The calendar says summer vacation, but it’s never too early to drop some Lancaster-Lebanon League football knowledge. So here are a few prep pigskin items to digest on your way to the beach or your local swimming hole ...
OFFERS PILING UP: Warwick rising junior Nolan Rucci is up to 18 scholarship offers. The menacing 6-8, 270-pound all-star offensive tackle will have a big decision to make — with plenty of options on the table — as his recruiting process picks up.
Rucci’s list of suitors is impressive: Clemson, LSU, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, Syracuse, Texas, Texas A&M, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and West Virginia have all ponied up offers to the Warriors’ trench linchpin.
Rucci’s big brother, recent Warwick grad Hayden, is about to start his freshman year as a tight end at Wisconsin. Rucci’s dad, Todd, went to Penn State on his way to an NFL career. Clemson is the reigning national champ, and you could make a terrific argument for Rucci to pick any of the universities that are currently courting him.
Rivals ranks Rucci at No. 28 in the nation, No. 5 in the country among offensive tackles and No. 2 overall in Pennsylvania with a 4-star rating among rising juniors. Meanwhile, 247sports has Rucci ranked at No. 23 nationally, No. 4 in the country among offensive tackles and at No. 1 overall in Pennsylvania among players in the Class of 2021.
Not too shabby in the rankings department. And don’t forget: Last summer, Hayden Rucci was Pennsylvania’s top-ranked tight end heading into his senior season, so the Rucci boys know a thing or two about garnering these kind of lofty rankings.
Brian Dohn, a National Recruiting Analyst for 247sports, said this about Nolan Rucci: “Elite level player who can get on the field as a freshman. Potential first-round NFL draft pick. Great length and size to be a cornerstone left tackle.”
That’s some pretty high praise.
And this Warwick notable: Yes, Bob Locker will return for his 19th season as the Warriors’ gridiron coach in the fall. However, Bruce Morgan at the Lititz Record Express reported that Locker has stepped down as Warwick’s baseball coach after seven years as the Warriors’ skipper.
And yet another Warwick notable: Trey Glass had an absolutely epic season at wideout for the Warriors last fall, hauling in an L-L-best 72 catches for a league-high 1,331 yards with 15 TD grabs in his scintillating, all-state junior campaign. But in Warwick’s season-ending 33-23 setback against Cedar Cliff in the District Three Class 5A quarterfinals, Glass suffered a knee injury. He missed the lacrosse season this spring, and there’s no word if he’ll be ready for Week One of football. But he’s back on his feet and practicing this summer — Glass was at Kutztown University's camp last week — and that’s certainly a good sign, as Warwick is set to return Glass and QB Joey McCracken, who passed for 1,970 yards with 27 TD strikes against just three picks in his breakout sophomore season last fall.
By the way, heat acclimatization week is Aug. 5-9. L-L Football Media Day is Aug. 9. And yes, if all goes according to plan, we'll begin the daily "3 L-L Football Facts" posts on Aug. 5.
SPECIAL SPECIALISTS: A trio of L-L League players have earned high marks in the Kohl’s Kicking Camp rankings this offseason.
* Lancaster Catholic rising sophomore Daniel Mueller is No. 3 among kickers and No. 4 among punters with a 4.5-star rating in both for the Class of 2022. Just one rising sophomore in the country — Jimmy Gibble from Virginia — earned a 5-star rating among kickers, so Mueller is in some select company.
Mueller booted five field goals, including a 38-yarder, last fall for the Crusaders, who won the Section Three title on the way to a 10-0 regular-season run and postseason trip.
* Annville-Cleona rising junior Macrae Plummer picked up a 4-star rating among Class of 2021 kickers. He didn’t crack the top 100, but he earned those four stars after drilling three field goals last fall for the Little Dutchmen, including an L-L-best 45-yarder as A-C qualified for the District Three playoffs.
Mueller and Plummer both earned Eastern PA Football Class 3A all-state honors last fall.
* Manheim Central rising senior Jake Harbach, who helped the Barons reach the PIAA Class 5A state championship game last December, didn’t crack the top 100, but he picked up a 4-star rating among long snappers in the Class of 2020.
According to his Kohl’s bio, Harbach had a 0.72 snap time at the Eastern Showcase event earlier this spring.
Kohl’s Kicking Camp rankings are here.
Speaking of the Barons … in case you missed it, Central rising senior all-state QB Evan Simon made a verbal commitment to Rutgers in the B1G back in May.
MANN UP: Manheim Township is sending another player to the Ivy League. One year after QB Luke Emge repped the Blue Streaks in the Big 33 Game and headed off to Harvard, two-way threat Ben Mann earlier this month committed to Yale.
Mann, a 6-4, 205-pound rising senior, had eight catches for 108 yards and a pair of touchdown grabs from his tight end spot, and he piled up 54 tackles, including eight stops for losses and five sacks from his defensive end position last fall for coach Mark Evans’ squad, which shared the Section One title with Warwick and Wilson on the way to the District Three Class 6A quarterfinals.
NEW SKIPPERS: There will be a trio of new head coaches marching the sidelines this fall — Sam London at McCaskey, Jeff Werner at Pequea Valley, and Matt Zamperini will be making his second stint as Garden Spot's coach. Read all about it ...