Cincinnati Withrow was the No. 3 seed in the competitive Division II,
Region 3 playoffs last year. That was an accomplishment in itself, but
the Tigers were bounced in the first round at home by Dayton Carroll
and they are striving for an even better season this year. And it appears within reach because an abundance of talent returns for head coach Charles Gamble.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
SS/LB Jowan Peterson (6-2, 180, Sr.), RB/DB Jelani Alford (5-9, 165, Sr.), LG Josh Bryant (5-11, 230, Sr.), C Michael Jones (5-9, 220, Sr.), QB Dorian Stallworth (5-11, 180, Sr.), WR Darius Davis (6-3, 190, Sr.).
2007 Record: 9-2, Regional quarterfinalist
Cincinnati Withrow was the No. 3 seed in the competitive Division II, Region 3 playoffs last year. That was an accomplishment in itself, but the Tigers were bounced in the first round at home by Dayton Carroll and they are striving for an even better season this year.
And it appears within reach because an abundance of talent returns for head coach Charles Gamble.
Peterson is ranked as the No. 53 senior prospect in the state by Ohio High and has 4.61 speed. He is versatile enough to line up at linebacker or safety and inflict pain on opposing offenses.
Alford has 4.48 speed and is ranked in the top 150 in the state by Ohio High. Alford transferred from Cincinnati LaSalle last year and finished the season with 275 rushing yards, 315 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns. His statistics are expected to skyrocket this year. As of press time, he had offers from Eastern Michigan, Nebraska and others.
The following is ESPN’s in-depth analysis of Alford.
“Alford lacks ideal measurables on paper, but he is a productive back that could develop into a fine change of pace runner at the next level. Runs hard and is compactly built but lacks the overall size at this time needed to carry the load in college. Patient to the hole. Runs with good body control and a low center of gravity allowing him to slide through the small creases. Shows good vision and feel for the cutback. Slippery to wrap up and flashes good jump-cut skill to avoid initial traffic through the hole. Can change direction and cut sharply, rarely give defenders a clean shot at him. Will surprise you with toughness and his determination to finish runs. Lowers the shoulder and fights for extra yards with constant leg churning. Doesn’t waste a lot of time getting down field when he finds a north-south seam, decisive runner.
“Lacks great initial burst but shows good acceleration and top-end speed when he reaches the second level. Good hands and experience catching the ball out of the backfield; does a nice job setting up the screen and transitioning upfield quickly after the catch. While shifty, for a 170-pound back he a bit blocky in the waist is not overly elusive in space. Tends to gear down at times cutting laterally; could have trouble stretching it east-west versus faster pursuing defenders at the next level. Durability is concern as well if employed as a high-carry in-line runner. Yards after contact production does not project well.
“Overall, Alford brings good versatility to the table as a running back prospect and projects best as a third-down or scat-back type prospect in college.”
Other top returning players to keep a close eye on from Withrow include: Stallworth at quarterback, Bryant and Jones on the offensive line and Davis at wide receiver.
(Not available on ohsaa.org.)