Westerville Central senior shooting guard Eric James verbally committed to play for Duquesne University earlier this week according to therecruitscoop.com and other sources.
James, who stands about 6-3 and plays AAU basketball for the All Ohio Red, averaged 15.5 points and made first-team all-OCC-Cardinal and third-team all-district last season for the Warhawks.
Central went 12-12 last winter under former coach Todd Minney. Donovon Barrett, who led Buckeye Valley to seven MOAC titles in 14 seasons, took over as coach in May.
Last season, Duquesne went 8-22 under first-year coach Jim Ferry.
One thing that was impressive the last few years about the Olentangy football team under former coach Ed Terwilliger was the program's ability to develop Division I-level talent at several positions.
There was of course Joshua Perry, who is now playing for Ohio State, and guys like Austin Schmidt, Bryce Cheek, Kenton Playko and Zach Kerin just to name a few who went on to sign with FBS or FCS programs.
It might be several more months before the recruiting process of sophomore Deeb Haber starts to really heat up, but he's clearly going to be an athlete to watch over the next couple of seasons.
During the Braves' 25-19 win over Big Walnut on Sept. 20, he passed for 168 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 51 yards in his first varsity start.
This is what first-year coach Mark Solis told one of our reporters after the game: "We broke in a sophomore tonight. Boy, is he going to be a heck of a football player. I'm really proud of Deeb. He has a bright future here at Olentangy."
Another factor with Haber is that he also plays baseball. According to his page on prepbaseballreport.com, Haber is a 5-11, 150-pound outfield prospect with speed.
*The latest running back to shine in Davidson's triple-option system is senior D.D. Clark, who had 197 yards on 29 carries in a 28-7 win over Dublin Coffman on Sept. 20.
Clark doesn't have any FCS or FBS offers yet according to his scoutingohio.com page, but at 5-11, 186, he'll probably end up somewhere next year playing football if he wants to.
His given first name, by the way, is Dametrius.
*Senior Jabree Lather has fit in almost immediately as Pickerington North's new No. 1 running back.
He had to sit out North's opener because of paperwork issues regarding his transfer from Fremont Ross but he has rushed for 257 yards in three games.
The Fremont Ross transfer is listed anywhere between 5-5 and 5-7 depending on website, so he might just be too small for an FBS school, but there's no arguing with the numbers. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards each of the last two years at Fremont Ross and should approach those figures for North, which is in the midst of another great start after winning its first nine games last season.
One thing that's interesting to watch every year is in regards to what buttons Westerville South coach Rocky Pentello will push regarding his team's offense.
The Wildcats always seem to be one of the best in the area at scoring points regardless of who they lose to graduation, and this year is no exception.
The biggest recruits who helped South average more than 26 points during its first three games are tight end Darryl Long, who has committed to Kentucky, and junior offensive lineman Rob Dowdy, who has offers from numerous Division I programs.
Pentello plugged in Timmy Bates at quarterback after he was a standout defensive back last season and he has thrown for 562 yards through three games.
Long has averaged 16.3 yards on 10 catches to complement wide receiver Torrodd Carter, who has 23 catches for 301 yards. Running back Darien Miller has rushed for 357 yards.
Wow, what an offensive factory ...
*Ready senior running back Akili Taylor has a central Ohio-best 598 yards rushing through three games.
I had an opposing coach tell me earlier this fall that Taylor is the most improved player he's seen at Ready this year.
At 5-foot-9, Taylor has added 15 pounds of muscle since last season to get up to about 190.
He landed an offer from Kent State a few months ago and should join senior teammate and offensive lineman Brady Taylor, who is not related to Akili and has verballed to Virginia Tech, as a Division I recruit on national signing day next February.
*Newark Catholic senior Chayce Crouch has the size and speed to be a college quarterback, as his verbal commitment in May to Illinois proves.
He also probably could make a fine Division I college punter if he finds himself not getting playing time as the Illini's signal caller over the coming years.
Crouch was the Division VI first-team all-district punter last year and should be well on his way to that honor again this fall considering he's averaging 42 yards after his first seven punts.
The recruiting process is nearing a close for Reynoldsburg senior post player Alyssa Rice.
The 6-foot-3 star who has helped the Raiders win three consecutive Division I district championships took an official visit to Virginia during the first weekend of September and then made a visit to Kentucky this past weekend.
She plans to verbally commit to one of those schools in early October and sign a letter of intent in November.
While the thing that makes Rice special starts with her height, she's also continued to develop her all-around game. I'd expect her to put up huge all-around numbers this winter, especially since she should have the recruiting monkey off her back by then.
“She’s gotten way better,” coach Jack Purtell said at the end of last season. “Give her another year and she’ll be a monster.”
Rice averaged 15.1 points and eight rebounds and made first-team all-district and was the OCC-Ohio Player of the Year as the Raiders went 24-3.
Hartley senior defensive back Alonzo Saxton is one of 45 players recently selected to play for the 2014 U.S. U19 national football team.
Saxton and Team USA will compete against Team Canada in the 2014 International Bowl on Feb. 7, 2014, at Maverick Stadium at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Before the Hawks' game Sept. 13 against visiting Marion-Franklin, Saxton will be recognized at a "Tailgate Tour Event" held by USA Football. Former Ohio State and NFL defensive back Mike Doss also will be in attendance.
Saxton plays wide receiver and defensive back for Hartley and has verbally committed to play for Duke.
Hartley is one of 14 stops along USA Football's Tailgate Tour.
I got a chance to cover the New Albany football team last season when it opened with a 10-9 loss to Reynoldsburg, and I was left thinking that Darron Lee was a great athlete but nothing special as a quarterback. He of course is using that athleticism as a defensive back at Ohio State.
The kid I was really impressed with was Joe Siegenthaler, who made a 38-yard reception and had 80 yards rushing in limited duty that night.
The son of Wes Siegenthaler, who played for Ohio State in the late 1980s, Joe might be starting to come into his own.
He about 5-10 and about 180, and the kid has moves.
In New Albany's 57-50 win over Westerville Central on Sept. 6, he had a 61-yard touchdown run and also had seven catches for 188 yards.
New Albany has produced a number of good athletes the last few years and I've heard some great things about what the program is doing under new coach Pat Samanich.
When Leslie Anokye gets completely healthy, the Eagles' offense should take off even further.
Another New Albany player who impressed with his athleticism against Central was Obrempong Oppong, who returned a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown and also had a touchdown catch.
*Hilliard Davidson is back to its old tricks again -- great defense, steady offense.
Phillipie Motley, a Pittsburgh recruit who rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown in a 21-0 win over Hilliard Darby on Sept. 6, is the kind of athlete that can make a great system like Davidson's downright scary.
Running back D.D. Clark is another solid running back and Alex Backenstoe is a linebacker and tight end who should end up playing somewhere collegiately.
*This just in: Granville knows how to pass the ball well.
The Aces have been doing it for years actually, and Ajay Alderman is just the latest in a long line of great receivers to come through the program. He had five touchdown catches in a 56-16 win over Heath on Sept. 6.
*What Reynoldsburg's David Moore did when he rushed for a program-record 323 yards against Hilliard Bradley on Sept. 5 was impressive.
It's true that Bradley didn't tackle well throughout the second half of the Raiders' 33-21 win, but Moore showed he is ready to take on a full-time running load. He's not a big kid at 5-8, 204, so he's going to have to keep putting up those kinds of numbers if he has hopes of playing collegiately.
Everyone who follows central Ohio football closely knows about Westerville Central senior Jared Drake, a multi-threat quarterback who had a nice game as his team beat DeSales 29-7 in its opener Aug. 30.
Those that follow recruiting know about the Warhawks' Nick Richardson, who has verbally committed to play for Kentucky.
Not everyone knows about senior athlete Eldin Anu, but that should change over the next few weeks.
Anu, who has scholarship offers from Kent State, Robert Morris and Savannah State according to his Rivals.com profile, showed off his blazing speed against the Stallions with an 80-yard touchdown reception on a short pass from Drake.
At 5-10, 165, Anu should have the size and speed to be a Division I wide receiver or cornerback.
Anu told me after the game that he also has received interest from Kentucky and Michigan State, which both have hit central Ohio hard this summer in an attempt to reel in the prospects not recruited by Ohio State in the 2014 class. The Buckeyes still have just one player, Lancaster OL Kyle Trout, as a verbal from that class.
*Hartley quarterback Jared Brandewie has the size at 6-4, 202, to be a Division I college quarterback. He's played in Hartley's run-oriented offense the last couple seasons, so his numbers haven't been spectacular through the air, but coach Brad Burchfield likes his arm strength.
In Hartley's 38-6 win over Amanda-Clearcreek on Aug. 30, Brandewie attempted just 11 passes but completed 10 of them for 293 yards and three touchdowns.
The Hawks might try to showcase his experience and abilities a little more this season now that they don't have Ja'Wuan Woodley or Marcellus Calhoun.
*Thomas Worthington has a veteran coach in Scott Gordon and a lot of players back from last season, including senior running back Tony Harvard.
With that in mind, it shouldn't have been a surprise that the Cardinals dominated perennial playoff-contender Jonathan Alder 33-7 in its opener.
Harvard, who is 5-10, 173 and runs the 40 in 4.68, doesn't have any offers according to his profile on ScoutingOhio.com, but he strikes me as possibly an FCS-type of recruit. Don't be surprised if he puts together a great senior season.
Dec 04, 2013 | Currently: 62° Overcast