High School Football: Top 25 players to watch in the Miami Valley

Alter's C.J. Hicks (1) prepares to make a tackle against Fenwick on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, at Roush Stadium in Kettering. David Jablonski/Staff
Caption
Alter's C.J. Hicks (1) prepares to make a tackle against Fenwick on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, at Roush Stadium in Kettering. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Talented and difference-making athletes dot high school football rosters throughout the Miami Valley. From Ohio’s only five-star recruit in the senior class to players with no stars attached to their profile, many players are ready to shine on Friday nights.

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The Top 25 Players to Watch is not based solely on recruiting rankings and where college offers are coming from. From Division I to Division VII, football players will star for their teams and dominate their leagues.

Top 25 Players to Watch

1. C.J. Hicks, Alter: Senior linebacker is the only five-star recruit from Ohio in his class and has been long committed to Ohio State. He uses his speed to make plays all over the field.

2. Aamil Wagner, Wayne: Four-star senior offensive tackle leads a trio of Division I offensive-line recruits for the Warriors (Josh Padilla, Evan Tengesdahl). Wagner is the No. 4 player in Ohio and has an Ohio State offer.

3. Te’Sean Smoot, Springfield: Will be a third-year starter as a senior with the goal of leading the Wildcats to the Division I final. A three-star recruit, he threw for over 2,200 yards and 24 touchdowns and was GWOC offensive player of the year.

4. Derrick Shepard Jr., Alter: A big part (6-3, 323) of Alter’s rushing attack. He’s a four-star lineman who has committed to Cincinnati.

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5. Elijah Brown, Wayne: Has risen from a 3-star to a 4-star tight end and is committed to Alabama. He led the Warriors with 20 catches last year as a junior.

6. Chase Harrison, Centerville: Senior quarterback threw for over 1,700 yards and 18 touchdowns last year. He is committed to Marshall.

7. Anthony Brown, Springfield: Junior four-star became the go-to receiving threat for the Wildcats last year. Offers are piling up from Syracuse to Penn State to Michigan.

8. Delian Bradley, Springfield: Senior three-star defensive back is a four-year starter and reigning GWOC defensive player of the year. He has offers from Michigan State, Nebraska, Kentucky and Cincinnati.

Credit: Springfield News Sun

Caption
Springfield quarterback Te'Sean Smoot had a busy June in recruiting

Credit: Springfield News Sun

9. Tyron Darby, West Carrollton: Senior running back rushed for over 800 yards last season and over 140 in each of the last three games. Three-star has offers from Cincinnati and Iowa State.

10. Josh Padilla, Wayne: The junior four-star played right tackle last season. He’s the No. 5 overall prospect in the class of 2023 and has an offer from Michigan.

11. Cameron Smith, Centerville: Tall receiver (6-3) is Harrison’s top target. Caught 39 passes for 719 yards and 11 TDs in eight games last season.

12. Evan Tengesdahl, Wayne: Three-star junior left tackle has offers from Cincinnati and West Virginia.

13. Adam Trick, Wayne: Senior three-star DL/LB is the Warriors’ top returning tackler, and he recovered three fumbles last season. Committed to Miami.

14. Antwan Blackshear, Trotwood-Madison: Senior defensive lineman will be an impact player for the Rams, who finished 4-1 last season.

15. Tank Gant, Fairmont: Senior anchors the defense up front and has rushed for over 1,000 yards in two seasons in the Firebirds’ run-first offense.

16. Tywan January and Jokell Brown, Springfield: Senior defensive linemen work in tandem to anchor the Wildcats’ defense up front.

17. Nate Keller, Stebbins: Senior has thrown for almost 2,000 yards the past two seasons to lead the program’s resurgence.

18. Bryce Schondelmyer, Arcanum: Getting noticed in Division VI isn’t easy, but the junior has been rated as high as the No. 3 pro-style QB in Ohio in his class. He threw for over 2,600 yards last season.

19. Christian Davis, Miamisburg: Senior running back rushed for 1,119 yards and 12 touchdowns over the past two seasons.

20. Kenyon Owens, Chaminade-Julienne: Senior receiver will be QB Luke Chandler’s top target. Caught 32 passes last year for 517 yards.

21. Javien Brownlee, Northmont: Caught 25 passes and three TDs as a sophomore. Has a Cincinnati offer and has visited some Big Ten schools.

22. Christian Kirenga, Alter: Another key player in the Knights’ defense at cornerback. Has committed to Illinois State.

23. T.J. Gregory, Northmont: Senior will be another top receiving target with the graduation of Markus Allen.

24. Jasiah Medley, Piqua: Senior running back is team’s top returning rusher and strong in the secondary. Has offers from Toledo and Buffalo.

25. Taran Tyo, Versailles: Senior offensive lineman was a late bloomer as a two-star on the recruiting radar. But he recently committed to Ball State.

Best of the rest

(listed alphabetically by school)

Seniors: Antonio Murphy Jr., FB, Alter; Chase Stone, RB/WR, Alter; Corey Flanders, OL/DT, Alter; Ian Baker, WR, Arcanum; Brennen Troutwine, WR, Arcanum; Ashton Ault, LB, Bellbrook; Seth Borondy, RB, Bellbrook; Ashton Kooken, DL, Bellbrook; Brayden Turner, OL, Bellbrook; Talon Borders, QB, Carlisle; Alex Couch, OL, Carlisle; Joseph Jean-Louis, WR/LB, Centerville; Luke Chandler, QB, Chaminade-Julienne; Landon LaPoint, WR/TE, Covington; Seth Myers, WR, Lebanon; Corwyn Hurt, DB, Miamisburg; Blake Neumaier, RB, Milton-Union; Xavier Vuong, LB, Northmont; Jesse Smith, OL, Northridge; Kavonte Turpin, DB, Northridge; Tanner Kemp, LB, Piqua; Caleb Lyons, DT, Piqua; Elijah Ray, WR, Ponitz; Tayleon Waterhouse, DL, Ponitz; Deven Frilling, DB, Riverside; Dominic Bodine, OL, Springboro; Evan Brown, OL, Springboro; Nathan Coy, DB, Springboro; Sam Feldman, QB, Springboro; Mason Leach, WR/DB, Springboro; Tayden Harper, OL/DL, Springfield; Christian McMillin, RB/DB, Springfield; Logan Richardson, RB, Springfield; Fate Smith, LB, Springfield; Devin Stamper, DB, Springfield; Dominic Turner, WR, Springfield; Vasean Washington, OL/DL, Springfield; Myles Willis, OL, Springfield; ZyAaron Woodruff, OL/DE, Springfield; Cole Yost, K, Springfield; Omar Holloway, RB/LB, Stebbins; Braden Berner, DB, Tecumseh; Cayd Everhart, LB, Tippecanoe; Jason Rindler, DB, Tippecanoe; Layne Sarver, QB, Tri-Village; Josh Scantland, WR, Tri-Village; Wyatt Plush, OL, Tri-Village; Evan Jones, RB/LB, Troy; Nick Kawecki, RB/LB, Troy; Jack Kleinhenz, Troy; Josh Mayfield, QB, Troy; Jaelon McCoy, TE/LB, Troy; Carson Bey, QB, Versailles; James Cammon, DB, Wayne; Tyler Dorsey, RB, Wayne; Jimmy Dunford, RB/DE, Wayne; Ray Greene, RB, Wayne; Bryan Kinley, WR, Wayne; Jordan Ward, RB, Wayne; Kamaury Cleveland, QB, West Carrollton; Jorden Berry, WR/DB, West Carrollton; Jaden Berry, OL/DL, West Carrollton; Cole McCandless, LB/DE, West Carrollton; Logan Hinch, OL/DL, West Carrollton; Musa Abuhaidar, OL/DL, West Carrollton, Cedric Anthony, WR/DB, West Carrollton, Leon Nevels, FB/LB, West Carrollton; Tony Buckner, RB/LB, West Carrollton.

Juniors: Ryan Chapman, QB, Carroll; Nesta Owens, DL, Chaminade-Julienne; Ethan Teague, OL, Chaminade-Julienne; Jarrod Mays, DL, Greeneview; AJ Salley, OL, Miamisburg; Jake Brown, DL, Milton-Union; Blake Brumbaugh, WR, Milton-Union; Brady Ouhl, QB, Piqua; Sam Schmiesing, LB, Piqua; Jackson Trombley, K, Piqua; Stourm White, DB, Ponitz; Evan Ruzzo, QB, Springboro; Tyron Barnes, ATH, Springfield; Javian Norman, LB, Springfield; Adrian Norton, WR/DB, Stebbins; Justin Finbine, DB, Tri-Village; Lee Burkett, WR, Troy Christian; RJ Mukes, WR, Wayne; Dujuan Howard, RB/DB, West Carrollton; Tawfiq Jabbar Jr., DB, Xenia; Tremell Wright, QB/DB, Xenia.

Sophomores: Aaron Scott Jr., DB, Springfield; Deuce Cortner, QB, Northmont; Mike Smith, WR/DB, Trotwood-Madison; Shawn Thigpen, WR, Springfield; Rayvonn Harris, WR/DB, Stebbins; Jake Wheelock, OL, Stebbins.

THURSDAY’S GAMES

Alter at Fairmont

Eaton at Greenville

Stebbins at Spr. Northwestern

Thurgood Marshall at Cin. Withrow

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