Buckeye Pipelines: Doran Grant and Parris Campbell Among St. Vincent-St. Mary Players Who Went On to Star at Ohio State

By Matt Gutridge on July 2, 2022 at 10:10 am
Parris Campbell and Dante Booker

Buckeye Pipelines puts the spotlight each week on a high school program who has had numerous and notable alumni go on to play for the Scarlet and Gray.

This week, we take a look at a school that has produced 15 Ohio State football players since 1970: St. Vincent-St. Mary.

The Irish have had at least one alum on the Buckeyes' roster in every decade since 1970, including five since the turn of the century.

Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary
2021 RECORD 4–7

BACK-TO-BACK TITLES IN 1988-89 AND 2012-13


St. Vincent-St. Mary has a basketball-rich history headlined by LeBron James, but has also been very successful on the gridiron. Ohio State has benefited from the small school’s talent and a pipeline has been established through the years.

Notable Buckeyes from St. Vincent-St. Mary

CB Doran Grant (2011-2014)

Grant was a captain of the 2014 national championship team and a 2014 All-Big Ten selection. He played in 39 games and recorded 83 tackles, three tackles for loss, four interceptions, 11 pass breakups and a fumble recovery during his Buckeye career.

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Grant in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

For the Irish, Grant was an All-Ohioan as a junior and senior. He was also named to the Under Armour-All American and USA Today All-USA teams. Grant finished his high school career with 203 tackles and six INTs.

On the offensive side of the ball, he caught 88 passes for 1,115 yards and 25 touchdowns at SVSM. Grant also won the 2010 state titles in the 110-meter hurdles (outdoor) and 60-meter hurdles (indoor) in track and field.

WR Parris Campbell (2014-18)

A two-time captain, Campbell was also an All-Big Ten receiver for the Buckeyes. The speedy receiver hauled in 153 passes for 1,768 yards and 15 touchdowns during his Ohio State career.

The lion’s share of that production came during his redshirt senior season. Campbell was one of three wide-outs to break the 1,000-yard mark in receiving yards in 2018. He finished his senior year with 90 catches for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The Indianapolis Colts liked what they saw from Campbell and selected him in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft. During an injury-plagued career with the Colts, Campbell has played in 15 games and has 34 receptions for 360 yards and two touchdowns. 

Campbell earned All-Ohio honors by rushing for 1,584 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior. He helped the Irish win back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. Alongside Dante Booker, the football team went 28–2 over those two seasons.

Campbell's speed also helped the track team to a state title in 2013. He anchored the champion 4x100 and 4x200 meter relay teams and was second in the 100-meter dash as an individual. In the winter of 2014, he broke the Ohio state record by running 6.85 in the indoor 60-meter dash.

St. Vincent-St. Mary Buckeyes (1970-2021)
OG LARRY GRAF 1970-73 Missed two seasons due to mononucleosis and a third season because of a broken ankle. Played in every game except at Michigan during his senior year. Graf also earned a letter with the golf team. Was a standout in football, golf and wrestling.
DB WARREN SHARP 1971 Did not see the field as a Buckeye.  
QB JAMES PACENTA 1973-76 Played in 17 games for 157 minutes during his time in Columbus. As a senior, he led the team in passing as he completed 28 of 54 passes for 404 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for a touchdown. All-Ohioan and led SVSM to a championship in 1972, was a captain of the basketball team.
OC JOEL LASER 1975-78 Finished his career with three games played for a total of six minutes.  
TE JIM HOUSTON 1978-79 Saw action in 11 games as a freshman, but only played in one game in his last season with the team in 1979. His dad was two-time Ohio State All-American Jim Houston. All-Ohioan who had 244 receiving yards as a senior.
LB MICHAEL D'ANDREA 1978-81 Recorded 63 tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack as he started every game of his senior year and played in 36 straight games between 1979 and 1981. All-Ohioan at DE and came from a family of 11.
OT JIM CARSON 1980-83 Started seven games in 1982 but only one as a senior in 1983. Finished his career with 33 games played and 351 minutes. All-Ohioan.
TE ED TAGGART 1983-86 All-Big Ten in 1986, caught 12 passes for 109 yards and started all 13 games as a senior. Played in 46 of a possible 49 games as a Buckeye. Won the state title in 1981 and 1982.
DT JASON SIMMONS 1989-93 Captain of the 1993 team, All-Big Ten in 1991, finished his career as the OSU leader in sacks and TFL. State champion in 1988 and second-team All-State. 
S DAVE HOUSTON 1989 Son of two-time All-American Jim Houston and brother of TE Jim Houston, did not see the field in 1989. All-Ohioan and captain of the 1988 state championship team.
DT SIAN COTTON 2004-05 Redshirted in 2003, but was not listed on the official roster. Was on the scout team in 2004, but did not play in a game. Had two tackles and played in five games during his final season with the team. All-Ohioan and played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, also started on the basketball team with LeBron James.
DL LAWRENCE WILSON 2006-09 Played in seven games in 2008 before missing the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Had 20 tackles and played in all 13 games his senior year. All-Ohioan and was ranked as Ohio's top defensive end as a senior. Caught seven passes for three TDs and averaged 15 points per game as a senior in basketball.
DB DORAN GRANT 2011-14 Captain and All-Big Ten in 2014. Two-time All-Ohioan, selected to the Under Armour and USA Today All-American teams. Won the state championship in the 110-meter hurdles.
WR PARRIS CAMPBELL 2014-18 Two-time Captain, All-Big Ten, had 1,063 receiving yards as a senior. All-Ohioan and won the state championship twice. Won the state relay title in the 4x100 and 4x200, broke the state record for indoor 60-meter dash.
LB DANTE BOOKER 2014-18 Played in all 14 games of the national championship season. Started six games in 2017 before missing the rest of the season with an injury. Mr. Football in 2013 and earned a five-star ranking as the first defensive player to win Mr. Football since Andy Katzenmoyer in 1995, SVSM won the state title in Booker’s final two seasons.

More about St. Vincent-St. Mary

In 1972, St. Mary High School merged with St. Vincent High School to create St. Vincent-St. Mary. The Irish compete as an independent program in Division 3, Region 9. St. Vincent-St. Mary was 4-6 in the regular season last year and qualified for the playoffs for the twelfth time in thirteen years. The Irish lost to Dover, 18-15, in the first round of the playoffs last season. 

The football program won the state championship during the school's inaugural year in 1972. The Irish have won a total of six state titles including consecutive championships in 1981-82 and 2012-13. Parris Campbell and Dante Booker were teammates on the latest state title teams.

Across all sports, St. Vincent-St. Mary has won 34 OHSAA-sponsored state championships. The boys' basketball team won a state title in 2022 and leads the way with 11 titles. Other programs with multiple state championships are baseball, boys’ track, girls’ basketball, girls’ cross country and softball.

LeBron James, football player

Yes, LeBron James is known for his exploits on the basketball court. However, one of the greatest cagers in the world also played three years of football for St. Vincent-St. Mary's. Not only did James play, he earned All-Ohio honors as a sophomore. During his junior year, the Irish made it to the final four of the state football playoffs.

Since 2003, the best wide receiver for St. Vincent-St. Mary has earned the LeBron James Best Wide Receiver Award.

Many have wondered about James' ceiling in football. He was recruited by some Division I programs and might have had the talent to play in the NFL. During the NBA's lockout in 2011, contracts were offered to James by the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks. 

How dominant would the 6-foot-8, 250-pound tight end have been in the NFL? Something to ponder. Then again, his basketball career turned out to be fairly decent. 

Another standout on the basketball court for St. Vincent-St. Mary was Columbus native Malaki Branham. This talented Irish star played for the Buckeyes and shined during the latter part of his freshman season.

The San Antonio Spurs selected Branham with the 20th pick of the 2022 NBA draft.

Cistone coaching legacy

John Cistone made his mark on Akron. He was a graduate of St. Vincent and an All-District fullback. Cistone was hired by St. Vincent High School in December of 1964. During his 32 seasons as head coach of the Irish, the Hall of Fame coach won four state championships and 207 games.  

In 1993, the school's football stadium was named in Cistone's honor. The name of the legendary coach is also bestowed upon the annual award presented to the Irish's defensive MVP. 

Today, the Cistone name is back in charge of Irish football. Following the conclusion of the 2021 season, Terry Cistone was hired as head coach of the Irish. Following in his dad's footsteps is not lost on St. Vincent-St. Mary's latest coach.

“I cannot begin to tell you how honored and excited I am to be named head football coach at St. Vincent-St. Mary,” Cistone shared in a school press release.

The younger Cistone head coach is also a graduate of the Catholic high school and was on his dad's staff during the championship runs of 1981 and 1982.

Other famous alumni

In addition to the nine Irish who have gone on to play football at Ohio State, there are many other alumni from St. Vincent-St. Mary who have achieved success in the sports world and elsewhere, including:

Why are Buckeyes prior to 1970 not highlighted or included in the rankings? Ohio State's official rosters did not list players’ high schools before 1970.

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