High school football recruiting: Younger Wagner could continue Wayne legacy at Ohio State

From freshman receiver to four-star offensive line prospect, Aamil Wagner’s athletics journey has already been interesting.

It figures to only get more so as college scholarship offers pile up for the Wayne High School junior who plays football and basketball for the Warriors.

“Oh, it’s been great because I’ve seen both parts of the spectrum,” he said in an interview this week. “I played wide receiver for the freshman team, and going from that to not being really anywhere on the radar for football to being ranked in the state is just a great process. I’m glad I was able able to put in the work in offseason to be where I am.”

Now listed at 6-foot-7 and 260 pounds, Wagner is among the top 10 offensive tackle prospects in the country according to 247Sports.

The four-star prospect is considered the No. 4 player in Ohio, and scholarship offers have been rolling in since last fall.

He recently finished basketball season for the Warriors, where coach Nathan Martindale said he along with fellow football standout Elijah Brown brought an added element of toughness.

“Aamil is strong as an ox,” Martindale said. “I don’t think he even understands his full strength. You can just tell how solid he is.

“You won’t find a better young man. I think he’s a 4.0 in the classroom. He handles his business. He comes from a great family. He is just what you want.”

Ohio State threw its hat in the ring Monday, one day before Wagner took the ACT.

The timing might be coincidental, but it was also appropriate because academics will be high on the list of factors he considers when he chooses where he will play college football.

“Yes, academics is always preached before athletics in my household,” Wagner said.

“That was always my parents’ philosophy,” said Aamil, the youngest of four children. “They always have us see it as God, academics and sports.”

Sports are certainly more than an afterthought in the Wagner household, though, as older brother Ahmad has already been down the path Aamil is walking now.

Ahmad Wagner was a standout football and basketball player for Wayne who ultimately chose to play basketball at Iowa. After three years with the Hawkeyes, he called an audible and opted to finish his career at Kentucky — as a football player.

While Ahmad Wagner continues to pursue a career in the NFL, he is able to advise his brother on navigating the recruiting process.

“Whether it’s a small stuff like make sure you like your position coach because you’re going to be around him all day or just other little advice like that, it is really just really a blessing,” Aamil said.

Notre Dame as well as schools from the SEC, ACC, Big Ten and Pac 12 have offered Wagner.

While former Wayne standout Marcus Freeman is recruiting him at his new job at Notre Dame, Wagner said his main recruiters at Ohio State are offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Kevin Wilson and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa.

“I think they’re both kind of just good, stand-up people,” Wagner said of Wilson and Studrawa. “And they’re honest and tell me straightforward what they want to see, the reason they didn’t offer me right away. They were just open and honest about everything.”

As for why they offered him now, Wagner said the explanation was fairly simple: “They said my film was too good not to offer me and that not many people in my class have the athleticism I do at my position.”

Besides the coaching staff, Ohio State has another recruiter working for them in Alter star C.J. Hicks.

The No. 2 prospect in the state has been committed to the Buckeyes since last year and was already selling the Scarlet and Gray to Wagner.

“C.J. and I have been friends for a while now,” Wagner said. “We both came from the (Metro Buckeye Conference). He went to Dayton Christian and I went to Yellow Springs, so both being athletes in a smaller conference we kind of grew to know each other.”

With youth sports options lacking in Yellow Springs, Wagner said he played peewee football for two years in Huber Heights in grade school.

Later he opted to follow in his brother’s footsteps and enrolled at Wayne to play football and basketball as a freshman.

When it comes to college, Wagner said he is leaning toward a degree that could set him up for a leadership role in athletics.

“I have always wanted to be connected with sports as I get older and that could be as an (athletic director), a manager or even a coach,” he said.

Though he does not have a leader at this point in his recruiting, he called receiving an Ohio State offer a blessing.

“Ohio State is a great university on the field and off the field,” Wagner said. “They have these great programs and great studies there and also tremendous success on the football field with multiple Big Ten championships, national championship appearances and playoff wins, so this is obviously just a blessing.”

If he were to choose Ohio State, he would be far from the first Warrior to don the Scarlet and Gray.

From 2000-2019, at least one Wayne graduate was on the OSU roster, a streak that started with Will Allen and John Hollins and continued with Freeman, Donnie Evege, Braxton Miller, Robert “BB” Landers and L’Christian “Blue” Smith.

He said he is friends with Landers, who was a four-year member of the defensive line rotation, and Smith, who transferred to Cincinnati after a year-plus in Columbus.

“Just having guys that have been through that program and can talk to me personally about the culture is pretty good,” Wagner said. “Having the legacy continue on would be an interesting thought for that connection between Wayne and Ohio State.”

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