Dyer Straight: Recruiting picking up “Moe”mentum

Dyer Straight

By Mike Dyer

Crusader QB Ragland sees stock rise, Franklin’s Kennard nets 51, Princeton’s Mitchell averaging 31…

Archbishop Moeller High School football coach John Rodenberg and his team returned to school on Montgomery Road Monday less than 48 hours after his Crusaders won back-to-back state titles in Canton.

With a school assembly at 9:30 a.m. Monday, it was a chance for the team to reminisce about the historic weekend at Fawcett Stadium some three-and-half hours away to the north.

But, don’t get the wrong impression. Rodenberg wasn’t resting on his laurels.

In fact, he had five college coaches waiting for him on Monday and more arrived Tuesday.

‘Tis the season for the college recruiting contact period this week.

Dyer-ColumnHigh school coaches including Rodenberg want the best collegiate opportunities for their student-athletes so there is no vacation just yet for those who participated in the seven state finals this past weekend.

“The next two weeks college coaches are on the road working feverishly,” says Mark Porter of ScoutingOhio.com. “They need to check up on any late rising seniors and they also need to check ahead on underclassmen for the future. This time period usually signifies college coaches wrapping up the class of 2014 and kicking off the class of 2015 recruiting.”

Rodenberg said the next time he relaxes probably won’t be until next weekend when he takes in an Islanders-Rangers NHL game at Madison Square Garden Dec. 20. (Rodenberg’s daughter, Maria, a Cincinnati St. Ursula graduate, is a volleyball player at Fordham).

Several Moeller players are garnering interest but the most high-profile of the uncommitted 2014 recruits is certainly quarterback Gus Ragland, who accounted for eight touchdowns (five rushing and three passing) in the state final.

William and Mary is scheduled to fly in to Cincinnati on Thursday and multiple other schools are showing interest in the Division I state co-offensive player of the year.

Ragland, who is 6 feet 3 and 205 pounds, threw for 2,058 yards and 22 touchdowns this season while rushing for 1,674 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Robert Morris and Indiana State have offered Ragland, who helped lead Moeller (14-1) to its first back-to-back state titles for the school since 1979 and 1980.

Others are showing interest including Columbia, Cornell, Northwestern, Toledo and Miami University. Some schools are projecting him to a defensive position in college while others were impressed with his playmaking ability in the state final and just want him on their squad.

No one will ever dispute how unpredictable recruiting can be. The Crusaders played undoubtedly one of the toughest schedules in the state this year and Ragland didn’t have an offer going into the postseason. Now, as Porter pointed out in November, his stock is certainly rising.

“One of the best all around football players in Ohio,” Porter said in late November. “Gus Ragland has proved he can run it, throw it or catch it over the past two seasons and is a huge reason for Moeller’s success.”

SCHOOL RECORD FOR KENNARD: Franklin junior shooting guard Luke Kennard set a new single-game school record with 51 points in a 83-56 win over Trenton Edgewood Tuesday night. He was 22 of 36 shooting, according to the Dayton Daily News. Kennard has offers from several top college basketball programs including Duke, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan and Ohio State. Buckeyes coach Thad Matta was in attendance Tuesday night at Franklin. The previous school record was 48 points held by his uncle, Todd Kennard, according to the school.

MITCHELL MOMENTUM: Princeton senior standout guard Kelsey Mitchell – named to the All-USA Today Team for the second straight season last season – is averaging 31 points through the first five games. Mitchell had 34 in a loss against defending Division I state champion Kettering Fairmont on Monday. Mitchell is signed with Ohio State.

MILESTONE: Mason boys basketball coach Greg Richards recorded his 250th career win on Tuesday in a 60-51 win over Liberty Township Lakota East.


Mike Dyer is the Cincinnati Enquirer high school sports editor. Follow his Recruiting Trail blog on Cincinnati.com/preps and on Twitter @MikeDyer


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