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Sun. October 25, 2009 | Keith Niebuhr

In today’s Times, we chronicled the plight of Plant stud LB Michael Mirabella, a senior who in the words of his coach (Robert Weiner) is the state’s best defender. Despite all of his ability and the fact the 6-foot, 205-pound Mirabella is an honor student, not one major college program has stepped forward to offer him a scholarship.

Mirabella’s situation isn’t uncommon.

Throughout our area, several high-caliber players have yet to earn a scholarship for one reason or another. Some still have to pull up their grades, a few are playing new positions this fall and others might be considered a tad undersized (see Mirabella).

Here are a few local athletes I think are capable of playing somewhere at the next level that so far have gotten little love from colleges (FYI: I‘m not a scout, but at last check I had covered more than three dozen players who eventually made it to the NFL):

Alton Taylor, RB, Countryside: Right now, he has 1,151 yards and a school-record 24 TDs. Taylor was a WR last year, so schools are really just now finding out about him. The critics may say his stats are inflated because he runs behind arguably the area’s best line, but the 5-foot-9, 185-pounder has the perfect size and speed to fit into someone’s spread offense.

Zack Wynn, QB, Hudson: During his career, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Wynn has thrown for more than 6,000 yards. And he’s also an excellent runner. He has pretty good arm strength, great accuracy and is adept at making decisions on the fly. At the very least, you’d have to figure he can play for a Division I-AA program.

Mike McNeely, WR, Palm Harbor: As dependable of a receiver as you’ll find, McNeely is a fundamentally sound player with great hands who’s also deceptively quick. McNeely is a terrific route runner who knows how to get open (see clip below). But at 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, he doesn’t have ideal size.

Tell me, who else deserves a look from colleges?

--KEITH NIEBUHR (kniebuhr@sptimes.com)

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