Could South Mississippi produce the next Jared Goff? Several of the Coast's top football players put their skills on display last weekend during The Opening's New Orleans stop. Folks in Mississippi are familiar with Myles Brennan's abilities in leading St. Stanislaus. Several analysts also took note of the Rockachaw.
ESPN's Derek Tyson said Brennan, who has passed for 11,045 yards and 117 touchdowns in two Class 4A South State title runs, said he was impressed with the rising senior's "arm talent."
Tyson later compared Brennan to 2016 four-star Miami signee Jack Allison.
"Great arm and smooth delivery," he said.
2. More comparisons
The comparisons didn't stop there as the Elite 11 staff compared Brennan to Goff, the Cal QB who will potentially be the top signal caller taken in the upcoming NFL draft.
Here's what Elite 11 president and general manager Brian Stumpf had to say about Brennan, via Bleacher Report recruiting analyst Sanjay Kirpalani:
"It's hard to tell on tape because he throws for a ton of yards. He has some good throws on tape. He's a bit lanky. So halfway through the camp, because he's blond, tall and skinny, we started calling him Jared Goff a little bit because that's who he reminds us of in high school. He's pure throwing the football. He's got some real traits as you look at how he could potentially fill out. He's obviously well-versed in the passing system because he gets a ton of reps for his high school team in terms of seeing different coverages and chunking the ball around the yard. If you put him in the right system in college, it's easy to see that this guy could throw for 10,000 or 12,000 yards in his college career."
Not a bad comparison. Brennan was beat out for the camp's QB MVP spot by Taylor Powell of Fayetteville, Ark., but there's still a chance he'll earn a spot in the prestigious Elite 11 showcase this summer. Stay tuned.
3. Lead Hound
The Opening's New Orleans stop drew top recruits from Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Mississippi. Five from Mississippi landed on the top 20 rank
ings, including Ocean Springs' Austin Williams.
The lead Greyhound ranked 12th with a Nike+ score of 112.14, which, according to a photo of his scorecard he tweeted, puts him in the 99th percentile of all Nike football athletes in his class.
Williams boasts 13 offers from the likes of Mississippi State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane, Louisiana Tech and others. And he's still a junior. Don't be surprised if that number climbs near 20 as more colleges catch wind of what he's capable of.
Recent Southern Miss commit and St. Martin receiver Kalem, also drew praise from 247 Sports' Barton Simmons.
4. Decisions, decisions
Speaking of Greyhounds Don't let Drew Windham's record on the Ocean Springs baseball team fool you. "Wins" as an important statistic have basically been tossed to the wayside in recent years and Windham's 1-5 record is a perfect example. The dude just hasn't gotten any run support. With an impressive 1.29 ERA, Windham has 45 strikeouts and eight walks in 38 innings. Southern Miss liked what it saw from the right-hander against George County a few weeks back and opted to pull the trigger on an offer.
"He was 84-85 (miles per hour) last year. Earlier in the year against Lewisburg, they were gunning him and had him at 91 three times," OSHS coach Brian Rea said. "He sits in that 87-89 range, but he'll touch 90-91. We're talking 3 or 4 mph in a year and he's a young senior.
"Looking at his frame, if he puts on a little more weight, and in a college weight program, he could be a low-90s guy."
Now it's up to Windham to decide what he wants to do. He said last week he's in no hurry to make a decision.
"Where I'm at right now is I'm just taking it all in," he said. "It's overwhelming and a huge decision, but it's a blessing that I'm having to make it."
5. Satellite down
So the NCAA has put its foot down on "satellite camps," effective immediately. In a fight that was largely painted as Jim Harbaugh vs. the SEC, who really lost? Harbaugh wanted to take his recruiting efforts on the road, and can you blame him when Michigan doesn't produce nearly the number of high-end recruits as Alabama, Mississippi and Texas? The clear loser isn't Harbaugh -- it's the recruits and smaller schools, which used to be able to "satellite" on-campus camps of power-five schools.
6. One less opportunity
Official visits are paid for by the university but are held only during the current recruiting season. Funding unofficial visits, however, is up to the recruits. Instead of being out only gas money to Pearl, if a Coast product had hopes of getting on northern college's radar, he now has to pay his own way to visit or hope a college staff catches wind of him through some other recruiting network.
Sure, there's the Internet, recruiting services and highlight mega-center Hudl.com, but every recruit doesn't have some amazing highlight reel. Heck -- there are plenty of very good Coast products who don't even have grainy cell phone videos readily available.
Satellite camps were another opportunity for kids to be seen -- however slight it may have been -- by large schools such as Michigan as well as smaller schools such as Arkansas State.
Now those chances are dashed.
7. Nerd alert
As such, I'm an avid Out Of The Park Baseball player -- much to the chagrin of my wife. When I first started playing the baseball simulator in online leagues, the former Minnesota Twins first baseman was in the middle of a solid 12-year career and was a go-to trade target of mine.
Standing in the visiting manager's office Saturday, I couldn't help but think about how no one quite appreciated the singles-hitting Gold Glove first baseman quite like I did. Many an Internet title contender was built around the savings Mientkiewicz provided. I guess you could say he was my Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson -- just without the home run threat.
You never know who you might run into covering Minor League Baseball.
8. High praise
It should be said the Lookouts (1-4) had nearly been no-hit two nights in a row when I interviewed Mientkiewicz. Still, the reigning Southern League championship manager has seen plenty of the Shuckers since they moved to the Coast. Plenty of folks have asked why Kyle Wren is back in Double-A after dismantling the Southern League a year ago. Mientkiewicz pointed to the Brewers building organizational depth as to why Wren is on his second tour with the Shuckers.
"Last year, you blink and don't think they can have the same type of talent and then they're right back in your face six months later," he said. "They're coached well, do the little things well, they have good arms -- a lot of good arms. They have some holdovers from last year, which means they're getting deeper as a system.
"When your system is deeper you back the guys up and you end up seeing guys like (Nate) Orf, who should probably be in Triple-A. (Brett) Phillips, too. It won't be long. They're top prospects for a reason.
9. Future stars
I asked Mientkiewicz if Phillips or new catcher Jacob Nottingham reminded him of anyone he'd played with or against. He didn't bite, saying he doesn't like to do that to kids. Fair enough. Still, he heaped plenty of praise on the Shuckers pair.
"They're young and still have a ways to go, but you can see why they're highly touted," he said. "Phillips, in three games you saw him hit a homer to the opposite field, saw him lay a bunt down against the shift and steal second. He's just a baseball player. He's fun to watch."
Patrick Ochs, a Sun Herald sports reporter, can be reached at pochs@sun herald.com or followed on Twitter at PatrickOchs.