• Anu, Hill among area football players who receive offers

    One of the players I was impressed with when I saw Westerville Central open the season against DeSales back in August was senior cornerback Eldin Anu.

    At 5-10, 165 and with burner speed, Anu made first-team all-district as the Warhawks made it to the second round of the Division I, Region 1 playoffs.

    According to his page on Scout.com, Anu picked up his fourth Division I offer Thursday when The Citadel offered. He also has been offered by Kent State, Robert Morris and Savannah State.

    Another of central Ohio's top defensive backs this season was Worthington Kilbourne's Seth Hill.

    Hill, who made first-team all-district in Division II for a Wolves team that made it to the second round of the Region 5 playoffs and also was named to the ThisWeek Super 25, let me know earlier this week that he received an offer from the Air Force Academy.

    "The coach called me (Nov. 19) and offered me a full scholarship," Hill said. "I am very excited about this."

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    By: Jarrod Ulrey

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    11 / 22 / 13

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  • Girls basketball: Hart, Rice headline strong 2014 class

    Central Ohio hasn't had many girls basketball recruiting classes as deep as the one it produced a year ago.

    There was the incomparable Alexis Peterson, who was easy to project as a star even when she was a freshman, signing with Syracuse.

    Olentangy Orange's Taylor Agler took her smooth shooting game to Indiana.

    Among those going the mid-major route were five players from Gahanna and three from Reynoldsburg.

    In all there were 14 from the area who signed with Division I programs before the 2012-13 season, and Gahanna's Reyna Montgomery signed a few months later with Detroit Mercy.

    That number was up from the five Division I recruits that came out of the 2011-12 class.

    This year's class, which features Africentric's Alexa Hart and Reynoldsburg's Alyssa Rice, is a lot like the one produced a year ago in terms of its depth and talent at the top.

    Although I admit I haven't yet seen Hart play, she's 6-3 and should have a chance to shine in her only season this winter with the Nubians. She transferred from Lake Ridge Academy and sat out last season.

    While Hart signed with Ohio State, Rice is another 6-3 post player and has signed with Kentucky.

    Rice is well-known for her defense, but she's reportedly worked intensely on her offense in the offseason. It should be interesting to see how much she's improved now that she'll be Reynoldsburg's No. 1 offensive option.

    Others to sign from those programs over the past few days during the early signing period were Alexus Parks (Western Michigan) and Darianne Seward (Detroit Mercy) from Africentric and Nicole Orr (Butler) from Reynoldsburg.

    Pickerington North always seems to have someone signing early, and this year it had three with Morgan Bassett-Smith (New Hampshire), Brittany Johnson (Quinnipiac) and Jordan Toohey (Radford).

    There are two other Division I recruits that will reside in the OCC-Ohio this winter in Pickerington Central's Aajah Hawkins and Amari Hawkins, who both signed with Florida International.

    Throw in Newark's Maggie Mitchell signing with Ashland, and the OCC-Ohio as usual should be a go-to spot for good girls basketball.

    Also committing was Upper Arlington's Andi Norman (Dartmouth).

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    By: Jarrod Ulrey

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    11 / 19 / 13

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  • Boys basketball: 2014 class includes depth, star talent

    It's not every year that a central Ohio boys basketball recruiting class produces a Big Ten recruit, and even more rare is one like the 2014 class that has two.

    Throw in a few mid-major talents, and there should be some exciting moments this winter -- particularly in the OCC-Ohio Division.

    During the early signing period this week, Pickerington Central's Jae'Sean Tate signed with Ohio State while Gahanna's Javon Bess will be signing with Michigan State on Friday.

    Most people who follow central Ohio recruiting know that both helped the Tigers win the 2012 state championship before Bess transferred to Gahanna, the school system he grew up in.

    The 6-5 Tate saw a lot of his time around the basket last year, averaging 21.9 points and 12 rebounds while being named the ThisWeek Super 12 captain and first-team all-district.

    When he gets to college, though, he projects as a small forward for the Buckeyes so undoubtedly he'll be working on his outside shooting over the coming months.

    Bess, also a 6-5 forward, immediately fit in at Gahanna last year as he averaged 18 points and eight rebounds while helping the team reach a regional final.

    While Tate was the first commitment in Ohio State's class, Bess was among the last in Michigan State's. He also projects as a small forward collegiately with his ability to attack the rim and with solid ball-handling ability.

    It should be fun to watch Bess play this winter with the Lions' Matthew Moyer, a sophomore who is among the hottest recruits from the 2016 class.

    Other guys who are signing early with smaller Division I schools are Pickerington Central's Connor Kern (Arkansas State), Westerville Central's Eric James (Duquesne) and Upper Arlington's Kevin Vannatta (UNC-Asheville).

    Ohio Dominican's growing sports program hit central Ohio hard, reeling in Northland's Shemar Waugh, Olentangy Liberty's Michael DeLeon and Brookhaven's Ronnie Williams. Newark's Teddy Metzen committed to Ashland.

    Who are some other 2014 prospects to watch this winter?

    Walnut Ridge point guard Dymeire Finch and Northland shooting guard Derrick McKeithon could be two of the better backcourt players in the City this fall.

    Northland lost Armani Towns to graduation after making what was honestly a surprising run to a state semifinal last year, but it won't be under the radar this time. The Vikings also have one of the top recruits in the 2016 class in Seth Towns, who plays on the same AAU team as Moyer.

    There should be enough flash to keep hoops enthusiasts on their seat throughout the coming winter.

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    By: Jarrod Ulrey

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    11 / 14 / 13

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  • Playoffs give recruits another chance to shine

    Based on the traffic that joeeitel.com got last Friday night, finding out what teams make the playoffs is a little like opening Christmas presents for big high school football fans.

    There will be 15 teams from the Central District that will begin their postseasons Nov. 8 and another 12 that will play in playoff openers Nov. 9.

    As evidence to how special it is to get a Division I football scholarship, I counted up how many of those 27 teams have a player who already has made a verbal commitment to an FBS program, and I came up with this number: Eight.

    I bet you thought it would be a lot higher than that.

    There are some very talented players from the area in the 2014 recruiting class, like Kyle Trout of Lancaster, Darryl Long of Westerville South, Noah Spielman of Upper Arlington, but their seasons are over.

    The playoffs no doubt will open a few eyes regarding players who might still be under the radar, particularly for rising juniors.

    Here's the list of those that already have verballed, and where they'll be playing this weekend:

    St. Charles at Zanesville, 7:30 p.m. Friday -- OL Nathan Puthoff (Kent State) and S Ben Hale (Bowling Green)

    Ready vs. Oak Hill, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Upper Arlington -- OL Brady Taylor (Virginia Tech)

    Bellaire at Newark Catholic, 7:30 p.m. Friday -- QB/P Chayce Crouch (Illinois)

    Zane Trace at Hartley, 7 p.m. Saturday -- DL Kalil Morris (Kent State) and DB Alonzo Saxton (Duke)

    Solon at Westerville Central, 7 p.m. Saturday -- OL Nick Richardson (Kentucky)

    Miamisburg at Hilliard Davidson, 7 p.m. Saturday -- DB Phillipie Motley (Pittsburgh)

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    By: Jarrod Ulrey

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    11 / 6 / 13

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