Super 25 football countdown: No 10 SimeonSimeon's Sharoid Roach breaks through Curie's defense to score. | Stacia Timonere~For Sun Times Media
Updated: August 15, 2012 6:24PM
The biggest subtraction from Simeon’s football program after last season, literally, was four-star offensive lineman Jordan Diamond, who’s now at Auburn.
But the player whose departure will change the Wolverines’ game plan the most is probably veteran quarterback Robert Gregory, who is now a running back at Purdue. And that’s why senior quarterback Elcee Burke might be the most important guy on the field for Simeon, which is No. 10 in the Sun-Times’ preseason Super 25.
Burke got a lot of on-the-job training last season as Gregory battled some injuries, and that should only help him ease into a full-time starting role in 2012.
“I’m very comfortable now,” Burke said. “Last year, I was nervous for the game at East St. Louis. But ... coach Dante [Culbreath and I] had some talks.”
Culbreath acknowledges the Wolverines will do some things differently on offense this season.
“The difference [between] Elcee and Robert is Elcee is a true passer,” Culbreath said. “Robert relied on his legs a lot. Elcee is going to sit in the pocket and he’s going to throw the ball.”
John Gardner, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound tight end with a scholarship offer from Western Michigan, could be on the receiving end of some of Burke’s throws.
And the Wolverines won’t be one-dimensional – expect to see a variety of backs carry the ball as well.
“The featured back will probably be [senior] Sharoid Roach,” Culbreath said. “But we’re going to try to incorporate all of them.”
Though Diamond is gone, Simeon has two proven offensive linemen back in 6-5, 265-pound Kendall Moore, who has offers from Illinois and Indiana among others, and Devontae Lee (6-6, 230), who is getting major-college interest on defense. Both are seniors.
There are some playmakers on the other side of the ball as well.
“I feel like we probably have the best defensive backs in the state of Illinois with Aaron Banks and Jabaree Winston,” Burke said.
Banks (6-3, 200) has been offered by such schools as Northern Illinois and Ball State.
Another major-college prospect on defense is linebacker Reggie Spearman (6-2, 219), who committed to Illinois but indicated he will continue to take recruiting visits.
The Wolverines went 10-4 after falling to Lockport in the first round of the IHSA playoffs and losing to Mount Carmel in the Prep Bowl. They will find out early just how good they are when they open at Loyola, last year’s Class 8A state runner-up.
“We love playing that type of competition in the Catholic League,” Burke said.
At least he now has some experience playing good teams on the road.