High school football: Area home to many college prospects

As another season of high school football is about to begin, the Cox Ohio Newspapers coverage area is again home to a large group of players with the potential to play at the next level.

Five area players are in the latest 247Sports Composite rankings.

That group is headed by a pair of players from Northmont who are verbally committed to Michigan: Defensive back Rod Moore is the highest-rated player in the area while receiver Markus Allen is No. 2.

Middletown linebacker Cameron Junior (uncommitted) is the No. 44 player in the state, Hamilton quarterback Malik Verdon is No. 52 and Fairfield defensive back Jaydan Mayes is No. 74.

Verdon, who transferred from Cincinnati Moeller last year, is an “athlete” prospect verbally committed to Miami University.

While the composite rankings are an average developed from multiple sites, 247Sports does its own rankings, too.

Those have another seven local prospects, including Alter running back Branden McDonald (50), Ross offensive lineman Kaden Rogers (63), Northmont quarterback Cade Rice (80), Centerville receiver Will Linkhart (83), Middletown running back Josh Byrant (91), Trotwood-Madison linebacker Daylen Morgan (118) and Springfield offensive lineman Rod Green (130).

Morgan is an Akron verbal commit.

Troy offensive lineman Dawson Hildebrand and Springboro tight end Titan Case are not ranked by 247Sports yet but have verbally committed to Bowling Green and the Naval Academy, respectively.

As the season goes on, many other players in the area are candidates to move into the rankings and (more importantly) earn scholarship offers.

Many other members of the 2021 class are already receiving interest from Division I-FBS colleges, including Northmont linebacker Eli Newburg, Xenia defensive lineman Zack Gaither and Piqua receiver Lance Reaves-Hicks.

Meanwhile, the junior class also looks like it will be another talented bunch.

It is headlined by a trio of Ohio State verbal commits: Alter athlete C.J. Hicks and Lakota West teammates Tshabola Tegra (offensive line) and Jyiare Brown (defensive back).

They are joined as early 2022 class 247Sports four-star recruits by Wayne offensive lineman Aamil Wagner, who already has an offer from Kentucky.

Quarterbacks Chase Harrison of Centerville ant Te’Sean Smoot of Springfield are also players to keep an eye on along with Wayne tight end Elihjah Brown, Alter defensive tackle Derrick Shepard, Springfield defensive back Delian Bradley and Lakota West defensive back Alex Afari.

Some of the players on major college radars from the class of 2021:

Alter: Branden McDonald, James Keighley, Tommy Liebold, Joe Manfred, Brian Shane

Badin: Jayden Carter

Belmont: Joddi Burton, Tavon Hardwick

Centerville: Will Linkhart, Jonathan Bruder, Kris Artis

Chaminade Julienne: Jason Ward

Fairborn: Hunter Warner

Fairfield” Jayden Mayes

Greenon: Kameron Cox, Nathan Hawks

Hamilton: Malik Verdon

Lebanon: Mason DeGennaro

Lehman Catholic: Evan Fogt

Middletown: Cameron Junior, Josh Bryant, Kamari Fuller, Terrecc Richardson, Kamron Cooper

Northmont: Rod Moore, Markus Allen, Cade Rice, Eli Newburg

Piqua: Lance Reaves-Hicks

Ross: Kaden Rogers

Springboro: Titan Case, Ryan Iams

Springfield: Rod Green, Ben Van Noord

Trotwood-Madison: Daylen Morgan

Troy: Dalton Hildebrand

Xenia: Zach Gaither, Kevin Johnson, Isaiah Hoyt

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