National Signing Day: Area football standouts make college choices official

Joshua Fussell looked around the Lakota West High School theatre and smiled Wednesday afternoon.

The Firebird senior said it was surreal to even be in a situation like this.

“I honestly had no clue if I’d be standing up here on this stage doing this when I started high school,” said Fussell, who signed his national letter of intent to play Division I college football at Northwestern University.

“When the coaching staff changed and Coach (Tom) Bolden and all the other guys came here my freshman year, that’s when I was able to show my full potential,” Fussell added.

“He can say all that, and it means a lot as a coach,” chimed in Bolden, who finished his fourth season at the Lakota West helm. “But these kids got here because of the work they put in and how much effort they give to better themselves.”

Fussell joined fellow Firebird defensive backs Ben Minich (Notre Dame) and Malik Hartford (Ohio State), who also soaked in the excitement of signing to play on the gridiron at the next level.

Hartford, the Greater Miami Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, spearheaded one the best defensive secondaries in the state at Lakota West alongside Minich and Fussell.

“These guys have all been coached hard,” Bolden said. “To go further, this is the group that I came into four years ago — a very special group. They are kind of an extension of this entire senior class.

“It is very rare as a head coach that you can go through a school year and not have to check grades on certain kids,” Bolden added. “That’s these guys.”

The Firebirds have gone 31-4 the last three seasons.

Fairfield signs four to play at the next level

Fairfield coach Jason Krause stressed that Wednesday was a big deal for four of his high school football players.

“These guys aren’t passing up opportunities,” Krause said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for these boys. They’ve put the work in.”

Josiah and Jordan Jackson signed to play at West Virginia, as did fellow seniors Ray Coney (East Tennessee State) and James Thomas (Bowling Green State)

Krause said those four total up to be 25 players who will have gone on to play Division I college football during Krause’s 12-year coaching tenure at Fairfield.

Josiah Jackson, Jordan Jackson and Coney received first-team all-Greater Miami Conference honors this season. Thomas was a standout lineman.

Josiah expects to play as a defensive back with the Mountaineers, while his brother Jordan was being recruited as both a defensive back and a running back.

Jordan rushed for 870 yards and six scores this past season, and Josiah displayed top-notch coverage abilities throughout his prep career.

Coney collected 81 total tackles as a defensive back his senior season in helping Fairfield to a 7-4 record.

Lakota East’s Siereveld getting head start at OSU

Austin Siereveld is already putting in the work at Ohio State.

The 6-foot-5, 360-pound Lakota East senior spent the last couple of days working out with the Buckeyes before coming home Wednesday to make it official.

“This is surreal,” Siereveld said after putting pen to paper at the Lakota East auxiliary gym in front of a crowd that consisted of family, friends and Thunderhawk basketball campers.

“When I went back up there for the spring game, I’m like, ‘This is it. I’m done. I’ve made my decision,’” Siereveld added. “Lakota East helped me with this decision and has made me who I am today — through the lows and the highs.”

The offensive lineman, who committed to OSU in May, garnered first-team all-GMC honors this past season.

Moore is Wisconsin bound

Badin’s Braedyn Moore is officially a Wisconsin Badger. He signed Wednesday afternoon.

Moore committed to Cincinnati in April to play safety before de-committing late last month following the departure of UC head coach Luke Fickell, who left to take the head coaching job at Wisconsin.

Moore, who had a standout career at Badin as a defensive back and receiver, received Greater Catholic League Coed Player of the Year honors this past season.

As a junior, Moore helped Badin reach the Division III state final before the Rams fell to Chardon 21-14. This past season, Moore had 79 catches for 1,039 yards and 15 touchdowns. He added an additional 183 rushing yards and three rushing TDs.

Cougars long snapper Green to Indiana State

Edgewood’s Mason Green is headed to play football at Indiana State as a long snapper.

“This is a long time coming,” Green said. “I’ve been putting in the work to get to where I am now.”

Cougars coach Scott Clemmons said he saw the passion Green has had for the long snap position and is proud of the senior.

“He’s put in about 100 snaps a day,” Clemmons said. “Mason had a passion for long snapping, and it’s sort of a skill. He spent the last two to three years traveling around to long snapping camps and working on his craft.”

“It just kind of hit me one day and I found out that I wanted to do this,” added Green, who noted that he first was recognized at a long snapping camp, which ultimately led to his Indiana State decision. “I’m excited to get things rolling.”

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