It’s never over until it’s over, as Freehold Township outfielder Steve Talbott has committed to a scholarship at Purdue after a great performance for the Jersey Shore Carpenter Cup team earlier this summer. After his senior season this spring, Talbott, an All Shore Media first-team All-Conference selection, initially was headed to James Madison University and was going to try to walk on the team. However, with some Purdue coaches in attendance during the Carpenter Cup practices and games, he boosted his stock and will now play for the Boilermakers.
“The school, coaches, facilities, playing situation, and opportunity alone to play in the Big Ten just seemed like the perfect fit,” Talbott wrote in an e-mail.
Also, if you missed it from the live football chat the other night, Neptune junior Charles Davis, who transferred from St. John Vianney during the school year, has been verbally offered a scholarship by Rutgers, according to Neptune coach John Fiore. Rutgers can’t formally offer him the scholarship until Sept. 1, but Davis looks like one of the next in line when it comes to Division I-A players from the Shore Conference. Davis played quarterback and defensive back for St. John Vianney and looks to be a stalwart in the secondary for the Scarlet Fliers this year.
Now, on to some notes from the first day of practice for the upcoming US Army All Shore Gridiron Classic. For Ocean County, Point Boro defensive lineman Jeff Keffer is now playing, as he was not listed on the initial roster, which just added a major road block for the Monmouth County team to try and block at the point of attack. Keffer had a great performance at the North-South All-Star Game and is one of the strongest players in the Shore Conference. Also, Toms River North wideout Pat Szukics will not be participating. There were a few other roster moves as well that I will have for you after Sunday’s practice.
As for the Monmouth County practice, which I attended on Saturday, a few quick things. The no-shows were Asbury Park’s Derrell Bell, who was reportedly at Kean University for a prior commitment, Neptune running back Michael Peavy, who missed practice for family reasons, and Middletown North lineman Pat Donlin, who is expected to be at practice on Sunday. Raritan linebacker Jerome Dean will not be playing in the game after recovering from a recent surgery, according to Monmouth County general manager Cory Davies, and Holmdel defensive back Pat Clarke also will not be playing.
Matawan receivers Kyle Hardy and Kyle Robinson each were a little banged up on the first day as Robinson sprained his right ankle but is expected to return and Hardy suffered a minor hip injury.
As far as sleeper players and those who stood out, Manalapan running back Jim Gilburn is a horse who is tough to bring down and I think could have a big game. Teams ganged up on him on when they played the Braves, so he may benefit from Monmouth County having so many weapons. Middletown North running back Uly Gibson also looked explosive as well. Monmouth Regional wideout Davaughn Norfleet had some nice catches deep downfield, and defensively, just size-wise, Freehold Township linebacker Matt Faiella immediately drew some notice. Neptune defensive lineman Roderick Tillery also knifed into the backfield on a few occasions. Middletown South cornerback Chris Bunge did a nice job in pass coverage against some top receivers, and Eagles linebacker Matt Martino was also very solid. Red Bank Catholic’s Nolan Vill and David Reeves, who are also talented running backs, will be playing defense at linebacker and cornerback, respectively. Also, Colts Neck’s Sean Smith was at linebacker, as he is also a talented wide receiver and one of two Sean Smiths on the Monmouth County team (although the other one, RBC lineman Shawn Smith, is spelled differently).
Also, horror of horrors for RBC fans, the Caseys players were practicing in Rumson-Fair Haven’s purple helmets and practice jerseys. Rumson is RBC’s traditional Thanksgiving game opponent and a main rival of the Caseys, but Reeves said that they hope to have their own helmets and jerseys by Monday after to having to borrow gear from Rumson. “We’ve got to have something else, because this is the worst,” Reeves deadpanned.