Football Recruiting: Ward, Stump, Dowdy Among Ohio Recruits to Watch for 2015

By Jeremy Birmingham on February 23, 2014 at 12:00p
Lorain's Rashod Berry

When it comes to Ohio recruiting for 2015, everyone knows the big names: Justin Hilliard, Jerome Baker, Eric Glover-Williams and Shaun Crawford; these are the top four players in the state. Two of them (EGW and Crawford) are already committed to their childhood favorites (Ohio State and Michigan, respectively) and Baker/Hilliard will choose their colleges from a veritable who's who of powerhouse football programs, with Ohio State firmly in the mix for each of them. 

After the top four, there are still a number of known commodities: Lagrange's C.J. Conrad is the nation's ninth-ranked tight end. Winton Woods (Cincinnati) two-way lineman George Brown, Jr. has nearly 40 scholarship offers and we've talked at length about Dublin Scioto tackling machine Nick Conner, who I believe will be playing his college ball in Columbus.

With dozens of BCS-level talents inside of the state's borders, you might be surprised that there are a number of players who are still — as of now — flying a bit under the proverbial radar. While camp appearances and senior seasons will open up doors, these are a handful of players that MAC coaches are hoping don't get discovered by Ohio State and the "big boys." 

Denzel Ward / Nordonia / DB

Discussed initially in John's article a few days ago, there's no player in Ohio who is going to see his stock rise faster than Nordonia's Denzel Ward. How obscure is he at this point? He doesn't have a 247Sports, Rivals, or Scout profile yet.

A 5-foot-11, 170 pound cornerback, Ward burst onto the scene this past week, lighting up the "Best of the Midwest" combine in Indianapolis with a blazing 4.31-40 yard dash.'s Bill Greene, one of the region's most respected analysts, is one of few people who had an eye on Ward before this past week's show.

"He is very raw technique wise, but he has legit speed," Greene said of the Nordonia junior. "Great catch-up speed at CB, (which is) where I see him playing in college, but (he could be) a nice slot WR too. I think he's a high-BCS kid, possibly Ohio State and he will end up a 4-star kid I'm guessing."


Rashod Berry / Lorain / DL

Last summer, Rashod Berry, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound edge rusher from Lorain was starting to pick up some serious buzz thanks in large part to his incredible athleticism. One of the state's best pound-for-pound athletes, Berry is a standout basketball player and possesses many of the traits Ohio State looks for in a defensive end, but rumors of potential grade issues are clouding his recruitment and keeping it from really blowing up.

One MAC assistant coach told Eleven Warriors that Berry was the best athlete they'd seen in the state for 2015 and that they believe they'll have a shot to land him because of the academic difficulties. If Berry handles himself in the classroom, he's a player that could work himself back into the conversation at Ohio State. 


Dre'Mont Jones / St. Ignatius (Cleveland) / DL

When you play at a school as well known as Ignatius, flying under the radar isn't easy to do, but that's what Dre'Mont Jones has done until very recently. Physically imposing at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Jones has caught the eye of a number of big regional coaching staffs of late, picking up his first college scholarship offer (Iowa, quickly followed by his second offer from Cincinnati) and receiving visits from Ohio State and Michigan in recent weeks. 

Jones says he plans on visiting Ohio State following his basketball season and he's very likely candidate for an Ohio State offer, in my opinion. He possesses a rare size/speed combination to go with an Ignatius' pedigree that consistently puts out college-ready student-athletes, not just football players. That makes him a very attractive candidate not just to Ohio State but to other schools hoping to break into Ignatius' pipeline.


Rob Dowdy / Westerville South / OL

If this list is focusing on players that MAC-level schools hope to keep a secret, then perhaps Dowdy ought not be on the list, but he's still — in my opinion — a player that isn't getting nearly enough "love" considering his present abilities and future prospects. Yes, he's currently holding offers from Arkansas, Louisville, West Virginia, Illinois, Kentucky and Georgia Tech, but Dowdy's a powerhouse offensive line prospect who already stands at 6-foot-6 and 280-pounds and is capable of playing tackle or guard.

Named to the "Best of the Midwest" All-Combine team by's Steve Wiltfong, Dowdy could be the next in-state offensive lineman offered by the Buckeyes, and while he's currently favoring Georgia Tech, an Ohio State offer would be hard for him to turn down. He visited the Buckeyes a number of times during the 2013 season and has a fairly established relationship with Ohio State's coaching staff already. 

Stumping for a college chance
Could Stump be the state's best WR in 2015?


Alex Stump / St. Edward's / WR

Few high schools in the country have as much talent as Lakewood St. Edward's, and Alex Stump is an as-of-yet unknown commodity on a team with multiple players that could warrant a Buckeye look.

We know the names of Shaun Crawford and the twins, Andrew and David Dowell, but Stump could find himself right in the thick of the conversation by the time the summer rolls around, especially if he continues to go out and make himself seen around the state. 

Ohio State is hoping to land two — and perhaps three — outside wide receivers in 2015 and that is where Stump holds an advantage over a number of other players in the state. He's 6-foot-3 and 190-pounds already and he's recently run a very respectable 4.54-40 yard dash, earning comparisons to Denver Broncos' wideout Eric Decker.

Toledo, Western Michigan and Cincinnati have all recently offered the St. Ed's standout and they most certainly will not be the last to do so.


Joe Burrow / Athens / QB

Without question, 2015 is not the "Year of the Quarterback" in Ohio. In fact, most will come right out and tell you that it's a weak year for the game's most important position in the Buckeye state, but that doesn't mean their isn't a legitimate star burgeoning from within our beloved border. Joe Burrow is a top-25 talent in the state and the lone quarterback on the list.

He's recently picked up scholarship offers from Cincinnati, West Virginia, Fresno State, Toledo and Central Michigan among others and the 6-foot-4, 195-pound pocket passer is a player that could warrant a look by the Buckeyes down the line if they do in fact decide to bring in two signal-callers in 2015. While the names Torrance Gibson, Brandon Wimbush, Lorenzo Nunez and others are most commonly discussed, Burrow is a more likely candidate to be a "second quarterback" in a class than any of the aforementioned are, which makes him an attractive option for the Buckeyes if they do decide two is the number.



Comments Show All Comments

AndyVance's picture

Good stuff, Birm. Thanks for the update on the Motherland's crop of top-shelf talent this season.

+1 HS
BuckeyeBoyer85's picture

All these players are very good and could be a part of the Famed '15, but I'm really intrigued by Ward. The speed is just to hard to ignore, and I guarantee Urban knows Denzel's 40 time.

Wayne Woodrow Hayes

+1 HS
otrain2416's picture

Scary thing is I think Stumps more like 6'4-6'5 

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

m5987usus's picture

Great work as always birm!!!


ODEEZ330's picture

Dang i want all of them to be buckeyes lol

stark county football

+1 HS
moopdawg's picture

Me too, bro.  Hopefully, they light the camps on fire, get it done in the classroom, and go on to have big senior seasons...and then, become Buckeyes.  Love these articles about Ohio kids.  Thanks, 11W!!!

+1 HS
FitzBuck's picture

B est

I n

R ecruiting

M eta-analysis 

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+7 HS
Tibor04's picture

Excellent intro to new names.

any word about phillip hoskins of toledo whitmer? Seemed to have the rare DT frame...

+1 HS
HighBallAce's picture

Did Stump have an uncle or maybe his dad played for Big Walnut named Aaron or was that Stumpf? I played against one hell of a player for Big Walnut by that name who was something special

BUCKSOMIES's picture

Thanks Birm.  Great as always.

wilkins0802's picture

Can't wait to see how many become Buckeyes! Thanks Birm!

Truth & Courage, 1-17IN, 5/2 SBCT


Aesculus.'s picture

We need to get Ward an offer ASAP.

bucknut8's picture

Rob Dowdy is a beast on the OL. I know Meyer tries to go national, but Dowdy is a monster & he's one of those area guys that has grown up a Huge Buckeye fan. If he's offered, I don't see him turning it down, unless we wait to long in his recruitment.

And you have to imagine the staff will most likely plan on taking another solid amount of OL like 4? atleast 3 for sure. Other than James Daniels who is an interior OL from Ohio, what other OL we possibly lead for? Maybe Drew Richmond from TN & Steven Gonzalez from NJ that's about it. And plenty are thinking Richmond may stay in state. Another top target is Sterling Jenkins from PA who we may have a solid shot at, but Rob Dowdy & a guy like George Brown Jr are two huge in state OL who would be nice to get.


+2 HS
SaudiBuckeye's picture

Thanks Birm, you're the best!

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Dowdy representin' the Ville.  Nick Vannett is also from our burb, although he went to Westerville Central.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

+1 HS
BroJim's picture

Ohio Forever!!!

I season my simple food with hunger

+1 HS
Ericgobucks's picture

Denzel Ward is very intriguing with that 4.31 40 time, wow. I hope it doesn't get old to hear, but thank you again. Great work, Jeremy

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Never gets old. Thanks for continuing to read the site. We'll do our best to keep bringing some interesting and informative topics.

Ericgobucks's picture

I definitely won't be leaving. Even when ppl have disagreements here it's still pretty civil. You guys have a done a great job to minimize bad behavior and focus of the info we all want. It's LITERALLY night and day from BN. 

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

I think that everyone here is grateful for the work that we do, knowing it's "free," and that for the most part what we do is a labor of love. 

ToledoMan's picture

This is exactly the kind of article I need.  When you're busy, a quick snapshot of the talent all in one article is just the thing for me.  I like the sound of Dowdy and Stump and hope they get offers soon.  

Grayskullsession's picture

All hail Birm, recruiting overlord of the interwebz:


"if irony were made of strawberries, we' d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now."

+3 HS
The Urban Legend's picture

Always nice to see Lorain represented

The Legend continues

USMC11917's picture

Does the QB Burrow remind anyone else of Krenzel?

buckeye4life050233's picture

long rangy defensive ends are always good to pick up.  jones is a very versatile DE, could be a big year for him up at St. Ignatius 

nburns18's picture

It would be huge to get all of these guys. We need to keep Ohio boys in Ohio. 

"You win with people." -Woody Hayes

Tibor04's picture

just looking through this old post from February, back when it it's pretty much impossible to forecast who will join the next class of football players. it jumps out at me that, of the 6 names you introduced in this column, 5 earned OSU offers and eventually committed verbally to OSU. either you have mad skills when it comes to eyeing potential OSU football talent, an active connection on the OSU staff, or a combination of the two. either way, keep it coming.

+1 HS
scarletnortherner's picture


“I have yet to be in a game where luck was involved. Well-prepared players make plays. I have yet to be in a game where the most prepared team didn't win.” -Urban Meyer

+1 HS