Kentucky/Southeast Indiana that colleges may be eyeing for 2023
SPRING UPDATE: Top 23 Greater Cincinnati high school prospects that could sign in 2023
With college football early signing day set for December for the class of 2023, The Cincinnati Enquirer again looks ahead at Greater Cincinnati recruits who could sign to play for Division I colleges by 2023 and others on the radar of major programs.
The compilation of juniors and sophomores is based on rankings from recruiting sites 247Sports.com and Rivals, as well as reported offers. The Enquirer will regularly update these rankings which can fluctuate as the season nears based on offers, performances at camps as well as overall improvement from one season to the next.
A rise or a drop in the rankings doesn't necessarily indicate future success, particularly with a season ahead that has yet to be played.
For a third consecutive year, the top-rated local player is from the Greater Miami Conference. In 2021, Jyaire Brown of Lakota West (now at Ohio State) held the honor. The top-ranked local in 2020 was Paris Johnson Jr. of Princeton, also at Ohio State. Thus far, current Lakota West junior Malik Hartford tops the list.
1. Malik Hartford, athlete, Lakota West
Hartford is a 6-foot-3 inch, 180-pound junior who had 58 tackles for the Firebirds, a sack and two interceptions, including a pick-six. Hartford is considered a four-star recruit, No. 4 in Ohio and No. 19 nationally at his position. Hartford recently released his top seven schools of interest: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Kentucky and West Virginia. He plans on announcing his decision April 6.
2. Elias Rudolph, defensive line, Taft
The No. 4 prospect is just a sophomore who is seeing an upswing in his recruiting. The 6-foot-4 inch, 220-pound edge rusher has offers from Tennessee, Pitt, Boston College, Clemson, Ohio State, Bowling Green, Akron, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Arkansas and Toledo. He had 107 tackles, 12 sacks and two fumble recoveries for Taft last fall and added five catches for 95 yards as a receiver.
3. Austin Siereveld, offensive line, Lakota East
Siereveld is a highly-touted 6-foot-5 inch, 315-pound offensive lineman. The massive Thunderhawk recently released his top six schools: Iowa, Michigan, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Alabama and Ohio State. Siereveld is a four-star recruit considered the No. 7 prospect in Ohio.
4. Braedyn Moore, athlete, Badin
The 6-foot-2 inch, 180-pound wide receiver led the Rams to the state title game and caught 61 passes for 655 yards with four touchdowns. As a defensive back, he had 54 tackles and seven interceptions along with a punt return for a touchdown. Cincinnati, West Virginia, Kent State, Central Michigan, Minnesota. Connecticut, Miami University, Akron, Pitt, Boston College, Duke, Eastern Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Eastern Michigan, Rutgers and Toledo have offered. Moore also recently visited Tennessee and plans to cut his list April 4.
5. T.J. Engleman, athlete, Princeton
Another sophomore appears at No. 5 after taking the Greater Miami Conference by storm filling in for injured Princeton starter Mekhi Lynn at quarterback. The 5-foot-8 inch, 170-pound Engleman threw for 1,207 yards and 16 touchdowns, starting eight of 13 games behind center. He also ran for 960 yards and 13 scores. He has offers from Akron, Buffalo, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Miami University and Toledo and has seen interest from Cincinnati, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Ohio State.
6. Jordan Jackson, athlete, Fairfield
At 5-foot-11 inches and 175 pounds, Jackson ran for 973 yards and six touchdowns at running back. He has offers from Maryland, West Virginia, Connecticut, Minnesota, Akron, Toledo, Bowling Green, Kent State, Central Michigan, Miami University, Massachusetts, Ohio University, Buffalo and Western Michigan.
7. Jermaine Mathews Jr., cornerback, Winton Woods
The 6-foot, 175-pound Mathews had 44 tackles, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and five interceptions for the Division II champion Warriors. He also returned two punts for touchdowns. Mathews listed his top nine schools April 3: West Virginia, Cincinnati, Maryland, Illinois, Rutgers, Indiana, Pitt, Washington and Kentucky.
8. Cameron Calhoun, cornerback, Winton Woods
At 6-foot-2 inches and 175 pounds, Calhoun led the Eastern Cincinnati Conference with nine interceptions and had 61 tackles. Calhoun committed to West Virginia March 30.
9. Josiah Jackson, cornerback, Fairfield
The 6-foot-1 inch, 175-pound Jackson had 48 tackles, a fumble recovery and two interceptions for the Indians as a junior and has started for two seasons. Jackson recently committed to the West Virginia Mountaineers.
10. Joshua Fussell, cornerback, Lakota West
The 6-foot, 180-pound corner had 41 tackles and led the GMC in interceptions with six. He has offers from Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Miami University, Kent State, Indiana, Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, Pitt, Akron, Nevada, Minnesota, Bowling Green, Northwestern, Duke and Toledo.
11. Breeon Ishmail, wide receiver, Hamilton
Hamilton has a top prospect for the third straight year following in the footsteps of Malik Verdon who went to Iowa State and Kaleb Johnson who recently signed with Iowa. Ishmail is a 6-foot-5 inch, 200-pound target who had 16 catches for 290 yards and two touchdowns in eight games for the Big Blue along with 38 tackles and a sack as a linebacker. The three-star has been offered by Iowa State, Tennessee, Purdue, Louisville, Kentucky and West Virginia.
12. Tennel Bryant, receiver, Moeller
The 5-foot-9 inch 162-pound speedster had 71 catches for the Crusaders for 896 yards and 15 touchdowns, plus 126 rushing yards and a score. Bryant has offers from Toledo, Austin Peay, Central Michigan Army, Navy, Air Force and Massachusetts with interest from Ohio University, Miami University and Cincinnati.
13. Isaiah Birl, athlete, Walnut Hills
Birl is a 6-foot-1 inch, 190-pound prospect who was a running back and defensive back for the Eagles. He gained 390 yards for three touchdowns on the ground and had 11 receptions for 112 yards and another touchdown. He had 55 tackles, two forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions. His offers include Air Force, Army, Navy, Akron, Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, Miami University, Toledo and Western Michigan.
14. Ben Minich, athlete, Lakota West
The 6-foot-1 inch, 175-pound Minich had 49 tackles and a pick-six for the Firebirds on defense and caught 16 passes for four touchdowns as a receiver. He was also the Lakota West punter placing eight kicks inside the 20-yard line. His initial offers are from Harvard, Yale, Toledo, Iowa State, Kent State, Army, Vanderbilt, Charlotte, Princeton and Miami University. He recently visited the Cincinnati Bearcats.
15. Mysta Moore, offensive tackle, Taft
Moore is a 6-foot-4-inch blocker for the Senators with offers from Massachusetts, James Madison, Central State, Akron, Buffalo and Toledo. He has also visited Ohio State and Cincinnati. Moore plays both sides of the ball for the Senators.
16. Caleb Clark-Glover, cornerback, Princeton
The 5-foot-11 inch, 170-pound cornerback had 38 tackles, a forced fumble, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions for the Vikings. He also averaged 23.7 yards on kickoff returns and 14.5 on punt returns. Clark-Glover has been offered by Navy, Army, Air Force, Bowling Green, Miami University, Tennessee State, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Yale, Fordham, Marshall, Tennessee State, Akron, Old Dominion, Princeton, Fordham and Toledo. He has recently visited Michigan and Cincinnati.
17. C.J. Hester, running back, Wyoming
A 5-foot-11 inch, 180-pound junior back, Hester was the Ohio Division IV Offensive Player of the Year after running for 2,484 yards and 35 touchdowns. He also had 18 catches for four touchdowns, plus 32 tackles and an interception at safety. Hester recently committed to Western Michigan.
18. Joey Wassler, tight end, St. Xavier
Wassler is a 6-foot-5 inch, 225-pound tight end who bided his time behind Purdue signee Max Klate last season. He had nine catches for 94 yards and a touchdown as a junior. Wassler's offers are Appalachian State, Army, Navy, Illinois State, Kent State, Western Michigan, Fordham and Yale.
19. Jaleel Engleman, receiver/kick returner, Princeton
The 5-foot-10 inch, 185-pound Engleman had 48 catches for 647 yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged 33.1 yards per kickoff return and rettook two to the house. He has offers from Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Miami University and Akron. He is scheduled to visit Tennessee.
20. Gabe Verdon, edge rusher, Hamilton
At 6-2 and 220 pounds, he played quarterback and linebacker for the Big Blue. Purdue made an offer to Verdon, brother of Iowa State's Malik Verdon. The Cyclones have also expressed interest and he has visited the Cincinnati Bearcats and Purdue.
21. Trey Cornist, running back, Winton Woods
Cornist is a 6-foot, 210-pound horse with offers from Georgia Tech, Marshall and Massachusetts. He ran for 1,304 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior playing for Mount Healthy. He also had seven catches for 68 yards and averaged 21.3 yards on kickoff returns. Cornist transfers to the Division II champion Warriors. He also recently visited Kentucky.
22. Taebron Bennie-Powell, athlete, Lakota West
Bennie-Powell played running back and defensive back for the Thunderhawks as a sophomore and has now transferred to Lakota West. He is 6-feet-3 inches tall and 180 pounds. Bennie-Powell holds a Kentucky offer with another from Miami University and recently visited Ohio State. He had 176 yards rushing and three receptions for 81 yards last season as a Thunderhawk along with 16 tackles and two interceptions (one a pick-six).
23. Jordan Marshall, running back, Moeller
The sophomore ran for 1,185 yards and 15 touchdowns for the 11-4 Crusaders, a team that made it to the Ohio Division I state semifinals. Marshall also caught 23 passes for seven touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound back has offers from Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville, Pitt, Akron, Toledo, Boston College, Rutgers, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and Miami University.
On the cusp
Notably, there are no Kentucky nor Indiana players listed. This is not by design but based on the fact that the top players in Kentucky and Indiana are thus far not ranked highly (compared to other Kentucky/Indiana players) based on 247Sports and Rivals. Here are several noteworthy talents who have offers or may soon be recognized.
Logan Verax, quarterback, Ryle – Threw for 2,395 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Raiders as a sophomore. Invited to camp with Dartmouth and Elite 100 camp.
Kolton Smith, quarterback, Newport Central Catholic – Threw for 2,196 yards and 26 touchdowns for the Thoroughbreds as a sophomore.
Xavier Campbell, defensive line/linebacker, Beechwood – The sophomore was 12th in the KHSAA in sacks with 12 for the Tigers.
Chase Williams, receiver, Simon Kenton – The junior had 59 catches for 800 yards and six touchdowns ranking him 37th among all KHSAA players.
Andrew Petty, kicker, Simon Kenton – Petty was 5-for-5 on field goals for the Pioneers as a sophomore.
Josh Ringer, running back, East Central – Limited to seven games due to injury, Ringer still averaged 113 yards per game and ran for 678 yards overall for the Trojans as a sophomore. He has received interest from Princeton of the Ivy League and has been to camp with Connecticut.
Eli Aston, receiver/kick returner, East Central – The junior had 44 catches for 752 yards and had 1,626 total yards with nine touchdowns for the Trojans. He has visited Ball State.
Others in Southwest Ohio
Rob Fogler, offensive line, St. Xavier – Fogler is a presence at 6-foot-7 inches and 295 pounds. The Bombers' line helped senior Charles Kellom run for 1,443 yards. Fogler's offers include Indiana, Miami University, Eastern Michigan, Buffalo, Toledo, East Carolina, Pitt, Georgia Tech, Ball State and Western Michigan.
James Thomas, defensive line, Fairfield – At 6-foot-6 inches and 275 pounds, Thomas has been offered by Akron, Kent State, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Montana State, Army, Navy, Bowling Green, Eastern Kentucky and Toledo. He had 27 tackles and 1.5 sacks for the Indians in 2021.
Mitch Bolden, quarterback, Lakota West – The 6-foot-1 inch, 200-pound Bolden led the GMC in passing with 1,924 yards for 24 touchdowns. He ran for 751 yards and 10 touchdowns and has been offered by Army, Marshall, Austin Peay, Fordham and Western Michigan.
Phillip Daniels, offensive line/defensive line, Princeton –Daniels is 6-foot-5 inches and 270 pounds and is being recruited as an offensive lineman. His offers are from Bowling Green, Miami University, Eastern Michigan, Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, Ball State, Ohio University, Akron and Toledo. He recently visited Cincinnati.
Drew Novak, quarterback, Western Brown –The 6-foot-6 inch, 195-pound signal-caller threw for 5,269 yards and 56 touchdowns as a junior while rushing for 1,202 yards and 21 more scores. Novak led the nation in passing yards, according to MaxPreps. Illinois, Iowa State, Miami University, Ohio University, Toledo, San Diego State, North Dakota State and Tiffin have expressed interest thus far.
Raphael Greene, offensive line, Winton Woods–The youngest on the list is a 6-foot- 6 inch, 340-pound freshman who was part of the Winton Woods Division II title run. Early on, he's been offered by Kentucky and Miami University.
Zae Jennings, athlete, Colerain–The -foot-2 inch, 187-pound Jennings played quarterback for the Cardinals as a sophomore and ran for 1,019 yards and seven touchdowns with 326 of those coming in the season finale at Elder. Graduating in 2024, he holds offers from Miami University and Central Michigan.
Will Kocher, quarterback, Kings–The -foot-2 inch 190-pounder was the ECC Offensive Player of the Year throwing for 2,539 yards and 24 touchdowns while running for 638 yards and 12 scores for the league champion Knights. He has visited Ohio University.
Griffin Scalf, quarterback, Anderson–Scalf was a first-team Southwest district and first-team All-Ohio performer for the Raptors. The 6-foot-3 inch, 205-pound thrower racked up an ECC-leading 3,895 yards passing for 38 touchdowns in addition to running for 506 yards and five scores. Scalf recently has had interest from Bowling Green, Akron and Toledo.
Joe Ginnetti, linebacker, Moeller – Ginnetti led the GCL-South in tackles with 108. He had two fumble recoveries and two interceptions and has visited Duke, Miami University and Kentucky. Gardner-Webb recently offered.
Mason Luensman, kicker, La Salle – Luensman was 9-for-11 on field goals and made all 32 of his extra points for the Lancers. He's been invited to kick in the Hawaii Tiki Bowl in Jan. 2023 and has had visits with Notre Dame and Davidson.
Talon Fisher, quarterback, Fairfield – As a sophomore, the 6-foot-2 inch, 200-pound quarterback for the Indians threw for 1,381 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games and ran for 550 yards and 12 scores. He's been offered by Buffalo, Massachusetts and Miami University.
Jewett Hayes, tight end/defensive end, Moeller–A 6-foot-4 inch, 190-pound sophomore, Hayes is the brother of Jaxson Hayes of the NBA New Orleans Pelicans. His father Jonathan Hayes was an NFL tight end and was an assistant with the Bengals. He's already picked up offers from Iowa and Kentucky.
Quinton Price, safety, Taft–The 6-foot-3 inch, 170-pound Senator sophomore had 36 tackles last season and was recently offered by Kentucky.
Conner Cravaack, tight end, Madeira–The 6-foot-5 inch junior had 38 receptions for 476 yards along with seven sacks and 44 tackles as a linebacker. He also averaged over 18 points per game for the Mustangs basketball team. He has offers from Kent State, Bowling Green, Army, Air Force, Illinois State, Eastern Kentucky and Akron.
Isaiah Summerlin, safety, Moeller – Sumerlin is 6-foot-3 inches and 187 pounds. The junior holds an offer from Akron. In seven games he had 17 tackles, a fumble recovery and two interceptions.
K.C. Spears, athlete, Winton Woods – Spears at 5-foot-10 inches and 190 pounds has offers from Central Michigan, Eastern Kentucky and Indiana State. As a running back on the Division II state champions he had 526 yards and 10 touchdowns, plus was 3-for-3 passing for 41 yards and a score. He had 24 receptions for 464 yards and four touchdowns plus a 73-yard kickoff return for a score.