MaxPreps correspondent Jason P. Skoda has been a sports writer for 21 years, the first 15 primarily in Ohio before landing in Arizona in 2005.
There's a certain irony in the way great plays are acknowledged each Thanksgiving weekend during the New York State Public High School Athletic Association finals at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
Before Maurice Clarett was trouble for Ohio State and to himself, he did some major damage to Ohio high school defenses.
He was stronger than most defensive linemen, more powerful than oncoming linebackers and quicker than anyone in the opposing defensive backfield.
In a word, the Harding (Warren, Ohio)
product was devastating.
It all came together in December of 2000 when he and his teammates destroyed Lakewood St. Edward in a Division I regional final game, as he rushed 30 times for 404 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-26 win.
Not only was he the great football player I have seen, it was the greatest individual performance I ever witnessed in 12 years of covering preps in Ohio and 20 overall. He had touchdown runs of 75 and 80 yards.
St. Edward could have played with 13 defenders and on that day Clarett would have finished with 200 yards and three scores.
Other top candidates from Ohio were two-time Mr. Ohio Robert Smith, a running back from Euclid High and Fremont Ross High's Charles Woodson.MaxPreps
asked its most experienced writers and freelancers to name the best high
school football player they ever saw. Requirements were at least 20
years on the job and that they had to see the athlete play in person. See what national recruiting expert Tom Lemming says on Monday.