High School Football: Top 8 players in Wayne history

With four Division I state championship game appearances, Wayne has established a statewide brand and itself as the Miami Valley’s top big school program. Springfield (two title games) and Centerville (one) have three combined finals.

Almost as impressive as its trophy case is that Wayne has only had three head coaches in the last 42 years.

Mike Schneider took control of the Wayne football program in 1981, leading the charge for 16 seasons. The Warriors went a 128-44-2 under Schneider and won six Western Ohio League titles. Schneider was inducted into the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014.

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After coaching former Ohio State players Greg and Steve Belisari at Boca Raton (Fla.) High School, Jay Minton migrated to Montgomery County in 1998 and replaced Schneider. Two years later the Warriors went to their first state final (1999 lost to Cleveland St. Ignatius).

Minton took Wayne to new heights. The Warriors were 187-58-1 in his 21 seasons, won 10 GWOC titles and added D-I final trips in 2010, 2014 and 2015 (losing to Lakewood St. Edward each time). Minton’s teams made 16 playoff appearances, including seven straight to end his career.

Wayne grad (1985) and former All-Ohio receiver Roosevelt Mukes, who starred for Schneider and then at the University of Cincinnati, took over head coaching duties in 2019. Mukes had been a coach within the program at some level since 1991. The Warriors are 24-19 under Mukes heading into Friday’s game vs. Springfield.

This is the fourth in a season-long series of the top high school football players in Dayton area history. The Dayton Daily News received recommendations and nominations from athletic directors and readers to help compile our list.

Will Allen, DB, 2000

Highly touted recruit was first team All-Ohio in 1999 and a member of the program’s first state runner-up squad. Went to Ohio State where he was a four-year letter winner, a member of the Buckeye’s 2002 National Championship team and a consensus All-American and first team All-Big Ten as a senior. Made memorable tackle on Miami’s Willis McGahee in the 2002 BCS title game that injured McGahee’s left knee and forced him to miss his entire NFL rookie season.

Drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 11th pick (fourth round) of the 2004 NFL Draft. Played six seasons in Tampa, before finishing his 11-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. Career totals were 408 tackles, seven forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and four sacks. He scored one defensive TD.

Marcus Freeman, LB, 2004

Two-time D-I All-Ohio selection (first team as senior and second team as junior) and four-year starter was a Parade All-American and a US Army All-American Bowl selection as a senior. Finished his senior season with 127 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Had 152 tackles, 29 TFL and eight sacks as a junior.

Went to Ohio State where he played in 51 games, started 37, was twice named All-Big Ten and finished his career 19th on the school’s all-time tackle list with 268 (140 solo). Was selected in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears but retired prior to the 2010 season due to an enlarged heart condition.

Has had a successful college coaching career since retirement with stints at Ohio State, Kent State, Purdue and Cincinnati. Is currently the head coach at Notre Dame (second season).

Arnie Jones, FB/DT, 1971

Earned All-American and All-Western Ohio League honors playing for Howard “Moe” Ankney at Wayne where he also starred in wrestling and track. Was team captain in all three sports. Went to Ohio State where he was a three-year starter at linebacker, played in three Rose Bowls, earned All-Big Ten honors and served as team captain in 1974. Among highlights is a 24-tackle performance against Michigan in 1972 that still ranks tied for fourth in a single game in Ohio State history.

Braxton Miller, QB, 2011

One of the Miami Valley’s top offensive players. Earned D-I state offensive player of the year honors in 2010 (threw for 2,167 yards and 17 TDs and rushed for 658 yards and 17 TDs) while leading the Warriors to the D-I state final. Also participated in the Under Armour All-American Game. Four-year starter finished his prep career with 4,795 yards passing and 39 TDs and 1,596 yards rushing and 45 TDs.

A five-start prospect, Miller signed with Ohio State where he became one of the Buckeyes top players in history. Was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, two-time first team All-Big Ten, two-time Big Ten offensive player of the year and two-time Big Ten MVP. Was part of the Buckeyes’ 2015 national championship team. Played final year at receiver after coming back from shoulder surgery. Finished his career at OSU with 5,295 career passing yards, 3,314 career rushing yards and 341 career receiving yards. Accounted for 88 total TDs.

Drafted in the third round (85th pick) of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Played two years in Houston before finishing career with camp stints at Philadelphia, Cleveland and Carolina. Career NFL numbers are 21 games played, nine starts, 34 receptions, 261 receiving yards and two TDs.

Robert Redd, WR/CB/KR, 1998

All-Ohio selection had 152 career catches for 2,007 and 27 TDs at Wayne. Went to Bowling Green where he was a two-time All-MAC selection and had 211 career receptions for 2,726 yards and 26 TDs. As a senior, Redd ranked 10th in the nation with a then-school record 83 catches.

Undrafted, Redd camped with the Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons. Played three seasons for the Berlin Thunder (NFL Europe) and had a long arena league career that included stays with the Arena Football League’s Colorado Crush, Cleveland Gladiators and Philadelphia Soul.

L’Christian “Blue” Smith, WR, 2018

Two-time D-I first team All-Ohio selection and four-star prospect was considered one of the country’s Top 150 recruits coming out of high school. Finished his prep career with 165 catches for 3,208 yards and 37 TDs. Member of the Warriors 2015 state runner-up squad.

Committed to Ohio State and redshirted the 2018 season before transferring to Cincinnati where he spent four years. Currently a redshirt senior at Western Kentucky.

Aamil Wagner, OL, 2022

Two-time D-I first team All-Ohio selection and four-star recruit was considered one of the nation’s Top 125 prospects as a senior. Played in both the Polynesian Bowl and the All-American Bowl. Also starred in basketball (All-GWOC) and track (won the 2022 D-I shot put state title with a heave of 64-1). Signed with Notre Dame where he was redshirted as a freshman. Saw first action in the Irish’s Aug. 26 win over Navy in Dublin.

Jerel Worthy, DT, 2008

After spending his freshman and sophomore seasons at Chaminade Julienne, transferred to Wayne as a junior. Was first team D-I All-Ohio and GWOC defensive player of the year as a senior when he had 50 tackles and 10.5 sacks. Played in the Big 33 game.

Went to Michigan State where, after earning freshman All-American honors, was a two-time All-Big Ten selection as a sophomore and junior. Also became the first defensive tackle at Michigan State to be named AP All-American since Charles ‘Bubba’ Smith in 1966 when he was a consensus first team pick in 2011. Three-year letterwinner finished his career in East Lansing with 38 starts and 107 tackles in 40 career games. His 27.5 TFL and 12 sacks rank among MSU’s all-time leaders.

Drafted in the second round (51st pick) of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers where he spent two years. Also had stints with the Buffalo Bills (two years), New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers during seven-year career. Finished with 34 career tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Honorable mention: Ric Albani, QB, 1982; Jermaine Daniels, DT, 1991; Eric Dixon, RB, 1988; Alex Earley, QB, 2006; Ed Fisher, DL, 1961; Tobias Gilliam, LB, 2016; Vince Heflin, RB, 1977; Victor Heflin, DB, 1978; Dorian Hendrix, LB, 2014; John Hollins, WR, 2000; Reggie Johnson, QB, 1995; Tyree Kinnel, RB/DB, 2015; Robert Landers, DL, 2015; Rashad McKee, QB, 2019; Mike Mickens, DB, 2004; Cameron Moore, WR, 1995; Roosevelt Mukes, WR, 1985; Greg Orton, WR, 2005; Josh Padilla, OL, 2022; Ronnie Redd, WR/DB, 1990; Raymond Redd, WR/DB, 1990; Greg Shackelford, LB, 1985; D’Mitrik Trice, QB; Larry Turner, OL, 2000; Matt Wilcox, WR, 2017; D’Metrius Wilson, WR, 1994; Torrence Wilson, RB, 1995.

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