10 “underhyped” and “underappreciated” Juniors you’ll see sign next February


Centerville DE Ifeadi Odenigbo

One’s been told “not” to go to Ohio State by a family member. Another could become the biggest recruit ever at his school. One might not even play football in college. Here’s a look ahead to 2012 and 10 Juniors you’ll read about in the Fall and see signing next winter…

It’s never too early to start looking ahead…that being said, some recruiting pundits see 2012 shaping up as arguably the “best” recruiting class ever in Ohio. We hear talk like that seemingly every winter/spring, but the early returns on the Class of 2012 are backing it up.

In the 2011 season, every position in Ohio will have several key horses. Here’s a look at a few of them. We’ll see these 10 juniors signing next February. With who we don’t know. But now you know a little more about them…

1. Ifeadi Odenigbo, 6-4, 207, DE, Centerville:
We’ll give Greater Western Ohio Conference coaches a pass this time but man did they screw up. Last season, despite registering 10.5 sacks, Odenigbo was left off the All-GWOC teams. Rival QBs will pay for that slight this fall. Current Elks senior DL Michael Bennett (Ohio State) reached new heights last year with is recruitment and became the school’s most sought after kid ever. Centerville head coach Ron Ullery said Odenigbo could rival Bennett’s offer list. Already Stanford, Cincinnati, Syracuse and Toledo are on board. Said Ullery: “He’ll get a lot more BCS offers.”

2. Reggie McAdams, 6-6, 190, QB, Elida:
There will be several D-I QB recruits in Ohio next year. The question is will McAdams be one of them? A ridiculously good basketball player too, McAdams will have choices to make when it comes to his future? Football or basketball? During the regular season last year, McAdams threw for 2,597 yards, 31 TDs and only three interceptions. He led the Bulldogs to their first playoff berth since 1982 and a first round victory over Tippecanoe. McAdams fire for 2011 will come from his five-interception performance against Watterson in a 21-7 regional semifinal loss. Expect him to rebound (pun intended) strong. 

3. Kaleb Ringer, 6-3, 225, LB, Clayton Northmont:
Overlooked by most for 2010 postseason awards because he didn’t make enough “Wow” plays according to his coach Lance Schneider, Ringer, who made second team Greater Western Ohio Conference after being named first team as a sophomore, will look to make amends in 2011. And he’s on a mission. Using the postseason slights as fuel, Ringer expects to have a huge 2012. I expect him to have one too. Cincinnati, Toledo and Ball State have offered and expect more BCS schools to get involved – including potentially Ohio State. Ringer’s uncle Javon of former Michigan State and current Tennessee Titans fame, has not so jokingly told Ringer to steer clear of Ohio State. If (and when) offered by the Buckeyes, though, I believe that’s where Ringer will go.

4. Evan Jones, 6-6, 240, TE/DL, West Lafayette Ridgewood:
Jones causes recruiters confusion: should he be a TE or a DL? Regardless of which it is, he’ll be a good football player. Despite having no offers yet, Jones will have his share eventually. Last year on the DL he had 58 tackles, including 15 for loss and seven sacks. As a TE, he caught 10 passes for 98 yards and two TDs. Jones also excels in basketball (all-district) and his athleticism makes him arguably the top TE prospect in the state. 

5. Derek Swinderman, 6-4, 195, QB, Dover:
It’s hard to say that someone who threw for nearly 3,500 yards last season isn’t a known commodity and Swinderman is, but his popularity will grow this season. Only three returning QBs statewide threw for more yards than Swinderman did last year when he led the Tornados to a first round win at Steubenville and the D-III regional finals. His final tally read 213-of-342 passes for 3,457 yards and 32 TDs. He also ran for 554 yards and 12 TDs. He has no offers right now, with an emphasis on “now.”

6. Jaylen Prater, 6-2, 218, LB, Wellston:
Southeast Ohio doesn’t turn out as many D-I recruits as other parts of the state, but Prater will be one of its next. A two-way starter since his freshman season, Prater carries a 4.0 gpa and is an outstanding prospect. He has an offer from Toledo and will get a ton more.

7. Sam Grant, 6-6, 230, TE, Lakewood St. Edward:
Grant is not really an “unknown” commodity, but he might be a “forgotten” one some times. That’s what happens though when you’re on the end of a huge and dominant OL. The St. Ed front five last year got a lot of attention for their talent, girth and college options. Grant was a part of that line and still is. Ohio’s TE class is extremely deep and Grant is firmly amongst the best of the group. Ohio State as not offered but rumblings say they could. Those that have offered include Toledo and Michigan, which seems to make a living off Ohio TEs (i.e. Toledo Whitmer’s Kevin Koger and Trotwood-Madison’s Brandon Moore).

8. Patrick Boggs, 6-0, 200, FB, Field:
Want a sleeper at RB? Boggs is it. Last season Boggs ran for 2,386 yards and 28 TDs on 325 carries en route to leading the Falcons to the D-III playoffs. He also has 18 career catches for 209 Yards and three TDs. He’s a mini-Peyton Hillis.

9. Zack Higgins, 6-5, 295, OL, Marlington:
The Dukes have an outstanding RB tandem in Alden Hill and Dymonte Thomas. Those two however have an outstanding blocker in front of them in Higgins. Higgins is a state qualifying wrestler and owns a Ball State offer.

10. Ross Martin, 5-10, 180, K, Walsh Jesuit:
Kickers don’t often get attention, but Martin deserves it. Ranked a unanimous Top 3 kicker nationally by several kicking services, Martin made 44-of-44 PAT’s last year and was 8-of-11 on field goals. Powered by a 345-pound squat, he once booted a 62-yard field goal to win a national kicking camp.

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