Leading off today:
Matthew Stafford, Tim Tebow and ... Ryan Spelman
Spelman, Monroe-Woodbury's highly talented quarterback, is about to join some fairly elite talent in a practice that is becoming increasingly common in college football. He will wrap up high school in two weeks and then enroll at SUNY Albany in time for the second semester, getting the jump on other incoming freshmen who won't arrive on campus until the summer.
Eric Zeier became the first big-time prospect to enroll early when he did so at Georgia in 1990. Stafford (Georgia) and Tebow (Florida) did likewise in the middle of last decade. It was a move that paid off for all three, though others -- including J.P. Losman at UCLA -- were gone almost as quickly as they arrived.
Spelman will receive an athletic scholarship that covers about half of his expenses, The Times Herald-Record reported Sunday. He will begin classes Jan. 18.
"It's going to be a big jump, but I'm excited for it," Spelman told the paper. "I'm looking forward to it. I think it will be fun, and I get to work out with the team. I will miss all my friends and teammates at Monroe-Woodbury, but I will still be able to see them. I will, hopefully, be around."
Although football was a motivation for Spelman to speed up his entry into college, there were other considerations. His family is moving to Columbus, Ohio, next month in a job-related situation. Players who enroll early must have already met the NCAA's academic requirements, which Spelman accomplished by loading up on extra courses instead of taking study halls.
"I'm very happy for Ryan," M-W coach Pat D'Aliso said. "He might have to adjust a little because of going there early, but Ryan will be fine. He could play at any school he wants to. Ryan is a hard worker, and he deserves this."
Spelman rushed for 1,397 yards with 19 touchdowns and passed for 807 yards and five scores last fall in his second season as a starter. He was fourth-team all-state in Class AA as a junior.
Among the QBs he'll be battling for playing time at Albany is former Marcellus star Will Fiacchi. Ryan Smith, a third-team all-state pick in 2010 for Guilderland, is transferring from Colgate to SUNY Albany this month but will not be eligible until the 2013 season.
Lynch not a lock for BC? Akeel Lynch committed long ago to continue his football career at Boston College in the fall, but the superb St. Francis running back from Canada reportedly remains very much in play with respect to recruitment.