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Unveiling top 10 players in PD50 high school football series over past 50 …

CLEVELAND, Ohio – It’s finally time to reveal the
top 10 area high school football players over the past 50 years, concluding the
five-day PD50 series.

The former stars were selected and ranked – Nos. 1
through 50 — by a 10-person committee The Plain Dealer put together this
summer. Check out this week’s earlier installments of players ranked Nos. 11-50,
too.

Thursday: Players ranked Nos. 20-11.

Wednesday: Players ranked Nos. 30-21.

Tuesday: Players ranked Nos. 40-31.

Monday: Players ranked Nos. 50-41.

And don’t miss Friday’s Plain Dealer for a spread
on the entire series.

What do
you think of the picks? We welcome your take in the comments section at the
bottom of this post.

10. Trent Zenkewicz

School: St. Ignatius.

Graduation: 1991.

Position: DL.

Notable: One of the most dominant defensive
linemen in Ohio high school history. Managed 60 solo tackles, 42 assists and 22
sacks his senior year despite being double- and triple-teamed. Ohio lineman of
the year, two-time All-Ohio selection and finished second in Mr. Football
voting. Had an All-Big Ten career at Michigan.

9. Nate Clements

School: Shaker Heights.

Graduation: 1998.

Position: QB/DB.

Notable: He was a national high school
All-American and had seven interceptions his senior year. Clements holds the
school record with 14 career interceptions. An exceptional athlete who had
great poise on the field. All-Big Ten at Ohio State and an All-Pro in an NFL
career that began in 2001.

8. O.J. McDuffie

School: Hawken.

Graduation: 1988.

Position: RB/DB.

Notable: McDuffie’s 108-yard interception
return for a touchdown is the longest in Ohio history (he’s tied with two
others). McDuffie set Hawken’s record for career all-purpose yards with 7,302.
He ran for 1,330 yards on 174 carries, caught 33 passes for 449 yards,
intercepted six passes and led the area with 136 points his senior year. After
an All-American career at Penn State, McDuffie played nine years with the Miami
Dolphins.  

7. Ted Ginn Jr.

School: Glenville.

Graduation: 2004.

Position: QB/DB/WR/KR/PR.

Notable: Was among the nation’s fastest and
most explosive high school players. A world-class sprinter in track, he was
chosen as the national player of the year on defense by USA Today. Ginn
intercepted eight passes as a senior, returning five of them for touchdowns. He
continued his career at Ohio State. He was the ninth overall selection in the
2007 NFL Draft and currently plays for the Carolina Panthers.

6. John Hicks

School: John Hay.

Graduation: 1969.

Position: DL/OL.

Notable: An All-Ohio lineman. Said former
John F. Kennedy coach Roye Kidd: “If I drew a picture of the perfect
lineman, it would be John Hicks. The best lineman I’ve seen. He was very
athletic. He was really outstanding skill-wise. He does things and you’d just
shake your head and wonder how he did that.” Went on to Ohio State and is
the last lineman who was runner-up in the Heisman Trophy vote. Elected to the
College Football Hall of Fame in 2001. Played professionally with the New York
Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers.

5. Brian Dowling

School: St. Ignatius.

Graduation: 1965.

Position: QB/DB.

Notable: Dowling holds the state record with
33 interceptions in a career. His 16 interceptions in 1964 ranks second
all-time. At quarterback, he passed for 2,603 yards and 39 touchdowns during
his junior and senior seasons. Dowling averaged 37 yards as a punter. He played
for Yale and finished ninth in the 1968 Heisman voting. Dowling had a brief
stint in the NFL.

4. Tom Cousineau

School: St. Edward.

Graduation: 1975.

Position: LB.

Notable: It almost seemed unfair —
especially for opponents — as Cousineau used rare speed to move from sideline
to sideline to make tackles on backs and receivers. The high school All-American
became a consensus first team All-American in college who set several records
for tackles at Ohio State. He is the only player on this list selected No. 1
overall in the NFL Draft. Cousineau began his professional career in the
Canadian Football League before playing with the Browns and San Francisco 49ers.

3. Desmond Howard

School: St. Joseph (now Villa Angela-St.
Joseph).

Graduation: 1988.

Position: RB/WR/DB/KR/PR.

Notable: Was an All-American and All-Ohio
tailback his senior season. Rushed for 5,392 yards over his career. Had 10
interceptions in 10 games as a senior. A big-play type of player on offense, as
well as on defense. Howard went on to have a spectacular college career by
winning the Heisman Trophy at Michigan and a Super Bowl MVP with the Packers.
Is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

2. Gary Jeter

School: Cathedral Latin (now Notre
Dame-Cathedral Latin).

Top 10 voting results

    Here is a look at the top 10 voting results by The Plain Dealer’s 10-man selection committee that determined the area’s best high school football players over the past 50 years. (First-place votes in parentheses).

    1. Robert Smith (2) 475 points

    2. Gary Jeter (1) 426

    3. Desmond Howard (2) 416

    4. Tom Cousineau 400

    5. Brian Dowling (3) 387

    6. John Hicks (1) 358

    7. Ted Ginn Jr. 294

    8. O.J. McDuffie 293

    9. Nate Clements 281

    10. Trent Zenkewicz 260

Graduation: 1973.

Position: DL.

Notable: Was Ohio’s high school lineman of
the year and a national All-American. Considered the most dominant defensive lineman
this area has ever seen. Was nearly impossible to block, despite getting double-
and triple-teamed. Achieved a rare feat at USC by becoming a starter as a
freshman. Selected as the fifth pick in the NFL Draft and played 13 years in
the NFL. 


1. Robert Smith

School: Euclid.

Graduation: 1990.

Position: RB.

Notable: The elusive and blazing runner was
a two-time Mr. Football winner, Ohio’s top award. After averaging 8.8 yards per
carry as a junior, Smith ran for 2,042 yards and 31 touchdowns his senior year.
He finished his career with 5,318 yards and 71 touchdowns. Played at Ohio State
and eight years in the NFL. See Friday’s article about Smith’s selection as No. 1 here.

Live video Monday talking PD50 series

    Tune in Monday at 11:30 a.m. for a live video discussing the PD50, The Plain Dealer’s five-day series ranking the area’s best football players over the past 50 years. Join the discussion by sending in your questions during the show.
    Reporter Branson Wright will be joined by longtime coaches Chuck Kyle of St. Ignatius and Ted Ginn Sr. of Glenville, as well as selection committee members Eddie Dwyer and Pete Gaughan. Tune in at cleveland.com/sports

HONORABLE
MENTION

Adamle, Mike (Kent Roosevelt); Adolph, Dave
(Mogadore); Arbeznik, John (St. Ignatius) Bailey, Rodney (St. Edward); Banks, Henry (John F.
Kennedy); Barile, Carl (Benedictine); Bishop, Richard (Glenville); Bobrowski,
Bob (St. Joseph); Boone, Alex (St. Edward); Bortnick, Art (Euclid); Brown, Rick
(Euclid); Carras, Tim (St. Edward); Carroll, Wesley (John Hay); Carter, Delone
(Copley); Carter, Drew (Solon); Crow, John David (Brecksville); Cusick, Pete
(Lakewood);  DeLeone, Tom (Kent Roosevelt); Derrick, Duane
(Mentor); Evans, Lee (Bedford); Franklin, Tony (St. Peter Chanel); Fowler,
Delbert (Glenville); Galbos, Rick (Mentor); Garrett, Judd (University School); Garrett,
Jason (University School); Gibson, Tom (St. Joseph); Glavin, John (Solon); Grbac,
Elvis (St. Joseph); Greenberg, Scott (Solon); Gribble, Jordan (Brunswick); Gusich,
Frank (St. Ignatius); Hallen, Bob (Mentor); Hamilton, Eric (Hawken); Harper,
Kevin (Mentor); Harrell, Chris (Euclid); Harris, Raymont (Lorain); Hartman,
Kevin (Holy Name); Herring, Kim (Solon); Hewitt, Mitch (Chardon); Hockett,
Myron (Cleveland East); Horansky, Ted (Cathedral Latin); Hovan, Chris (St.
Ignatius); Hoyer, Brian (St. Ignatius); Hunt, Kareem (Willoughby South); Insana,
P.J. (Wickliffe); Jackson, Tony, (St. Joseph); James, LeBron (St. Vincent-St.
Mary); Jelovic, Pete (Lake Catholic); Jones, Clint (Cathedral Latin); Jones,
Terry (Glenville); Kolesar, John (Westlake); Kordic, Bruce (Collinwood); Koz, John (Lakewood); Lanese,
Mike (Mayfield); Lavelle, Dennis (St. Edward); Long, Paul (Mayfield); Lowry,
Orlando (Shaker Heights); Luck, Oliver (St. Ignatius); Mandich, Jim (Solon); Martin,
Don (Mentor); McGee, Tim (John Hay); McHugh, Sean (Chagrin Falls); McKinney, Al
(Elyria Catholic); McVey, Tim (St. Ignatius); Mesko, Zoltan (Twinsburg); Miller,
Bob (North Olmsted); Miller, Tony (St. Joseph); Molls, Andy (Valley Forge); Montgomery,
Anthony (John F. Kennedy); Moore, Chuck (Mogadore); Morgan, Anthony (John
Adams); Moriarty, Tom (Benedictine); Mrosko, Bob (Wickliffe); O’Leary, Dan (St.
Ignatius); Petruziello, Dave (Lake Catholic); Pighee, John (John F. Kennedy); Pittman,
Antonio (Buchtel); Pledger, Joe (Cleveland East); Poole, Larry (Akron Garfield);
Portale, Joe (St. Edward); Pozderac, Phil (Garfield Heights); Rice, Paul
(University School); Ritcher, Jim (Medina Highland); Root, Doug (Cuyahoga
Falls); Saffold, Roger (Bedford); Sanders, Steve (Shaw); Schumaker, Kurt
(Lorain); Shinsky, John (St. Joseph); Shorts III, Cecil
(Collinwood); Sincich, Al (St. Joseph); Smith, Gene (St. Peter Chanel); Smith,
Troy (Glenville); Squirek, Jack (Cuyahoga Heights); Stams, Frank (St.
Vincent-St. Mary); Staysniak, Joe (Midview); Stenger, Brian (St. Joseph); Stoudemire,
Mallory (John F. Kennedy); Stover, Raishaun (St. Edward); Szep, Nate (St.
Ignatius); Tanski, Bart (Mentor); Titus, Frank (Cathedral Latin); Tovar, Steve
(Elyria West); Tupa, Tom (Brecksville); Weiler, Jim (Cathedral Latin); Wells,
Beanie (Akron Garfield); Wilhelm, Matt (Elyria Catholic); Williams, Chris (St.
Edward); Williams, Rashawn (Euclid); Winfield, Antoine (Akron Garfield); Wisniewski,
Steve (Eastlake North); Woods, Mike (Benedictine); Wright, Dana (Kent
Roosevelt); Zele, Mike (St. Joseph).

lt;a href=”http://polldaddy.com/poll/7341897/”gt;PD50: Which player is the best between Nos. 10-1?lt;/agt;

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