High school football fans will soon see that Union County has some of the best players in the state.
Standout seniors include linebacker Brian Ugwu of Hillside, running back BJ George of Linden and defensive lineman Rob Schork of Cranford, just to name a few.
As has been the case for 60 years now, The McCarthy Report has been evaluating New Jersey’s top talent in all four classes, including seniors that are top college prospects.
David McCarthy is at the helm now after his father Dennis – a longtime North Arlington resident who began the project in the late 1950s with such fervor – passed away in May of 2017 at the age of 74.
Dennis McCarthy’s passion for what he did for more than half a century has definitely trickled down to the work his son David continues to produce.
Here are the McCarthy Report’s Union County Top 15 college-bound senior prospects for the upcoming 2018 season:
UNION COUNTY TOP 15 SENIORS:
1-Brian Ugwu, outside linebacker, Hillside, (6-3, 220)
“Being recruited more at outside linebacker, this converted soccer player has good speed for his size and is a definite playmaker. He has great range, athletic ability and a striking rush to the ball in a blur. He was also Hillside’s leading rusher last year, with 1,164 yards in 87 carries for a 13.4 average. He scored 11 touchdowns and had a long run of 80 yards.” Ugwu is seriously considering Rutgers, Pitt and Temple. He has a sister that attends Rutgers.
2-BJ George, running back, Linden, (6-0, 185)
“Home run threat every time he touches the ball. Explodes through the hole like he’s shot through a cannon. A 4.48 40-dash time.
3-Boris Nicolas-Paul, wide receiver-defensive back, Hillside, (5-10, 170)
“Great two-way rover, who excels on defense in Hillside’s 3-3-5 scheme. In slot on offense he averaged 21.7 yards per catch last year. Also averaged 17 yards per carry. Big-play guy.” Last month Nicolas-Paul gave Army a verbal commitment.
4-Rob Schork, defensive end, Cranford, (6-3, 230)
“Great off the snap, really quick. Also a fine wrestler who is tough and makes plays.”
5-Michel Lucien, linebacker, Union, (6-1, 210)
“Projects inside or outside, with an explosiveness manner of reaching his target. Has ability to knife through traffic to make plays.”
6-Shadon Willis, wide receiver-defensive back, Hillside, (6-0, 175)
“Playmaker on either side of the ball, averaged 19.7 yards per catch, with 29 receptions and six touchdowns. From his rover safety position on defense he had 85 tackles, including 5.5 sacks. Also ranks 34th academically in his senior class with a 3.5 grade-point average.”
7-Tasim Hicks, wide receiver-defensive back, Elizabeth, (5-10, 165)
“Very skilled, athletic, can play offense or defense at next level. Good cover guy.”
8-Isaiah Stewart, wide receiver, Union, (6-2, 190)
“Scotch Plains transfer and son of Union’s greatest player ever – 1986 graduate Tony Stewart – is as good as it gets catching the ball. Last year at Scotch Plains as senior quarterback Cooper Heisey’s No. 1 target, the returning varsity starter caught 75 passes for 975 yards, a 13-yard average. Runs a 4.5 40. Big receiver who after catching the ball can quickly gain separation from opposing defensive backs.” It was reported that his 975 yards was second in the state behind Tyreke Brown of Penns Gove, who had 1,093. Another son of Tony Stewart – Justice Stewart – graduated Union in 2015 after starring for the Farmers as a wide receiver. After playing in the 2015 North-South All-Star Game at Kean, Justice Stewart began his collegiate playing days at Rutgers. Also a track and field standout like his father Tony was, Justice Stewart is now playing college football at Wagner.
9-Jason Wheeler, offensive lineman, Hillside, (6-3, 310)
“Wide body who could move. Pushes defenders around. Looks like a scholarship interior lineman.”
10-Clarence Wilkins, cornerback, Elizabeth, (5-9, 170)
“Best cover guy in Union County. Very quick feet and fluid hips. Has 4.5 40 time. Has received offer from Morgan State.”
11-Dominic Yorio, guard-tackle, Summit, (6-4, 215)
“Tall, athletic kid with a frame to get bigger. Can move and doesn’t stay blocked. On offense he pulls well.”
12-Jimmy Shriner, running back-linebacker, Cranford, (6-1, 195)
“Can run and also track down players. Like his size-speed combo. Also a playmaker on defense. Has a 4.6 40 time.”
13-LeShane Taylor, quarterback, Elizabeth, (6-1, 170)
“Best senior quarterback in Union County. Runs offense well, makes good decisions and can dish the ball to a lot of receivers. Veteran signal-caller.”
14-Jesiah West, outside linebacker, Elizabeth, (6-4, 210)
“Top sleeper in Union County. Only played four games last year. Great frame. Can run. Outstanding athleticism for his size. Expects to have big senior year.”
15-Jordan Simpson, cornerback, Westfield, (5-10, 175)
“Pure cover guy. Solid man-to-man. Played opposite of 2018 graduate and Snapple Bowl player Adam McDaniel.
THE MCCARTHY REPORT TOP TWENTY – NEW JERSEY CLASS OF 2019
OVERALL PLAYER RATING “DRAFT BOARD”
(Positions listed in order of where a prospect will most likely play in college.)
(Ratings based on college potential.)
NEW JERSEY’S TOP 20 SENIORS:
1-Aeneas DiCosmo, OLB/DE/H-B, Bergen Catholic, (6-3, 220) 4.57 40 dash
“Shows top explosion with the ability to effortlessly close on the QB.”
Father Anthony played at Boston College and with Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Academics: 98 average.
2-Antonio Alfano, DL/OL, Colonia (6-5, 280) 4.87
“Presses his man backwards. Moves around like skill position guy.”
Played at Bergen Catholic in 2016 and at home town Rahway in 2017.
Transferred to Colonia in late February.
Academics: 3.0 GPA. Alabama commit.
3-John Olmstead, OL, St. Joseph’s, Metuchen, (6-6, 300) 4.95
“Possesses top-drawer athleticism with lateral quickness to cut off speed-rushers off the edge.
Academics: 4.0 GPA. Notre Dame commit.
4-Caedan Wallace, OL, The Hun School, (6-5 ½, 315) 5.2
“Elite, national recruit shows tools to play guard or tackle at next level.”
Academics: 3.5 GPA.
5-Ta’Quan Roberson, QB, DePaul, (6-1, 185) 4.58
“Advanced, dynamic signal-caller who has won a lot of big games.”
Academics: 3.3 GPA. Penn State commit.
6-David Ojabo, DL, Blair Academy, (6-5 ½, 245) 4.59
“Former soccer player from Scotland is man-child with astonishing athleticism.”
Academics: 4.8 (6.0 scale). Michigan commit.
7-Howard Cross, Jr., DL, St. Joseph’s, Montvale, (6-1 ½, 255) 4.7
“Son of former NY Giants TE Howard Cross is matchup nightmare for most OL.”
Academics: 3.6 GPA. Notre Dame commit.
8-R.J. Oben, DL, St. Peter’s Prep, (6-4, 235) 4.7
“Son of 12-year NFL OT Roman Oben plays run well and has long arm extension.”
Academics: 3.7 GPA. Duke commit.
9-Josh Henderson, RB, The Hun School, (6-1, 200) 4.49
“Athletic, downhill runner with everything you would want in a back.”
Academics: 3.0 GPA. North Carolina commit.
10-Shitta Sillah, OLB, Mater Dei, (6-5, 215) 4,6
“Only takes an instant for him to explode to the pocket.”
Academics: 4.125 GPA (4.5 scale). Boston College commit.
11-Brian Ugwu, OLB/RB/FB, Hillside, (6-3, 220) 4.55
“Another former soccer player – born in Nigeria as was Ojabo – can
do it all on the gridiron and is still learning.”
Academics: 3.0 GPA. Seriously considering: Rutgers, Temple, Pitt.
12-Ronnie Hickman, DB/WR/OLB, DePaul, (6-1, 205) 4.6
“Playmaking corner who brings a real physical presence to the secondary.”
Academics: 3.0 GPA. Ohio State commit.
13-Mohamed Toure, LB/RB, Pleasantville, (6-2, 210) 4.61
“Versatile 3-down linebacker who specializes in bone-jarring hits.”
14-Rahmir Johnson, RB/SL/KR, Bergen Catholic, (5-10, 180) 4.4
“North Jersey’s fastest prospect, bar none. Elusive, top-drawer cutting ability.”
Academics: 2.4 GPA. Nebraska commit.
15-Donovan Bunch, DB, Winslow Township, (6-0, 175) 4.47
“Has reactions to mirror his man like a shadow.”
Academics: 3.3 GPA. Rutgers commit.
16-Marlyn Johnson, WR, Peddie School, (6-3 ½, 195) 4.49
“Virtually unstoppable on fade routes and tracks the ball like Antonio Brown.”
17-Donald Williams, DB, Camden, (6-1, 185) 4.47
“Excels in man, man-off, press and zone. Smooth shifting cover corner.”
Academics: 3.1 GPA. Rutgers commit.
18-Bryce Nelms, OL/DL, West Orange, (6-6, 260) 4.95
“Big Georgia transplant has movement off edge that can’t be taught.”
Academics: 3.1 GPA. Pitt commit.
19-Stanley King, WR/TE/DB/OLB, Wilson-Camden, (6-5, 190) 4.58
“Fluid, graceful, well-rounded athlete with multi-faceted capabilities.”
Academics: 3.5 GPA.
20-Chase Jones, OLB/WR, St. Peter’s Prep, (6-3, 205) 4.52
“Explosive playmaker on both sides of ball. Runs down plays on perimeter to
extinguish outside runs.”
Academics: 3.8 GPA. Wake Forest commit.