For at least three of the top central Ohio high school football recruits from the 2020 class, connections made the difference when they made their commitments official Feb. 5 on the first day of the second signing period.

CORRECTION: Myles Williams attends Westerville Central High School. Because of a reporter's error, the print and earlier online version of this story listed the wrong school.

For at least three of the top central Ohio high school football recruits from the 2020 class, connections made the difference when they made their commitments official Feb. 5 on the first day of the second signing period.

The Division I district Offensive Player of the Year, Pickerington Central quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw, stuck with a commitment he made earlier this winter to sign with Youngstown State even though coach Bo Pelini left Jan. 27 to become LSU's defensive coordinator.

"(Youngstown State) was a school who really wanted me badly," Crenshaw said. "Their head coach just left, but I know their quarterback coach, coach (Joe) Ganz, and I've got a really good relationship with (former Ohio State coach and current Youngstown State president Jim) Tressel, and that sold it."

Another first-team all-district player in Division I who had a tough choice was Pickerington North wide receiver Chris Scott, who announced Jan. 27 that he would be signing with Cincinnati.

On the eve of signing day, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio announced he was stepping down and one of the immediate hot rumors was that Bearcats coach Luke Fickell was a leading candidate to replace him. Regardless, Scott signed with Cincinnati.

In the case of Walnut Ridge's Qian Magwood, he informed Ball State wide receivers coach Alex Bailey -- a Columbus East graduate whom he had gotten to know through the recruiting process -- the night before signing day of his intention to play for the Cardinals.

Scott and Magwood were among seven central Ohio players to sign with Football Bowl Subdivision programs during the second signing period after 10 signed with FBS teams during the December signing period.

Dublin Coffman's Mike Drennen, who is considered a four-star recruit, announced during an evening ceremony Feb. 5 that he was choosing Kentucky over USC. At one time, he held offers from Alabama and Ohio State, among numerous others.

Magwood came to his letter of intent ceremony Feb. 5 holding apparel from Kent State as well as Ohio State after being recruited as a walk-on before putting on a Ball State cap.

"It was the best fit," Magwood said. "I really liked the offense. Alex Bailey, my receiver coach, is from Columbus and played at East High School, so it made the most sense and was the best fit for me. I just made the decision and called him (Feb. 4). I'm in shock, you're all in shock, but it's a good day."

Ball State was among the schools that offered Groveport defensive end Jasiyah Robinson before he became one of 11 from central Ohio to commit to a Power Five conference program when he pledged in late January to Michigan State.

Scott had offers from a list of schools that included Kentucky, Michigan and West Virginia before choosing Cincinnati, which has gone 26-13 in three seasons under Fickell, including posting 11-win seasons the past two years.

According to 247sports.com, Cincinnati reeled in the 40th-best recruiting class in the country and one of its best in program history.

Scott grew up in the Dayton area and already knows fellow UC recruits such as Trotwood-Madison's Sammy Anderson (DB) and Cincinnati Wyoming's Evan Prater (QB).

"When I finally sat down and made the decision that I had to commit by this certain date, Cincinnati presented itself with a family type of environment with (assistant) coach (Marcus) Freeman and coach Fickell that was something I couldn't pass up," Scott said. "I was actually in class when I heard Dantonio left, and that's crazy. Obviously, I hope (Fickell) doesn't leave, but if that's what's best for him, I'm happy for him. I'm happy with my decision."

Fickell announced Feb. 10 that he was staying at Cincinnati.

Below is a look at players from the ThisWeek Community News coverage area who have signed to play with FBS programs:

*Kalil Branham, Northland -- After spending time in an athlete role the last three seasons, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Branham, who was considered a three-star talent by 247sports.com, will be a wide receiver for Kentucky. He scored seven touchdowns at that position as a sophomore, spent most of his junior season at quarterback and saw time at both positions last fall.

*Mikah Coleman, Reynoldsburg -- The 6-5, 230-pound Coleman, who helped Reynoldsburg make the Division I, Region 3 playoffs and finish 7-4, will play on the defensive line for Eastern Michigan. In his only full season with the team last fall after sitting out the second half of his junior season following his transfer from Huber Heights Wayne, Coleman had 51 tackles, five tackles for loss and six sacks.

*Mike Drennen, Dublin Coffman -- An injury-riddled senior season didn't hurt the stock of the 5-11, 196-pound Drennen, who figures to be an all-purpose running back for Kentucky. He was a second-team all-state honoree as a junior when he rushed for 801 yards, had 30 receptions and scored 16 touchdowns. He helped the Shamrocks earn Division I, Region 2 runner-up finishes each of the past two seasons.

*Te-Rah Edwards, Groveport -- Edwards was one of the area's best two-way linemen during the Cruisers' run to a Division I regional runner-up finish last fall and is projected to be at defensive tackle for Northwestern after recording 53 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks as a senior. Listed at 6-2, 315 pounds, Edwards was first-team all-state as an offensive guard.

*Miles Fleming, Hartley -- In what was his second full season as Hartley's starting quarterback, the 5-10, 170-pound Fleming helped the Hawks reach a Division III state semifinal, rushing for 736 yards and eight touchdowns and throwing for 859 yards and six scores as the Hawks went 12-2. He also gained experience last fall at defensive back, where he could end up playing at Minnesota.

*Ty Hamilton, Pickerington Central -- The younger brother of former Central standout and Ohio State defensive lineman Davon Hamilton made a name for himself the last four seasons as the Tigers won two state titles and were state semifinalists the other two seasons. At 6-3, 260 pounds, Hamilton is a defensive lineman who signed with the Buckeyes in December after earning first-team all-state honors last fall.

*Rickey Hyatt, Westerville Central -- Projected to play safety for Kentucky, the 6-1, 195-pound Hyatt was a third-team all-state honoree who had 28 tackles and one interception and rushed for 736 yards and nine scores while catching two touchdowns last fall. He had 94 tackles, three interceptions and four forced fumbles as a junior and helped Central make playoff appearances the past two years.

*Gage Keys, Hilliard Davidson -- Rated as the No. 22 recruit in Ohio, the 34th-ranked strong-side defensive end in the country and a three-star recruit by 247sports.com, the 6-4, 245-pound Keys committed to Minnesota before his senior season over a group of schools that included Cincinnati and Indiana.

*Luke Lachey, Grandview -- The son of former Ohio State and NFL offensive lineman Jim Lachey is expected to be a tight end for Iowa after playing a number of roles for the Bobcats. A first-team all-state honoree, the 6-6, 215-pound Lachey caught 57 passes for 720 yards and seven touchdowns, rushed for 337 yards and three scores and even filled in at quarterback late in the season. Defensively, he had five interceptions.

*Qian Magwood, Walnut Ridge -- The 6-0, 175-pound Magwood will play wide receiver for Ball State after starring on both sides of the ball for the Scots last fall as they posted their first unbeaten regular season, won the City League-South Division at 7-0 and finished 11-1 overall. Magwood had three interceptions and made 38 catches for 552 yards and eight touchdowns.

*Chris Mayfield, Hilliard Bradley -- Mayfield missed all of his senior season with a knee injury but already had established himself as a major college prospect during his junior season while playing on the defensive line for the Jaguars when they went 9-2. The 6-2, 250-pound Mayfield signed with Michigan State, where he'll likely be a strong-side defensive end.

*Jasiyah Robinson, Groveport -- The OCC-Capital Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-state honoree in Division I at defensive end, Robinson also is a Michigan State signee after helping the Cruisers go 10-3 last fall. The 6-3, 222-pound Robinson had 106 tackles, including 22 for loss, with 15 sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and three blocked kicks as a senior.

*Chris Scott, Pickerington North -- A first-team all-state honoree at wide receiver in Division I after helping the Panthers make the Region 3 playoffs and finish 6-5, the 6-2, 185-pound Scott had 67 receptions for 987 yards and 10 touchdowns last fall. He had 52 catches for 793 yards and 10 scores as a junior and finished his prep career with 142 catches for 2,241 yards and 24 scores.

*Shon Strickland, Reynoldsburg -- A first-team all-district honoree last fall in Division I, Strickland helped Reynoldsburg make the playoffs the past two seasons. A Bowling Green commit at wide receiver, the 6-2, 195-pound Strickland had 45 catches for 762 yards and nine touchdowns last fall and 71 receptions for 1,136 yards and 14 scores for his prep career.

*Jameel Williamson, Dublin Coffman -- Expected to be a wide receiver for Akron, the 5-10, 170-pound Williamson had 36 receptions for 540 yards, rushed for 160 yards, had 232 yards on kickoff returns and scored eight touchdowns for the Shamrocks last fall. He had 34 receptions as a junior.

*Myles Williamson, Westerville Central -- After contributing in a number of roles for the Warhawks last fall as they made their second consecutive playoff appearance, the 5-10, 171-pound Williamson has committed to Bowling Green, where he'll likely play in the secondary. He rushed for 437 yards and two touchdowns and had 31 receptions for 368 yards and four scores last fall.

*Ben Wrather, Olentangy Liberty -- The 6-6, 285-pound Wrather was a three-star prospect who became the first offensive lineman in Northwestern's 2020 class when he committed last April. After helping the Patriots reach their third consecutive Division I state semifinal in 2018, Wrather started the first four games as a senior before suffering a season-ending broken right ankle.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

At a glance

Below are area football players who have announced their college commitments to FBS, FCS, Division II and NAIA programs:

FOOTBALL BOWL SUBDIVISION (FBS) -- Kalil Branham (Northland) Kentucky; Mikah Coleman (Reynoldsburg) Eastern Michigan; Mike Drennen (Dublin Coffman) Kentucky; Te-Rah Edwards (Groveport) Northwestern; Miles Fleming (Hartley) Minnesota; Ty Hamilton (Pickerington Central) Ohio State; Rickey Hyatt (Westerville Central) Kentucky; Gage Keys (Hilliard Davidson) Minnesota; Luke Lachey (Grandview) Iowa; Qian Magwood (Walnut Ridge) Ball State; Chris Mayfield (Hilliard Bradley) Michigan State; Jasiyah Robinson (Groveport) Michigan State; Chris Scott (Pickerington North) Cincinnati; Shon Strickland (Reynoldsburg) Bowling Green; Jameel Williamson (Coffman) Akron; Myles Williamson (Westerville South) Bowling Green; Ben Wrather (Olentangy Liberty) Northwestern

FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SUBDIVISION (FCS) -- Abraham Alabi (Pickerington Central) Eastern Kentucky; Hunter Allen (Canal Winchester) Youngstown State; Connor Carretta (St. Charles) Bucknell; Jake Coleman (Olentangy) Dayton; Demeatric Crenshaw (Pickerington Central) Youngstown State; Nick Dymek (Davidson) Dayton; Sam English (Worthington Kilbourne) Robert Morris; Spencer Hawkins (Olentangy Orange) Dayton; Jesse Johnson (Marion-Franklin) Eastern Illinois; J.J. Johnson (Westerville Central) Eastern Illinois; Brody Kidwell (New Albany) Cornell; Michael Mansaray (Westerville South) South Dakota; Sam Massick (Columbus Academy) Princeton; David Metzler (Bradley) Youngstown State; Patrick Peterson (Westerville South) Morehead State; Cole Potts (DeSales) James Madison; Lawson Vaughn (Pickerington North) Georgetown; Nick Wheeler (Groveport) Georgetown

DIVISION II -- Emmanuel Anthony (Groveport) West Virginia State; Rashaun Broomfield (Whetstone) Alderson Broaddus; James Dean (Reynoldsburg) Tiffin; George Dunor (Hartley) Ashland; Breyon Eddings (Reynoldsburg) Indianapolis; Mason Graney (Watterson) Ashland; Tykel Hancock-Anderson (Groveport) Findlay; Zach Hill (Orange) Mercyhurst; Jalan January (Hartley) Findlay; A.J. Joyce (Groveport) West Virginia State; Dylan Kokoska (Davidson) Ohio Dominican; Anthony Lowe (Central Crossing) Tiffin; Trent Maddox (Olentangy) Ashland; Marshawn Mankins (Walnut Ridge) Tiffin; Nate Miller (Orange) Gannon; Skyler Mouser (Groveport) Urbana; Jared Pack (Orange) Wheeling; Roland Rowe (St. Charles) Notre Dame College; A'che Sanchez-Baccus (Gahanna) West Virginia State; Duncan Selph (Kilbourne) Tiffin; Darrell Smoot (Groveport) Notre Dame College; Jack Stultz (Hilliard Darby) Tiffin; Will Thomas (Gahanna) Tiffin; Tyus Thompson (Liberty) Saginaw Valley State; Melvin Tinsley (Whitehall) Alderson Broaddus; Michael Whatley (Reynoldsburg) Urbana; Travis Whittaker (Gahanna) Ohio Dominican

NAIA -- Drew Bookman (Pickerington Central) Siena Heights; Jalen Bowens (Reynoldsburg) Siena Heights; Collin Brice (Pickerington Central) Concordia; Ben Flees (Liberty) Lawrence Tech; Cocy Goff (Reynoldsburg) Siena Heights; Chris Schweisthal (Upper Arlington) Indiana Wesleyan; Peyton Werling (Coffman) Siena Heights