‘This is what we coach for’ -- Football players lauded at annual GMC Signing Day

SHARONVILLE — Gabe Verdon made the move over to Hamilton High School following his sophomore season at Moeller.

He came with his brother, Malik, who is now at Iowa State University.

“Ever since I got here, they’ve treated me like family,” Gabe Verdon said of playing for the Big Blue. “I love it here. Everyone here wants to get to the next level. You always feel like you’re competing against everyone every day. It’s a fun kind of competing. But it’s definitely helped me sort of develop into the kind of person I am and my skill set.”

Gabe Verdon will be competing at the next level as the Hamilton senior signed to continue his football and academic careers at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania.

Verdon was recognized at the 24th annual Greater Miami Conference National Signing Day ceremony on Wednesday afternoon at the Delta Marriott in Sharonville along with 26 other Butler County athletes.

“It was a long process. I switched positions a lot for my team,” said Verdon, who noted that he powered through a couple injuries throughout his prep career on the gridiron. “Ultimately, I based my decision on where I fit the most. The team, the coaches, the school — it all made sense to me. They’ve been calling me all the time, which tells me that they’re energetic about me coming there.”

Verdon played linebacker for Hamilton this past season and rounded had 56 tackles.

“I’ll be in good hands,” Verdon said of Lock Haven, a Division II program that competes in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. “I love the coaching staff. I’m excited, but I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m just ready to compete.”

Verdon said he’s been able to catch a glimpse of what college football life is all about. He points a finger at his brother, Malik.

“It’s exciting for sure,” Gabe Verdon said. “I kind of know what to expect for me because I’ve seen parts of the process already with my brother.

“My brother wore No. 3 his senior year, and I wore it my senior year.” Gabe Verdon added. “He definitely had an inspiration on me. I love him. I’ve been competing with him — and against him my whole life — just growing up and playing in the backyard. He motivated me a lot to be a better person and player.”

Hamilton coach Arvie Crouch also acknowledged Big Blue seniors Ebony Curry Jr. (Youngstown State), Kaden Bennett (Flyght Prep Academy) and Jaylan Garrett (Iowa Western Community College) on Wednesday.

“This is what we coach for,” Crouch said. “This is what I tell my kids. I use this as a vessel to help them raise their kids as parents. If college is in the picture, that’s good. If not, we’re still wanting to get people ready for life.

“This is just icing on the cake for what we do as coaches,” Crouch added. “All of these guys I’ve coached will hopefully stay in touch, just like a lot of them who have played football outside of high school. It’s always great to be able to see these guys grow and be coachable.”

A total of 40 prep football players from the Greater Miami Conference were recognized on Wednesday:

Colerain — Donovan Dillingham, Wagner University.

Fairfield — Ray Coney, East Tennessee State; Jordan Jackson, West Virginia; Josiah Jackson, West Virginia; James Thomas, Bowling Green State; Luis Canedo, Flyght Prep Academy; Kavi Bevins, Central State; Dalton Davis, Iowa Western Community College; Mike Figgins, Flyght Prep Academy; Isaiah Glover, Walsh; Matthew Humbarger, Notre Dame College; Ki’Arran Love, University of Indianapolis; Harrison Mensah, Central State; Collin Robinson, Thomas More; Matt Toledo, Notre Dame College.

Hamilton — Ebony Curry Jr., Youngstown State; Gabe Verdon, Lock Haven; Kaden Bennett, Flyght Prep Academy; Jaylan Garrett, Iowa Western Community College.

Lakota West — Mitch Bolden, United States Military Academy at West Point; Josh Fussell, Northwestern; Malik Hartford, Ohio State; Aaron Khayo, Mount St. Joseph; Ben Minich, University of Notre Dame.

Lakota East — Austin Siereveld, Ohio State.

Mason — Jake Bates, Ball State; Caden Davis, United States Military Academy West Point Army; Ben

Middletown — Ronan Casanova, Marist College; Lemond Chambers, University of Findlay; Majaden Lewis, University of Findlay.

Princeton — Caleb Clark-Glover, Marshall; Phillip Daniels, University of Minnesota; Blake Howard, East Tennessee State; Breon Ishmael, University of Michigan; Zion Mason, Thomas More; Amarie Thomas, Tiffin; Riley Woods, Tiffin.

Sycamore — Tucker Groppe, University of Findlay.

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