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Seton Hall Prep's Princeton commit Zach Keller is the No. 3 rated senior player in Essex County according to talent evaluator Dennis McCarthy of The McCarthy Report. (Photo by Richard Morris/SHP)
2 Big Linemen & SHP’s Keller Head List
For McCarthy’s ‘Elite 11’ Essex Seniors
By Steve Tober
NORTH ARLINGTON- Now in his 60th year of evaluating high school football talent in the Garden State, scouting coordinator Dennis McCarthy of The McCarthy Report still has many a working night when he’s up until the wee hours of the early morning looking at film and going through assorted papers on a particular young gridiron prospect.
“It’s all worth it, and I still look forward to each new season and actually enjoy the entire process more than ever,” he said. “My son Dave is the editor now and he oversees what we do with 75 different colleges in supplying information on the New Jersey players, but I’m still very much involved and will remain so as long as my health allows me to.”
One of the North Jersey counties McCarthy spoke to Sideline Chatter about is Essex where he sees a wealth of rising senior talent to watch this fall in his ‘Elite 11’ headed by two big linemen, Emmanuel Christian of Newark Central and Amir Copher of Orange, and Seton Hall Prep quarterback Zach Keller, who on Tuesday made a verbal commitment to Princeton.
“Christian is a relative unknown, but is big (6-foot-5, 280) and has the grades to be a big-time college player,” said McCarthy, who says he still puts together a mythical Governor’s Bowl New Jersey team even though the once popular summer all-star game has gone by the boards. “Copher, who transferred back to Orange from Paramus Catholic, is an offensive guard who moves so well and a very powerful kid.
“Keller is a classic drop-back quarterback who has great accuracy in his passing and should blossom under (Coach) Vito Campanile this season.”
Jaquill Johnson, a hard-hitting safety from Shabazz; David Gautieri, a tall (6-7) tight end from Verona; Craig Merkle, a powerful running back and linebacker from Nutley and wide receiver Elijah J. Robinson of Montclair round out the top seven in McCarthy’s best seniors of Essex heading into 2015 season.
Rounding out the Essex Elite 11 are tight end Olivier Georges of Bloomfield, DB-QB Joey Rivera of Belleville, offensive tackle Ryan Vigna of Bloomfield and tight end Darnell Grant, Jr. of Shabazz.