Recruiting is said to be the lifeblood of college football. This series will countdown the top 100 high schools in Ohio that have provided the Buckeyes with football players. The rankings are based on how many times a player from each high school has been listed on Ohio State's roster between 1970 and 2018.
No. 34, Cleveland Benedictine
Six players from Benedictine have been listed on 21 Ohio State rosters. Larry Zelina was the first Bengal to make an Ohio State roster. He was a senior running back in 1970 and was a starter during the 1968 national championship season and averaged 8.7 yards per carry that year. He led the Big Ten in punt returns in 1969. Zelina had 17 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown, and also had 13 receptions for 212 yards and a score during his final season with the Buckeyes. He was an All-Ohioan at Benedictine and had 34 touchdowns as a senior.
LB Alvin Washington (1977-80) was a three-year starter for Ohio State and had 145 tackles as a sophomore and 120 tackles in 1979. Washington was selected by the Jets in the 4th round of the 1981 NFL Draft. At Benedictine, he was an All-Ohioan at tight end and linebacker and was the captain of the basketball and track teams.
HB/DB Kevin Richardson (1981-84) was a reserve player in 35 games and started in one during his time in Columbus. He arrived on campus as a tailback, but was switched to the secondary. Richardson had 8 tackles, broke up a pass and had a blocked kick as a senior.
DB/LB/TE Tim Cheatwood (1997-00) as redshirt freshman in 1998, Cheatwood played in all 12 games and had 18 tackles and an interception as a defensive back. In 1999, he was moved to linebacker and played in 12 games and started against Miami in the season opener. For the 2000 season, Cheatwood switched positions for the third straight season. This time, the staff wanted him to play tight end where they felt his speed would be a weapon. He played in 10 games, but only had 3 catches for 17 yards and a touchdown.
Cheatwood played defensive back and wide receiver at Benedictine where he was a Plain Dealer All-City player and competed in the Ohio-Pennsylvania Big 33 Classic.
OT Ivan Douglas (2000-03) missed the 2001 season with a blood clot in his lung. He made a recovery and played in all 14 games of the championship 2002 season. Blood clots returned in the summer of 2003 and it cost him his last year with the Buckeyes. Instead of playing on the field, Douglas was a student coach on the sideline. His health issues did not prevent him from pursuing a career in the NFL. Douglas won the state title at Benedictine during his junior season.
LB Jerome Baker (2015-17) led the team in tackles (72) during his last season with the Buckeyes as junior. He started in 25 games during his Ohio State career and played in 29 consecutive games. Baker had two key interceptions as a sophomore. At Oklahoma, he returned an interception 68 yards for a touchdown to give the Buckeyes a 14-0 lead. Against No. 3 Michigan, he had 15 tackles and his interception in the third quarter, with Ohio State down 10, proved pivotal in the team's comeback victory. Baker finished his collegiate career with 158 tackles and 17.5 tackles for loss.
The Dolphins selected Baker in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He scored the winning touchdown, and was named the game MVP, as Benedictine won the state title his senior year. Baker earned All-Ohio honors and was named the Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He was known for his defensive skills, but Baker also finished his career with 3,065 career rushing yards.
Back To School
Benedictine is located in Cuyahoga County and is a member of the North Coast League. The team competes in Division 2, Region 5. The Bengals went 4–6 last year. The last time they made the playoffs was 2017, the team traveled to Barberton and lost, 36-6, in the first round.
The football program has eight state titles with the latest coming in 2014.
Benedictine has a total of 13 state championships. The football team leads the way with 8 (2014, 2004, 2003, 1996, 1981, 1980, 1973, 1957) track has three (2001, 1998, 1997) and basketball two (1998, 1997).
Explanation of the Rankings
School "A" had 14 players appear 16 times on Ohio State's roster. School "B" had 11 players appear 20 times on Ohio State's roster. School "B" will have the higher ranking. Why? Even though school "B" has less players, those players played for more years.
If two or more schools have the same number of appearances, the tie will be broken by the school with the highest average of roster appearances per player. If there is a tie in the average, the tie breaker will be the school with the most prominent Ohio State player.
2,800 days since Ohio State has not defeated That Team.
126 days until The Game.
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