High school football: Wayne’s Joshua Padilla surprised by early Ohio State offer, still assessing his options

When Joshua Padilla isn’t hanging out with his friends playing video games lately, he’s been pulling in big-time college scholarship offers.

This summer, he hopes to split his time preparing for his junior season at Wayne High School, checking out some of the top football programs in the country and fishing.

The 6-foot-4, 265-pound offensive lineman has not had much trouble catching scholarship offers over the past three months.

The first wave came in February when Miami (Ohio), Eastern Kentucky, Pittsburgh and Arizona State came calling

Next came Cincinnati. Then Oregon.

After that was arguably the biggest one for any kid growing up in the Buckeye State: Ohio State offered March 22.

Since then, Notre Dame, Penn State, Miami (Fla.) and West Virginia have offered as well to give Padilla an impressive list of options even though he is only halfway through his high school career.

“I was like kind of getting used to getting offers, like one or two every two or three weeks, and then the recruiting process just like started getting crazy,” Padilla said. “All these schools started recruiting me out of nowhere, so it was a pretty big jump from a low standard.”

Padilla, a four-star prospect and the No. 5 player in Ohio for the class of 2023 according to 247Sports Composite rankings, started at right tackle last season for the Warriors, who went 5-3 and finished third in the GWOC last season.

They beat rival Centerville twice, including in the first round of the playoffs, before a loss to Springfield ended their season.

That came after a rare Warriors losing season, something Padilla hopes he doesn’t have to go through again.

“Being at a place like Wayne is like no other,” he said. “It’s always competitive. The standard is always winning. It’s basically like one of a kind in the Dayton area.

“I feel like even next year we’re going to be like super explosive on offense. I feel like we’re gonna surprise a lot of teams around this area because I feel they assume that we are going to go into another down year, but I think we’re gonna surprise a lot of teams.”

As for his personal situation, Padilla admitted the explosion in recruiting attention caught him off guard — especially getting an offer at this point in his career from Ohio State.

The Buckeyes are famously choosy with offers in their backyard, especially for players like Padilla who are only sophomores.

“I was super surprised,” Padilla said. “I was hoping for an offer in like my junior year if I kept improving my game.”

That’s how it went for teammate Aamil Wagner, a senior-to-be who was the other starting tackle on the Wayne offensive line opposite Padilla last season.

Wagner, whose recruitment has also heated up recently, and Padilla could both continue a 20-year legacy of Wayne graduates at Ohio State, but the Buckeyes have lots of competition.

Padilla said at this point he does not expect to make a verbal commitment until next year, but he is proud to have the early offers.

Though he grew up an Ohio State fan, he is working to build relationships with coaches from all the schools recruiting him and remains open to where he will play at the next level.

“I’m looking for a college that has great coaches with great personalities and to make great relationships,” he said. “Basically just a great all-around college that has great features.”

He was on hand for Ohio State’s spring game April 17 and came away impressed.

“It was only like 20,000 fans, but it was still crazy seeing how competitive they were,” he said of his first time attending a game at Ohio Stadium since watching Wayne in a Division I state championship game when he was younger.

His recruiters at Ohio State are offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, whose recruiting territory includes the Miami Valley, and graduate assistant Kennedy Cook.

“They just love that I get after it and how aggressive I am, and they know I have a strong mentality because I’m a state placer as a wrestler so they assume I have a great mentality,” said Padilla, who plans to return to Columbus for Ohio State’s camp June 8.

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