Pipelines: Ohio State's 2018 Roster Includes 17 High Schools With Multiple Players

By Dan Hope on July 12, 2018 at 1:05 pm
Isaiah Pryor
Isaiah Pryor

While every player on Ohio State’s football team shares the common bond of being a Buckeye, some of them share bonds that go back even further.

Ohio State’s roster for the 2018 season includes multiple players from 17 different high schools, with 16 high schools being each represented by two former players and one well-known institution producing four players who are set to suit up for the Buckeyes this season.

We take a look below at each of those schools and the players who have graduated from wearing those schools’ colors on Fridays to donning the scarlet and gray on Saturdays.

Note that the following list only accounts for the final high schools that each player attended, and does not account for schools from which players transferred before their senior years. This list also only accounts for players who are currently listed on Ohio State’s official roster, and does not include anticipated walk-ons or recruits in future classes who have not yet been added to the official roster.

IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): Isaiah Pryor, Marcus Williamson, Malik Barrow and Taron Vincent

IMG Academy has established itself as the preeminent prep school for student-athletes in the nation, attracting elite talent to Brandenton, Florida from all over the country, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Ascenders have twice as many Buckeyes as any other school.

Each of the four Buckeyes from IMG Academy began their high school careers at other institutions before transferring to IMG. Malik Barrow came from just an hour up the road in Tampa, Florida (Catholic High School), but the others came from farther away. Isaiah Pryor is a native of Lawrenceville, Georgia who started his career at Archer High School, while Taron Vincent is a Baltimore native who began high school at the Gilman School.

Marcus Williamson, meanwhile, played in the Buckeyes’ backyard at Westerville South High School – where he was teammates with another Buckeye, freshman H-back Jaelen Gill – before transferring to IMG for his senior season.

Pryor and Williamson, both sophomores, are each competing for playing time this season in Ohio State’s secondary, with Pryor being a candidate for the vacant starting spot next to Jordan Fuller at safety and Williamson likely to see some snaps both at cornerback and on special teams. Vincent, a five-star recruit in the Buckeyes’ 2018 class, and Barrow, a redshirt sophomore coming off an ACL injury, will compete for playing time in a crowded defensive tackle rotation.

The Buckeyes landed their latest recruit from the Ascenders in June when Lejond Cavazos, a defensive back in the class of 2020, announced his commitment to Ohio State.

Isaiah Pryor and Marcus Williamson
Isaiah Pryor and Marcus Williamson are among the four players on Ohio State's roster from IMG Academy.

St. Vincent-St. Mary High School (Akron): Parris Campbell and Dante Booker

While St. Vincent-St. Mary’s most famous alumnus recently left the state of Ohio to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, two graduates of the Akron Catholic school are still playing football at Ohio State.

After playing high school football together for the Fighting Irish, winning state championships in 2012 and 2013, Parris Campbell and Dante Booker arrived at Ohio State together as members of the Buckeyes’ recruiting class of 2014, and are now both fifth-year seniors entering their final seasons in Columbus.

Campbell led Ohio State in receiving yards and kickoff return yards last season, and is considered to be one of the Buckeyes’ top offensive players as well as one of their best leaders. Booker started six games at linebacker for the Buckeyes last season but has battled injuries throughout the past two years, leaving his role for the upcoming season uncertain.

St. Ignatius High School (Cleveland): Dre’Mont Jones and Kevin Woidke

Another pair of teammates from a Northeast Ohio Catholic school that doubles as an athletic powerhouse, Dre’Mont Jones and Kevin Woidke arrived at Ohio State together in 2015 – Jones as a four-star member of the Buckeyes’ scholarship recruiting class, while Woidke walked on to the team.

Jones has gone on to become a star defensive tackle for the Buckeyes, entering his third season as a starter that will likely also be his last in Columbus, as the fourth-year junior is projected to be an early-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft.

Woidke, meanwhile, has also found his way onto the field for the Buckeyes, earning playing time in 12 games last season as a lineman on the field goal unit.

Cleveland Heights High School (Cleveland Heights): Jaylen Harris and Tyreke Smith

Ohio State has now landed four-star recruits from Cleveland Heights High School in back-to-back cycles, bringing in a pair of former Tigers who have the potential to become stars for the Buckeyes in the next few years.

Jaylen Harris, who appeared in three games last season as a true freshman, is expected to be among Ohio State’s future top playmakers at wide receiver – though he might have to wait one more year for significant playing time as the Buckeyes’ roster remains loaded with experience at his position.

Tyreke Smith, on the other hand, could have an opportunity to see more immediate playing time as a true freshman at defensive end – where the Buckeyes lack veteran depth – and has the potential to continue Ohio State’s recent NFL pipeline at that position.

La Salle High School (Cincinnati): Drue Chrisman and Hayden Jester

Another pair of high school teammates who finished their careers with back-to-back state championships and arrived at Ohio State together, Drue Chrisman and Hayden Jester each became Buckeyes in 2016 – Chrisman on scholarship, and Jester as a walk-on.

Chrisman is entering his second season as Ohio State’s starting punter after redshirting his first year on campus. Jester, meanwhile, has earned playing time on special teams – appearing in two games last year – while also excelling in the classroom, recently earning Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honors for the 2017-18 academic year.

Thayer Munford, who arrived at Ohio State in 2017 and is expected to be the Buckeyes’ starting left tackle this season, also played with Chrisman and Jester at La Salle but transferred to Massillon Washington to finish his high school career.

St. Xavier High School (Cincinnati): Justin Hilliard and Brock Davin

Considered to be one of the nation’s best linebackers during his high school career at St. Xavier, Justin Hilliard arrived at Ohio State as a five-star recruit in 2015. Hilliard battled injuries for his first two years in Columbus, setting him back from the hype he came in with, but he is a candidate to start at middle linebacker this season – at least until Tuf Borland returns from an Achilles injury – after starring on special teams in 2017.

Brock Davin followed Hilliard from the Bombers to the Buckeyes in 2016, joining Ohio State as a walk-on. Davin has yet to see game action, but is entering his third season with the team.

The Buckeyes are set to add another five-star Bomber to their roster in 2020 after highly-touted offensive tackle recruit Paris Johnson Jr. announced his commitment to Ohio State last month.

Wayne High School (Huber Heights): Robert Landers and L’Christian “Blue” Smith

Wayne High School has been a source of future Ohio State stars for the past two decades – with Will Allen, Marcus Freeman and Braxton Miller all getting their starts as Warriors before becoming Buckeyes – and there are now two players on Ohio State’s roster from the Huber Heights, Ohio school once again.

Robert Landers, a three-star recruit from the class of 2015, is in line to start for the Buckeyes this season at defensive tackle as a fourth-year junior. L’Christian “Blue” Smith, a four-star recruit in the class of 2018, is likely to redshirt this season as a true freshman but is among Ohio State’s potential future stars at wide receiver.

Olentangy Liberty High School (Powell): Brendon White and Nathan Brock

The only Central Ohio high school with multiple Buckeyes on this year’s roster (not including the previously mentioned Westerville South High School) is Olentangy Liberty High School, about a 25-minute drive from the university in the northern Columbus suburb of Powell.

Brendon White, the son of former Buckeye defensive back William White, arrived at Ohio State in 2017 as a four-star recruit. After flipping back and forth between the safety and wide receiver positions in his freshman year, White is now back in the secondary and among the players competing for the vacant starting safety spot.

Nathan Brock, who joined the Buckeyes as a walk-on in 2016, has yet to see game action at Ohio State but is entering his third season with the team.

Cass Technical High School (Detroit): Mike Weber and Joshua Alabi

The Buckeyes made a big splash in what is usually Wolverines territory when they signed four-star defensive back Damon Webb in 2014, followed by four-star running back Mike Weber and three-star lineman Joshua Alabi in 2015, out of Detroit’s Cass Technical High School.

Webb completed his career at Ohio State last season, starting at safety for his final two years as a Buckeye, but Weber and Alabi are still in Columbus.

Weber, who ran for 1,096 yards as a redshirt freshman in 2016 before battling some injuries in 2017, is set to team up with J.K. Dobbins for what should be one of the best running back tandems in the country in 2018, which could be his final season before he leaves for the NFL. Alabi, who began his Ohio State career as a defensive tackle before moving to offensive tackle last season, hasn’t seen much playing time for the Buckeyes yet but drew praise from his coaches for his improvement this spring.

Cathedral High School (Indianapolis): Terry McLaurin and Pete Werner

Indiana has become an increasingly popular recruiting ground for Ohio State in the Urban Meyer era, and one school in particular where the Buckeyes have reaped the rewards has been Cathedral High School in Indianapolis.

Terry McLaurin arrived at Ohio State as a four-star recruit in 2014, and has since emerged as the Buckeyes’ top blocker at the wide receiver position and as one of the team’s top leaders entering his fifth-year senior season.

Pete Werner, who followed McLaurin to Ohio State as a four-star linebacker in 2017, also appears well on his way to following in McLaurin’s footsteps as one of Meyer’s favorite players on the team, drawing considerable praise from the head coach last fall and this spring while appearing in 11 games, primarily on special teams, as a true freshman.

Erasmus Hall High School (Brooklyn, N.Y.): Jahsen Wint and Matthew Jones

Curtis Samuel’s arrival at Ohio State in 2014 started a pipeline to the Buckeyes from Erasmus Hall that has continued with the arrival of two more scholarship players in the past three years – Jahsen Wint and Matthew Jones – from the educational complex in Brooklyn.

Wint, a three-star recruit in the class of 2016, hasn’t seen the field much yet for the Buckeyes but is among the players competing for playing time at safety this year. Jones, a four-star recruit in the class of 2018, projects as a future starting center or guard and potentially one of Ohio State’s next great interior offensive linemen.

Ohio State has already begun recruiting class of 2021 Erasmus Hall defensive end Jahzion Harris – among a very short list of rising sophomores who have already received offers from the Buckeyes – in an effort to continue that pipeline with the Dutchmen.

St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): Nick Bosa and Damon Arnette

Ohio State is set to have two key defensive players from St. Thomas Aquinas High School – another school nationally renowned for its success on the football field – for the second year in a row.

Nick Bosa isn’t just expected to be the star of Ohio State’s defense this upcoming season, but perhaps the best defensive player in all of college football. Coming off an All-American season last year, the junior defensive end is already being projected as a potential No. 1 overall pick for the 2019 NFL draft.

Damon Arnette is also entering his second season as a regular contributor on Ohio State’s defense. After starting 12 games at cornerback last year, Arnette is in line to be in the Buckeyes’ three-man primary cornerback rotation once again this year as a redshirt junior.

Nick’s older brother Joey, who was a two-time All-American for the Buckeyes and now stars for the Los Angeles Chargers after being selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, also came to the Buckeyes from St. Thomas Aquinas. Ohio State actually had three players from St. Thomas Aquinas on its roster last year, but Trevon Grimes transferred to Florida after just one season.

That said, the Buckeyes have already lined up their next addition from the Fort Lauderdale Catholic school – landing a commitment last month from Jordan Battle, a class of 2019 defensive back from St. Thomas Aquinas – and are recruiting several other Raiders as potential additions for their next two classes, including four-star 2020 outside linebacker Derek Wingo.

Damon Arnette and Nick Bosa
Damon Arnette and Nick Bosa both came to Ohio State from St. Thomas Aquinas High School.

Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.): Shaun Wade and Tyreke Johnson

Trinity Christian Academy has had a five-star cornerback in each of the last two recruiting cycles, and both of them have decided to become Buckeyes.

Shaun Wade joined Ohio State as a member of its recruiting class of 2017, while Tyreke Johnson decided to follow Wade to Columbus this year.

Wade hasn’t played for the Buckeyes yet, as he redshirted last season due to an abdominal injury, while Johnson is a true freshman now, but both players are prime candidates to make an impact on special teams this year and become regulars in the Buckeyes’ cornerback rotation in two or three years.

The Buckeyes have already offered another cornerback from Trinity Christian, Miles Brooks, for the recruiting class of 2020.

Christian Brothers College High School (St. Louis, Mo.): Kamryn Babb and Cameron Brown

Another example of two high school teammates choosing to attend Ohio State as part of the same recruiting class occurred this past December, when both Kamryn Babb and Cameron Brown decided to sign with the Buckeyes.

Both playmakers from Christian Brothers College High School were recruited to Ohio State as four-star wide receivers, though it remains unclear whether Brown will begin his career as a Buckeye as a pass-catcher or on the defensive side of the ball as a cornerback.

They aren’t the first Buckeyes to come to Ohio State from Christian Brothers College, as Zach Turnure – a special teamer who was placed on scholarship for his final season as a Buckeye last year after originally walking onto the team – also hailed from the St. Louis school. The Buckeyes are also heavily recruiting a pair of wide receivers from other St. Louis schools, Marcus Washington and Jameson Williams, as potential additions to the class of 2019.

Franklin High School (Franklin, Tenn.): Max Wray and Mitch Rossi

With increased success recruiting the state of Tennessee in recent years, Ohio State has landed players from Franklin High School in back-to-back years.

Mitch Rossi is entering his second season with the Buckeyes after joining the team as a walk-on running back in 2017. Max Wray, a four-star offensive tackle scholarship recruit for the class of 2018, arrived as an early enrollee in January.

The Franklin-to-Columbus pipeline was set to continue in 2020 – as Wray’s younger brother, Jake, has already committed to Ohio State for that year’s recruiting class – but Wray is set to finish his high school career at Marietta (Georgia) High School after he and Max left the Franklin football team last fall due to concerns the Wray family had about the coaching staff.

Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas): Tate Martell and Haskell Garrett

Ohio State landed a pair of recruits from Bishop Gorman High School in 2017, when Tate Martell and Haskell Garrett – who went 43-0 over the course of winning three straight national championships with the Gaels – became Buckeyes.

Martell, who redshirted his first year on campus, is in line to be the Buckeyes' second-string quarterback this year. Garrett, who appeared in eight games as a true freshman, is among the players competing for spots in the defensive tackle rotation.

(Author's note: Bishop Gorman was accidentally omitted from the original publication of this article.)

Mayfield High School (Mayfield Village): Gage and Luciano Bican

Mayfield High School doesn’t have any scholarship players on Ohio State’s roster, but two graduates of the Northeast Ohio school are now playing for the Buckeyes after twin brothers Gage and Luciano Bican made the team as walk-ons in a tryout this spring.

According to John Kampf of The News-Herald, the Bican brothers initially went to Lake Erie College, a Division II school, as scholarship players out of high school in 2016, but transferred to Ohio State after one year playing for the Storm. Now, the former Mayfield Wildcats will look to prove they belong on the field as walk-on wide receivers for the Buckeyes.

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