Their paths were much different, but the end result for Upper Arlington High School senior Dane Goodwin and Pickerington North senior Jerome Hunter was the same, as both accepted scholarship offers to Division I men's basketball programs.

During the fall signing period that began Nov. 8 and ended Nov. 15, Goodwin signed with Notre Dame and Hunter signed with Indiana.

A 6-foot-7 forward, Hunter began collecting offers before his junior season, narrowed his list to five schools June 26 and committed July 17 to be a part of coach Archie Miller's first recruiting class with the Hoosiers.

Goodwin's road to signing with the Fighting Irish included a detour.

He committed to Ohio State last Dec. 1. But after Thad Matta was fired as coach June 5, he chose to decommit 16 days later.

It took Goodwin only two weeks to decide that he'd be better suited to play for Notre Dame, an NCAA Elite 8 team in both 2015 and 2016. The Irish also made the NCAA tournament last season, when they finished 26-10.

"Notre Dame is a world-class institution and has one of the best basketball programs in the country," Goodwin said. "For me, it's been a little different than most people because of my decommitment. It can be overwhelming with many different coaches involved, but I'm confident that the end result was what was best for me."

Hunter was part of a large signing celebration at his school Nov. 8, as he joined teammates Eli McNamara, a Miami University commit, and Dondre Palmer, a Findlay commit.

"It's going to be something special this year," said McNamara, a 6-9 post player who helped the Panthers reach a Division I regional final last season.

Add in players such as Hilliard Bradley's Braden Norris, who signed with Oakland, and Wellington's Solomon Pierre-Louis, who committed to Air Force, and North coach Jason Bates thinks the 2018 area recruiting class is similar to the one produced in 2014.

That season featured players such as Ohio State's Jae'Sean Tate (Pickerington Central) and Wisconsin's Khalil Iverson (Delaware).

"Central Ohio has some very good players across the board," Goodwin said. "There's definitely no shortage of talent in the city, and that's what makes basketball around here so special."

A similar basketball celebration took place Nov. 8 at Pickerington Central, where Bexley Wallace (Penn State), Kyla Whitehead (Dayton) and Kai Jones (Missouri Southern State) all signed to play women's basketball.

Other women's basketball signings from the area included Hartley's Kennedy Taylor (Miami) and Bradley's Teneea Heston (Oakland).

While football will hold signing periods in December and February and other prep sports will have a signing period in February, here are highlights from the November signing period:

*BASEBALL -- Three area players have committed to play baseball for Ohio State in Olentangy Liberty's Mitchell Milheim, Dublin Coffman's Marcus Ernst and Pickerington North's Mitchell Smith.

Ernst and Smith are projected to be infielders, while Milheim is a left-handed pitcher.

Watterson had two players, Cole Andrews (Miami) and Nate Meyer (Cincinnati), sign Nov. 8. Meyer is the son of Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer.

On Nov. 10, Big Walnut's Austin Becker signed with Vanderbilt.

*CROSS COUNTRY and TRACK & FIELD -- Two of central Ohio's top finishers in the Division I state cross country meet Nov. 4, Pickerington Central's Matt Scrape (Syracuse) and Liberty's Emma Bower (Liberty), are among those who will compete in the sport collegiately.

Also committing in cross country were Hilliard Davidson's Andrew Tighe (Dayton) and Gahanna's Claire Steigerwald (Toledo).

In track and field, Olentangy pole vaulter Siobhan Szerencsits committed to Central Michigan and Gahanna's Amariah Thomas, a sprinter who helped her team earn a state runner-up finish last spring, signed with Penn State.

Pickerington Central sprinter and hurdler Crockett Schooler, who competed in the state meet in three events last June, committed to Pittsburgh.

*GOLF -- Dublin Jerome and Liberty both had three signees in golf.

For the Celtics, Blake Solomon signed with Dayton after helping the boys team win the Division I state championship, while Abby Kiefer (Xavier) and Taby Robinson (Michigan State) helped the girls team win state championships in 2014 and 2015 before placing fifth at state in 2016 and fourth this fall.

For the Patriots, Cole Corder (Wright State) and Trey Rath (Xavier) both signed after helping the boys team finish as state runner-up, while Sidney Kadlic (Elon) helped the girls team place fourth in the district tournament, falling two spots shy of advancing to state.

Westerville South's Troy Taylor will play for Michigan State.

*LACROSSE -- Five Upper Arlington girls lacrosse players were among those who signed Nov. 8.

Megan Kozar and Maddy Mead both will play for Kent State, while Kileigh Casey (Mercer), Lauren Farber (Furman) and Brenna Smith (Florida Southern) also made commitments.

Liberty also had five signees in lacrosse, as Johnny Wiseman (Ohio State), Skylar Wahlund (Ohio State) and Kadin Seimet (Florida South) from the boys team and Mollie McCormack (Delaware) and Madison Rapier (Kent State) from the girls squad committed.

Another notable signee was DeSales' Jack DeSantis with Maryland, which beat Ohio State for the national title last May.

*SOFTBALL -- Among the area signings in softball was Ready's Dani Hall, who will play for Eastern Michigan after helping the Silver Knights reach a Division III regional final last spring.

Other Division I commits included Delaware's Amaiah Daniel (Ball State) and Grove City's Lauren Griffith (Oakland).

*SWIMMING & DIVING -- Central Ohio's production of swimming and diving signees hit double digits.

Division I state girls champion Upper Arlington had three commitments, including Dakota Elliott (Pittsburgh) and Kendra Sheehan (Ohio University).

The Liberty girls team had a pair of recruits commit to major programs in Morgan Menninger, who will dive for Texas, and Rachel Peroni, who will swim for Duke.

"I took five official visits all across the country and realized my heart was in Austin, Texas," Menninger said. "It's one of the top schools in the nation for my sport and will set up so many opportunities for me in the future outside of the pool."

*VOLLEYBALL -- Included on the list of girls volleyball signees from the 2018 class are two from Division I state semifinalist Coffman in Dana Axner (Florida Gulf Coast) and Jennifer Schulze (Miami).

Other notable signees included DeSales' Diana Brown (Illinois) and Liberty's Maddie Fogg (Toledo).

Brown received her first recruiting letter in seventh grade and first visited Illinois the summer before her eighth-grade year. She committed to the Fighting Illini on Dec. 9, 2014, and stuck with that commitment despite later receiving offers from Ohio State and Florida.

"I was a little freshman but knew I was making the right choice," Brown said. "The recruiting process was stressful, but I'm very glad I made the decision I did."

*WRESTLING -- Among the area's top wrestling recruits was Central Crossing's Jaden Mattox, who signed with Ohio State. Mattox was the Division I state runner-up at 152 pounds last season.

Liberty's Jordan Rosselli, who placed fourth at state at 120 last season to help the Patriots finish third, signed with Oklahoma, where his father, Lou, is the head coach.

Other area signees include Hilliard Darby's Jared Ball (Tennessee-Chattanooga), who placed third at state at 182 last season, and Davidson's Gio DiSabato (Ohio University), who was state runner-up at 120.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek