,” Greg Dennison said. “He’s got everything you want in a quarterback.”
Brink caught a school-record 16 TD passes among his 51 receptions for 1,025 yards. He received second-team All-Ohio honors.
“Chris is a tight end that has got great speed,” Greg Dennison said. “He gets into the defensive backfield so quickly for a tight end, and that’s why he makes so many big plays.”
Copeland set Medina County records with his 71 catches for 1,120 yards. He scored 11 touchdowns, and also was named second-team All-Ohio.
“When it was third down, everyone knew we were going to Adam,” Greg Dennison said. “And it didn’t matter, he’d make the play. He runs great routes, and he makes great catches.”
Jim Dennison said all three will be given a chance to compete for starting jobs as freshmen. “I’d be very disappointed if they all didn’t contribute early,” he said.
Known for his run-oriented offense over the years — he’s had a 1,000-yard rusher each of his last 12 seasons — Jim Dennison promises he’ll get the most out of his new air attack.
Hoover, for one, is not too worried about his new coach’s love of the running game.
“We bring the passing game to them,” Hoover said with a smile. “I don’t think he’d recruit us if he didn’t plan to throw it.”
....BELOW IS ONE OF THE FINEST ARTICLES I HAVE READ ABOUT COLLEGE RECRUITING..PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO THE SECTION I HAVE HIGHLIGHTED IN GOLD. WALSH HAS SUCH A FINE A FOOTBALL PROGRAM SINCE COACH DENNISON DOES NOT FALL INTO THE CATEGORY OF THE COACHES WHICH THE ARTICLE ALLUDES TO....THINK ABOUT IT? IT MAKES SENSE...YOU RECRUIT YOUNG MEN THAT PLAY THEIR HEARTS OUT IN HIGHSCHOOL..THEY WILL DO THE SAME IN COLLEGE, YOU RECRUIT YOUNG MEN FROM FINE FAMILIES WITH STRONG VALUES..AND GUESS WHAT? THEY PASS THAT ON TO THEIR FELLOW TEAMMATES..AND SO ON, AND SO ON....
....from the Canton Repository, Wednesday, February 2, 2000....
Success in high school doesn’t always lure a scholarship
By TODD PORTER
Repository sports writer
When college football coaches across the country talk about their new recruits today, they will comment about how recruiting is a science. No one gets overlooked.
Perhaps, then, it is a science without heart. Hey, Notre Dame never won a national title with Rudy.
There is little room for a high school senior an inch too short, a step too slow or a few pounds too light. There is less room in the recruiting science for heart and emotion.
That is why Stark County’s two most successful high school football programs last season will not have a player sign a Division I letter of intent today, national signing day.
No two teams in Stark County combined for more wins this past football season than Lake and Perry high schools. No two teams made runs in the playoffs as long as they did, either.
“It’s kind of surprising when you look at the seasons we had,” Lake head coach Jeff Durbin said. “But I think what we both had was a group of tough kids and great senior classes. I think we had a lot of guys who were very good high school players who are maybe an inch or two too short or a step too slow.”
Perry and Lake won a combined 19 games and played seven games in the postseason. They did it, if you are to believe college recruiters, with no superstars.
No Division I college will lure any of their players today.
“That’s hard to explain to kids,” Panther head coach Keith Wakefield said. “If you saw our kids play last season, then you know what kind of heart they have. So often, college coaches recruit the shell, the physical side of a player. They have to.
“But sometimes that makes you wonder because you see good kids get passed up sometimes. Look at the kid from John Carroll (London Fletcher). He wasn’t recruited by Division I programs, and he started at linebacker for the Super Bowl champions (St. Louis Rams). He didn’t go to a Division I school, but he didn’t have any problem tackling Eddie George.”
George, for the record, won a Heisman Trophy at Ohio State. For a short period of time, he was behind Massillon graduate Travis McGuire on Ohio State’s depth chart.
Many major college programs, such as Ohio State, will sign a high school player with size, strength and speed, whether or not the player had a tremendous high school career.
“A lot of college coaches at big programs have egos,” one county high school coach said. “They’ll take a player who is a work in process. A player who may not be as good a high school player as a smaller or slower kid. They take that kid because they believe, with their egos, they can ‘coach’ or turn him into a great college player.”
Stark County has nine players who orally committed to Division I schools. Three of those players are going to the Big Ten, four will play in the Mid-American Conference, one in the Southeastern Conference and another at Division I-AA Villanova.
Wakefield said the University of Akron, Kent State and Youngstown State all expressed mild interest in fullback Jordan Henning. He opened holes for the Panthers as a bruising lead blocker. When he carried the ball, he never was tackled for a loss in three years of varsity football.
No one signed Henning. No one signed Lake linebacker Steve Graef, either. Graef will be a “preferred” walk-on at Ohio University. That means he will treated as all other incoming freshmen when camp opens, but he will have to prove his worth in order to be awarded a scholarship.
“This is still high school football, and we’re still here to develop the best high school team we can,” Wakefield said. “Some people might think its my job to get a kid a scholarship. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but it’s not my job to do that. I send out videotapes to schools. The videotape sells the kid.
“We may not have anyone sign a letter, but I wouldn’t trade my kids for anyone else’s kids who are getting scholarships.”
Wakefield said character, attitude and heart are taken into consideration. But those are not weighed nearly as heavily as playing ability, speed, size and strength.
“I wish there was a way for heart, work ethic and character to count more,” Wakefield said. “The only thing a high school coach can do is speak to a player’s character and heart. It does frustrate you when you know you have kids who play every down as hard as they can, but they can’t get to the next level because they’re too short, or too slow.”
There is slight hope, though. When you’re talking about the handful of fringe players at place like Lake and Perry, they will hold onto that hope.
Some Division I programs will not sign every player who verbally committed. That may open a few scholarships.
“That is when those school go to their second-level kids,” Wakefield said. “I think we may have a kid or two go Division II and a few more go Division III. That doesn’t happen until April, though.”
When it comes to sheer emotion and character, maybe, just maybe, that is where the best football is played anyway.
....FEBRUARY 15, 2000....
CONGRATULATIONS TO DEMETRIUS HARRIS AND RON WINPHRIE!!!! BOTH HAVE MADE DON HANSEN'S NAIA ALL AMERICAN TEAM AS HONORABLE MENTIONS. HARRIS AS RUNNING BACK AND WINPHRIE AS RETURN SPECIALIST.TO READ ABOUT THIS..GO TO THE "LINKS" PAGE AND CLICK ONTO DON HANSEN'S FOOTBALL GAZETTE.
....March 29, 2000....CANTON REPOSITORY...
CANTON — Timken High School had a pair of football players announce their college selections this week.
Running back Ricky Taylor has signed a letter of intent to play at Ashland University, a Division II school. He will receive a partial scholarship.
Taylor, a starter the past three seasons, was Timken’s second leading rusher last season, and a second-team All-Youngstown City Series pick.
Trojans starting quarterback and defensive back Preston Curtis signed an NAIA letter of intent to play at Walsh University.
Walsh also signed Timken lineman Bill Friend. Friend played on both the offensive and defensive lines for the Trojans.
....April 18, 2000....CANTON REPOSITORY...
Three All-Ohio players top Walsh recruit class
NORTH CANTON — Three first-team All-Ohio selections and four area players highlight the 2000 Walsh University football recruiting class announced by head coach Jim Dennison.
The Cavaliers, who will begin their sixth football season in September, signed 32 recruits overall.
“Our 2000 recruiting class appears to be another good one,” Dennison said. “We achieved our original goal of position needs. We brought in excellent skill and size and attracted three first team all-state performers and seven second team all-state players. We’re anxious to get them on the field.”
The first-team All-Ohio selections committing to the Cavaliers include Clay High School’s Derek Besgrove, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound tailback; Lake’s Nathan Millard, a 6-2, 235-pound offensive lineman; and Wadsworth quarterback Mike Hoover, a 6-4, 205-pounder who played for Dennison’s son, Greg, with the Grizzlies.
Area players joining the Cavaliers in addition to Millard are Timken’s Preston Curtis, a 5-9, 180-pound defensive back, and Bill Friend, a 6-3, 270-pound defensive lineman; Green’s Joe Anderson, a 6-0, 237-pound offensive lineman; and Coventry’s Mike White, a 5-10, 185-pound tailback-strong safety.
Walsh, which finished 7-3 a year ago, opens its season Sept. 2 at Fawcett Stadium against Union College.
OTHER WALSH RECRUITS
Todd Achauer (interior defensive lineman, 6-5, 245, John Glenn); Andy Ayoup (tailback, 5-9, 180, Copley); Curtis Bohannon (tailback, 5-7, 180, Warrensville Heights); Chris Brink (tight end, 6-4, 210, Wadsworth); Kevin Burns (defensive end/outside linebacker, 6-5, 205, Avon Lake); Adam Copeland (wide receiver, 6-3, 175, Wadsworth); Ken Donnelly (defensive line/long snapper, 6-1, 240, Salem); Justin Doyle (offensive guard/punter, 6-1, 235, Parma); Chris Gasser (offensive/defensive line, 6-1, 240, Steubenville); Joe Gillis (tailback, 6-0, 183, Ellet); Alex Gray (defensive back, 6-1, 185, Orange); Lance Harmon (linebacker/fullback, 5-8, 205, Norton); Eric Hugueley (linebacker, 6-2, 210, Clay); Anthony Katschke (Linebacker, 6-5, 200, Clay); Jere Kubuske (Quarterback, 6-1, 175, Lake Milbur); Darryl Lyons (Defensive back, 6-0, 180, Toledo Waite); Kevin Posey (quarterback/punter, 6-4, 170, Lakeview); David Price (linebacker/defensive lineman, 6-3, 220, Tiffin Columbian); Anthony Quinn (defensive lineman, 6-1, 260, Elyria); Jay Racick (linebacker, 6-1, 205, Girard); Gary Robinson (wide receiver, 6-2, 175, Tallmadge); Josh Stutzman (fullback, 6-1, 235, Lehigh); Jermaine Taylor (defensive back, 5-11, 193, Mansfield); Aaron Tipton (linebacker, 6-2, 210, Whitmer); and Ryan Treacy (offensive lineman, 6-2, 290, Avon Lake).
....April 18, 2000....CANTON REPOSITORY...
FOOTBALL: It took three overtimes, but the Walsh Gold team prevailed over the Maroon team 18-12 at Fawcett Stadium on Saturday. The Gold team’s Nick Kovach hauled in the game-winning score on a 25-yard strike from Jim Keagy on the first play of the third overtime. Keagy completed 5 of 7 passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Kovach caught four passes for 62 yards, including the game winner, and Irvin White led the ground attack, rushing 12 times for 57 yards. Ron Winphrie was the main offensive weapon for the Maroon team, catching four passes for 50 yards and rushing three times for 20 yards. Winston Woods was 5 of 11 through the air for 84 yards and rushed the ball six times for 38 yards.
...from the Canton Repository, 8/28/00...
Walsh football team has tough act to follow — itself
By ANDY CALL
Repository sports writer
NORTH CANTON — The hard part isn’t getting to the top. It’s staying there.
The hard part has come for the Walsh University football team. Head coach Jim Dennison has built a program in five years that
has never endured a losing season and can reasonably be expected to contend for a league championship and NAIA playoff
berth each fall. Last fall, in what was expected to be a “rebuilding year,” Walsh finished 7-3.
Expect more of the same this time around.
“We have set a tone and an expectation level here,” Dennison said. “We don’t sneak up on anybody. But where we are is a
good place to be.”
Where the Cavs are, at least in the minds and ballots of the league coaches, is No. 3 in the Mid-States Football Association’s
Mideast League behind St. Francis (Ind.) and Geneva (Pa.).
“Everybody in our league is extremely tough, but this year we also have three non-league games against (NCAA) Division II
teams,” Dennison said. “This year’s schedule is the toughest one we’ve played, but we can compete against teams of that
The Cavs will compete with new starters in the three most visible skill positions. Starting quarterback Chris Pullen and
all-MSFA running backs Demetrius Harris and Ben Spillar all completed their eligibility.
Dan Herbert, who ran for 493 yards in a backup role in 1999, will be the tailback, and senior Andy Kusmits moves into the
fullback role. Winston Woods has been shifted from quarterback to tailback and will spell Herbert.
The incumbent quarterback is junior Jim Keagy, who threw two passes in 1999. Waiting in the wings, however, is freshman
Mike Hoover. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound first-team all-Ohio QB threw for 38 touchdowns as a senior at Wadsworth High.
“Hoover is the best passer we’ve ever recruited, either here or (in 13 years at) the University of Akron,” Dennison said.
The new QB will be operating behind a line that is talented and experienced and will throw to one of the best all-around skill
players in the league in wide receiver Ron Winphrie.
“Our offensive line is really going to be a force,” Dennison said. “It’s a deep group, and big.”
Winphrie led Walsh in receiving in 1999 (24 catches, 540 yards, five TDs) led the MSFA in kickoff returns (30.8 yards per
return) and was named first-team all-MSFA and honorable mention all-NAIA.
There was enough talent on the offensive line to move potential starting center Daryl Evans to defense.
Fullback Mike Biddlestone and starting inside linebacker Frank Tempesta also were moved to the defensive line, helping plug
an area weakened by the loss of first-team all-MSFA pick Rob Allen to graduation and starting tackle Darren Dutton, who
died in a motorcycle accident in the spring.
“Our defensive interior is a concern,” Dennison admitted.
The defense does return five of its top six tacklers from a year ago. Four of those are defensive backs. Dennison expects that
experience to demonstrate itself in significant improvement from a unit that finished dead last in the MSFA in pass defense a
year ago (221 yards per game). The Cavs were second in the league in rush defense (147.3).
“We’ve brought in some skilled people to help out there, and I think the defensive secondary will be a strength for us,”
Expect terminally tailback-oriented Walsh to put the ball in the air a bit more this season, perhaps quite a bit more. The Cavs
had 496 rushing plays and 166 pass attempts in 1999. Pullen completed 41 percent of his passes for nine TDs and 11
“Our overall philosophy will never change, but we would like to throw 30 to 35 percent of the time this year,” Dennison said.
“We’ve always had it in the package here.”
The package Walsh fans can expect mirrors what Dennison has built — a talented, fundamentally sound team that will continue
“We have a little bit of history behind us now,” Dennison said. “We’ll build on that and hopefully even add to it.”
• Head coach: Jim Dennison (6th year, 33-19)
• 1999 record: 7-3 overall, 4-2 MSFA
• Last playoff appearance: None.
• Returning starters: Ron Winphrie, Sr., 5-10, 165, WR; Lamont Evans, Sr., 5-11, 173, WR; Joe Lowther, So., 6-3, 300,
OT; Doug Neff, Jr., 6-3, 282, OT; Mike Winkler, So., 6-2, 240, OG; Travis Ellyson, Jr., 6-1, 255, OG; Dan Hodakievic,
Soph., 5-11, 195, C; Jeff Johnston, Jr., 5-10, 170, K; Frank Tempesta, Jr., 6-2, 219, DE; Mark Shelly, Sr., 6-0, 230, OLB;
Revawn Wilson, Soph., 5-11, 245, ILB; Kevin Vaughn, Soph., 6-0, 200, DB; Mack Mitchell, Jr., 6-0, 178, DB; David
Jenkins, Soph., 6-0, 185, DB; Jesse Schmitz, Jr., 6-2, 193, DB.
...from the Canton Repository, 8/25/00
Walsh football team holds final tune-up
Repository sports staff report
In their final tune-up before the season opener with Union College on Sept. 2, Walsh University’s
defense dominated the team’s final intrasquad football scrimmage.
The Cavs scored twice and gained 167 yards on the ground. Walsh threw the ball well,
completing 10-of-15 passed for 194 yards with one interception.
Following the scrimmage, head coach Jim Dennison announced that defensive tackle Josh
Zimmerman, a Lake High School graduate, and Timken High School product Lamont Evans, a
wide receiver, were selected as the team captains.
...from the Canton Repository, 8/8/00...
Walsh picked third in MSFA
FINDLAY — Walsh University was picked to finished third and Malone
sixthin the Mid-States Football Association preseason coaches’ poll, which
was released Monday.
Walsh finished 7-3 overall and 4-2 in the league last year, while Malone was
4-6 overall and 1-5 in the league. Both teams compete in the Mideast
The University of Saint Francis of Fort Wayne, Ind., which qualified for the
postseason last year in just its second year of football, was picked to win the
Geneva was picked to finished second, followed by Walsh, Tri-State, Tiffin,
Malone and Urbana.
McKendree College of Lebanon, Ill., a tri-champion last year, was selected
to win the Midwest League. McEndree shared the Midwest League title last
year with Taylor University and Olivet Nazarene.
McKendree was picked first, followed by Taylor, Ind.; Saint Francis, Ill.;
St. Ambrose, Iowa; Saint Xavier, Ill., Olivet Nazarene, Ill.; Iowa Wesleyan;
and Trinity International, Ill.
The winners of the Mideast and Midwest Leagues receive an automatic
berth in the NAIA playoffs, which begin Nov. 18. The 45th annual NAIA
national championship will be held Dec. 16 at Hardin County, Tenn.
...from the Akron Beacon Journal, 9/2/00...
Team is a blue-chip contender
Cavaliers young, talented and on five-season streak
BY TOM REED
Beacon Journal staff writer
If Walsh had been a start-up software firm, head coach and athletic
director Jim Dennison would be a millionaire by now.
Remarkably, the Cavaliers' program, which began in 1995, has yet
to suffer a losing season. And while five years in the black does not
make him a football Bill Gates, Dennison's fortunes appear to be
booming as the Cavaliers enter the 2000 season.
Given its best recruiting class, Walsh is expected to challenge for its
first league title and NAIA playoff berth.
``It's the next logical step,'' said Dennison, whose Cavaliers play
host to Union at 1 p.m. today. ``We have a little history and tradition
to build on. We have expectations to succeed.''
Walsh posted a 7-3 mark last season in what was termed a
rebuilding year. The Cavaliers' 30-21 loss to St. Francis (Ind.), a
Mid-States Football Association Mideast League (MEL) rival, cost
them a shot at the playoffs.
``Our kids know how close we were,'' Dennison said. ``But this
year, we aren't going to sneak up on anyone.''
The Cavaliers have 11 seniors and 25 players with starting
experience, but a tough schedule and new starters at three key
positions have MEL coaches picking the Cavaliers third, behind St.
Francis and Geneva.
``We have three (NCAA) Division II opponents on our schedule,
because we're having a tough time finding teams to play us,'' said
Dennison, former coach at the University of Akron. ``This is without
a doubt our toughest schedule.''
The Cavaliers will open at quarterback with junior Jim Keagy
(6-foot-3, 205 pounds), who replaces graduated senior Chris
Pullen. But nobody would be surprised to see freshman Mike
Hoover (6-4, 205) in the lineup by midseason.
Hoover, an all-Ohio first-team selection, threw 38 touchdowns last
season for Dennison's son, Greg, at Wadsworth. Dennison calls him
the best passer he has recruited in 19 years.
Hoover's top two receivers at Wadsworth -- Adam Copeland (6-3,
175) and tight end Chris Brink (6-4, 210) also are playing at Walsh.
And the Cavaliers signed two other all-Ohio selections -- tailback
Derek Besgrove (6-2, 215) and tackle Nathan Millard (6-2, 275,
``We have freshmen who will play, and that excites me,'' Dennison
The Cavaliers lost a pair of all-league running backs in Ben Spillar
and Demetrius Harris. Junior Dan Herbet (5-9, 178, Wadsworth),
who rushed for nearly 500 yards as backup, and senior fullback
Andy Kusmitz (6-0, 227) are expected to start.
The receiving corps will be led by senior Ron Winphrie (5-10, 165),
an All-NAIA honorable mention. Winphrie caught 24 balls for 540
yards last season and averaged 30 yards on kickoff returns.
The offensive line is big, talented and deep. The Cavaliers are so
solid up front, they moved center Daryl Evans (6-2, 228, Southeast)
to the defensive line.
Fullback Mike Biddlestone (6-2, 218) and linebacker Frank
Tempesta (6-2, 219) also have been moved to the line to fortify an
area weakened by the graduation of all-league pick Rob Allen and
the death of Darren Dutton in a motorcycle accident.
While the squad was strong against the run in 1999, it was last in the
MEL against the pass, yielding 221 yards per game.
The secondary, led by sophomore Kevin Vaughn (6-0, 178, Ellet),
might be the team's most improved unit.
Punting and kicking duties will be handled by junior Jeff Johnson
(5-10, 170, St. Thomas Aquinas). Kerry Hodakievic, who coached
Canton McKinley to a 1998 state title before resigning this spring, is
Walsh's special-team's coordinator.
``I think we are going to have a good team,'' Dennison said. ``How
many will we win? I never predict that.''