Camp Confidential: No. 7 Fordham Prep
MSG Varsity will visit the top teams in New York City during preseason camps and will unveil our preseason power rankings each day leading up to opening kickoff. In today’s edition of Camp Confidential, we take a look at No. 7 Fordham Prep.
LAST SEASON: 7-5 (Beat Kellenberg in CHSFL Class AA championship)
HEAD COACH: Pete Gorynski (16th season)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: QB James McHale, WR James Drago, NT Itua Udebo, RB Malik Crossdale, RB/S Logan Williamson, OL Mike McGrane
OUTLOOK: Last November, Fordham Prep celebrated its first-ever CHSFL Class AA title in a classic against Kellenberg that went down to the wire.
As great as it was putting hardware into the trophy case, the Rams want more this season.
“It was nice to win a ‘AA’ championship, but frankly we’re in ‘AAA’ and we want to compete on the ‘AAA’ level,” Fordham Prep coach Pete Gorynski said. “Our goal is to make the ‘AAA’ playoffs and do something in the playoffs. I think we can accomplish that if we stay healthy.”
That’s always the question at Fordham Prep, but especially so this year for a team that lacks depth.
“We’re going to be as good as we stay healthy,” Gorynski said. “Depth is always an issue, but right now our starting lineup offensively is pretty strong.”
That offense is led by James McHale, who is in his first full season as starting quarterback after splitting time with Jack Trimble a year ago. Trimble will move out to slot receiver.
The 6-foot-2 McHale is developing as a total quarterback. He’s improving on the mental aspect, but the physical part of the game is not a concern, according to Gorynski.
“He’s big, strong, his mechanics are solid,” Gorynski said. “He should have a very good season for us.”
Gorynski also loves his options offensively, from the versatile Logan Williamson to wide receiver James Drago, who Gorynski said “can wind up being one of the best I’ve coached,” and strong and quick running back Malik Crossdale, who returns from a torn meniscus.
“We’ve got a bunch of weapons with Malik and Logan, we’ve got a good offensive line,” Drago said. “Once we pull it all together that’s when we’re going to running.”
The offense is so strong that Fordham Prep competed in 7-on-7 tournaments for the first time this summer. Gorynski called it a positive experience, allowing him to evaluate players and give the offense some extra reps, to see what works and what doesn’t.
The squad performed well during the summer, reaching the final of the Stepinac 7-on-7 in late July.
“You answer a lot of questions in those 7-on-7s,” he said. “You find out who can play defense, who runs good routes and what throws the quarterback can make.”
“That definitely helped a lot, got a lot of our chemistry down with our wide receivers,” added McHale.
Mike McGrane, a two-year starter, anchors the Fordham Prep offensive line while the defense is relatively young, with all four starting linebackers – Jarred Moorer, Karo Adelughele, Matt Richards and Cory Giordano -- underclassmen.
Up front, Itua Udebo has been a revelation at nose tackle after spending much of last season as a right guard. He made the move to the defense late last year and is a big reason why the Rams won their final four games of the season, especially the annual Turkey Bowl with Xavier.
“He has just been tremendous,” Gorynski said. “He’s a 300-pound kid who can move, he’s physically strong as an ox. He’s not the fastest kid in the world, but for seven-yard bursts, he’s as fast as I need him to be.”
The secondary is “tried, but not tested,” Gorynski said and he’ll likely have Trimble and Williamson back there to give the unit some veteran influence.
“Everybody is taking about the offense,” Udebo said. “But I think both units are going to be really good this year.”
Sept. 8 at St. John the Baptist
Sept. 15 at Chaminade
Sept. 22 vs. Mount St. Michael
Sept. 29 at Holy Trinity
Oct. 5 vs. Xaverian
Oct. 13 vs. Kellenberg
Oct. 20 vs. St. Joseph by the Sea
Oct. 27 at Iona prep
Nov. 22 vs. Xavier
Check out our No. 6 team Saturday at 10 a.m.