Teaching is teaching. Coaching is coaching. Football is football. High school football is high school football regardless the size of the school or the size of the football program.
Finding and evaluating high school football players with the potential to play at the next level is what I do. Because I do not work with many D3 schools, I concentrate on D2 or better prospects.
Last Saturday, my visit to Worthington Christian High School football practice was two fold. One – I have never seen a Worthington Christian HS game or practice. Although the program is in its 5th year, I wanted to check on their prospects. Second – I wanted to meet the new head coach Jeff Hartings.
Worthington Christian is so young and such a new varsity football program. But junior, Michael Hartings, will be one to watch. Good size. A starter at linebacker last year as a sophomore. This year he will be playing some RB, as well as LB. Like his football instincts. Will have to improve speed and burst. Like most LB’s, he needs to improve change of direction.
My other reason to visit Worthington Christian was to meet their new head football coach, Jeff Hartings. Coach is a retired NFL player who gained fame as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, after playing for the Detroit Lions. He was a first round draft choice of the Lions.
My history with Coach Hartings goes back to his high school days with St Henry High School. Believe back in about 1990-91 that Bobby Hoyng, two teammates, and Jeff all received D1 football scholarships. QB Bobby Hoyng went to Ohio State, WR Scott Brunswick went to Toledo, TE Kevin Niekamp went to Ohio State, and Jeff went to Penn State. Actually, Joe Paterno may have offered him a scholarship without ever meeting him. Supposedly, John Cooper did not want three players from a small school playing at OSU.
Penn State did not know what they had in Jeff Hartings, but I did. Tough farm boy with tremendous work ethic. He was St Henry’s best prospect, regardless of what Ohio State thought. And, yes, he went on to be an All-American. All four were on the cover of my magazine.
An All-Ohio player. A Penn State All-American. An NFL two time All-Pro. A born again Christian. This guy is beginning his first head football coaching job in a small and very new football program. I wanted to meet him and watch him coach. For what it means, the Worthington Christian program is in good hands. Good assistant coaches and a good head man.
Jeff Hartings does not remember me, but I remember him 25 years later. Really enjoyed my time at practice. Nice guys don’t always finish last, and Coach Hartings will continue to prove Leo Durocher wrong, as he has done throughout his career.
Best of all – a born again Christian coaching high school football.