Talent-laden No. 1 Don Bosco Opens Tonight

Talent-laden No. 1 Don Bosco Opens Tonight

Top-ranked Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) opens the season Saturday against Mission Viejo (Calif.) High at 7 p.m. (EDT), and the Ironmen feature a pair of prospects with Notre Dame in their final six schools.

Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) and its plethora of BCS talent are ranked No. 1 in The Scout Top 50, and finally takes the field Saturday in one of the marquee games in the nation.

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez footed some of the bill to help cover the expenses of his alma mater, No. 9 Mission Viejo (Calif.) High, as it travels to north Jersey to face the Ironmen and their 35-game winning streak.

"They called us and they were looking to come out here, and we'll go see them next year," DBP coach Greg Toal said. "And I guess Sanchez is going to pay for the kids to come out."

Mission Viejo will get a look at some of the top talent in the 2012 class, as well as glimpses at a few players who should be some of the marquee recruits in the 2013 and 2014 classes.

DBP features a five-star, three four-stars and a pair of three-stars in the 2012 class, and it is led by uncommitted defensive lineman Darius Hamilton, who holds Rutgers as his leader but is also looking at California, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida and Oregon.

Four-star Elijah Shumate, who is the fifth-rated safety in the nation, is down to Rutgers, Michigan, South Carolina, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and Oklahoma.

Four-star Yuri Wright, who is the fifth-rated cornerback in the class, is down to Rutgers, Colorado, Notre Dame, Georgia and Michigan.

And then there is the committed trio of four-star receiver Leonte Carroo (Rutgers), three-star defensive end Mike Strizak (Boston College) and two-star offensive guard Tyler Samra (Connecticut).

The headliner of the 2013 class is 6-foot-4, 230-pound athletic defensive end Al-quadin Muhammed, who holds verbal offers from Rutgers, Colorado and Boston College, and 2014 headliner Jabryll Peppers, who holds verbals from Rutgers and South Carolina.

However, even with all the talent, Toal knows a third-straight undefeated season isn't a talking point at this juncture of the season.

"Hopefully, they stay focused. I think that's the trap, looking too far down the road," Toal said. "A lot of things can change; a couple of key injuries, a couple of kids that don't play hard. A lot of things can hurt you."

The biggest questions for the Ironmen are whether quarterback Mike Yankovich, who is receiving interest from the Ivy League schools, can replace Gary Nova (now at Rutgers), and how the running back position will shape up.

John Wilkins, Peppers and Shumate all took turns in training camp.

"Really, the key now is really the tailback and see who develops and who really steps up," Toal said. "That's going to be the key to this team."

One thing is certain, though, and that is Don Bosco Prep will be prepared, and mentally tough. Part of training camp included three full-fledged scrimmages in five days.

"With our kids, I think it's good," Toal said. "There's nothing like playing to get kids in shape and ready. Why not play football? It's harder for them to buy into it unless they're playing football. If they're playing a lot of football, playing a lot of reps, they're going to get better."

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