Posted at 2:33 a.m.
Before I get to the signing day stuff, this was passed along to me from a good source later on Wednesday night, so I didn’t have time to confirm it completely yet, which means there could always be something at the last minute, but it looks like Skip Edwards will be the new head football coach at St. John Vianney. Edwards was formerly a head coach at Holmdel and Lakewood and has a 75-109-3 record in 20 seasons, and he would replace John Amabile, a Shore Conference legend who stepped down after this past season. I know Edwards also has a good relationship with SJV athletic director Ken Szyarto, which never hurts. St. John Vianney has already lost starting running back/quarterback/defensive back Charles Davis, a current sophomore who has transferred to Neptune.
That leaves openings at Mater Dei, Colts Neck, Red Bank and Brick. There may also be openings at some other schools when those current openings are filled if a current head coach at one school gets approved for one of those four aforementioned jobs, which could happen for at least two of those four open jobs right now from what I’m hearing.
Thanks to everyone who sent in photos from National Signing Day on Wednesday, which you can view here, as it was a busy day as usual around the Shore. We had four Division I-A football commits (Southern’s Glenn Carson, Wall’s Blaze Caponegro, Marlboro’s E-Jay Tucker, Toms River North’s Evan Regas) which seems to be right around the average for the Shore Conference, which is why I continue to say that the coaching in this area is tremendous because it’s not exactly like a 45-team conference is pumping out a ton of high-level talent.
Sacred Heart appears to have made some inroads into the Shore Conference this season as Red Bank Catholic wideout/defensive back Alex Taylor, Point Boro defensive tackle Jeff Keffer, Ocean safety/wideout Rhett Cowley and Southern linebacker Steve Sibona were all snapped up by the Pioneers. One kid who might be a steal is Sibona, whom several opposing coaches raved about this season to the point that they felt he was better than Glenn Carson but just didn’t have the same type of size. It’s rare to see another Northeast Conference school get more Shore Conference recruits in its class than Monmouth, but that is the case as the Hawks just had Brick Memorial offensive lineman Anthony D’Elia.
There was another common refrain in discussions of Shore recruits this season, and it was a depressing one. All I’m saying to all of you sophomores and juniors out there is DO YOUR SCHOOLWORK BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE. All I heard over and over again from either high school coaches or college recruiters when bringing up the names of several senior stars from this fall is, “He’s not going to qualify.” A large chunk of the top players from the Class of 2009 did not meet the necessary academic requirements to either qualify for a scholarship to a Division I-A or Division I-AA school and several of them either had offers or had teams ready and willing to make offers if they thought the player could qualify academically. Obviously, I’m not going to name names, but you would know all of them if I spelled them out. I know this happens to a degree every year, but this year there are way more instances than usual. I’m begging you younger guys out there, please don’t let me have to hear about this as frequently next year because if I have to hear one more story about how someone like North Carolina or Syracuse or whoever visited the school with heavy interest only to learn that the player didn’t have the grades, I’m going to lose it.
I also got an update on former Toms River North star linebacker Zach Kane from Mariners head coach Chip LaBarca Jr., who said that Kane is now headed to Temple. Kane committed to the University of Miami last year before an off-the-field incident resulted in him not making it to Coral Gables and instead going to Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y. He left the team before the end of the season at Milford, but has received another chance at redemption with Temple, which is coached by Red Bank Catholic graduate Al Golden. If Kane could ever keep it together off the field and focus on the field, he could be a find for the Owls, but he will have to overcome a lot of past history to do it.
Toms River North senior linebacker Brian Newman has committed to Newberry College in South Carolina for wrestling, and wideout Pat Szukics, who recently dislocated his shoulder in a basketball game, has received some Patriot League interest. Senior defensive lineman Mike Henry is still undecided and may go the juco route. The Mariners’ new quarterback next season looks to be current junior Drew Kollman, who was a star defensive back who was selected to the All Shore Media All-Conference first team. Kollman has been a wideout on offense up to this point and is a good all-around athlete.