The summer before their senior season is a busy time for the nation's top girls basketball players in making their college decisions, and Northland's super-talented Alexis Peterson followed suit by verbally committing to Syracuse a few weeks ago.
I think Peterson, who was the Division I district Player of the Year and the ThisWeek Super 12 captain last winter, has had future collegian on her resume for a long time.
From the first time I saw her as a freshman, I noticed right away that Peterson clearly had the ball-handling skills, confidence and toughness to be a superstar despite being only 5-6. Her shooting has improved since that time as well.
Peterson helped Northland win its first City League championship since 1998 and to a second consecutive district title along the way to a 24-2 record last season. She averaged 18.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 4.1 steals and has averaged 16.2 points for her prep career. She has 1,092 career points.
She also considered Xavier, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
"I chose Syracuse because of my relationship with the coaches," Peterson said on a text message. "I love the style of play and (wanted) to get the full college experience. My freshman year they'll be playing in one of the more competitive conferences in the ACC. I feel as though I can go to Syracuse and make a difference."
Syracuse went 22-15 last season while playing in the Big East and advanced to the Women's NIT semifinals.
Over the next two-plus months, we get a chance to watch players like Greg Basalyga of Pickerington Central and Ronnie Dawson of Licking Heights attempt to lead their football teams to big seasons.
Those two are among central Ohio's football standouts whose skills in baseball have earned them college scholarships.
During the summer, according to Prepbaseballreport.com, Basalyga committed to play baseball for Bowling Green while Dawson verbally committed to play for Ohio State.
Basalyga is a 5-11, 215-pounder who is expected to play third base at the college level. He also is a catcher and pitcher for the Tigers. He made second-team all-OCC-Ohio Division last season as the Tigers went 16-11 overall and 9-4 in the league.
Dawson is a 6-0, 231-pound outfielder who was the MSL-Cardinal Division Player of the Year and second-team all-district in Division II last season. He batted .526 in the league and .471 overall to help Licking Heights go 19-5 and win its second consecutive league title.
By the way, for college baseball fans, prepbaseballreport.com is a must-have on your favorites. The site provides a list of commitments as well as lists of some of the players in other states as well as Ohio State.
The Pickerington Central football team has cranked out Division I prospects the past few years, including having Taco Charlton become one of the first 2013 recruits from central Ohio when he verbally committed to Michigan in February.
Adding to the Tigers' resume is senior Nick Walter, who has earned a scholarship to be a long snapper at Miami.
Having scholarships for the long snapper has become increasingly popular for Division I colleges the last few years, and Walter is a beneficiary of that.
Chris Rubio, who according to his own blog is the No. 1 authority on long snappers in the country, told Scout.com that he was "very impressed" with Walter. Rubio also said that Walter is "massive and put together well."
Walter, in addition to being the Tigers' long snapper, should be a key lineman this fall as his team looks to get back to the state championship game.
"I chose Miami because the coaching staff at Miami is one of a kind," Walter said in a text message. "When I visited there, all of the coaches made me feel like I was at home. Another reason why I picked Miami was because the academics are the best fit for me.
"I started long-snapping in seventh grade, but I didn't really see a future in it right away. It started getting real serious recruiting wise at the beginning of my junior year. I received my first full scholarship offer to long snap at the University of Eastern Michigan in the middle of my junior year. I was truly grateful that I got an offer from them, but I wanted to wait and see if I would get any other offers. (In early August) I received my second full athletic scholarship to the University of Miami and I committed on the spot with no hesitation."
Hilliard Darby outfielder Chris Ramsey followed up a solid junior season last spring by verbally committing over the summer to play college baseball for Valparaiso.
He'll play under former Columbus Clippers player and current Valpo coach Tracy Woodson.
Last spring, Ramsey hit .352 with 24 runs, 10 doubles, 11 RBI and five stolen bases as the Panthers went 14-14 overall and placed second at 10-4 in the OCC-Central Division behind Thomas Worthington (11-3). Darby lost in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
According to this story on PrepBaseballReport.com, Ramsey likes the academics that Valpo offers.
Valparaiso won the Horizon League regular season and tournament title to qualify for the NCAA tournament last spring.
Woodson, meanwhile, played for the Dodgers in 1988 when they won the World Series and spent five years in Majors. He played for the Clippers in 1996.
Coming off their second appearance in the Division I state tournament last winter, the Reynoldsburg girls basketball team has begun to garner more and more national attention.
In addition to junior Alyssa Rice being one of the top recruits in the country, a pair of members from the 2012-13 graduating class made their verbal commitments over the summer.
Shiloh Murphy, who averaged 6.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 1.6 assists while making special mention all-OCC-Ohio last winter, verbally committed to Morehead State.
Destini Cooper, who has started since her freshman year and averaged 10 points and 7.4 rebounds while making second-team all-league, verbally committed to Ohio University.
In addition, senior point guard Yamonie Jenkins has been getting looks from schools like Ohio University. The Bobcats already have gotten a verbal from Gahanna point guard Quiera Lampkins, and Africentric graduate Kiyanna Black is joining OU this winter.
Others from throughout central Ohio who have verballed from the 2012-13 class are Africentric's Marley Hill (Cincinnati), Gahanna's Zenobia Bess (Illinois State) and Maddison Blackwell (Xavier) and Olentangy Orange's Taylor Agler (Indiana).
One of the biggest reasons the Pickerington North football team is being looked at as one of central Ohio's best teams this fall is the return of senior Jake Butt, a versatile two-way player who verbally committed to Michigan in February.
Another is that senior running back and defensive back Godwin Igwebuike also is back.
After wracking up offers to BCS schools like Duke, Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Wisconsin over the past few months, the 6-foot, 180-pound standout verballed to Northwestern last week.
Last season, Igwebuike rushed for 1,046 yards and 14 touchdowns on offense and had five interceptions and made first-team all-district on defense.
"I was considering Duke, Wisconsin, Pitt and Illinois," Igwebuike said on a text message. "Northwestern was the perfect fit for me. Great academics, Big Ten football and awesome coaches and campus."
What kind of season might Igwebuike have this fall? With Butt seeing time at either wide receiver or tight end and with another Division I recruit, Chris Huhn (Western Kentucky), on the offensive line, the Panthers should flourish. Their only big question has to do with whether they can win a big game after never having beaten Pickerington Central or having won a playoff game in program history.
Igwebuike, who attended Central his first two years of high school, could help with both goals.
The return of players like Jake Butt and Godwin Igwebuike should give the Pickerington North football team plenty of optimism entering the 2012 season.
Over the past few months, a more under-the-radar prospect for the Panthers -- senior offensive lineman Chris Huhn -- emerged on the recruiting front.
At 6-6 and about 290, Huhn verbally committed to Western Kentucky in mid-July.
"I love the coaches and the whole team atmosphere," Huhn said in a text. "Those were my two most important factors while making my decision."
According to Huhn's profile on Rivals.com, he is a three-star prospect who also had offers from Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Marshall, Miami, Ohio University and Toledo as well as a BCS offer from Louisville.
Last season, the Hilltoppers went 7-5 but won seven of their last eight games, with the only loss during that sequence coming to eventual national runner-up LSU (42-9).
Butt verbally committed in February to play for Michigan. Igwebuike is a three-star prospect according to Rivals who has 14 Division I scholarship offers. Nebraska and Wisconsin are among his most impressive offers.
*Follow us this fall on Twitter at @UlreyThisWeek and @ThisWeekSports for the best coverage of central Ohio football.
Dec 04, 2013 | Currently: 60° Overcast