The top 22 Ohio high school football players in 2022 (2023)

Melanie Laughman,Shelby DermerCincinnati Enquirer

The state of Ohio continues to produce high-quality high school football players who will put their talents on display this fall.

As a preview to this season, the high school sports staff of the Gannett Corp.'s more than 60 Ohio newspapers and websites compiled a who's who of the Buckeye State's prep football players.

This is one of a four-part series that includes volleyball, girls soccer and boys soccer.


How they were ranked

USA TODAY Network Ohio staff members across the state researched and compiled a list of its respective area's top players. The journalists voted on these players using a point system. First-place players received 22 points, second-place players got 21 and so on until the 22nd player wrapped it up with 1 point. Those points were tabulated to determine the top 22 players.

1. Luke Montgomery, Findlay

Montgomery, a 6-foot-5-inch, 280-pound offensive tackle, committed to Ohio State in February, choosing the Buckeyes over a slew of top-tier programs including Alabama, Auburn, Cincinnati and Clemson. He is the No. 1-ranked recruit in the state for the Class of 2023, according to 247Sports, and the No. 4 offensive tackle in the nation, according to the site’s composite rankings. He was first-team All-Ohio in Division I last season.

2. Malik Hartford, Lakota West

The senior safety is the No. 3 player in Ohio for the Class of 2023, per the 247Sports composite rankings. Hartford committed to Ohio State University in April and is the No. 1 overall recruit in Greater Cincinnati going into the season. Hartford had 58 tackles, a sack and a pair of interceptions last season for the Firebirds, including a pick-six. He was a second-team all-district and first-team all-league selection.

3. Ben Minich, Lakota West

Minich, a senior and four-star safety, is ranked No. 6 in Ohio and No. 18 in the composite rankings, per 247Sports. He held 20-plus offers, including from Notre Dame, Stanford, Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Wake Forest and Duke, before committing to the Fighting Irish in August. He had 49 tackles last season and a 76-yard pick-six.

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4. Jermaine Mathews Jr., Winton Woods

The senior is a four-star corner and the No. 5 player in Ohio for the Class of 2023, per the 247Sports composite rankings. Mathews, a first-team all-league and second-team all-district selection, committed to Ohio State in July. He finished third in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference with three forced fumbles and five interceptions last season, helping Winton Woods win a Division II state title.

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5. Jordan Marshall, Moeller

The junior running back is the top-ranked running back in Ohio, currently tabbed as the No. 4 overall recruit by 247Sports for the Class of 2024. Marshall ran for 1,155 yards and 15 touchdowns while adding 23 catches for 427 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore last season, helping lead Moeller to a regional title and state Final Four berth. Marshall holds 24 Division I offers, including from Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Ohio State.

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6. Drew Novak, Western Brown

The senior signal-caller is another potential Mr. Ohio Football candidate after leading the nation in passing yards last season with 5,269, becoming the fourth player in OHSAA history to eclipse the 5,000-yard mark in a season. Novak threw for 56 touchdowns (tied for 12th most in a season) while also running for 1,202 yards and 21 scores. He was named the Ohio Division III Offensive Player of the Year and enters his final prep season 10th all-time in career passing yards (9,924) and 13th all-time in passing touchdowns (96).

7. Will Smith, Dublin Coffman

An Ohio State commit, Smith is a 6-foot-3-inch, 245-pound defensive lineman who led the Shamrocks in tackles, TFL and pressures. Coffman had an uncharacteristically rough season under a first-year coach last year, but Smith is a three-star DL and the 12th-ranked player in Ohio, according to 247sports.

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8. Brenan Vernon, Mentor

The 6-foot-5-inch, 275-pound defensive lineman committed to Notre Dame prior to his junior season. A four-star recruit, Vernon had 13 total offers, including from Alabama. He was second-team All-Ohio in Division I last season.

9. Elias Rudolph, Taft

The junior defensive end is the No. 15 edge rusher in the nation for the Class of 2024 and the No. 6 overall recruit in Ohio for his class, per 247Sports. Rudolph, a first-team All-Ohio selection last season, finished second in the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference in tackles (107) and tied for the lead in sacks (12). He holds over 20 Division I offers, including from Ohio State, Clemson, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Michigan and Purdue.

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10. Austin Siereveld, Lakota East

A 6-foot-6-inch, 335-pound lineman, Siereveld is the No. 9 overall recruit in Ohio for the Class of 2023, per 247Sports. Siereveld held 16 Division I offers, including from Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Cincinnati and Iowa before committing to the Buckeyes in May. He was a second-team All-Ohio selection last season and first-team all-district.

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11. Josh Padilla, Huber Heights Wayne

A 6-foot-4-inch, 275-pound offensive lineman, Padilla was named second-team All-Ohio in Division I last season. The guard held 15 Division I offers before committing to Ohio State last November. He is ranked as a Top 10 interior offensive lineman in Ohio.

12. C.J. Hester, Wyoming

Hester should be considered a Mr. Ohio Football candidate from Southwest Ohio after running for 2,484 yards and 35 touchdowns last season. He was named the Cincinnati Hills League and Ohio’s Division IV Offensive Player of the Year. He added in the receiving game, too, catching 29 passes for 293 yards and seven touchdowns over the last two seasons. Hester, a first-team All-Ohio selection, ran for 200-plus yards eight times last season and had multiple touchdowns in 11 of 13 games. He committed to Western Michigan in March.

13. Tavion Galloway, Chillicothe

The junior tight end, who also plays defense, just committed to LSU. He’s 6-foot-5-inches and 230 pounds and is ranked No. 3 in Ohio in composite on and No. 5 tight end.

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14. Michael Kilbane, Lakewood St. Edward

Kilbane is a 6-foot-4-inch, 245-pound edge rusher and a three-star recruit, according to 247Sports. He is a Top 15 recruit in Ohio and a Top 50 edge rusher in the nation, per the site’s composite rankings. He held 30 total offers before committing to Northwestern in May. Last season, he racked up over 100 tackles and 16.5 sacks, earning first-team All-Ohio honors in Division I.

15. Garrett Stover, Big Walnut

The Division II district Defensive Player of the Year, Stover is a 6-foot-2-inch, 195-pound defensive back who had 68 tackles, 9 tackles for loss on defense and rushed for 332 yards and five touchdowns on offense. He has been offered by Ohio State among others and is considered a four-star recruit. He's the cousin of OSU's Cade Stover.

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16. Nate Severs, Big Walnut

The 5-foot-11-inch, 205-pounder rushed for 2,313 yards and 34 touchdowns on 311 carries on his way to being named first-team all-state, district Offensive Player of the Year in Division II and Ohio Capital Conference-Capital co-Player of the Year with Westerville South’s Kaden Saunders. The Golden Eagles went undefeated in the regular season for the first time since2001. Their 12-1 overall record was their best since 2007 when they won the Division III state championship and went14-1.

17. Lamar Sperling, Akron Hoban

Sperling, a senior running back, was Ohio’s Division II co-Offensive Player of the Year last season after running for 2,943 yards and 41 touchdowns in 16 games, helping lead Hoban to the Division II state championship game. The first-team All-Ohio selection committed to the University of Buffalo in July.

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18. Jaivian Norman, Springfield

The senior linebacker was first-team All-Ohio last season after leading Springfield in tackles (95) and sacks (10), helping the Wildcats reach the Division I state championship game. He also forced two fumbles and recovered one. He committed to Eastern Michigan in March.

19. Josiah Jackson, Fairfield

The senior defensive back is a three-star corner who was honorable mention All-Ohio last season, as well as first-team all-conference and second-team all-district. He had 48 tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Jackson, the No. 11 overall recruit in Ohio, per the 247Sports composite rankings, held 20 Division I offers before committing to West Virginia in March.

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20. Braedyn Moore, Badin

The senior wide receiver led the Greater Catholic League-Coed in catches (61) last season and was third in the league with 655 receiving yards to go with four touchdowns. Moore, who also had a punt return touchdown, was named first-team all-district and second-team All-Ohio. He committed to the University of Cincinnati in April.

21. (tie) Sam Williams-Dixon, West Holmes

The 6-foot, 194-pound junior running back has been a hot name in Millersburg. The junior currently has a dozen offers, including from Penn State, Indiana and Pittsburgh in recent weeks. Dixon is entering his junior year at West Holmes. As a sophomore transfer, he rushed for 1,526 yards and 25 touchdowns. He added 997 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns and led West Holmes in the Division III state semifinal.

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21. (tie) Brennen Schramm, Medina

The senior wide receiver was first-team All-Ohio in Division I last season after posting a school-record 82 catches for 1,333 yards and 14 touchdowns. He received an offer from Wheeling University in May and attended camps at Ohio State, Bowling Green, Northwestern and Akron this summer.

Others getting votes

Roosevelt Andrews, Barberton; Ardell Banks, Massillon; Cameron Calhoun, Winton Woods; Ty Campbell, Hoban; Rocco Conti, Olmsted Falls; Jackson Courville, Centerville; Collin Dixon, Tallmadge; T.J. Engleman, Hughes; Teddy Gregory, Stow-Munroe Falls; Mason Hackett, Newark Catholic; Willtrell Hartson, Massillon; Kaden Holmes, Fremont Ross; Jordan Jackson, Fairfield; Isaiah Johnson, Elyria; JacQai Long, Hoban; Tommy Ricard, Hudson; Griffin Scalf, Anderson; Sam Schmiesing, Piqua; Keegan Sell, Garfield; Ziaire Stevens, Akron East and Jaden Yates, Gahanna.


Who is the best football player in Class of 2023? ›

  • Rank Player Pos Ht / Wt Rating Team.
  • Arch Manning Isidore Newman (New Orleans, LA) ...
  • Dante Moore Martin Luther King (Detroit, MI) ...
  • Nicholaus Iamaleava Warren (Downey, CA) ...
  • Cormani McClain Lakeland (Lakeland, FL) ...
  • Malachi Nelson Los Alamitos (Los Alamitos, CA) ...
  • Kadyn Proctor Southeast Polk (Des Moines, IA)

Who has the best 2022 recruiting class? ›

1. Texas A&M Aggies. Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies have officially clinched the highest-rated recruiting class of all-time, doing so Wednesday when five-star Shemar Stewart made his pledge.

Who is the number 1 high school quarterback? ›

1Quinn Ewers210
2Brock Vandagriff198
3Sam Huard170
4Kyle McCord212
26 more rows

Who is the biggest high school football player? ›

To say that Martin Luther King (Riverside, California) High School senior John Krahn has NFL size would be an understatement. Nobody in the NFL is as big as he is. Krahn stands 7 feet tall and weighs in at 440 pounds.

How many 5-star recruits are there? ›

All 34 247Sports Composite five-star recruits in the class of 2022 are signed and getting ready to begin their college careers… Here is a look at where each of this year's five-star recruit are heading to play college football. Some players are set to attend blue blood programs, while others are forging their own path.

What are the top 10 recruiting classes? ›

Here's an updated look at the top 10 recruiting classes in the country for the 2023 cycle, according to 247Sports.
  • Baylor (216.29) ...
  • Georgia (222.66) ...
  • Arkansas (227.56) ...
  • Penn State (235.94) ...
  • Clemson (248.25) ...
  • Texas (259.93) ...
  • Ohio State (269.12) ...
  • Notre Dame (280.72) Michael Caterina/South Bend Tribune-USA TODAY Sports.
Jul 5, 2022

Who has the best recruiting class for football? ›

Rankings per 247Sports Composite rankings.
Top 10 2022 Classes in Country
  • Georgia (316.91)
  • Ohio State (300.46)
  • Texas (288.75)
  • Penn State (277.81)
  • Notre Dame (272.97)
  • Oklahoma (266.11)
  • Michigan (260.42)
  • North Carolina (257.61)
Jan 8, 2022

Who is the best QB in high school football? ›

  • # 1 Arch Manning. Isidore Newman. Height/Weight: 6'3" 200 lbs. ...
  • # 2 Malachi Nelson. Los Alamitos High School. ...
  • # 3 Dante Moore. MLK. ...
  • # 4 Jaden Rashada. Pittsburg. ...
  • # 5 Nico Iamaleava Jr. Long Beach Poly. ...
  • # 6 Christopher Vizzina. Briarwood Christian. ...
  • # 7 Avery Johnson. Maize High School. ...
  • # 8 Eli Holstein. Zachary High School.

How many 5 star QBS are there? ›

The 5-star quarterback is one of the nation's most coveted recruits. As the 2015 cycle gets heated with spring evaluations and revs up for the coming camp season, four players hold the distinction of being 5-star players, according to 247Sports: Josh Rosen, Ricky Town, Torrance Gibson and Kyler Murray.

Who is the best QB in Class of 2022? ›

1Cade Klubnik185
2Walker Howard186
3Ty Simpson197
4Devin Brown185
26 more rows

Who is the biggest guy on the football field? ›

The heaviest nfl player ever is Trent Brown. He is the offensive tackle of the New England Patriots after the exchange in March. The giant Brown weighs 380 lbs. Quite impressive compared to the current common ground.

Has there ever been a 7 foot football player? ›

At 7 ft 0 in, Sligh is the tallest player in professional American football history. The next tallest are Matt O'Donnell at 6 ft 11 in, Morris Stroud at 6 ft 10 in, and Dan Skipper at 6 ft 10 in.

Who is the tallest NCAA football player? ›

At 6-feet-9 and 400 pounds, Daniel Faalele fills a jersey and pads like no other. Offered a scholarship before he ever saw a football field and getting the chance to start as a freshman at Minnesota, his soaring arc shouts how the game values size and potential.

What state has the most high school football recruits? ›

StateFBS SigneesPlayers
1. Florida38940,606
2. Georgia24832,979
3. Louisiana13220,087
4. Hawaii224,258
44 more rows

How good is a 4 star recruit? ›

4-star recruits

These prospects have excellent knowledge of the game and ability. They will most likely start their freshman year in college and are the best player on their club or high school team.

Has there ever been a 6 star recruit? ›

Watkins finished his career with the Tigers with 240 receptions for 3,391 yards and 27 touchdowns. Looking back, it's obvious Watkins was a 6-star recruit.

What is a 5-star recruit? ›

In college football recruiting, we categorize how skilled a player is by using a star ranking system. 1-star players hold the lowest ranking, while 5-star players are the best recruits in the country that just about every program wants to sign.

Who has the best recruiting class? ›

Texas A&M Extends Lead on No. 1 Recruiting Class to Close National Signing Day
  1. Texas A&M. 29 Verbal Commitments, 13 SI99 Members. ...
  2. Alabama. 25 Verbal Commitments, 12 SI99 Members. ...
  3. Georgia. 29 Verbal Commitments, 11 SI99 Members. ...
  4. Texas. 28 Verbal Commitments, 7 SI99 Members. ...
  5. Ohio State. ...
  6. Penn State. ...
  7. Notre Dame. ...
  8. Clemson.
Feb 2, 2022

How do you get ranked in football? ›

You have to be seen by those - the national analysts and the scouts - that are able to help you become ranked. You have to be on the same field with the best players in your class (at an offseason camp or during your season). You have to be seen by a couple of big schools (offers matter).

Who is the #1 college football recruit? ›

1 player: Malachi Nelson, the 5-star quarterback who pledged to Lincoln Riley and the USC Trojans this offseason.

Who has the most 5-star recruits in college football? ›

A handful of schools are stockpiling the best high school talent in the country. Texas A&M, Georgia, Alabama, and Penn State all boast at least three five-star recruits right now. In fact, one of those teams has already signed six of the Top247's 32 five-star players.

Who has the# 1 recruiting class 2022? ›

College football recruiting rankings 2022: Top classes, teams emerge during National Signing Day. The race was tight for No. 1 among the Class of 2022 college football recruiting rankings entering Wednesday, but Texas A&M sat firmly in the driver's seat and cruised to that designation on National Signing Day.

Who is the #1 football recruit for 2023? ›

There's a new No. 1 in the 2023 college football recruiting rankings, according to Sports Illustrated, and it's not quarterback Arch Manning. Five-star quarterback Dante Moore is the best recruit in the country for the 2023 cycle in the latest SI99 rankings to be unveiled this preseason.

Who has the number one recruiting class of 2023? ›

Alabama, Nick Saban open as No. 1 recruiting class of 2023 - Sports Illustrated.

Who is the number 1 recruit in college football 2022? ›

The Aggies just clinched the nation's top recruiting class for the 2022 cycle with the commitment and signature of Shemar Stewart. The No.

Who is the Number 1 college football recruit? ›

1 player: Malachi Nelson, the 5-star quarterback who pledged to Lincoln Riley and the USC Trojans this offseason.


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