Undersized but loaded with game-changing impact, Trotwood-Madison running back Ra’veion “Shocka” Hargrove had the recurring recruiting pitch memorized. It was equal parts skilled slot back, return guy and a third-down situational sub.
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None of that resonated with the high school senior. But at 5 feet 6 and 175 pounds, that’s how most teams at the next level envisioned him. The exception was Bowling Green State University.
“They have a good plan for me on how I’m going to be used in the offense,” Hargrove said. “They want to use me at running back.”
Those were the words Hargrove wanted most to hear. He responded by committing to the Mid-American Conference member and announcing his decision by Twitter on Tuesday. He picked BG over MAC rivals Ohio and Miami.
Hargrove is the fourth area standout to commit to a MAC program, joining Springfield Shawnee running back Jack McCrory (Ohio), Sidney defensive lineman Devan Rogers (Toledo) and Belmont defensive back Jadon Rucker-Furlow (Miami). Seniors who have verbally committed cannot sign until Feb. 7 of next year.
Hargrove ranks among the most all-time electrifying backs in area history. He’s already rushed for 5,036 yards and scored 65 touchdowns as the Rams’ featured back the last two seasons. He surpassed 300-plus rushing yards four times as a sophomore, including a career-best 385 (and four scores) against Greenville.
That 2015 season was one for the ages: His 3,039 rushing yards — in 14 games — is an all-time, single-season area best and ranks ninth best in state history.
Stout and durable, Hargrove has always been elusive with start, stop and reverse-direction agility. Now, he’s stronger and faster, landing a spot on Trotwood’s 4x100-meter relay team that placed eighth (42.55) in the Division I state meet last month. A weight-room enthusiast, he benched-pressed 220 pounds 10 times earlier this year.
For all that physical ability, it’s Hargrove’s intangibles that sold second-year BG head coach Mike Jinks and assistant coach Mike Mickens, a former standout defensive back at Wayne and the University of Cincinnati. The Rams often rallied around Hargrove and seemed inspired by his play.
“You can’t measure the size of a person’s heart and their determination,” Trotwood coach Jeff Graham said. “That’s fueling him and keeping him believing that this opportunity at Bowling Green can really showcase his ability. That’s what that coaching staff really sold all of us on, what they can do to help him grow and be the player he wants to be in college.”
Hargrove will add double duty as a senior defensive back. He said he won’t graduate early; instead opting to run track again as a senior.
Trotwood lost 30-0 to Akron Archbishop Hoban in last season’s Division III state title game and fell to rival Toledo Catholic Central in the D-III state semifinals in 2015.
“I’m glad it’s over with,” Hargrove said. “Now, I get to focus on my season. All my effort now is on a state championship.”
Area players on the Falcons’ roster
Elijah Cunningham, redshirt-fr., QB, Springboro
Tristan Davis, redshirt-jr., WR, Wayne
Colin DeBord, fr., WR, Centerville
Dorian Hendrix, redshirt-jr., LB, Wayne
Denzel Norvell, fr., RB, Thurgood Marshall
Gus Schwieterman, redshirt-sr., DL, Bethel
Lorenzo Taborn, so., OL, Sidney
Grant Tinnerman, redshirt-fr., K, Centerville
Tyler Traylor, redshirt-fr., LB, Centerville
Matt Wilcox, fr., WR, Wayne
Darius Wortham, fr., DB, Trotwood
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