Another week of high school games brought another week of standout performances from Ohio State commits and targets worthy of being included in our Prep Tracker.
We were also back on the ground to watch a few of those prospects, as Dan Hope went to Wayne High School to check out offensive linemen targets Aamil Wagner and Joshua Padilla while I spent my evening evaluating 2022 linebacker commit Gabe Powers.
Powers does it all
Watching Marysville’s 27-7 road victory over Hilliard Bradley Friday night, Powers stuck out like a sore thumb in the best way possible.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound 2022 four-star Ohio State commit made contributions in all three phases — offense, defense and special teams — all while looking like the best player on the field for the majority of the evening. By now, most Ohio State fans know the 46th-best player in the 2022 cycle, per 247Sports’ composite rankings, will play Sam linebacker for the Buckeyes. And Powers lived up to his recruiting reputation on the defensive side of the ball, blowing up several screens and penetrating the backfield on various plays.
But his go-ahead 21-yard touchdown run in the second quarter really gave his team the momentum it needed to continue its undefeated season.
“The lanes opened up, the corner crashed hard so I bounced out around him and just had to outrun the safety,” Powers said.
While he doesn't quite look like a natural at running back, he's also not an easy man to bring down, as it usually takes more than one defender to finish the job.
Powers is also Marysville’s punter, a role the senior says he enjoys. He’s been practicing punting since middle school, but has not done it in a high school game until his senior season.
“I like just getting out there and punting,” Powers said. “I don’t really think too much about it.”
Gabe Powers: punter. pic.twitter.com/XJaP6oEDws— Garrick Hodge (@Garrick_Hodge) September 10, 2021
Playing three phases doesn’t seem to exhaust Powers, who has no intention of slowing down or taking plays off for the remainder of the season.
“You can’t pace yourself,” Powers said. “I don’t want to pace myself, I’ve never been taught that way, I’ll never be that way, 100 percent every play. That’s what I came out and tried to do.”
Powers says he talks to either OSU linebackers coach Al Washington or Ryan Day nearly every day. Washington’s vision for Powers at the next level defensively is similar to what he’s doing in the prep game, although it’s unlikely the Buckeyes will ask him to cover the slot receiver at cover safety in their defense, which Powers did multiple times for Marysville Friday.
“I may rush off the edge a couple times, drop back in coverage, if they need me in Cover 2 to play some middle if they need a longer guy to cover deeper, that would be fine by me,” Powers said.
Powers said he’ll attend an Ohio State game sometime this fall, though he is unsure of what game that may be.
Two top line targets team up
There were no shortage of future Division I football players on the field in Huber Heights, Ohio, on Friday night, where Wayne High School – best known for being Braxton Miller's alma mater – hosted Springfield in a battle of two of Southwest Ohio's most talented teams.
Springfield entered the week ranked by MaxPreps as the fifth-best team in the state of Ohio, and the Wildcats lived up to that billing, defeating Wayne, 21-14. The Wildcats feature two of Ohio's top uncommitted prospects in the recruiting class of 2022: quarterback Te'Sean Smoot, who ran for three touchdowns in the win, and safety Delian Bradley, who also lined up at running back on Friday.
Delian Bradley, one of Ohios top defensive backs in the recruiting class of 2022, also getting some work at running back for Springfield tonight. pic.twitter.com/xrCzOGlBD2— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) September 11, 2021
The two players in the game who have offers from Ohio State, however, both play for Wayne. Wagner, Ohio's fifth-ranked prospect in the recruiting class of 2022, lines up at left tackle for the Warriors; Padilla, Ohio's fifth-ranked prospect in the recruiting class of 2023, lines up at right tackle.
While Wayne's offense only scored two touchdowns against Springfield, Wagner and Padilla stood out physically. Wagner, in particular, stood out with his athleticism, length and ability to explode to the second level and pick up blocks in space.
Can see Aamil Wagners quickness as he explodes to the second level here. Hell need to add weight at the collegiate level, but his athleticism and length are why hes one of Ohios top prospects in the recruiting class of 2022. pic.twitter.com/qVwDXCCXzt— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) September 11, 2021
Both of them are also players who will likely need some time to develop at the collegiate level, especially if they end up at a big school like Ohio State. Wagner is listed at just 265 pounds, so it could take him a year or two to add the necessary weight and strength to be a Big Ten offensive lineman – though Ohio State has a blueprint to offer him in that regard from Nicholas Petit-Frere, who also came in underweight but is now the Buckeyes’ starting left tackle.
Padilla, meanwhile, is being recruited to play either guard or center at the collegiate level even though he's currently playing right tackle. His strength is evident for someone's who is just a high school junior, though; he's also a standout on the wrestling mat, and that translates to his ability to overpower defensive linemen on the football field.
After the game, which ended just hours before Padilla and Wagner traveled to Columbus to attend Ohio State's home opener against Oregon, Eleven Warriors caught up with both offensive linemen to talk to them about their interest in Ohio State and how they've been communicating regularly with Greg Studrawa and Ryan Day. (Apologies if Wagner's interview is difficult to hear, as the Wayne band started playing at an inopportune time.)
Side note: Former Ohio State defensive tackle Robert Landers, a Wayne High School graduate, is now an assistant coach for the Warriors. So Padilla and Wagner won't have to go far if they want to get a former Ohio State player's perspective on what it was like to play for the Buckeyes.
– Dan Hope
Allar goes off Friday
He may already be committed to Penn State. But if Ohio State is going to take a prep quarterback in its 2022 class, it’s going to be Medina signal caller Drew Allar. Whether or not OSU can convince him to flip from his commitment is one thing, but Allar absolutely showed why the Buckeyes should be interested on Friday. Allar threw for a career-high 523 yards and five touchdowns while completing 28 of 47 passes in Medina’s 38-27 win over Stow-Munroe Falls.
Michael Rodak 6-yard TD pass from Drew Allar w/9:18 left in the third gives Medina a 24-21 lead. pic.twitter.com/L12KMUhsJo— Matt Goul (@mgoul) September 11, 2021
Touchdown No. 5 for Allar. Medina pulling away in the 4th Quarter— Ryan Snyder (@RivalsSnyder) September 11, 2021
38-21. 7:49 left in game. pic.twitter.com/PjcA4PwOR5
Drew Allars first touchdown earlier tonight pic.twitter.com/tU2egZ5Bws— Ryan Snyder (@RivalsSnyder) September 11, 2021
The Best of the Rest
- Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but 2023 running back Richard Young had another dominant performance Friday night. Young finished with 201 rushing yards and three touchdowns for Leigh Senior High School (Lehigh Acres, Florida) in its 43-6 win over East Lee County.
- 2022 defensive line target Christen Miller isn't exactly making friends in opposing backfields. Miller made the trek from Ellenwood, Georgia on Saturday to watch Ohio State's contest against Oregon as well.
Different mode This season pic.twitter.com/I0gxLlBYN4— Christen Miller (@fatchr7s) September 11, 2021
- One week after OSU running backs coach Tony Alford scouted him in person, 2023 running back target Willtrell Hartson had another strong performance. Hartson finished with 287 rushing yards and four touchdowns for Massillon on Friday before attending the Oregon game the next day.
287 yards 4TD Check out my highlight - https://t.co/NyphAUYhn4— Willtrell Hartson (@x_trell4) September 11, 2021
- Would you be surprised if I told you Carnell Tate caught another touchdown for IMG Academy? Because he did!