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 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. Current Lakota West senior (2023) 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 committed to Ohio State April 6.
2. Austin Siereveld, offensive line, Lakota East
The 6-foot-6-inch 335-pound offensive lineman moved up in the rankings after his recent commitment to the Ohio State Buckeyes on May 4.
3. Elias Rudolph, defensive line, Taft
The No. 4 prospect is just a sophomore who is seeing an upswing in his recruiting. The 6-foot-5-inch, 220-pound edge rusher has offers from Tennessee, Michigan State, Pitt, Boston College, Clemson, Ohio State, Bowling Green, Akron, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Arkansas, Michigan 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.
4. 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-inch, 185-pound back has offers from Cincinnati, Ohio Stat Kentucky, Louisville, Pitt, Akron, Toledo, Boston College, Rutgers, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Iowas, Purdue, Tennessee, Michigan, Michigan State and Miami University.
5. 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 and cut that list to six on June 22: Ohio State, Penn State, Oklahoma, Jackson State, LSU and Cincinnati. On June 23 he received an offer from Alabama. Mathews is set to make his commitment July 1.
6. Terhyon Nichols, cornerback, Withrow
The 6-foot 180-pound Tiger has 18 Division I offers including Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Tennesee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Minnesota, Michigan State, Georgia Tech, Boston College and Pitt.
7. 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 offers include Cincinnati, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Stanford, Indiana, Harvard, Yale, Toledo, Iowa State, Kent State, Army, Vanderbilt, Charlotte, Princeton, Duke, Wake Forest and Miami University. Minich ran 10.47 in the 100-meter dash during track season. He recently took a visit to Notre Dame.
8. (tie)Ted Hammond, defensive line, St. Xavier
As a sophomore, the 6-foot-5-inch, 250-pound Hammond had 32 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery for the Bombers. Hammond has 11 offers including Cincinnati, Connecticut, Duke, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Temple and Vanderbilt.
— Ted Hammond (@TedHammond14) April 16, 2022
8 (tie). Koy Beasley, safety, La Salle
Beasley is a 6-foot, 180-pound safety heading into his junior year. He tied for the Greater Catholic League-South lead in interceptions as a sophomore with three. He added 25 tackles and a fumble recovery. His offers include Boston College, Miami University, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Toledo and West Virginia.
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. 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, seven interceptions and a punt return for a touchdown. Moore committed to the Cincinnati Bearcats April 20.
11. Jordan Jackson, athlete, Fairfield
At 5 feet, 11 inches and 175 pounds, Jackson ran for 973 yards and six touchdowns at running back. In late June, Jackson committed to go to West Virginia to play with his brother, Josiah.
12. 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 but decommitted June 6. On June 14, he became the latest local to stay home with the Cincinnati Bearcats.
13. Phillip Daniels, offensive line/defensive line, Princeton
Daniels is 6 foot, 5 inches and 288 pounds and is being recruited as an offensive lineman. His offers are from Boston College, Bowling Green, Miami University, Eastern Michigan, Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, Ball State, Ohio University, Pitt, Purdue, Minnesota, Akron and Toledo.
— Phillip Daniels (@PhilDaniels77) June 13, 2022
14. Zae Jennings, athlete, Colerain
The 6-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.
15. Breeon Ishmail, wide receiver, Princeton
At Hamilton last season, Ishmail followed 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. Ishmail transferred to Princeton in the spring. The three-star has been offered by Iowa State, Tennessee, Purdue, Louisville, Kentucky, Bowling Gre and West Virginia.
Blessed to receive a offer from University of Kentucky 💙🤍 pic.twitter.com/Rne12FfPbh
— big bree🎸❤️ (@BreeonAntonio) January 27, 2022
16. Joshua Fussell, cornerback, Lakota West
The 6-foot, 180-pound corner had 41 tackles and led the GMC in interceptions with six. The Firebird committed to Northwestern on May 19.
17. Tennel Bryant, receiver, Moeller
The 5-foot-10-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. Bryant was also one of the better 100-meter sprinters in the area and ran a wind-aided 10.29 during the season. He was GCL-South Runner of the Year.
18. Quinton Price, safety, Taft
The 6-foot-3-inch, 170-pound Senator sophomore had 36 tackles last season and was recently offered by Kentucky, Miami University and Purdue. He's also had visits to Cincinnati and Ohio State.
19. 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.
20. 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. Birl committed to Army June 29
21. 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 offers from Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, Massachusetts, Toledo and Miami University. He also 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).
22. T.J. Engleman, athlete, Hughes
As a sophomore, he took the Greater Miami Conference by storm filling in for injured Princeton starter Mekhi Lynn at quarterback. The 5-foot-9 inch, 175-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. Engleman announced his commitment to Georgia Tech on April 4. He since then has been offered by Purdue and taken a visit to Ohio State. In June, Engleman announced he was transferring to Hughes to play for his uncle Lorenzo Engleman along with cousins Jaleel Engleman and Lorenzo Engleman Jr.
23. 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.
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 Yale.
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. Has camped with Kentucky, Ball State and Eastern Kentucky.
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, Ball State and Indiana. Has invites to Miami University, Liberty and Navy.
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 feet, 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. He recently visited Ohio State and Vanderbilt.
James Thomas, defensive line, Fairfield – At 6 feet, 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, East Tennessee State, Eastern Illinois and Western Michigan.
Trent Lloyd, wide receiver, Lakota West – At 5-foot-11 inches and 180 pounds, Lloyd was GMC First Team and had 51 receptions for 612 yards and eight touchdowns. He also had a 76-yard punt return touchdown. He has offers from Air Force and Army.
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. His offers are Stetson, Glenville State and Notre Dame College.
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.
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 committed to Marshall June 20.
Joe Ginnetti, linebacker, Moeller – Ginnetti led the GCL-South in tackles with 108. He had two fumble recoveries and two interceptions and has been offered by Air Force, Akron and Central Michigan.
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.
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. Cravaack committed to Akron on April 20.
Isaiah Summerlin, safety, Moeller – Sumerlin is 6 feet, 3 inches and 190 pounds. The junior holds offers from Akron and Illinois State. In seven games he had 17 tackles, a fumble recovery and two interceptions.
K.C. Spears, athlete, Winton Woods – Spears at 5 feet,10 inches and 190 pounds has offers from Central Michigan, Eastern Kentucky, Purdue, Illinois State and Indiana State. He also recently visited West Virginia. As a running back on the Division II state champion team, 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.
Ray Coney, linebacker, Fairfield – Coney is a 6-foot-3-inch, 210-pound linebacker who had 52 tackles, 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble as a junior for the Indians. He holds offers from Army, Air Force and Navy.
Mysta Moore, offensive tackle, Taft – Moore is a 6-foot-4-inch blocker for the Senators with offers from Purdue, Massachusetts, James Madison, Central State, Akron, Buffalo, Middle Tennessee State, Eastern Kentucky and Toledo.. Moore plays both sides of the ball for the Senators.
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 Air Force, Memphis, Appalachian State, Army, Navy, Illinois State, Kent State, Western Michigan, Fordham, Harvard, Temple, Princeton and Yale.
Jaleel Engleman, receiver/kick returner, Hughes–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 took two to the house. He has offers from Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Miami University and Akron.
Gabe Verdon, edge rusher, Hamilton – At 6 feet, 2 inches 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. Portland State recently offered.
Trey Cornist, running back, Winton Woods – Cornist is a 6-foot, 210-pound horse who recently committed to Georgia Tech. 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.
Corey Myrick, cornerback, Colerain – Myrick is a 6-foot-2-inch, 155-pounder with offers thus far from Central Michigan, Kent State, Miami University and Toledo. He had 50 tackles, an interception and two fumble recoveries as a sophomore for the Cardinals.
Matthew Seliga, safety, Moeller – The 5-foot-11-inch safety has offers from Army, Navy and Dartmouth among others. He was second on the team in tackles as a junior with 84 tackles.
Peyton Wilp, defensive line, Moeller – At 6 feet, 2 inches and 275 pounds, he's been offered by Army, Cornell and Bucknell. He had 2.5 sacks for the Crusaders as a junior.
Ben Fosnot, tight end, Mason – At 6 feet, 6 inches and 230 pounds, the Comet tight end has been offered by Ball State, Colgate, Illinois State and Indiana State. He had six catches for 55 yards and a touchdown as a junior.
James Minor, running back, Winton Woods – At 5 foot, 10 inches and 200 pounds, his offers include Fairmont State, University of Charleston and Tennessee-Martin. He ran for 621 yards and four touchdowns as a junior.
Mason Luensman, kicker, La Salle – Luensman is a 5-foot-11 inch 180-pound kicker who was 9-for-11 for the Lancers as a junior on field goals and made all 32 PATs. He's camped with Cincinnati, Notre Dame and Florida Atlantic and has been invited to play in the Hawaii Tiki Bowl after the season.
Caden Piening, tight end/athlete, Anderson – The 6-foot-5 inch, 225-pound prospect will be a sophomore. He already has offers from Akron, Pitt, Connecticut, Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky, Indiana, Vanderbilt and West Virginia with interest from Cincinnati.
Chris Henry Jr, wide receiver, West Clermont – Henry is a 6-foot-3 inch incoming freshman at West Clermont after transferring from Withrow. Not only is he the same size as his late father, but his looks and abilities are also similar. Without yet playing a varsity down he has offers from Ohio State, Connecticut, Grambling State, Jackson State, Marshall, Penn State, West Virginia, the Miami Hurricanes and South Florida. He's already been invited to the 2026 Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Top Cincinnati high school football players for 2023