If the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association North-South Classic is an accurate gauge, then central Ohio football stacks up just fine compared to the rest of the state in terms of its college prospects.
Westerville South, which traditionally has put together great offenses over the years, had the 2010 Offensive MVP in Jack Tomlinson and the 2011 Offensive MVP in Jayshon Jackson at the North-South game. Tomlinson started seven games and had eight touchdown catches last season for Ball State, while Jackson ended up at a junior college in Michigan where he rushed for 563 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman last fall. He likely will end up at a Division I college.
Of the nine central Ohio players who will play in this year's North-South game at 4 p.m. April 20 in Ohio Stadium, seven have committed to Division I schools.
It's logical to think that a running back as big and fast as DeSales' Warren Ball, an Ohio State recruit, would be a strong candidate for MVP honors in the game -- at least in most years.
Ball's coming off a season in which he rushed for 29 touchdowns, but he'll also be on the same team as Kenton quarterback Maty Mauk. Their team will be coached by Mauk's father, Mike Mauk, and is going to spend a considerable amount of time passing the ball.
With that in mind, this could be a golden opportunity for Dublin Coffman wide receiver Marcus Davis and Marysville tight end Craig Runyan, who each have signed with Toledo, to get their names prominently mentioned in the receiving category.
The initial glance at Mauk's numbers from last season seem ridiculous: A quarterback who rushed for 1,768 yards and 24 touchdowns and finished with 7,181 total yards and 92 touchdowns overall for a team that was the Division IV state runner-up. Mauk was in the backfield alone most of the time, which gave him the ability to run or pass based on what the defense was providing.
It should be fun to watch him, but it'll also be intriguing to see what Ball and Johnstown running back Ross Franklin can do when Mauk is not on the field.
Franklin was the ThisWeek Super 25 captain after setting program records for rushing yards (3,416), carries (339) and touchdowns (51) in a season.
The other locals in the game are Thomas Worthington's Nana Kyeremeh (West Virginia), Marion-Franklin's Terrell Jackson (Pittsburgh), Gahanna's Brian Snoad (Ohio Dominican), Watkins Memorial's Reno Reda (Kent State) and Bexley's Jalen Robinetts (Air Force).
*The Ohio North-South All-Star basketball games will be held April 22 at Capital University.
Among those expected to compete in the girls games are Tree of Life's Tori Thompson in Division III-IV (noon) and Hilliard Bradley's Brooke Espenschied, Reynoldsburg's Aliyah Zantt and Pickerington North's Taylor Jones in Division I-II (1:45 p.m.). Zantt will play for Eastern Michigan.
In the boys Division I-II game that will be held at 5:30 p.m., Northland's Jalen Robinson, Pickerington Central's Caris LeVert and Olentangy Liberty's Nick Archer are expected to be in attendance. Robinson will play for Dayton and Archer will play for Hillsdale.
LeVert recently reopened his recruitment after previously signing with Ohio University after having a tremendous senior season that included leading the Tigers to the Division I state championship.
It will be interesting to see if a school like Ohio State, which just had two players transfer, will go after the talented forward.
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