Jesuit has had some nationally ranked teams over the last couple decades with the 2006 Crusaders being maybe the best ever to represent Oregon. The 2011 squad is good, and getting but much better as the season progresses. The biggest asset the Crusaders have is the mammoth line that prides itself on athleticism.
They had a couple tough games early in the season losing to #1 Sheldon and #2 Lake Oswego both currently ranked #75 and #76 nationally. Two things that have been exploited is the youth factor and the unbelievable potential that they have.
Max Rich (6-7 280) OL/DE Jr.) , Andrew Kirkland (6-5 295 OL Jr.), Dom Baldocchi (6-3 250 OL/DL Jr.) and Mike Ralston (6-6 240 DE/TE) are all juniors and part of the youth movement that is Jesuit Football. These four have a combined average of 6-5 270 across the board and they are just getting started.
The two Senior leaders Dominic Mori (6-1 240 C/DL Sr.) and Austin Griffin (6-5 335 OL Sr.) are able to keep them in check and help them along. Mori has been all state since his sophomore year at center and considered by many the overall team leader. Adam Winterling, one of the state’s top receivers, says ” you aren’t going to outwork him , he’s lays it all on the line everyday”. Griffin is committed to D1aa National Champion Eastern Washington and will be joining them next season.
These four juniors will be teaming with two other big time recruits in Junior Doug Brenner (6-3 260 FB/DE/LB) and Sophomore Henry Mondeaux (6-4 230 TE). Together these six underclassmen will being gaining experience and forming one of the most deadly up front forces in Oregon. The 06′ line was a cast of D1 kids that included Stanford due it all fullback/linebacker Owen Marecic and Air Force Tailback Paul Weatheroy. Whether its this year or next this massive line and perimeter should be able to out muscle almost anyone.
Rich will be the most recruited standing almost 6 foot 8 and athletic. He is a sure fire D1 athlete that will have his choice of schools before he is done. His frame is perfect in that he could add 30 pounds and still move well. He is a solid basketball player all the more showing off unique coordination for a big man. Rich has the potential to do big things, right now he is very good, but not great. The good news is that his ceiling is limitless. He is one of the 10 most recruited kids in Oregon, and he could be up at the top of the list when all is said and done.
Ralston is another basketball player to good to keep off the football field. His abilities as a defensive end seem to be where his future is headed as its hard to guard a kid 6 foot 6 that is fast, athletic, and comes off the end hard.
Joining Rich on the offensive line are two legit D1 prospects in Kirkland and Baldocchi. Kirkland’s size alone puts him in a different category, and his testing is outstanding for a kid almost 300 pounds. He is still young, but is considered one of the top O lineman in Oregon with a tremendous upside. He currently projects as a mid level D1 talent and should be considered a Pac 12 worthy kid. Baldocchi is not quite as big, but strong and very talented. He currently projects as a D1aa- D2 athlete.
Offensive Conference Player of the Year favorite AJ Glass will have the luxury of following this line through the remainder of this season and all of next year. He says “all credit and stats go straight to the “Franchise” (O Line) as my runs start with the guys fighting up front, they do it better then anyone in the state”.
Just to put an exclamation point on the Jesuit Bulk you add in high profile recruit Doug Brenner and sophomore tight end Henry Mondeaux and you have one of the most talented young foundations on the west coast. Unfortunately for Jesuit they have been one dimensional, and will have trouble beating top tier teams without a passing game.
QB Nicholas Rothstein is one of the best athletes in the region but is not going to beat you through the air. He might run for 100+ yards every game, but that wont beat the Sheldon’s and Lake O’s of the world who will stack the box and make you beat them up top.
The Crusaders recent 21-20 loss to Southridge was an example of what can happen when you can’t throw the ball. Rothstein went down in the first quarter with an injury and they never fully recovered. Other teams know that Jesuit isn’t going to be someone they are not. They will run the ball at you time and time again and make you stop them up front.
With the playoffs just around the corner, I wouldn’t want to play a healthy Jesuit bunch. The weather will be changing, getting much more cold and wet and we will see teams have to keep the ball on the ground more. This gives the Crusaders hope as they will gladly let Glass, Rothstein ,and Morgan Sellers due what they do behind this massive line. This Jesuit bunch is no where near the likes of the 2006 team as of right now, but the potential is there for them to make a run.
D1 potential is everywhere on this Jesuit line and they will have to be able to dominate people up front . Keep an eye on this group as it becomes very apparent the talent is there but the end result is still in question.