Leading off today:
Organizers today officially took the wraps off the New York State High School Football Classic, a statewide senior all-star game
that will make its debut June 6 in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
"Iím thrilled about it because I think itís great for New York state football," said retired Fairport coach Don Santini, who will assist Alden coach Dick Diminuco on the Upstate team. "Itís going to give kids exposure and it will create a lot of interest because itís in-state and at a centralized location."
The contest organized by the New York State Football Coaches Association will feature 80-100 of the top seniors in the state, replacing the defunct New York-New Jersey All Star Football Classic. Syracuse-based Empower Federal Credit Union has signed on as the sponsor.
The contest will take on an upstate vs. downstate format. Joe Vito of Roosevelt High on Long Island will coach the downstate squad. The selection process will begin at the state coachesí convention next month, Santini told the Democrat and Chronicle.
New basketball site: The NYSSWA has launched a new basketball-only Web site covering the boys season up to and including the NYSPHSAA and Federation tournaments.
RoadToGlensFalls.com is modeled after the RoadToSyracuse.com football site that proved to be quite popular with visitors in the fall.
Sections within the NYSPHSAA as well as the PSAL and CHSAA have individual content pages, each with a "widget" supplied by MaxPreps.com that offers links to every team in the state. Clicking on items within the widget transports users to a wealth of game results, statistics, photos and other items on MaxPreps.com, which is a division of CBS.
We are also experimenting with a new twist that I starting tweaking last month: A Twitter feed (located in the lower left corner of the page) consisting of "tweets" from a variety of newspaper and other sources covering the high school scene. On any given night, there could be five or more reporters from throughout the state sending frequent updates from game sites. I'll keep fine-tuning it over the course of the season.
Career upgrade: Canisius High linebacker Jimmy Gaines committed to Buffalo last month only to see Bulls coach Turner Gill exit for the Kansas job. Just as Gill improved his place on the football totem poll, Gaines has also taken a step up.
Upon re-opening his recruitment, Gaines (who will not turn 17 until March) attracted the interest of the Miami Hurricanes staff thanks in part to a push by coach Brandon Harris. He traveled to Coral Gables, Fla., last weekend and accepted a scholarship offer.
Gaines was a jack of all trades during the season, lining up at linebacker, safety, tight end, tailback and wideout for the Monsignor Martin Association champions. He was selected a second-team all-state linebacker by the NYSPHSAA.
Arkansas, Arizona and Oklahoma had also started to express interest according to Harris.
A year ago, Harris also pushed a bit behind the scenes, resulting in John Urschel getting a scholarship to Penn State after early interest that was only lukewarm.
In other recruiting news, Malcolm Cater appears to have formalized news that was widely assumed for almost two months: Scout.com says the Riverhead linebacker has switched his commitment from Syracuse to Rutgers.