Bryce West, Damarion Witten and Arvell Reese Revive the Highly Successful Glenville-to-Ohio State Pipeline

By Josh Poloha on June 25, 2023 at 3:05 pm
Bryce West

You know that GIF of The Undertaker waking up and leaning forward in his casket that resurfaces time and time again on social media?

That's a perfect depiction of the Glenville-to-Ohio State pipeline.

When Jim Tressel took over for John Cooper in 2001, the former Buckeyes head coach made one promise: To beat Michigan that fall. Ohio State had struggled against the Wolverines, with just two wins in the previous 13 meetings, including two straight losses in the matchup. In order to turn that promise into reality, one of the many things he leaned on was the talent in Cleveland at a program led by Ted Ginn Sr. since 1998.

Tressel used that pipeline to help bring Ohio State back to the top of college football within three years of taking over in Columbus. It all started with Troy Smith's commitment in 2002. As the second quarterback in the class and the last player in the cycle, he was sort of an afterthought early on. He went on to win the Heisman Trophy and become one of the best quarterbacks in Ohio State history. Ted Ginn Jr. and Donte Whitner also became All-Americans while playing alongside Smith in scarlet and gray.

Urban Meyer's lone national championship while leading the Buckeyes was partially due to another quarterback from Glenville, Cardale Jones. Marshon Lattimore became a star cornerback for Ohio State after joining the Buckeyes from Glenville. 

Following a two-game losing streak to Michigan, Ryan Day now hopes bringing in his own talent from Glenville will play a part in turning things around in The Game and winning a national championship. 

With the commitments of four-star cornerback Bryce West and four-star tight end Damarion Witten in the 2024 class paired with four-star linebacker Arvell Reese signing with the Buckeyes in the 2023 class, the connection between the Cleveland high school and the Buckeyes is officially back. Prior to Reese's commitment, a Glenville product hadn't played for Ohio State since 2016, when walk-on Curtis Henry spent one season in Columbus.

Assuming West and Witten sign with the Buckeyes in December, it will be the first time in a decade that OSU has multiple Glenville players in the same class. Lattimore, safety Erick Smith and offensive lineman Marcelys Jones all signed with Ohio State in 2014.

Cardale Jones is among the former Tarblooders who have pushed for the Glenville-to-Ohio State pipeline to get going once again.

“It was pretty cool,” Jones told Eleven Warriors last August of Reese committing to OSU. “Hopefully that pipeline opens back up. ... I think (OSU re-establishing the pipeline is) great because Glenville always has some great athletes. They’re known for players that have come to Ohio State and have done some big things for the program.”

Reese, West and Witten are set to become the 22nd, 23rd and 24th Glenville products to wear the scarlet and gray. Twenty-one Tarblooders played for Ohio State from 2002-17.

Buckeyes from Glenville
10 QB TROY SMITH 2002-06 Ohio State's 7th and most recent Heisman Trophy winner, went 25-3 and 3-0 against Michigan as OSU’s starting quarterback. Played for St. Edward for three seasons and Glenville as a senior, threw for 969 yards, 12 TDs and ran for 329 yards and 4 TDs for Glenville.
1 WR DAREUS HILEY 2003 On the 2003 roster. Four-year starter who played QB, WR, and CB, he had more than 2,500 all-purpose yards of offense and 28 TDs and 5 INTs as a senior, for his career, Hiley had 4,282 yards of offense, 58 TDs and 18 INTs.
9 S DONTE WHITNER 2003-05 All-American and All-Big Ten as a senior. Played in the All-American Bowl, recorded 60 tackles, 10 TFL, 3 FF, 3 INTs and caught 9 TD passes as a senior.
7 WR TED GINN JR. 2003-06 All-American in 2006, caught 135 passes for 1,943 yards and set multiple punt return records during his career. Played CB, QB, WR and RB for Glenville, returned 5 INT for TD as a senior, returned an INT for a state record 102 yards, threw for 932 yards and 12 TDs, ran for 845 and 17 TDs and was the D1 Offensive Player of the Year.
44 LB CURTIS TERRY 2004-08 Played in 46 games and had 26 tackles and 5.5 TFL, missed the 2007 season because of foot and ankle issues. All-Ohioan as a senior when he had 25 TFL including 12 sacks, over 3 years he played QB, RB, DE, LB and safety, also played basketball and track.
3 S JAMARIO O'NEAL 2005-08 Started the last 8 games of the 2006 season, finished his career with 49 tackles, 1 INT and 2.5 TFL, went by JO or J-Mo. All-Ohioan as a junior and senior, had 65 tackles, sacks and 3 INTs and was a Parade All-American his senior season.
4 WR RAY SMALL 2006-09 Small finished his up-and-down four years with 61 catches for 659 yards and three TDs, as well as one punt and kickoff return TD each. All-Ohioan, had 35 receptions for 521 yards and 10 TDs as a senior, also had 5 TDs on returns, was the league MVP.
9 DL ROBERT ROSE 2006-09 Shoulder injuries slowed him down in 2007, he had shoulder surgery in 2008, started four games and had three TFL and two sacks as a senior. All-Ohioan and played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, had 77 tackles and 17 sacks as a senior.
70 OL BRYANT BROWNING 2006-10 Three-year starter on the offensive line and 2010 captain. All-Ohioan and captain as a senior, ranked No. 1 academically in his class, lettered three years in football and track.
7 S JERMALE HINES 2007-10 Two-year starter who recorded 157 tackles and three interceptions as a Buckeye. Defensive MVP of the team, All-District, played QB and LB as a junior.
41 FB JERMIL MARTIN 2009 On the team for one season, had 11 carries for 84 yards. All-Ohioan at DE, 81 tackles, 22 TFL and 8 sacks as a senior, 27 career sacks.
55 DE JONATHAN NEWSOME 2009-10 Had 20 tackles over two seasons, transferred to Ball State. Captain and Plain Dealer All-Star, had 101 tackles and 17 sacks as a senior.
79 OL MARCUS HALL 2009-13 Starter as a junior and senior, most remembered for his exit in The Game. All-Ohioan, U.S. All-American game, Parade All-American, also played basketball and track.
2 S CHRISTIAN BRYANT 2010-13 Three-year starter at safety who recorded 168 tackles and two interceptions at Ohio State. All-Ohioan, played QB, RB, WR and returned punts and kickoffs, US. Army All-American Bowl, had 82 tackles and 5 INTs as a senior.
12 QB CARDALE JONES 2012-15 Led Ohio State to wins over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon to win the national championship in the 2014 season. Threw for 2,168 yards ad 18 TDs and earned 3rd team All-Ohioan honors his last season with Glenville, attended Fork Union Military Academy before enrolling at Ohio State.
30 DB DEVAN BOGARD 2012-14 His Ohio State career ended after he tore his ACL three times in three seasons.  All-Ohioan who was one of the top DBs in the state, known for his hard hits, had 91 tackles and 2 INTs as a senior.
35 LB CHRIS WORLEY 2013-17 Captain in 2017, missed three games with a foot injury, played in 50 games with 24 starts, finished with 154 tackles and two sacks. Made 89 tackles, 9 sacks, 8 INTs and 7 forced fumbles as a senior.
1, 34 S ERICK SMITH 2014-17 Played in 33 games and had 73 tackles, 1.5 TFL and an interception.  All-Ohioan, had 10 tackles and a pick six in the 2013 state championship game, consensus top 5 safety prospect.
2 CB MARSHON LATTIMORE 2014-16 All-Big Ten selection in 2016, finished OSU career with 45 tackles and 4 interceptions and a pick-six. All-Ohioan and U.S. Army All-American who had 40 receptions for 911 yards and 16 TDs as a senior.
64 OL MARCELYS JONES 2014 Left the program after one season. All-Ohioan and the first in the class of 2014 to commit. 
70 DE CURTIS HENRY 2016 Spent one season with the Buckeyes as a walk-on. Played with Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith at Glenville.
  LB ARVELL REESE 2023- 2023 signee. Transferred to Glenville prior to his senior season. He was named Ohio Division IV Defensive Player of the Year while leading Glenville to its first-ever state championship as a senior last fall.
  CB  BRYCE WEST 2024- 2024 commit. As a junior, West did not allow a touchdown catch to any opponent and had four interceptions on the year. Like Reese, he helped lead the Tarblooders to a state title.
  TE DAMARION WITTEN 2024- 2024 commit. During his junior season, Witten took a screen pass for a 99-yard touchdown and was a key part of Glenville's offense.

Notable Buckeyes from Glenville

Troy Smith (2002-06)

The most decorated quarterback in Ohio State history, Smith won the Heisman Trophy in 2006 – the last Buckeye to win college football's most prestigious individual award and the only OSU quarterback to do so – and started for Ohio State during his final two seasons in Columbus in 2005 and 2006.

He led the Buckeyes to a 25-3 record as a starter including winning all three of his career starts in The Game, a perfect 12-0 regular season and a berth in the national championship game in 2006. Smith was a team captain and took home the Walter Camp, Davey O'Brien and AP Player of the Year awards during his Heisman Trophy-winning season, when he led the Buckeyes to their second straight Big Ten title with the Glenville product behind center.

In 2014, Smith was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame and is one of eight former Buckeyes to have his number on permanent display in the Shoe.

A fifth-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2007 NFL Draft, Smith spent four years in the league before hanging up his cleats.

Donte Whitner (2003-05)

An All-American and All-Big Ten player during his final season in Columbus, the hard-hitting safety certainly left his mark as a Buckeye.

Selected with the No. 8 pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 2006 NFL Draft, Whitner was a Pro Bowler in three straight seasons from 2012-14. He spent 11 years in the NFL and started 152 of 157 games he played in.

Ted Ginn Jr. (2003-06)

Recruited as a cornerback after being named the National Defensive Player of the Year by USA TODAY and SuperPrep following his senior season at Glenville, Ginn made his mark as a wide receiver at Ohio State.

One of the fastest players to ever don the scarlet and gray, his presence on the field was an opposing defense's nightmare, even when he didn't have the ball in his hands. Ginn still holds four records for Ohio State:

  • Four punt return touchdowns in a season (2004)
  • Six career punt return touchdowns
  • Most punt return yards per attempt in a season (25.6, 2004)
  • Most career kickoff returns

Named an All-American in 2006, Ginn was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the ninth overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft and spent 14 seasons in the NFL.

Cardale Jones (2012-15)

Jones certainly made the most of his opportunity when he was thrown into The Game in 2014 after J.T. Barrett fractured his right ankle against Michigan. Following that game, he led the Buckeyes to three straight postseason wins over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon to win the national championship in the inaugural College Football Playoff, becoming an Ohio State legend in the process.

Jones was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft and spent one season in the league.

Marshon Lattimore (2014-16)

Lattimore quickly become a household name after redshirting his freshman season in 2014 and only seeing limited time in 2015 due to a hamstring injury. With two interceptions (including a pick-six) in the second game of the 2016 season, Lattimore carried that momentum into the rest of his career and became a lockdown cornerback both at Ohio State and in the NFL. He earned All-Big Ten honors following that season, his final one in Columbus.

Selected with the No. 11 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, Lattimore become one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL when he signed a five-year, $97 million contract extension in 2021.

In all, 28 Glenville players have played in the NFL (four active) dating back to 1931, when Franklin Lewis played for the Cleveland Browns. Of the 21 Tarblooders who have played for Ohio State, 10 – Smith, Whitner, Ginn, Jermale Hines, Bryant Browning, Jonathan Newsome, C.B. Bryant, Cardale Jones, Whitner, Lattimore and Chris Worley – have gone on to play in the NFL, three of which were first-round picks.

Despite all of that talent, Glenville had never won a state championship until last season, when Reese, West and Witten helped make the Tarblooders the first Cleveland Public School to win a state title in the playoff era. Glenville will look to defend that title this year with West and Witten still in the fold.

In a year from now, Ohio State will have three Glenville players on its 2024 roster, and the Buckeyes will look to reap the same rewards that they have from that pipeline in the past by developing West, Reese and Witten into stars.

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