January 10th, 2012
RivalsHigh Presents Rocks With Hardware
National outlet chooses Trinity as clear No. 1 high school team
Following months off cross-country flights to catch high school football games in person, watching hours and hours of game tape and near-daily conversations with coaches, experts, writers and recruiters around the country, RivalsHigh.com's Dallas Jackson made one of his final stops of the season in Louisville on Tuesday morning.
On this trip, however, Jackson performed the simplest task he's had in quite some time: hand the high school football national championship trophy to Trinity head coach Bob Beatty.
In attendance for the Shamrocks' football ceremony at Steinhauser Gymnasium, Jackson sported a black Trinity national championship t-shirt under his blazer and made his very confident and definitive case for the Rocks as being the RivalsHigh national champ.
"I think the completeness of the season and the completeness of the (Trinity) team (is what set them apart)," said
"(Trinity) physically dominated and it really meant a lot with the schedule they played," he continued. "Only playing three local teams and then going 6-0 against out-of-state competition really signified that this team knew they were going to be special and went out and proved it."
RivalsHigh is a branch of Rivals.com, a network of national websites that have provided recruiting news, updates and information since 1996, and has become synonymous with its RivalsHigh100 list that ranks the country's top high school football teams.
With a team of nearly 180 people working under him, Jackson collaborates with his RivalsHigh colleagues to watch highlights and trade info to make sure the outlet's final choice for "national champion" is as accurate as possible. With so many competitive teams around the country, Jackson says his in-person trips to see the top teams is necessary to get a thorough grasp on the scene.
"I think if we weren't able to go around the country and see all these teams (in person) it would have been a lot more difficult," said
Jackson, who attended Trinity's games against Brentwood Acadmey in Nashville, TN and Archbishop Moeller at Marshall Stadium in Louisville, says he was impressed by all facets of the Shamrocks' game. Despite the prolific success and noise made by the Trinity offense, however, Jackson was most impressed, on an individual player basis, with a student-athlete who didn't contribute offensively.
"I think the player who stands out the most to me is probably the one that gets the least attention out of the group, and that's the junior cornerback Ryan White," said
Jackson also made sure to give praise to another "under-the-radar" Trinity unit.
"I don't know if I'm in
In his seventh year with Rivals and fifth year exclusively covering high school football for RivalsHigh, Jackson - a western Pennsylvania native who now resides in Nashville - believes that the current system for naming a high school national champion in the major sports will always remain the same. Using the current process, each separate national outlet ultimately makes its own, specific declaration based on internal research, etc.
Trinity was named No. 1 in the country by five outlets around the country, including RivalsHigh, but was named No. 2 by several others.
"Unless there's a lot of money that gets thrown behind (a singular national championship), I don't think there will ever be (one, definitive high school national champion)," said
"I think it will continue to be a subjective-based system," Jackson continued. "And each person, as their own consumer of information, can decide which national outlet is the best to get that from."
Trinity earned its 21st state championship with a win in the 6A finals over Scott County in December, but this is considered the program's first national title in school history.