During his time with the Harvest Preparatory School football team, Daniel Bangura became a record-setting running back who closed his prep career by being named state co-Player of the Year in Division VII.
One of his latest accolades came when he was selected to play for the South all-stars in the 73rd Ohio North-South All-Star Classic on Saturday, April 28, at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
"To be able to get selected is a huge honor," said Bangura, who broke Ohio's record for career rushing yards (9,650) and also ranks first in state history in career touchdowns (133) and rushing touchdowns (124). "Being able to get a chance to play with the top football players in all of Ohio is something I'm excited about and I'm very well looking forward to having fun and competing against the top players in Ohio. Hopefully, we come up on the winning side."
Recruited by Ohio State to be a walk-on, Bangura will play in the Divisions IV-VII game that kicks off at noon.
Harvest Prep's Isaiah Mullens (TE/DL), Grandview's James Lachey (TE/DL) and Brandon Spaulding (DL) and Ready's Ryan Wood (LB) also were selected to play for the South in that game.
Mullens has committed to Wisconsin while Lachey, the son of former Ohio State offensive lineman Jim Lachey, is a Bowling Green commit. Last season, Lachey scored 14 touchdowns on offense and had 82 tackles and seven sacks and was named Division VI state defensive Player of the Year.
Headlining the list of central Ohio players expected to play for the South in the Divisions I-III game at 4 p.m. is Pickerington North quarterback Jimmy Weirick.
The Division I district Offensive Player of the Year, Weirick will play for Wofford after throwing for 2,526 yards with 32 touchdowns and rushing for 1,083 yards and 12 scores last fall as the Panthers went 10-3 and were regional runners-up.
Also expected to play from Pickerington North are Tyler Potts (DB), who has committed to Ball State, and Alex Williams (DL), an Ohio State signee.
Representing Division I state champion Pickerington Central will be Trenton Gillison (TE) and Jeremiah Wood (DB/RB), who will play for Michigan State and Ohio University, respectively.
Two other Michigan State commits are expected to play in Dublin Coffman's Jeslord Boateng (LB) and Olentangy's Jacob Slade (OL/DL).
"It's an honor," Boateng said. "It's great to see that my work on the field is being acknowledged. I'm looking forward to getting to know my teammates and getting the chance to play with high-caliber players."
Wood is one of three area players on the South roster who are headed to Ohio University, along with Gahanna's Jerome Buckner (WR) and Hartley's Patrick Gilliland (OL).
Last season, Buckner had 66 catches for 842 yards and 13 touchdowns and also was a standout special teams performer.
Another area offensive standout expected to play is Hilliard Bradley wide receiver Daevon Anderson, who had 55 catches for 1,078 yards and 11 touchdowns last fall as the Jaguars went 11-1.
Anderson and Olentangy Orange's Jayden Rodgers (TE/DL) are Grand Valley State commits on the South roster.
Other area players expected to play for the South are Coffman's Luke Crabtree (LB), DeSales' Brandon Derrow (DL), Mifflin's Jeremiah Jackson (WR), Olentangy Liberty's Nick Rosi (OL/DL), Walnut Ridge's Justin Vance (LB) and Watterson's Kyle Simmonds (OL).
Crabtree has committed to Ashland, Derrow is a Colorado State commit, Rosi has committed to Toledo, Simmonds will play for Saint Francis University and Vance plans to walk on at Akron.
"It means a lot to me to have the opportunity to participate in such an event, and it's more of an honor to represent my school, Walnut Ridge, and the Columbus City League," Vance said. "I'm looking forward to competing with the other great talents from around the state and going out there and having fun."
Also representing the City League is Walnut Ridge coach Byron Mattox, who will be an assistant for the South.
Mattox coached in the 2007 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and also has experienced coaching in area all-star games but will be coaching in the North-South game for the first time.
"It's going to be exciting representing (Division III) Region 10 and Walnut Ridge in such a prestigious game," Mattox said. "I'm looking forward to working with some of the top players in Ohio, and I get to coach my player, Justin Vance, one more time."
@UlreyThisWeekAt a glance
Below is a list of central Ohio players expected to compete for the South in the Ohio North-South All-Star Classic on Saturday, April 28, at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon:
DIVISIONS IV-VII (Noon)
Daniel Bangura (Harvest Prep)
James Lachey (Grandview)
Isaiah Mullens (Harvest Prep)
Brandon Spaulding (Grandview)
Ryan Wood (Ready)
*Grandview coach Jason Peters is an assistant for the South all-stars.
DIVISIONS I-III (4 p.m.)
Daevon Anderson (Hilliard Bradley)
Jeslord Boateng (Dublin Coffman)
Jerome Buckner (Gahanna)
Luke Crabtree (Dublin Coffman)
Brandon Derrow (DeSales)
Patrick Gilliland (Hartley)
Trenton Gillison (Pickerington Central)
Jeremiah Jackson (Mifflin)
Tyler Potts (Pickerington North)
Jayden Rodgers (Olentangy Orange)
Nick Rosi (Olentangy Liberty)
Kyle Simmonds (Watterson)
Jacob Slade (Olentangy)
Justin Vance (Walnut Ridge)
Jimmy Weirick (Pickerington North)
Alex Williams (Pickerington North)
Jeremiah Wood (Pickerington Central)
*Walnut Ridge coach Byron Mattox is an assistant for the South all-stars.