Standout senior linebacker Antwuan Johnson has transferred from Dunbar to Wayne High School.
Wayne athletic director and football coach Jay Minton confirmed on Monday that Johnson enrolled in the Huber Heights City School District last Friday and attended a Warriors’ summer workout on Monday.
Minton said the Johnson family has a Huber Heights residence. The school district does not have open enrollment, but accepts new students who pay tuition. Minton said Johnson will be immediately eligible unless he doesn’t meet one of the transfer exceptions in accordance to Ohio High School Athletic Association rules. If that happens, Johnson will have to sit out half the regular season (first five games) before he’s eligible to play football.
“If you don’t cross your T’s and dot your I’s, you’re going to be in trouble,” Minton said of transfers. “You’ve got to know the (OHSAA) rules and follow the rules. They’re very black and white. The (OHSAA) is trying to take out as much gray area as they can.”
It’ll be the third program in the last three years Johnson will have played for. He began his high school career at Springfield, where he verbally committed to the University of Michigan following his sophomore year. He transferred to Dunbar last summer for his junior year and also decommitted to Michigan after Jim Harbaugh was named the Wolverines’ head coach.
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“He’s a heck of a player and the best of luck to him,” said Darran Powell, Dunbar’s coach the last four seasons. “We texted afterward. I wish him nothing but the best and hope he stays healthy.”
Dunbar was at the forefront of a tumultuous school year for Dayton Public Schools in 2016-17. The Wolverines were forced to forfeit two football games by the Ohio High School Athletic Association for playing an academically ineligible player. Not only did that prevent Dunbar from qualifying for the postseason, it also knocked three other teams out of the playoffs and adjusted first-round pairings in at least three divisions.
Dunbar coaches also insisted DPS director of athletics Mark Baker instructed Dunbar to lose to Belmont in a Week 10 game. That led to the OHSAA placing all DPS athletics programs – boys and girls - on an unprecedented three-year probation and fining them $10,000 for, among other things, a “serious lack of administrative responsibility and institutional control.”
DPS responded in part with a revised protocol for hiring coaches. As of Monday, no fall coaches for any sport had been announced by DPS and won’t until approved by the school board.
“When all that happened, there were people saying there would be some kids flying out of there,” Minton said. “The rumor-mill is going crazy.”
Listed as 6 feet 1 and 238 pounds, Johnson has multiple offers, including Kentucky, Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, Purdue and West Virginia, according to 247Sports. He remains uncommitted. Minton said he hadn’t met Johnson yet.
Johnson, running back/defensive end Tavion Thomas and receiver Joseph Scates all were labeled as high-end Dunbar senior recruits. They were three main reasons why Dunbar, 9-1 on the field last season, was expected to make a deep run in the Division III playoffs this season. Thomas has offers from Ohio State and Alabama. Scates has offers from Alabama and Oklahoma. Powell, who continues to oversee the Wolverines football program, said both Thomas and Scates were at a Dunbar summer workout on Monday.
“I asked them today (if they too were transferring) and they were here (Monday),” Powell said. “I never know anything from day to day, but I figured they would be there.”
Johnson’s transfer to Wayne continues a well-established trend of high-profile area athletes becoming Warriors in football and basketball. Minton said at least three Wayne football backups from last season have since transferred to Springfield, including senior quarterback Tyler Carter.
“We don’t always get them; we lose them, too,” Minton said. “Those kids would be playing for us somewhere.”
Wayne has played in D-I state championships three times since 2010, quarterback Braxton Miller’s senior season, and four times overall with Minton as coach. Wayne, 11-1 last season, already has a high-end recruit who hasn’t committed in senior receiver L’Christian “Blue” Smith. Among his many offers is one last month from OSU.
Smith confirmed on Monday he will attend The Opening at the University of Oregon later this month. That’s an invitation-only and Nike-sponsored event that is a skills showcase for the nation’s top senior football recruits. Portions of the three-day event have been televised on ESPN.
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