After finishing Division II state runners up in 2006 and going 11-1 in Division I last season, Pickerington Central is aiming to get back to Ohio high school football’s Promised Land in 2008 behind a cast of talented players, including Ohio State recruit Jamie Wood and Patrick White.
We caught up with both for more.
PICKERINGTON – With great success comes even greater challenges.
After finishing Division II state runners up in 2006 and going 11-1 in Division I last season, Pickerington Central is aiming to get back to Ohio high school football’s Promised Land in 2008 behind a cast of talented players.
Seniors-to-be Jamie Woods and Patrick White are just a couple of players that have Tiger football fans optimistic for a successful 2008 campaign.
Wood (6-foot-2, 190) reeled in 25 catches for 548 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior and tallied 65 tackles, 12 pass break ups and an interception on defense.
He ended his recruiting early pledging to Ohio State in late February.
“I grew up a Buckeyes fan,” Wood said. “My whole family loves the Buckeyes. To have the opportunity to become a Buckeye is a dream probably for any kid in Central Ohio and I chose my decision off of that.
“It was really a matter of time. I knew if the Buckeyes were going to offer, I was going to commit. I gave it a week, talked it over with my parents, went to the junior day and made my decision there.
Wood was recruited by Ohio State as a safety.
“They have a lot of safeties leaving out so it is a good fit for me to possibly make some noise out there and possibly get some playing time,” he said.
The talented two-way player is the most recent Ohio State commit in the 2009 recruiting class and is the ninth overall. Wood is impressed with how well the Buckeyes have recruited in his class so far – particularly Ohio State’s third verbal commitment in defensive tackle Johnny Simon of Youngstown Cardinal Mooney.
“He’s a beast,” said Wood. “He’s strong and he can move, too, for a big guy. Cardinal Mooney is always a strong, powerhouse team.”
Wood was recently selected to participate in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio next January. The Bowl features the top 84 high school senior football players in the country.
“That was a shock. I had no idea about it. I got a call from the (Amry) and they gave me an invite. I was honored,” he said. “The best play in that game and hopefully a couple (future) Buckeyes join me.
“I am going to represent well. I am going to go out there and play ball like it is another football game. There is a lot of talent and I am going to try and live up to what everybody expects of me and just do my best out there. It’s a blessing.”
Wood is participating in spring track competing in the 4×100-meter, 4×200-meter and 4×400-meter events. He also reports a 4.48 40 time.
“I am trying to build my speed up and my endurance so I can play both ways again next season,” Wood said. “In the weight room I’m trying to get bigger, get stronger and that is the goal right now – just work on football.”
His junior season was his first playing defense and he is focused on improving his technique and skill since he has been recruited as a safety. Wood is training with his neighbor – Columbus Destroyers assistant coach Cecil Dogette.
“You can always get better technique-wise,” said Wood.
Said Pickerington head coach Jay Sharrett, “He is real physical in the weight room and we decided to put him in over at safety and he started making tackle after tackle. I can’t say enough about him and I am glad we have him one more year.”
Wearing jersey No. 7, Wood is reminiscent of former Ohio State wide receiver Ted Ginn, Jr., who was also recruited as a defensive back, and he is not ruling out the possibility of playing offense was in college.
“I like offense and defense but I will player wherever the team needs me,” he said.
Wood excels in the classroom as well carrying a 3.4 GPA.
Cut From The Same Cloth
White is another two-way player at wide receiver and defensive back who, like Wood, has started for Pickerington since his freshman season.
White (6-foot-0, 175) led Pickerington in receptions last season with 41 catches for 464 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, he had 42 tackles 26 pass break ups, three interception and a 47-yard pick-six.
“I like receiver but anywhere I can help team out I will play. I like scoring and the action,” said White. “On defense, you really have to work to get touchdowns. But I love every part of the field and if I can play both ways in college, I’ll do it.”
White recently attended the Scout.com combine in Pittsburgh and earned first team all-combine honors as a receiver. He recorded a 4.22 shuttle and a 35.5-inch vertical jump.
“It went great,” White said about the combine. “I went against some pretty good corners. I ran some good routes and caught the ball well. I think I fared pretty well there and look forward to hitting up some one day camps and picking up some big offers.”
White is planning on camping at Ohio State, Penn State and Illinois. He already has offers from Indiana, Cincinnati, Akron, Toledo and Kent State.
He attended West Virginia’s junior day and was impressed with what the Mountaineers have to offer – and the feeling was mutual.
“I loved it down there and they just told me to be patient. They said I am a ‘no-brainer’ offer, so I am looking forward to that offer hopefully coming in,” said.
Unlike teammate Wood, White is not in any hurry to end his recruiting and commit early.
“It is just a matter of time,” he said. “I just need to stay patient and keep working hard and good things will happen.
“I am more of an athlete than anything and (schools) want to see what I can do when they put me in a position. A lot (of schools) are looking at me on defense with my long frame and good cover skills and I corner I could fare pretty well.”
White is also competing in track this spring in addition to working on his football skills.
“The main thing in the off-season has been running and working on skills,” he said. “My first showcase was the Scout combine and my routes were really, really good. I worked for three or months and got to that level and but the time the summer comes I am going to be even better.
“I look forward to keep working and seeing my competition at these camps and doing well.”
With similar skills at the same positions, White and Wood feed off of each other and work hard to make each other better.
“We go up against each other and tell each other what we are doing wrong,” said White. “That helps a lot to get our game to a top level so when we get out on the field we can just show them what we’ve got and win games.”
“They really enjoy ‘doing’ football and when the season gets here it is just the icing on the cake,” said Sharrett. “I love having players like that. They put our opponents in a bind both offensively and defensively. They make plays and it makes me look like a smart coach,” he joked.
The Boren Identity
Pickerington Central linebacker Zach Boren (6-foot-1, 240) is another player that has recently drawn a lot of interest and picked up a scholarship offer to Ohio State this week to go along with his offers to Cincinnati, Toledo, Miami (Ohio), Akron and Kent State.
Boren notched 182 tackles including four sacks as a junior last season. He had three interceptions and caused eight fumbles. Boren also rushed for 200 yards and scored four times at running back.
Boren’s older brother, Justin, recently made the decision to transfer from Michigan following the off-season coaching change.
Both Boren brothers are still in the process of making their college decisions.
Patrick White and Jamie Wood