February 29, 2012
The Dublin Coffman football program's history of developing Division I college quarterbacks spans more than a decade, back to when Brady Quinn piloted the team to a 17-7 mark in 2001 and '02.
Quinn of course went on to play for Notre Dame, and Jack Rafferty (Western Kentucky), Josh Febus (Ohio University), Zack Stoudt (Mississippi) and Cole Stoudt (Clemson) have been signal callers since then who eventually played major college football.
The latest member of the crop is junior James Walsh, a 6-2, 186-pounder who picked up an offer from Ohio U. on Monday, according to ScoutingOhio.com.
Walsh completed 154 of 261 passes for 1,837 yards with 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions last season as the Shamrocks made the Division I, Region 3 playoffs and went 8-3.
Walsh, who added 321 yards and seven touchdowns rushing, reportedly runs the 40 in 4.58. He made special mention all-district and second-team all-OCC-Central Division last fall.
While his statistics imply that he needs some polish in some areas of his game, he has been working hard. On Jan. 2, he and junior teammate Miles McCollum, a defensive lineman, participated in the Proving Ground National Combine on Jan. 2 in Phoenix.
Walsh also made first-team all-league for the Shamrocks' baseball team last spring as it went 23-6 and won its 12th league title in 24 seasons.
*Ohio State picked up its fifth recruit for the 2013 class on Monday night when Centerville offensive tackle Evan Lisle verbally committed.
The Buckeyes now have two cornerbacks (Eli Woodard and Cameron Burrows), a five-star athlete (Jalin Marshall) and linemen on both sides of the ball (Billy Price at DT and Lisle).
What could be the next target?
Walnut Ridge wide receiver Rob Wheelwright was told by coach Urban Meyer that they're after a pass-catching threat, and it would seem likely that OSU will add another defensive back since it still has an offer on the table to Hilliard Darby's Caleb Day.
February 28, 2012
The mail has continued to pile up for Eastmoor junior football player Devon Edwards, and now he has an official offer to add to his recruiting process.
According to Warriors coach Jim Miranda, West Virginia came through with an offer for the 6-foot-5, 240-pounder on Monday.
Edwards, who Miranda said has wowed at various camps, is considered by most as a tight end but also has been looked at as a defensive end.
Eastmoor went 10-3 last season, advancing to the Division III, Region 10 championship game.
"Everybody keeps asking me whether he's gotten any offers, and this was actually his first," Miranda said. "He's been getting mail from everybody, including Michigan and Ohio State. He's been the top receiver at both the Michigan and Ohio State camps, and West Virginia also likes him at defensive end."
West Virginia, which went 10-3 including beating Clemson 70-33 in the Orange Bowl last season, has more than a dozen other players from Ohio on its roster.
This is the second offer by the Mountaineers to a central Ohio player over the last week, after they also offered Walnut Ridge wide receiver Rob Wheelwright last week.
Players such as Beechcroft graduate Julian Miller have found a successful home at West Virginia in the past.
*Ohio's reputation as a hot-bed recruiting state has continued in earnest this winter.
On Monday, Nebraska got a verbal commitment from Youngstown Mooney WR/DB Marcus McWilson. Also on Monday according to ScoutingOhio.com, Cincinnati Moeller OL Alex Gall picked up an offer from Florida State and Arizona offered Lakewood St. Edward DB Solomon Warfield. Michigan State picked up a verbal commitment from Warren Harding DB Jalyn Powell.
One of the next hot targets is Trotwood-Madison LB Mike McCray, who got offers last week from both West Virginia and Nebraska.
*Follow us on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek & @ThisWeekSports.
February 27, 2012
Walnut Ridge junior Rob Wheelwright got a chance to take his mind off his pending recruiting decision Friday night with his action on the basketball court at Reynoldsburg.
He's more or less a role player for the Scots' this winter, but there's not much more enjoyable than when your team wins a game 90-41 like his team did over Whetstone in an early-round district tournament game.
Wheelwright, a 6-3, 185-pounder who has run the 40 in 4.5 according to his profile page on ScoutingOhio.com, has continued to garner interest throughout Big Ten country and beyond.
Last Thursday, he picked up an offer from West Virginia to add to a list that also includes Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska, Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota and Michigan from the Big Ten as well as Boston College, Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
Wheelwright, who is the younger brother of former Walnut Ridge and Minnesota wide receiver Ernie Wheelwright, had 44 catches for 600 yards and 12 touchdowns last fall.
Although he doesn't seem to be close to making his choice yet, Wisconsin is certainly one of the schools he's thinking hard about.
Wheelwright went to Ohio State's Junior Day a couple weeks ago and got a chance to meet Urban Meyer, who told him that the Buckeyes "need a big play-maker from this class."
He obviously qualifies for that, although OSU hasn't given him an offer yet.
Wisconsin has another potential advantage on some of the other candidates: Former Walnut Ridge star Austin Traylor already is a Badger after signing last year.
"I got another offer (Feb. 23), from West Virginia and I went to Ohio State's Junior Day, but that's about it," Wheelwright said of his recent activity. "It's still early. I'm going to go to more junior days and another visit or so. I really like Wisconsin because it seems like a good program."
*Hartley tight end Jacob Matuska picked up three more offers over the weekend.
After grabbing an offer in the middle of last week from Notre Dame, Northwestern came in with an offer Friday and Indiana and South Florida added offers yesterday, according to ScoutingOhio.com.
Notre Dame seems like a logical choice for Matuska considering his current schooling, and Hawks boys basketball coach Randy Kortokrax confirmed to me last week that his 6-6 multi-sport star does rank the Fighting Irish high on his list.
I hope to have more updates on Matuska later this week.
*Visit us on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek and @ThisWeekSports.
February 24, 2012
One of the reasons the Pickerington North football team finished 8-2 last fall was the emergence of junior Godwin Igwebuike.
Igwebuike, who attended Pickerington Central as a freshman and was forced to sit out his sophomore season after transferring to North, emerged as a star at running back and in the defensive backfield a year ago. The Panthers missed the playoffs mostly because the teams they beat in the non-league underperformed, but they did finish 8-2.
The 6-0, 190-pounder who is seen as an athlete in recruiting circles has 11 offers. His most recent came from Illinois on Wednesday.
The other BCS schools that have offered Igwebuike include Boston College, Duke, Minnesota, Northwestern and Cincinnati. Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State, Ohio and Toledo have offered from the Mid-American Conference.
Michigan has not yet offered but "has been in contact" with Igwebuike, he said.
Igwebuike is playing basketball this winter for the Panthers.
"At this point, I've been getting new offers every few days," Igwebuike said. "I've been pretty busy with basketball but I'm going to try to look through some of the offers coming up."
Igwebuike attended Ohio State's Junior Day on Feb. 12 and then attended Cincinnati's Junior Day a week later.
At an undetermined date coming up, Igwebuike is planning to visit both Bowling Green and Toledo, probably on the same day.
Last season, Igwebuike rushed for 1,046 yards and 14 touchdowns and added a kickoff return for a touchdown. He had six interceptions and made first-team all-district at defensive back.
Because of his current size, it seems logical that the BCS schools might favor Igwebuike on defense. He can play either strong safety or cornerback and reportedly runs 4.48 in the 40.
*Walnut Ridge wide receiver Rob Wheelwright added an offer from West Virginia to his profile at ScoutingOhio.com on Thursday.
The 6-3, 185-pounder is in the midst of the district boys basketball tournament for the Scots, but he should continue to garner significant interest recruiting-wise. He has offers from 10 other BCS schools in addition to West Virginia, including Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska, Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota and Michigan from the Big Ten.
West Virginia also has sent out recent offers from Cincinnati Moeller running back Keith Watkins and Trotwood-Madison linebacker Mike McCray.
*Follow us on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek and @ThisWeekSports.
February 23, 2012
It's tough to earn scholarship money in a non-revenue sport such as men's track and field, but the hard work done by Westerville North senior Joey Wilkin has paid off.
After making it to state a year ago in the 110-meter hurdles, Wilkin signed a letter of appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy on Wednesday.
Wilkin won the OCC-Cardinal Division title in the event last season and was one of six juniors to compete in the event at state.
According to Wilkin's father, North assistant coach Jon Wilkin, Joey finished 13th in the USATF Junior Olympic Nationals in Wichita, Kan., last summer, and also was 16th in the 400 hurdles.
*For recruiting news in all sports, follow me on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek
February 23, 2012
At the end of the school day Wednesday afternoon, Marion-Franklin wide receiver Jaron Dukes sat down with coach Brian Haffele and talked about what had started to become obvious to him in recent days.
Now was as good of a time as any to announce his verbal commitment.
Dukes, who says he's grown to 6-foot-5 in recent months, will take his tall and athletic body to Michigan after verballing shortly after meeting with his coach.
Although Dukes isn't rated by Rivals.com or Scout.com, he does have numbers on his side: He runs the 40 in 4.6 and he finished with 36 catches for 670 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
Dukes also had offers from Toledo and Illinois and was considering Wisconsin but has had Michigan at the top of his list since visiting the school Feb. 10.
Since last Saturday, Michigan has added nine members to its 2013 recruiting class. Others from central Ohio to commit were Pickerington North tight end Jake Butt and Pickerington Central defensive end Taco Charlton.
"I sat down with my coach and he said, 'Are you 100 percent on this?'" Dukes said. "I said, 'Yes.' When I took the visit even before all of those guys committed, it just felt right."
Dukes is one of several Marion-Franklin players who should be on the recruiting watch over the coming days. Quarterback Corry Benson, offensive lineman Damon Dillard and athlete Joe Alverson also could end up as Division I recruits from the 2013 class.
*You can follow me on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek.
February 22, 2012
Marion-Franklin wide receiver Jaron Dukes is the latest central Ohio junior to verbal to Michigan's 2013 recruiting class. He joins Pickerington Central defensive lineman Taco Charlton and Pickerington North tight end Jake Butt, who verballed over the weekend.
The addition of Dukes brings Michigan's 2013 class to 12 players overall, which is three times as many as any other Big Ten school according to Scout.com. Ohio State currently has four.
Dukes, who also had offers from Illinois and Toledo, was recruited for his combination of pass-catching abilities and size: He's listed by some as 6-3, 195 and others as big as 6-4 1/2 and 200.
Last season, Dukes had 36 catches for 663 yards (18.4 average) and seven touchdowns. He also kicked extra points for the Red Devils.
According to Bucknuts, Dukes is listed as the No. 29 prospect in Ohio in the 2013 class. He had six catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns during Marion-Franklin's 47-44 loss to Trotwood-Madison in a Division II state semifinal last fall. Trotwood-Madison featured Ohio State-recruit Cameron Burrows at cornerback.
I'll try to have some comments from Dukes about his decision over the next 24 hours if possible.
*You can follow me on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek.
February 22, 2012
The last time Jacob Matuska was involved in a significant football play, the ball went just off the fingertips of the star tight end on a two-point conversion attempt as the Hartley football team lost to Kenton 30-28 in a Division IV regional final last November.
Over the next few days, it was discovered that Matuska needed surgery to repair a torn meniscus and would miss most of the current basketball season.
Nothing has seemed to slow Matuska, however, when it's come to his college future on the football field.
The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder whose residence is Pickerington has picked up 10 offers according to his profile on ScoutingOhio.com, with the latest coming Sunday night from Notre Dame.
For Matuska, a Catholic school like Notre Dame could be right at the top of his list.
A first-team all-district and second-team all-state selection who also helped the Hawks win the 2010 state title, Matuska has forced recruiters to take notice because of his superior speed (4.77 in 40) for someone his size.
His ability to bounce back quickly from an injury probably isn't hurting anything, either. He returned to the basketball court in January and should be a key factor in whether the Hawks make it back to the state tournament after their run last season.
Over the coming weeks, I'm planning to chat with Matuska as he nails down his college decision.
Cincinnati, Nebraska and Michigan also reportedly have offered.
*Speaking of Michigan ...
Brady Hoke has done quite a rebuilding job since taking over last year, first signing a pair of five-star prospects for 2012 (Kyle Kalis and Ondre Pipkins) and then getting eight players from the 2013 class to commit over a two-day period last weekend. While Taco Charlton and Jake Butt were the latest local guys to commit, Hoke already has a five-star quarterback (Shane Morris from DeLaSalle) also locked up.
What will Ohio State counter-punch with? Urban Meyer reportedly is heavy after a big-play wide receiver as well as a defensive back. One of his latest offers was Orlando wide receiver Tony Stevens, a 6-3, 175-pounder who is considered a three-star recruit.
It'll be interesting to see if the Buckeyes go after Walnut Ridge wide receiver Rob Wheelwright or if he'll end up being a fall-back option.
*You can now follow me on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek
February 19, 2012
It was a heck of a weekend to be a Michigan -- and Pickerington -- football fan.
On the same Saturday night that the Michigan men's basketball team was making Ohio State look very bad on national TV, Pickerington Central defensive end Taco Charlton announced he was verbally committing to play for the Wolverines. The 6-6, 235-pound defensive end was among six players to verbal to Michigan on this particular Saturday.
I chatted with Charlton after his team beat Reynoldsburg in a boys basketball game Friday night, and he mentioned that he and Pickerington North's Jake Butt both were going to take a visit to Michigan the next day.
But little did I know at that time ... that both Charlton and Butt would be making their decisions over the next 36 hours.
Charlton verballed sometime late Saturday night, while at around 7 p.m. Sunday night, Butt, after giving it a few more hours thought, decided to take his 6-3, 235-pound frame to Michigan. Butt will play tight end for the Wolverines.
"It feels so good to be a Michigan Wolverine," Butt said on his Twitter account. "(I) can't wait to catch passes from my dude and new teammate (DeLaSalle recruit Shane Morris)."
Whatever Brady Hoke has been telling recruits has been working: The Wolverines now have 10 recruits to their 2013 class.
Morris is a five-star recruit, while Butt is ranked No. 96 among Rivals.com's top 100 prospects. Both Butt and Charlton are considered four-star recruits by Rivals.com.
The next question has to be: What is Urban Meyer's next move?
February 17, 2012
The Pickerington Central football program has put together a fantastic group of athletes the last few years, the results of which have included a pair of state runner-up finishes.
Junior defensive end Taco Charlton is the latest member of the Tigers' program to become a prominent figure in recruiting circles.
Charlton has the athleticism to go along with his 6-foot-6, 245-pound body that has made major programs notice, and barring the unexpected is going to sign with a BCS school.
According to ScoutingOhio.com, Charlton was offered by North Carolina on Thursday. He already has offers from Big Ten schools such as Nebraska, Michigan, Illinois, Purdue and Iowa among the 14 that reportedly have offered. Schools such as Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Cincinnati are others looking to be in the mix.
One of the things that has to be making recruiters salivate is his speed: According to his profile page on ScoutingOhio.com, he runs 40 yards in 4.7 seconds -- that's blazing for someone his size. Charlton made honorable mention all-district last fall as the Tigers went 11-3.
Anyone interested in checking him out now can see him on the basketball court over the coming weeks for the fourth-seeded Tigers in the Divsion I district tournament.
*Two members of the three-time defending Division I state champion Reynoldsburg girls track team and a key member of St. Charles track program have made their college decisions.
Destinee Gause signed to compete collegiately for Florida on Feb. 10, and Raiders teammate Faith Washington was expected to sign with Vanderbilt on Friday, Feb. 17.
Although the Raiders have had numerous amazing athletes come through their program the last few years, these two have been the backbone of all three state-championship teams. They were major contributors even to the 2009 team that's probably the greatest girls track team in Ohio high school history. It should be exciting to see if they can help the Raiders make it four in a row later this spring.
According to a report in the Columbus Dispatch, St. Charles senior middle-distance runner Stevyn Spees will run collegiately for Army.
Last season, Spees ran on the 3,200 relay that finished second in a program-record 7 minute, 47.53 seconds at the Division I state meet. Spees also finished 11th in the 400 (49.5) at state. He also can run the 800 and 1,600, which should make him a versatile commodity for the Cardinals this spring as well as in the future.
Others throughout central ohio from the 2012 graduating class who reportedly have signed track scholarships include Gahanna's Jake Blankenship (Tennessee), Canal Winchester's Antonio Whitfield (Michigan), Hilliard Davidson's Caroline Hildebrand (Ohio) and Johnstown's Stephanie Loshbough (Ohio).
If there are any track athletes from the current class who have signed or are planning to sign that are not listed, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to help me add to the list.
February 16, 2012
About a decade ago, there was a special wide receiver talent that came through the central Ohio named Ernie Wheelwright.
He was athletic, he had talent and he ended up becoming a big star for Minnesota when the Gophers were still at least somewhat relevant in the Big Ten. It was a time when former OSU assistant Glen Mason went hard for central Ohio recruits, and Wheelwright ended up being one of his big successes. The former Walnut Ridge standout eventually finished in the top 10 in Minnesota's career receiving yards list.
There's no way to know for sure at this time if Wheelwright's younger brother, junior Rob Wheelwright, will have the same kind of college success, but it seems likely that he's going to get his chance.
Also a Walnut Ridge standout, Wheelwright was among the various talents to attend Ohio State's junior day Feb. 12, and he reportedly sat down one-on-one with Urban Meyer.
Wheelwright doesn't currently have an Ohio State offer, but he has been offered by Minnesota as well as Boston College, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Wisconsin.
At 6-foot-2, 170 pounds and reportedly a good student, Wheelwright had 44 receptions and scored 12 touchdowns last fall for the Scots.
Although the Scots went just 5-5 last fall and have remained a step behind City League-South Division-rival Marion-Franklin on the state-level the last several years, coach Byron Mattox is a respected coach throughout the area as well as by recruiters. Austin Traylor, a 2011 Walnut Ridge graduate who played tight end and defensive end, was one of the area's biggest targets a year ago before eventually signing with Wisconsin.
It'll be interesting to see if Wisconsin stays in the race for Wheelwright. Joe Rudolph was the tight ends coach for the Badgers and was among those who reportedly recruited Wheelwright while he was still at Wisconsin, but Rudolph took over in the offseason as an assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach for Pittsburgh.
Anyone curious to check out the athleticism of Wheelwright should be able to see him in the Fairgrounds Coliseum in the coming weeks: He's a member of the Scots' boys basketball team that earned the second seed for the Division I district tournament.
February 14, 2012
After Luke Fickell took over as Ohio State's coach last June, one of the scholarship offers he reportedly sent out was to Hilliard Darby's Caleb Day from the 2013 recruiting class.
Listed as an athlete, the future of the 6-foot, 175-pounder could be at either wide receiver or cornerback because of his athleticism. Although schools such as Michigan, Indiana, Purdue and Wisconsin also have shown interest, Day's only offer currently is from Ohio State.
Day met the Buckeyes' new coaching staff Feb. 12 at OSU's junior day.
Last season at Darby, Day made first-team all-district at defensive back after making 23 tackles, blocking one field goal and having six pass breakups. He also had 19 catches for 359 yards with 10 touchdowns on offense.
Considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, Day's addition would add further athleticism to a 2013 Buckeyes class that already includes Middletown' Jalin Marshall and Trotwood-Madison cornerback Cameron Burrows. Marshall is considered an athlete after finishing with 1,859 yards and 20 touchdowns rushing while playing quarterback.
Ohio State got an early Valentine's Day gift when Youngstown Austintown-Fitch defensive tackle Billy Price verbally committed on Feb. 13. The 6-foot-4, 265-pounder is considered a four-star recruit. According to the News-Herald from Northeast Ohio, the Buckeyes also have offered Mentor quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
*According to reports on ScoutingOhio.com, Bowling Green and Toledo have been busy with offers to central Ohio players from the 2013 class.
Westerville South's Marcus Ball, who plays quarterback and safety, is considered a college prospect for his defense and was among those that Toledo recently offers. The Rockets also have reportedly offered Whetstone defensive lineman Dezwan Polk.
Bowling Green recently offered Darby linebacker Cameron Kohl, Reynoldsburg wide receiver Mykel Traylor-Bennett and Dublin Jerome running back William Houston.
February 8, 2012
Hello, and welcome to "On the Recruiting Trail." Thanks for visiting, and I hope you'll enjoy the news content and commentary that will be provided on this webpage in the coming days.
So what is "On the Recruiting Trail"?
The short answer is that it will represent the ONLY webpage devoted strictly to central Ohio athletes in all sports as they undergo the recruiting process and eventually settle on whatever college they'll be competing at athletically.
On National Signing Day this year, there were dozens of high school athletes from the 2012 graduating class who ended up signing to play collegiately in sports such as football, soccer and field hockey. Combine that with the numerous others who signed last November and who will be signing in the coming months, and the near future of literally hundreds of high school athletes who we've followed over the past four years will have been determined during the 2011-12 school year.
This site will help you track the progress of athletes such as these as they emerge on the high school or club sports scene, begin to sift through college offers and eventually settle on a school in the coming days and months.
Looking for football recruiting news?
There will be PLENTY of that.
Wondering how stars such as Pickerington North's Godwin Igwebuike or Hartley's Jacob Matuska are coming along in their recruiting processes, with opinions about how it might affect their future college programs?
This will be the place to go.
Want to know if girls basketball players like Northland's Alexis Peterson and Reynoldsburg's Alyssa Rice are getting close to making their decisions, or how this year's crop of baseball players stacks up in the recruiting world?
Just as National Signing Day on Feb. 1 marked the end of the recruiting process for many seniors, it's now time to watch the drama unfold for the members of the 2013 class and beyond.
Be sure to check back frequently for blog entries, links to newsworthy items, stories about local athletes and anything of interest recruiting-wise to followers of central Ohio high school sports.
Here's a link to the "College Commitments" page on ThisWeekSPORTS.com to get your juices flowing:
- Coffman's Walsh picks up offer to Ohio University
- Eastmoor's Edwards picks up offer from West Virginia
- Walnut Ridge's Wheelwright moving closer to pick; Matuska adds 3 offers
- Recruiting picking up for North's Igwebuike; Wheelwright adds offer
- Westerville North's Wilkin to run for Air Force
- Marion-Franklin's Dukes says Michigan 'just felt right'
- Michigan nabs Marion-Franklin wide receiver
- Hartley's Matuska offered by Notre Dame; OSU-Michigan battle heating up
- Pickerington's Butt, Charlton commit to Michigan
- Tiger's Charlton adds offer; area track stars make college choices
- Walnut Ridge's Wheelwright garnering big-time interest at wide receiver
- Darby's Day meets OSU football staff; Toledo offers several from area
- Welcome to "On the Recruiting Trail"