Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Spring Recap: Chargers Look Strong for 07

Another spring practice session is in the books as Hillsdale wrapped things up with a scrimmage this past Sunday. Luckily most players emerged unscathed from the month long session.

Hillsdale football looks as strong as ever as they now enter summer workouts in preparation for the 2007 season. Quarterback Mark Nicolet and All GLIAC WR Nick Gurica return for senior seasons and the Charger defense features two honorable mention All-Americans in LB Tom Korte and DB Jared Kell. Punter Matt Van Over (pictured #6) is one of the league's best. His 80 yard punt was a highlight of Sunday's Spring Game. Despite a few banged up players, the offensive line should be even better next year anchored by Jared Veldheer and Chet Crowley. This doesn't mean though that Hillsdale doesn't have some questions to still answer.

Everyone has been asking who will replace Phil Martin, Hillsdale's number 2 all-time rusher who graduates this year. Vinnie Panizzi seems to be the guy who will carry the majority of the load at tailback. Brett Neller should see some carries in the backfield but look for TJ Campbell to become involved as he moves over to the offense from defensive back.

Senior wide receiver Derek Nelson who is pumped for one last run shared some insight on the receiving corps and a couple more Chargers to look for in the fall. "Andre Holmes is stepping up huge at WR; he's the next big thing for the GLIAC. Tight End will also be great for us this year with Matt Patillo stepping in. He has all of the tools to become another Keith Recker, reminds everyone of him, with his size, footwork, route running, etc." Both Holmes and Patillo will be red-shirt freshmen. They join Nelson, Gurica and Aaron Waldie.

The defensive line and linebackers were hit hard by graduation, but when you have a guy like Korte in the middle, he makes everyone around him better. Guys like Marcellus Wade and Garret Chapel will look to fill those spots but should get pushed heavily from Matt Szula and Austin Niemiec. Add a couple of highly skilled recruits to the mix and Hillsdale should be more than solid at LB. Nelson added his thoughts on the situation up front, "The defensive line is obviously where we need guys to step up. Jordan Knudsen, and Mark Yassay seem to be doing very well, Andrew Yarbarough is also playing very well, and with his quickness, he opens us up to use him as a defender in the flats to allow our LB's to blitz off the edge or up the middle." Drew Berube made a ton of big plays last year on special teams. Look for him next season as well as Eric Weber.

The Charger secondary is the best it has been in years. Josh Hutchinson may be the fastest kid on the field this year in the GLIAC. His win in the 55m at the GLIAC indoor championship legitimizes that claim. Kell emerged as a top playmaker last year. Alex Wojcik moves to safety to join him.

Hope always springs eternal...especially in the Spring. The expectations are high once again. Let's hope this is the season things finally come together at Hillsdale.

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