• Walnut Ridge's Wheelwright to play for Wisconsin

    Walnut Ridge junior Rob Wheelwright will follow in the footsteps of his older brother and be a Big Ten wide receiver after he verbally committed to Wisconsin on Saturday night.

    A 6-foot-3, 185-pounder who has run the 40 in 4.5 seconds according to his profile page on ScoutingOhio.com, Wheelwright had 12 Division I offers. He also was offered by Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and Purdue from the Big Ten as well as Miami (Ohio), Boston College, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia.

    Wheelwright's older brother, Ernie Wheelwright, formerly played for Minnesota.

    He will join former Walnut Ridge tight end/defensive end Austin Traylor, a 2011 graduate, with the Badgers.

    "He was at their spring game Saturday and really liked their coaches and the atmosphere there," Scots coach Byron Mattox said. "Austin's up there, so that didn't hurt."

    Wheelwright finished with 44 catches for 600 yards and 12 touchdowns last season as the Scots went 5-5.

    From central Ohio, he joins Pickerington North's Jake Butt (Michigan), Hartley's Jacob Matuska (Notre Dame), Marion-Franklin's Jarod Dukes (Michigan) and Pickerington Central's Taco Charlton (MIchigan) as players from the 2013 class who have verballed to BCS schools.

    Pickerington North's Godwin Igwebuike, Westerville South's Marcus Ball, Hilliard Darby's Caleb Day and New Albany's Darron Lee are among those considered three-star recruits or higher by Scout.com who could join them at BCS schools over the coming months.

    *Follow us on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek and @ThisWeekSports.

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    By: Jarrod Ulrey

    4 / 30 / 12


  • Wildcats' Ball likes Irish but keeping options open

    Westerville South junior Marcus Ball is trying to enjoy himself throughout his recruiting process.

    The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder who starred at both quarterback and in the defensive backfield last fall for the Wildcats enjoyed his visit to Notre Dame earlier this month so much that he now lists the Irish as the top candidate to land his services in the 2013 recruiting class.

    However, he's nowhere close to making a final decision.

    "Some (teams are interested in me) for safety, some (athlete), couple for WR," Ball said via text message. "I don't think I'll be verballing soon. I want to take my five officials or make a decision midway through (my) senior season."

    Ball is planning to take visits to Arizona State, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, which each have offered.

    Another school that hasn't yet offered, Wisconsin, also could move into the picture.

    He said earlier this week that he's considering traveling to Wisconsin this weekend to watch his brother, Ray Ball, play in the Badgers' spring game. Ray Ball was a redshirt freshman last fall.

    Ball completed 80 of 139 passes for 1,232 yards with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions and rushed for 298 yards and one touchdown while making first-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division and special mention all-district, but it seems unlikely that he'll play quarterback in college. He expects to play quarterback and in the secondary for the Wildcats next fall.

    *Some of central Ohio's other top uncommitted recruits from the 2013 class also have been busy picking up offers.

    According to ScoutingOhio.com, Pickerington North's Godwin Igwebuike and Eastmoor's Devon Edwards both were offered by North Carolina State, New Albany's Darron Lee was offered by Cincinnati and Olentangy Liberty's Grant Cartwright was offered by Army.

    *Follow us on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek and @ThisWeekSports.

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    By: Jarrod Ulrey

    4 / 26 / 12


  • DeSales' Ball excited to get started with Buckeyes

    DeSales senior running back Warren Ball knows the situation that he's about to enter.

    On April 20, he got a small dose of his future on the Ohio State football team when he made five catches for 46 yards and was the Offensive MVP for the South team in the Ohio North-South All-Star game in Ohio Stadium.

    Ball, who is In the midst of his final track season with the Stallions, knows he'll be in for quite a battle over the coming months once he gets enrolled and begins working out full-time with the Buckeyes.

    Although Daniel "Boom" Herron is gone after rushing for 672 yards in just eight games last season, Carlos Hyde will be a junior and Jordan Hall will be a senior next season. They rushed for 566 and 408 yards, respectively last fall.

    Combine that with the fact that redshirt sophomore Rod Smith rushed for 116 yards last fall and Canton GlenOak's Bri'onte Dunn is another member of the 2012 recruiting class but already has enrolled, and it's probably going to feel a little crowded to Ball once he gets in the fold.

    "With school, it's tough to enroll early," Ball said. "When I get there, I plan to get to work right away and get right to it. I definitely will have to be patient because we definitely have some backs.

    "But I feel great. I feel like I could play another game right now."

    On the positive side for Ball is that new coach Urban Meyer hasn't been afraid to play freshmen in the past. Players such as Maurkice Pouncey and Joe Haden have been among those who saw significant action in their first year under Meyer.

    So far, the only 2013 running back who has verbally committed to Ohio State is Ezekiel Elliott from St. Louis. Like Ball, Elliott is considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com.

    *Follow us on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek and @ThisWeekSports.


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    By: Jarrod Ulrey

    4 / 24 / 12


  • Local recruits ready to shine in North-South games

    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.

    *Follow us on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek and @ThisWeekSports.

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    By: Jarrod Ulrey

    4 / 19 / 12


  • Darby's Day picks up 3 DI offers; Scots' Alexander signs

    One of central Ohio's top uncommitted football recruits from the 2013 class is Hilliard Darby defensive back Caleb Day -- but is he getting closer to a commitment?

    According to Panthers coach Jon Santagata, the 6-1, 186 speedster who picked up his first Division I offer from Ohio State last June recently added offers from Arkansas, Illinois and Louisville.

    His page on Rivals.com also lists him having an offer from Marshall.

    After Luke Fickell took over as Ohio State's coach last June, one of the scholarship offers he reportedly sent out was to Day.

    Listed as an athlete, Day's future could be at either wide receiver or cornerback because of his athleticism. Day met the Buckeyes' new coaching staff Feb. 12 at OSU's junior day.

    Last season at Darby, Day was 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's 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.

    I'm hoping to arrange an exclusing interview with Caleb over the next few days.

    *Found out a few days ago that Walnut Ridge senior forward Roy Alexander will play men's basketball for Lake Erie College in Painesville.

    Alexander helped the Scots reach back-to-back Division I district championship games and averaged 14 points while making third-team all-district this winter.

    He will join Olentangy senior post player Stephen Walczak as a Lake Erie signee.

    *Follow us on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek and @ThisWeekSports.

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    By: Jarrod Ulrey

    4 / 16 / 12


  • Gahanna softball trio, Panthers rower among area commits

    While athletes like Ohio State baseball signee Jacob Bosiokovic from Delaware and Florida track commit Destinee Gause of Reynoldsburg are among the highest-profile spring athletes to make their college decisions in recent weeks, numerous others from central Ohio also will playing at the next level.

    While this is by no means a comprehensive list, here's a few I've come across:

    *On April 11, Pickerington North senior Taylor Gainey signed to compete for Minnesota in women's rowing. With Pickerington having no rowing team, she competes for the Westerville rowing where nothing less than the best effort is tolerated by coaches Matt and Trish Chase. It's amazing how many Division I college athletes this program has cranked out the last few years.

    *On April 12, Gahanna softball players Sarah Seidel (Muskingum College), Tanya Busby (Cedarville University) and Montana Fishel (Ohio Dominican) are expected to sign to play in college. WIth that trio in the fold last year, the Lions were Division I state runners-up.

    *In late March, Pickerington North senior shot put and discus thrower Jasmine Simmons verbally committed to Akron University. Very interesting story here: Simmons was born deaf and had cochlear implants put in her ears when she was 2 years old.

    *Centennial senior track star Aarin Jones has committed to run for Purdue. Last year, she was fifth in the 400 meters at the Division I state meet.

    *On April 20, Beechcroft senior football player Kevin Chapple will sign with Urbana University.

    *In boys lacrosse, Ohio State has had Dublin Jerome's Wes Faulkenberry, Worthington Kilbourne's Tae Young Kim and Upper Arlington's Tyler Pfister all sign from the 2012 recruiting class.

    For 2013, the Buckeyes have received verbals from Olentangy's Tate Stover and DeSales' J.T. Blubaugh.

    *Dublin Coffman junior Brianna Turner and Hilliard Davidson junior Rachelle Walko will be teammates two springs from now after each made verbal commitments to WInthrop. Coffman was scheduled to play Davidson on April 11.

    *Follow us on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek and @ThisWeekSports.

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    By: Jarrod Ulrey

    4 / 11 / 12


  • South's Ball among area players who add DI football offers

    It's been more than a month since Hartley's Jacob Matuska became the last central Ohio football player to make his college verbal commitment, but athletes like Westerville South's Marcus Ball, Pickerington North's Godwin Igwebuike and Chris Huhn and Upper Arlington's Chris Frey have been busy since that time picking up offers.

    Ball, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound junior, most recently was offered by Pittsburgh and West Virginia according to his profile on ScoutingOhio.com.

    Last fall, the junior quarterback helped the Wildcats earn a share of the OCC-Cardinal Division championship by completing 80 of 139 passes for 1,232 yards with 11 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He also rushed for 298 yards and one touchdown while making first-team all-league and special mentiion all-district.

    College programs should enjoy the fact that he also could play free safety based on his 4.6 seconds.

    Among some of Ball's other offers are Toledo, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, Arizona State, Illinois, Minnesota and Kent State.

    "Growing up you're watching it and I always had a dream that I wanted to be that guy playing on the field, playing on TV," Ball told ThisWeekSPORTS.com last month. "I wanted to wear that jersey like Michael Vick and guys like that. I want to wear that jersey."

    Igwebuike's list continues to grow, as he was offered by Akron on Monday. He has close to 20 offers now.

    Huhn is a 6-6, 275-pound lineman who doesn't have much varsity experience for North but has the physical skills. And now he has offers from six Division I schools, with the latest coming from Akron as well.

    Frey is just a sophomore, but the 6-1, 192-pounder gained plenty of experience last fall at running back and linebacker for UA and picked up an offer last week from Northern Illinois. According to his ScoutingOhio profile, he is visiting schools such as Virginia Tech, UCLA, Bowling Green, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Illinois over the coming months.

    I'll do my best to keep the info updated regarding who Frey receives offers from over the coming months.

    *Follow us on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek and @ThisWeekSports.

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    By: Jarrod Ulrey

    4 / 10 / 12


  • College coaching ties help recruits stay on national radar

    The early commitments of junior football players like Jake Butt, Taco Charlton and Jaron Dukes to Michigan and Jacob Matuska to Notre Dame has helped to keep central Ohio football on the national radar during the past several weeks.

    Over the coming months, players like Pickerington North's Godwin Igwebuike, Walnut Ridge's Rob Wheelwright, New Albany's Darron Lee and Westerville South's Marcus Ball likely will join them as commits to major Division I programs.

    It's not surprising that Igwebuike has offers from places such as Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa, Kent State and Wisconsin, considering we do live in Big Ten country.

    Our location makes you wonder how a school like Buffalo ever ended up being one of the schools to offer Igwebuike or Pickerington North teammate Chris Huhn, or how Georgia Tech has begun to show interest in Beechcroft junior quarterback Maurice Hale.

    The easiest answer has to do with the ties that college coaches often can have to a particular area of the country.

    Jeff Quinn, who enters his third season as Buffalo's coach, is a perfect example of this. He was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for Cincinnati for three seasons before taking over the Bulls' program.

    Then there's David Walkosky, who is the special teams coordinator for Georgia Tech. He is a 1992 University of Toledo graduate who was Tiffin's head coach from 2008-10 before serving a one-year stint as linebackers coach for Calgary of the CFL.

    Beechcroft coach Bruce Ward recently got a call from Walkosky inquiring about Hale, a 6-2, 190-pounder who made ThisWeek Super 25 honorable mention last fall after leading his team to the playoffs.

    You could call it the Glen Mason effect. After serving as an assistant for Ohio State, Mason attempted to recruit numerous central Ohio players once he became the head coach for Minnesota.

    *Follow us on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek and @ThisWeekSports.

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    By: Jarrod Ulrey

    4 / 6 / 12


  • Area's top football recruits to stay busy in track season

    Lovers of track and field will have lots to savor this spring, and there should be plenty to keep followers of central Ohio's top football players busy as well.

    Gahanna's Jake Blankenship (Tennessee), Reynoldsburg's Destinee Gause (Florida) and Faith Washington (Vanderbilt) all will have a chance to shine on the track for the final time spring before heading out to compete collegiately in track. Reynoldsburg's Tsehaye Hiluf, the defending champion in the 3,200 meters, is undecided but should help provide memories as well.

    Then there are the numerous football recruits from the 2012 and 2013 classes who should be standouts despite track not even being their best sport.

    Olentangy's Joshua Perry was an early enrollee at Ohio State after finishing fifth in the long jump at state last season, but some of his future teammates will be competing in track for the respective high school teams. Among those include Pickerington North's Pat Elflein, Upper Arlington's Frank Epitropoulos and DeSales'  Warren Ball.

    Last season, Elflein was a regional qualifier in the shot put, Epitropoulos was a regional qualifier in the long jump and 400 and Ball ran on the 800 relay at the state meet.

    Other football recruits from the 2012 class hoping to run to track glory during their final prep endeavors include Thomas Worthington's Nana Kyeremeh (West Virginia) and Pickerington Central's Sebastian Smith (Ohio University). Kyeremeh might just be the best track athlete of all of the seniors, considering he's already helped the Cardinals' 1,600 relay to an indoor state title and the 800 relay to the outdoor state title last June.

    Two of the top recruits from the 2013 class, Hilliard Darby's Caleb Day and Pickerington North's Godwin Igwebuike, are competing in track this spring as well.

    Wake Forest recently offered Igwebuike, giving him 14 Division I offers to sift through over the coming months.

    Day, who was 14th in the state in the 300 hurdles last season, has been offered by Ohio State.

    *Follow us on Twitter at @ThisWeekSports and @UlreyThisWeek.

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    By: Jarrod Ulrey

    4 / 4 / 12