As the regular season of high school football comes to a close in Ohio, it's time to take a look back at how some of the talented prospects Eleven Warriors has seen in-person have performed this season.
After taking a look at how Ohio State commits Jack Sawyer, Jayden Ballard, Ben Christman and targets CJ Hicks and Chris Scott performed in the first five weeks of the season, here's a recap of what we saw in weeks six through nine of the regular season.
Week 6: Mentor at Solon
Player: Brenan Vernon
Position: Defensive End
Recruitment: Holds one offer from Kent State
Stat line: three total tackles and one quarterback hurry
Mentor High School is one of the best teams in Ohio and it's not often a freshman plays, let alone starts. However, that does not stop Brenan Vernon from starting and playing a big role for Mentor this season.
Entering a game against a Solon team that features four-star 2021 Ohio State defensive end target Najee Story, it was Vernon who had the more impressive game. Even as only a freshman in high school, Vernon was flying all over the field and passes the look test with flying colors at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds.
Beyond the measurables, you can see the game beginning to come to him. He is a very good athlete that has the ability to dip his shoulder and get around the edge. Vernon also has the necessary power to keep the edge and finish through would-be blockers. At this point, it is all about continuing to mature and add to his pass-rushing skill set.
Luckily for the talented freshman, he still has plenty of time develop and has already caught the eye of one of the best defensive line coaches in college football, Larry Johnson. This past summer at one of Ohio State's one-day camps, Johnson pulled Vernon out of the underclassmen group to practice with the likes of Ohio State commitments Jack Sawyer and Darrion Henry.
Since that camp, the young freshman has begun what has the makings of a great high school career. As for Vernon's recruitment, it is beyond too early to tell at this point. He has one offer from Kent State but if he continues to develop, he will be an Ohio State-caliber player in three years.
Week 7: Gateway (PA.) at Massillon Washington
Player: Derrick Davis Jr.
Recruitment: 20 offers including Ohio State, Clemson, Penn State, and Notre Dame
Stat line: 13 rushes for 115 yards and two touchdowns. No defensive stats reported
In a matchup between two of the top teams in their respective states, 2021 four-star Ohio State safety target Derrick Davis was the main bright spot for his Gateway High School team.
Playing both sides of the ball, Davis had a long 98-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to pad his stats, but defensively is where he made his biggest impact.
Davis primarily plays strong safety where he can roam around the secondary while also coming up to play the run when needed. He also has the ability to cover some of the nation's best athletes in the slot, making him a versatile defensive back.
Against Massillon, Davis Jr. had his hands full with the Tigers potent passing that features 2021 four-star Ohio State wide receiver commit Jayden Ballard and 2021 three-star Ohio State athlete target Andrew Wilson-Lamp on the outside. While Davis Jr. held his own in the middle of the field from his strong safety spot, his team was unable to contain Ballard or Wilson-Lamp for long. Overall, though, there is a lot to like about Davis' game, especially with his versatility in the defensive backfield.
As for Davis' recruitment, he is not one to say much and it was much of the same following this game, though Ohio State is very interested in Davis and it seems as though the feeling is mutual. Now it is up to the Buckeyes to get one of the top players in Pennsylvania back on campus in order for them to stay relevant in his recruitment.
Davis is also very interested in Clemson and Penn State. Right now, Davis is focused on his team's pursuit of a state championship and has put his recruitment on the back burner until after the season. But the Buckeyes are still among the teams in position to land this top defender.
Week 8: Pickerington Central at Pickerington North
Player: Ty Hamilton
Position: Defensive Line
Recruitment: Committed to Ohio State
Stat line: No defensive stats reported
In this week eight matchup, there were Division I athletes all over the field for both teams, including two Ohio State commits. The most notable was Sawyer, but in this game, it was the other Buckeye defensive line commit that came through down the stretch.
While 2020 three-star Ohio State defensive end commitment Ty Hamilton does not have the hype or the star power that Sawyer has, he still was able to make a huge impact on the game.
Pickerington North is not a pass-heavy team, but when they do, it is typically a quick pass, limiting Hamilton's pass-rushing opportunities. However, he was dominant at stopping the run. His long arms allow him to separate from offensive linemen and he has the strength to blow potential blockers back into the backfield.
Similar to his bother Davon – a current Ohio State defensive tackle – he is not a ready-made player coming out of high school, but he doesn't have to be. Hamilton has a great frame that can easily hold up to 300 pounds, making him a great fit for Larry Johnson to stash and mold into a stud, much like his brother has become as a fifth-year senior.
Hamilton is not a player that will come in and make an impact immediately, but with the given time to develop he could be a very good player for Ohio State when called upon.
Week 9: Winton Woods at La Salle
Player: Jake Seibert
Recruitment: Committed to Ohio State
Stat line: 3-for-3 on extra points and all touchbacks
As a kicker, Jake Seibert is as advertised. He has a very strong leg that gives him the ability to make kicks from 50+ yards and boot the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs. And there is plenty of room for improvement in that regard once he gets into Mickey Marotti's strength in conditioning program.
As for Seibert's maximum distance, private trainer Andrew Gantz of Game Winner Kicking told Eleven Warriors that the Buckeye commit is good from 66 yards out and hasn’t missed an in-game kick in two years.
Week 9: Winton Woods at La Salle
Player: Miyan Williams
Position: Running back
Recruitment: Committed to Iowa State
Stat line: 32 rushes for 145 yards and three touchdowns
Across the field from Ohio State commit Jake Seibert was one of Ohio State's top remaining targets in the 2020 class, Winton Woods running back Miyan Williams.
Right off the bat, Williams looks like a Big Ten running back at 5-foot-10 and 210 pounds, and he is a load to bring down. Williams has the lower body of a player that could easily carry the ball times 30 times in freezing temperatures, much as he did in this game.
Williams does not have elite, game-breaking speed and he isn't the shiftiest player, but what he lacks in speed he makes up for in stamina. In a game against a very stout La Salle team, he was tasked with carrying the load for his team that had an injured quarterback and little to no passing attack. And while he didn't ever get loose for a long run, he was consistent all game and wore down La Salle's rushing defense.
Whether it was sweeps, inside runs or even direct snaps. Williams got the ball and barreled his way forward time after time. Williams is not the home-run hitting back Ohio State has been after but that’s okay, because his game translates to any offense under any conditions.
His recruitment is still pretty quiet at this point. He is committed to Iowa State and very much likes all the Cyclones have to offer, but as just about every player, he is listening to Ohio State. After speaking to those close to Miyan and his recruitment, it feels as though the Buckeyes are in a good position to flip him, but his upcoming visits will be telling.
At the end of the day, Williams looks like the most likely running back of Ohio State's targets to end up in Columbus and if he does, the Buckeyes will get a good one.