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August 8, 2010

No. 4 Glenville to get it done in 2010

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

RivalsHigh.com has begun its 2010 countdown, ranking the teams from No. 1 through No. 100.

We started at No. 100 on July 26 and will release two groups of five teams per day. Then, we'll do a daily countdown from No. 10 to No. 1. Our top team will be unveiled on Monday - two weeks from the start of the season.

After that, we will wait until Sept. 1 for the next rankings, then have them every Monday during the season.

The team rankings were compiled by high school sports senior analyst Dallas Jackson, the Rivals AMP team, football recruiting analysts and the entire RivalsHigh network of publishers.

In case you missed it: Previous ranking groups | Post your thoughts about the rankings

Top 100 countdown
No. 4 Glenville, Ohio
COACH: Ted Ginn
FINAL 2009 RANKING: No. 40 in RivalsHigh 100

It is a new season, but the same question remains for the Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville Tarblooders.

Can the team with the most talent and speed in Ohio get it done?

The 2009 team was oh-so-close to being the first Cleveland public school to win the state title, losing by one point to Hilliard (Ohio) Davidson.

The 2010 version, which enters as the No. 4 team in the RivalsHigh 100, wants to take that next step and close the deal.

"We bring back some very good players," offensive coordinator Tony Overton said. "We bring back guys in key spots for this team and we don't want to take anything away from anybody, but we are really working hard this season. We take pride in being bigger, stronger and faster than the competition."

The key cogs this year will be offensive lineman Aundrey Walker, linebacker Andre Sturdivant, quarterback Cardale Jones, and athlete Shane Wynn.

"Those four guys are our four top players," Overton said. "And we will lean on them a lot, but there are plenty of kids on the field for us that can play football."

That's something that is never in doubt. The Tarblooders have always had kids who can play football.

"Once again, Glenville will have the most talent on the field in Ohio," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Greg Ladky said. "The thing that I look at is who will replace some of the leadership that left."

That leadership previously came from the play and steady hand of Christian Bryant.

"Bryant played smart football for them," Ladky said. "This is a team with a ton of athletes that needs an on-field leader."

Overton, however, thinks they have two players capable of filling that void in Jones and defensive back Malik Moore.

"Cardale is our leader," Overton said of his quarterback. "He makes sure the guys are doing what is right on the field. Malik is our guy that fires his teammates up."

Moore, who didn't start last year, has natural leadership abilities but did learn a little from Bryant.

"Malik is a very mature player, a lot like Christian," Overton said. "But he is his own guy too."

Moore will step into a starting job alongside five returning starters on defense, the best of which being three-star linebacker Sturdivant.

But the strength of the team will be its offense.

"I may be biased being the OC, but this year we will be offense heavy," Overton said. "We have nine guys who have been together since freshman year that will all be starting this year."

While only five of those nine started last season, it is a collective effort that could lead the Tarblooders.

"They are really balanced," Ladky said. "I am not sure there is a real weakness with them."

The straw that stirs the drink on offense is Jones.

"If there is one guy who you can point at and say it wasn't his fault they lost the state title game, it's Jones," Ladky said.

Overton agreed.

"Cardale made the throws we needed him to make for us to win," he said. "If they are caught, maybe some of those nay-sayers aren't there anymore."

Those who doubt Glenville and knock the team's conference schedule will have the opportunity to size the team up early, as it plays two measuring-stick games against nationally-ranked teams in the first two weeks of the season.

Glenville will open the season against the No. 47-ranked team in the RivalsHigh 100 in Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central and then follows that up with the No. 14-ranked West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer in the Herbstreit Classic.

"Those first games are great tests for Glenville," Ladky said. "The teams that Glenville runs into are not as complete as those first two. Teams like [Cleveland (Ohio)] St. Ignatius can not match them physically but are well coached. That [Hilliard (Ohio)] Davidson team that beat them in the state finals looked small lining up, but they were well coached. Now, Warren Central and Dwyer are both nearly as physically gifted and are really well coached too. If Glenville wants to really take that next step, those are games they have to win."

Overton agrees.

"We like to play those tough games," he said. "We have played Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, Warren Central, St. Iggy, and we like it. We have always had good football in this state, and the Herbstreit has really given us another platform to show it."

Whether this Glenville team can navigate the out-of-conference schedule and bring home a state title could make them a threat to be national champions.

"This Glenville team may not be as physically gifted as last year, but they may not need to be to win, if they can all come together," Ladky said.

"If we get into a rhythm on offense, we will be tough to beat," Overton said. "A lot of our early success will hinge on how our defense comes together."

With Warren Central and Dwyer waiting for them in just a few short weeks, it better gel quickly.

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