Three-time Division II state singles qualifier Rachael Morales made a verbal commitment earlier this month to play for Marshall University, according to coach Lynn Winters.
Morales, who plays first singles for the Hartley girls tennis team, was a district runner-up last season. Because of what honestly was some bad luck in her state draw, she fell to eventual state runner-up Courtney Earnest of Lexington 7-6, 1-6, 6-2 in her opening state match.
Morales, according to Winters, also considered Toledo, Southern Illinois and Cleveland State.
"Bishop Hartley High School and the tennis team are so excited about Rachael's future plans in playing college tennis," Winters said. "All of her life Rachael has dedicated herself to the game of tennis. The last four years she has been extremely successful and has made Bishop Hartley a better program, but above all Rachael is sweet, caring and a tremendous teammate. We are excited about what lay ahead of her these next few weeks of her senior season and I know she will have a successful college career."
Despite his height, 6-foot-6 senior Aaron Jackson's game always has been typified by his versatility and ability to handle the basketball. He never has fit the mold of slow-moving post player.
The talented Gahanna Lincoln athlete has parlayed his skills into a Division I scholarship, as he verbally committed during the second week of September to Akron.
Last season, Jackson earned first-team all-OCC-Ohio Division, third-team all-district in Division I and a spot on the ThisWeek Super 12. He averaged 14 points, 5.5 rebounds, two assists and two steals.
"I feel like those coaches are my family already," Jackson said on a text message. "They were one of the first school recruiting me, and I just felt the best fit was the Zips."
According to Jackson, Westerville North's Jack Gibbs also is considering Akron. That duo together would be fun to watch over the next few years if Gibbs does end up picking the school.
After Jackson helped Gahanna go 16-7 and reach a district semifinal last season, he will join a program that went 22-12 and lost to Northwestern in the first round of the NIT a year ago.
The first month of the season yielded strong starts for several of the area's top football recruits, including Pickerington North's Godwin Igwebuike, Walnut Ridge's Rob Wheelwright, Dublin Jerome's Donovan Wilson and Hartley's Ja'Wuan Woodley.
Igwebuike, who might end up specializing at defensive back when he plays for Northwestern, has rushed for 809 yards and 12 touchdowns through four games. This kid has a strong burst and seems to have an eye for finding holes, on top of the fact that opponents struggle to keep up with him when he gets loose.
Igwebuike really is special.
Wilson has verbally committed to Georgia Tech and has rushed for 699 yards and eight touchdowns. He rushed for 239 yards in Jerome's 28-26 win that handed Hilliard Bradley its first loss Sept. 14.
Wheelwright, who is a Wisconsin commit, has 18 catches for 388 yards for a 21.6 average. Watch out for him when he gets in the open field as well.
Woodley's numbers are solid: 541 yards with six touchdowns. But then when you keep in mind that the Toledo recruit splits time at running back with another talented RB, Marcellus Calhoun, and then factor in that Hartley has been crushing people -- thus keeping Woodley from getting significant carries late in games -- and those numbers are right on track.
One of the fun things about my job happens when I get to watch a player come along in a visible sport like basketball as a sophomore and develop into a college prospect.
Reynoldsburg senior Wendell Davis is a player who fits that description, considering he started to become a key player as a sophomore and earlier this month made a verbal commitment to play for Ashland University.
Davis showed flashes of being a solid player for the Raiders two seasons ago and then became one of central Ohio's top players last season, as he improved his all-around game and averaged 14.1 points and eight rebounds.
Reynoldsburg wouldn't have pulled one of the bigger upsets of the last 20 years, when it beat Northland 53-51 in a Division I district championship game last season, without Davis. He scored 17 points, including the winning basket in the game. He also had 28 points in the Raiders' regional semifinal loss to Canton McKinley 57-49.
About the only thing I can think of that held Davis back from being a Division I recruit is that he's 6-foot-4 with a game slightly more suited for being a post player.
He also was offered by Walsh, Notre Dame College of South Euclid and Findlay.
"Out of all those schools, Ashland had the best academic program," Davis said in a text message. "Also, their basketball program is on the rise."
Last season, Ashland went 15-12.
The girls basketball recruiting news has continued to flow in recent weeks, and the latest commitment is Reynoldsburg senior Yamonie Jenkins.
With Jenkins' recent verbal commitment to Ohio University, the Raiders now have three players from the 2013 class who will play collegiately. The other two are Destini Cooper, who also will go to OU, and Shiloh Murphy, who will sign with Morehead State.
According to coach Jack Purtell, they'll all sign during the early signing period which takes place in November.
Jenkins only averaged 5.7 points last season but she's shown excellent point-guard skills, averaging 5.6 assists, 4.0 steals and 2.2 rebounds while making first-team all-OCC-Ohio Division and honorable mention all-district.
The top recruit on the Raiders' team is Alyssa Rice, a 6-3 post player, but she's only a junior.
Needless to say, there's an awful lot to be excited about for Raiders fans this coming season after their team made its second state semifinal appearance last winter.
Other area girls from throughout central Ohio who have verballed from the 2012-13 class are Northland's Alexis Peterson (Syracuse), Africentric's Marley Hill (Cincinnati), Gahanna's Quiera Lampkins (Ohio U.), Zenobia Bess (Illinois State) and Maddison Blackwell (Xavier) and Olentangy Orange's Taylor Agler (Indiana).
May 24, 2013 | Currently: 48° Overcast