NFL Draft nets 16 Ohio natives


Chris Wells was an All-American for Akron Garfield and now suits up for the Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Gary Housteau)

There is no denying that Ohio produces some of the top high school football talent every year sending players to the top college football programs in the country. Beyond the campus, there is no shortage of Buckeye State natives in the NFL, either, and the league welcomed 16 more this past weekend in the annual Draft.

There is no denying that Ohio produces some of the top high school football talent every year sending players to the top college football programs in the country.

Beyond the campus, there is no shortage of Buckeye State natives in the NFL, either, and the league welcomed 16 more this past weekend in the annual Draft.

Ohio boasted the fourth most draft picks behind Texas (39), California (28) and Florida (17).

Here is a look at the players taken in the Draft that got their start on the grid iron on the fields across Ohio:

Center Of Attention

The Buffalo Bills selected center Eric Wood with the 28th pick in the first round making him the first Ohio player taken in the Draft.

Wood (6-4, 310) was considered by many as the top center prospect in the country coming out of Louisville.

At Cincinnati Elder, he started all 15 games as a senior leading the Panthers to their second straight state title in 2003. Elder went 28-2 over his last two seasons and Wood earned honorable mention All-District honors as a junior.

Going Back To Glendale

There was little doubt that running back Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells would one day be suiting up for an NFL team and that team is the Arizona with the Cardinals selecting Wells with 31st pick in the first round.

Before becoming one of the most prolific running backs in Ohio State Buckeyes history, Wells (6-1, 235) was an All-American at Akron Garfield. He was ranked as the top players in Ohio’s 2006 recruiting class by Ohio High magazine and was regarded by most scouting services as the top running back in the country his senior year.

Wells rushed for 2,134 yards on 223 carries and 27 touchdowns in his senior campaign and earned U.S. Army All-American Bowl MVP honors scoring three touchdowns in the game.

As a junior, Wells tallied 1,939 yards and 20 touchdowns for Garfield.

As a freshman at Ohio State, Wells played in the 2006 BCS National Championship Game at Arizona‘s University of Phoenix Stadium where he will now be toting the ball as a professional.

All In The Family

Wide receiver Brian Robiskie was destined to play football.

Son of Atlanta Falcons receivers coach and NFL journeyman Terry Robiskie, the younger Robiskie was selected in the by the Cleveland Browns with the fourth pick of the second round.

At Ohio State, Robiskie (6-3, 209) was an Academic All-American and was a first team All-Big Ten Conference selection ranking in the top 10 in receptions and yards in program history.

Robiskie starred at Chagrin Fall in high school and set career receiving records with 118 catches for 1,885 yards and 34 touchdowns. He earned first team All-Ohio honors as a senior with 47 catches for 754 yards and 12 touchdowns leading the Tigers to a 9-3 record and a Chagrin Valley Conference title.

Ohio High ranked Robiskie as the No. 27 prospect in the state for the 2005 class.

The elder Robiskie was a coach for the Browns from 2001-06 including a five game stint as the interim head coach in 2005.

‘Big Rich’

Tight End Richard Quinn is nicknamed ‘Big Rich’ for his ability to block on the offensive line and the Denver Broncos selected him with the 32nd pick in the second round to do just that.

Quinn (6-4, 264) only had 12 career catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns at North Carolina being used primarily as a blocker.

Quinn moved to Ohio his sophomore year of high school from Alabama and was a two-time all-Lake Erie League and all-Northeast District selection. In 2004, Maple Heights finished 10-2 qualifying for the Division II playoffs with Quinn recording 32 catches for 468 yards and 10 touchdowns.

He was the No. 37 rated prospect in the 2004 class by Ohio High.

Arch Madness

With the second pick in the third round, the St. Louis Rams selected Iowa defensive back and Youngstown Liberty product Bradley Fletcher.

Fletcher (6-0, 196) was an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick as a senior with 60 tackles, three interceptions and 10 pass break-ups for the Hawkeyes.

At Liberty, Fletcher had 207 tackles (81 solo), 13 pass break-ups and four interceptions for his career. As senior for the Leopards, Fletcher had 74 tackles (43 solo), two interceptions and six pass break-ups.

On offense, he had 815 yards on 143 carries and 12 touchdowns earning first team all-Trumbull Athletic Conference, all-Northeast Ohio, all-state and played in the annual North-South Classic featuring the top seniors in the state in 2004.

Fletcher also starred on the hardwood for Liberty.


Big Brewster Headed to ‘Big D’

Ball State offensive tackle Robert Brewster was the first of three Ohioans selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 11th pick in the third round.

Brewster (6-4, 325) was a three-year letter winner at Ball State and also earned three letters in high school at Cincinnati Wyoming.

Ohio High ranked Brewster as the No. 33 prospect for the 2005 recruiting class. He was named the Cincinnati Hills League Player of the Year and was an all-city selection. Brewster also earned first team all-state honors and was the Division III Co-Player of the Year.

Fin-tastic Catch

Ohio State wide receiver Brian Hartline joins former Buckeye pass-catcher and Ohio high school standout Ted Ginn, Jr. in Miami as the Dolphins selected the North Canton native with the eighth pick in the fourth round.

Hartline (6-2, 195) opted to enter the draft after catching only 21 passes last season with freshman Terrelle Pryor taking the snaps but as a sophomore he had 52 catches for 694 yards and six touchdowns and made the Big Ten all-academic team.

Despite missing his senior season after suffering a broken leg in the season-opener, Ohio High ranked Hartline as the No. 11 prospect in the state’s 2005 recruiting class.

As a junior, he played quarterback for the first four games before moving to receiver catching 41 passes for 411 yards.

He won state track championships in 110-meter event and the 300-meter hurdles as a senior for GlenOak.

Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Safety David Bruton was one of three captains for Notre Dame his senior season and the Denver Broncos are hoping that leadership carries over to the next level selecting Bruton with the 14th pick in the fourth round.

Before tallying 214 career tackles, including seven tackles for loss and one sack for the Fighting Irish, Bruton (6-2, 219) led Miamisburg’s defense in the secondary. As a senior, he recorded 54 tackles, three interceptions and seven pass break-ups earning all-Southwest District recognition.

Bruton was rated as the No. 15 top prospect for the 2005 class by Ohio High.

Staying Close To Home

Punter Kevin Huber has the rare opportunity to play high school, college and professional football all in the same city.

A Cincinnati native, Huber (6-1, 220) was a three-time all-Greater Catholic League selection at McNicholas earning league Punter of the Year honors his junior and senior seasons.

Huber led all of college football with 46.9 yards per punt for the Cincinnati Bearcats last season earning Big East Special Teams Player of the Year and was a consensus all-American.

With the sixth pick in the fifth round, the hometown Cincinnati Bengals selected Huber keeping him in the Queen City.

Speaking Of Cincinnati

With the very next pick, Dallas selected Cincinnati Bearcats cornerback and Columbus Independence product DeAngelo Smith.

Smith (5-11, 194) earned two letters at Cincinnati and was tied for the most interceptions in the country with eight.

As a senior at Independence, Smith snagged 11 interceptions returning five for touchdowns earning first team All-Ohio honors. He also had 14 touchdowns receiving and had seven touchdowns on punt and kickoffs.

Smith had 20 career interceptions in high school and was ranked as the No. 61 prospect by Ohio High for the 2004 class.

Marcus Of The Midway

Linebacker Marcus Freeman has succeeded on every level of football and is aiming to continue his success with Chicago as the Bears selected him with the 18th pick in the fifth round.

Freeman (6-0, 239) started for three seasons at Ohio State as the Buckeyes led the nation in total defense and scoring defense in 2007 while placing sixth nationally in scoring defense during his senior campaign.

In high school, Freeman started for four years at Huber Heights Wayne and recorded 127 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries as a senior earning first team All-Ohio honors for he second straight season and was also selected as a Parade magazine All-American.

Ohio High ranked Freeman as the No. 7 prospect in the 2004 class.

Freeman also competed in track in the 4×100-meter relay and throwing the shot and discus.



Quarterback Nate Davis is used to setting records on the football field.

Davis (6-1, 226) was the Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year last season setting the Ball State single-season record with 3,667 passing yards completing a record 270 attempts. He also set the mark for touchdown passes in a season with 30 and is the first Ball State player to throw for more than 3,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.

Prior to his collegiate success, Davis earned three letters at Bellaire High school leading the Big Reds to the state semifinals his senior season. He was 125-of-207 passing for 2,932 yards and 42 touchdowns earning all-Ohio Valley Conference and all-state honors.

Davis is the Bellaire record-holder for passing yards with 7,348 and 81 touchdowns and was rated as the No. 38 prospect by Ohio High for the 2006 class.

He also earned four letters with the Bellaire basketball team and holds the career scoring record with more than 1,800 points.

The San Francisco 49ers selected Davis With 35th pick in the fifth round.

Full Speed Ahead

Running back Javon Ringer was ranked first in the nation last season in scoring, touchdowns and carries in his senior campaign at Michigan State and the Tennessee Titans thought that was good enough to take Ringer with the last pick in the fifth round.

Ringer (5-9, 205) was an Associated Press All-American in his final collegiate season and ended his career as Michigan State’s second-leading rusher with 4,398 yards and set the Spartans all-time record with 5,426 all-purpose yards.

He ranks second in program history with 843 carries and tied for fourth with 34 touchdown runs.

Starring in the backfield for Dayton Chaminade-Julienne in high school, Ringer was a three-time All-Ohio selection. Before being sidelined with a knee injury his senior season, Ringer rushed for 1,790 yards and 20 touchdowns in seven games and was rated as the No. 2 prospect in the 2005 class by Ohio High.

As a junior, Ringer had 2,356 yards and 30 touchdowns and helped lead C-J to the Division II state title in 2002 with 2,038 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Ringer was also sprinter for the C-J track team.

Say Cheese!

After lettering three seasons at Ohio State, Hamilton native and cornerback Brandon Underwood transferred to Cincinnati and was picked by the Green Bay Packers with the 14th pick in the sixth round.

At Hamilton, Underwood had 60 tackles his senior year and 50 as a junior and was rated as one of the top cornerback prospects in the country coming out of high school.

Ohio High rated Underwood as the No. 16 prospect in the state for the 2004 class.

Speaking of Cincinnati (Again)

Mike Mickens could be the steal of the Draft with the Cowboys selecting the Cincinnati cornerback with the 18th pick in the seventh round.

Mickens (6-0, 186) was an All-Big East and All-American selection as a junior with 53 tackles and six interceptions taking three back for touchdowns.

Unfortunately for Mickens, he was sidelined for the last three game of his senior season with a knee injury.

Playing for Huber Heights Wayne, Mickens was a two-time All-Greater Western Ohio Conference selection in 2004 and 2005.  Wayne was 24-9 and claimed two league titles during his three seasons as a starter. Mickens recorded 205 tackles and 10 interceptions, blocked four field goals and returned a kickoff for a touchdown during his career.

He was also the state 300-meter hurdles champion as a junior and was also a member of the school’s 4×400-meter relay team placing second at the state finals as a sophomore.

Last But Not Least

Trevor Canfield became the sixth player from the Cincinnati Bearcats to get drafted when Arizona selected him with the 45th pick in the seventh round.

Canfield (6-5, 307) started 25 straight games and was a second team all-Big East selection.

He was a three-year starter at Cincinnati Western Hills and was a first team all-Southwestern Ohio Public Schools League selection as a senior and was honorable mention all-city.


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