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. 6, Centerville
15 players from Centerville have been listed on 54 Ohio State rosters.
QB Kirk Herbstreit (1988-92) was the team captain and MVP of the 1992 season. Against Michigan as a senior, he completed 28 passes for 271 yards in the 13-13
win tie. At the time, the 28 completions were an Ohio State record against the program's only rival. Between 1989 and 1992, the Buckeyes were 2–12–2 against ranked opponents and 0–3–1 in The Game. The wins were against No. 6 Iowa (1990) and No. 8 Syracuse (1992).
Following his playing days, Herbstreit started his media career with 1460 WBNS radio in Columbus. After several years with the station, including a stint with Ian Fitzsimmons, Herbstreit left The Fan after he moved to Tennessee. He has been a mainstay on ESPNS' College Gameday and shares the booth with Chris Fowler for ABC's coverage of their premier college football game of the week.
At Centerville, Herbstreit led the team to a 10–0 record as a junior and was the Ohio Player of the Year as a senior. He was the first player to commit after John Cooper was named Ohio State head coach. Herbstreit's father, Jim, was a captain for the Buckeyes' 1960 team and was on the coaching staff for the 1961 and 1962 seasons.
K Mike Nugent (2001-04) Ohio State's only kicker to be named a captain and team MVP. The program's most decorated kicker, Nugent held, or was tied with, 17 kicking records when he left for the pros after the 2004 season.
Some highlights of the 17 records are: most FGs in a career (68), most FGs in a season (25), consecutive FGs made (24), consecutive FGs made in a season (23), consecutive FGs made in the wind tunnel that is Ohio Stadium (17), 40+ yard FGs made in a season (10), longest FG in Ohio Stadium (55).
The 55-yard FG mentioned above was against Marshall in 2004. The record tying kick also propelled the Buckeyes to a 24-21 victory as time expired. The next week, he made a 50-yard FG against NC State which made him the first Ohio State kicker to make back-to-back 50 yard field goals.
For his accomplishments on the field, Nugent was honored as the captain and team MVP of the 2004 season. He was also a two-time All-American (2004, 2002) and All-Big Ten player (2004, 2002). Nugent also won the Lou Groza Award in 2004. The Jets selected him in the 2nd round of the 2005 NFL Draft.
Second-team All-Ohioan as senior, Nugent set the school record by converting 165 PATs and held the record with a 52-yard field goal. He also played quarterback and finished his senior season with 3 passing touchdowns and 7 rushing TDs.
LB AJ Hawk (2002-05) the hard-hitting linebacker was a three-time All-Big Ten player (2005, 2004, 2003), two-time All-American (2005, 2004) and captain and team MVP of the 2005 team. Hawk received votes from every player on the team, except one, to be a captain. The lone player not to vote No. 47 was himself.
The awards don't stop there as he also won the Lombardi Award, Jack Lambert Trophy and was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. Hawk was the fifth Buckeye to win the Lombardi Award. He was also the Defensive MVP of the 2006 Fiesta Bowl after he destroyed Notre Dame, and his future brother in-law, in Ohio State's win. The Packers selected him with the fifth pick of the 2006 NFL Draft. Of the nine Buckeye linebackers taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, only Tom Cousineau (No. 1 in 1979) has been drafted sooner.
Hawk missed most of his senior season because of an injury. However, he still recorded 82 tackles in limited playing time. He finished his high school career with an astounding 583 tackles. Hawk also averaged over 40 yards per punt as a senior.
DL Michael Bennett (2011-14) was a captain and All-American on the 2014 national championship team. He was also on the 2012 Academic All-Big Ten team. During his time in Columbus, Bennett was also on the undefeated 2012 team and was part of three Big Ten East title teams and a Big Ten Leaders championship team. He was selected by the Jaguars in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft, making him the first Ohio State player ever drafted by Jacksonville in the draft.
At Centerville, Bennett was an All-Ohoian and played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He helped the Elks make it to the regional finals in 2010. Bennett was also a two-time Great Western Ohio Player of the Year.
|No.||POS||PLAYER||YEARS||OHIO STATE CAREER||HS CAREER|
|2||K||DOUGLAS McELDOWNEY||1977||Did not see the field in 1977.||Nothing listed.|
|93||DT/LB||TERRY BACH||1977-78||Played in 16 games and had 9 tackles during his 2 seasons with the team. Played in 5 games as a freshman before missing the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.||All-Ohio LB.|
|9||QB/LB||GARY ALDERS||1981-84||Arrived as a QB, but was switched to LB, saw action in 28 contests, had 15 punts for 548 yards in 1981 and recorded 7 tackles in 1984.||Played HB and QB and was an All-Ohioan in baseball.|
|57||DT/LB||DAVID MORRILL||1981-1984||Led the team in sacks in 1983 (6) and 1984 (4), he was second on the team with 77 tackles in 1984.||All-Ohioan whose dad played for That Team.|
|13||K||SCOTT NEFF||1983||On the roster for one season.||Nothing listed.|
|54||DT||PAT THOMAS||1985-89||Bench pressed 400 pounds, played in 43 games and started 13, had 59 tackles, 4 TFL and 2 sacks as a senior.||All-Ohioan at DT, the team was 38–4 during his 3 seasons, also played hockey and track.|
|19, 4||QB||KIRK HERBSTREIT||1988-92||See above.||See above.|
|26||P||JEFF BOHLMAN||1988-90||A walk-on in 1988 who was the starting punter in '88, '89 and '90. Averaged 41.2 yards per punt as a senior, as a junior, he downed 14 of his 41 punts inside the 20 and had a 69 yard punt against USC.||Played WR and caught 35 passes for 594 yards, was an All-Ohioan in baseball.|
|5, 32||K||JON BERGER||1989-91||Started his collegiate career at Texas A&M in 1987, but transferred to Ohio State in 1988. Was behind Tim Williams on the depth chart in 1990 and 1991, appeared in 4 games in 1990 and had 13 kickoffs.||Was a RB for the Elks and went 10–1 as a senior.|
|37||FB||DERON BROWN||1990-92||Played in 21 games|
|85||K||MIKE NUGENT||2001-04||See above.||See above.|
|47||LB||AJ HAWK||2002-05||See above.||See above.|
|34, 9||WR||BRENT ULLERY||2004-06||Nothing listed.||Nothing listed.|
|57||DL||TOM INGHAM||2007-09||Played in 4 games and recorded 1 tackle in 2009.||Nothing listed.|
|63||DL||MICHAEL BENNETT||2011-14||See above.||See above.|
|75||OL||EVAN LISLE||2013-16||Played in 26 games for the Buckeyes before leaving for Duke as a graduate transfer for the 2017 season.||All-Ohioan, made the USA Today All-American Team and played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, was rated as a Top 5 player in Ohio,|
Back To School
Centerville is located in Montgomery County and is in the Greater Western Ohio Conference. The team competes in Division I, Region 3. The Elks went 2–8 last year and did not make the playoffs. Although they lost eight games, the team won their last two of the season. The program's last playoff appearance was in 2017, the team hosted and defeated Hilliard Darby, 35-0, in the first round. They lost to Pickerington North, 42-12, in the second round.
Centerville has won 14 state championships. The girls' cross country team has four titles (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014), girls' bowling has two (2019, 2008) and one championship in girls' swimming (2004), girls' golf (1995), boys' soccer (1984), girls' track (1981) boys' gymnastics (1980), boys' hockey (1979), girls' gymnastics (1977) and baseball (1928).
The school has 14 championships in these sports not sponsored by the OHSAA:
Girls' tennis (1997, 1995, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1983), co-ed dance team (2011, 2010, 2009, 2003), cheerleading (2012, 2011) and boys' tennis (1988).
Famous names you may know: NFL players Dave Preston, Andy Harmon, Will Johnson, Ifeadi Odenigbo and Adam Replogle, MLB player Sean Murphy, professional poker player Chip Reese, songwriter and guitarist for Guided by Voices, Tobin Sprout, actors Gordon Jump (WKRP in Cincinnati), Pat Kilbane (Mad TV and played bizarro Kramer on Seinfeld) Jeff Yagher (V: The Series and a jazz musician who dated Elaine on Seinfeld), special effects technician who did Freddy Krueger's makeup, Kevin Yagher and US Secretary of the Army, Eric Fanning.
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.
2,829 days since Ohio State has not defeated That Team.
97 days until The Game.
Are you a former player, graduate, live near or have something to add about today's featured high school? Please share your story with us in the comments. What makes the 11W community unique is the amount of great information everybody is willing to share.
If you like Ohio high school football, or want to read about the best teams of the '50s and '60s, you should check out Tim Raab's book: Powerhouses of Ohio High School Football.