Imhotep coach prepares players for visits

Posted: February 18, 2014

At first, Albie Crosby said, his football players would get excited.

"If I said, 'Miami is coming tomorrow,' they would say, 'No way, they're not,' " the Imhotep Charter coach said.

And as more and more coaches came to the school - including, yes, Miami - Crosby said the visits became "second nature" for the players.

"Now they ask me, 'Well, when's Florida coming? When's South Carolina coming?' " Crosby said.

Those schools came, too, and they continue to as Crosby has built the Northwest Philadelphia school into one of the area's premier stops for college coaches since he took over in 2012.

Coaches from Penn State, Temple, Arizona State, and Cincinnati have visited the school over the last month.

Crosby said his players' ability to stay composed during visits makes them even more attractive to college coaches.

Crosby instructs the recruited player to research the school the night before a coach visits and be ready with three questions. One has to be about academics, another about football, and a third about the social scene around the school.

The meeting is treated like a job interview, as the player greets the college coach with a firm handshake and maintains eye contact. And the three questions, Crosby said, usually grow to four, five, or even nine.

"And when a coach goes to another school and says, 'Does anyone have any questions,' and they say, 'No, we're good,' then he's going to be even more impressed with us," Crosby said.

The Imhotep player who appears to be impressing college coaches most often is sophomore tight end Naseir Upshur.

The 6-foot-4, 223-pounder gained a scholarship offer last week from Connecticut to go along with offers from Temple, Arizona State, Cincinnati, and others.

Upshur doubled as a defensive end for Imhotep's final four games last season, racking up 15 sacks. Crosby said college coaches are intrigued by his ability to play both positions. Upshur should continue to split time next season with fellow sophomore defensive end Shaka Toney.

"Coming from youth ball, [Upshur] had a reputation as a relentless pass rusher," Crosby said. "So we kind of threw him a bone, and he did extremely well."

Panthers junior quarterback Andre Dreuitt-Parks is being targeted by Northwestern and Virginia. Crosby said both schools see him as a quarterback.

Dreuitt-Parks will be protected next season by an immense offensive line headed by sophomore guard Johncarlo Valentin (6-4, 312 pounds) and sophomore tackle Yasir Durant (6-7, 310).

 Buzz around Miller. Frankford High junior defensive end Shareef Miller spent Saturday at Penn State's junior day. He came way with an offer from the Nittany Lions.

Miller received a scholarship offer Thursday from West Virginia, and the 6-5, 218-pounder is scheduled to attend the Mountaineers' junior day on Feb. 22. Miller also has offers from Temple, Rutgers, Virginia, Purdue, and others.

Here and there. Kevin Murphy, a junior defensive end from West Chester East, picked up a scholarship offer Thursday from Cincinnati. It was his second offer, along with Middle Tennessee State. He also has received interest from Penn State, as the 6-3, 240-pounder made an unofficial visit there last fall.

Council Rock North sophomore quarterback Brandon McIlwain attended Penn State's junior day Saturday and returned home with a scholarship offer. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder also has offers from Boston College, South Carolina, Temple, and UCLA.


mbreen@phillynews.com

@matt_breen

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