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STATE CHAMPS! SCOUT TEAM: Ohio football recruiting notebook >> DeSales WR Jordan Johnson commits to GVSU, Indian Hill’s Grant Lanham, Norwalk’s Garrison Smith grab P5 PWO offers

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, January 31, 2021, 4:56 pm

Columbus DeSales corner and wideout Jordan Johnson committed to Grand Valley State on Sunday. The 6-foot, 165-pound Johnson helped DeSales to a 9-2 record as a senior, falling to Chardon, 31-28 in 2 OTs in the D-III title game, the program’s sixth runner-up finish. Johnson had six catches for 145 yards and a score in the title game, giving him 31 receptions, 625 yards and five scores to lead the team. Ranked a two-star prospect by 247Sports, Johnson is the second pure wideout in GVSU’s 29-player class — joining Belleville (Mich.) wideout Darrell Johnson — and the fourth player from Ohio, along with Pickerington Central corner Quinn Wills, Cincinnati Hills Christian tight end Garrett Jostworth and Cleveland Benedictine defensive tackle Thomas Jolly. 

Johnson had opportunities to play at the next level from Baldwin Wallace, Ashland, Walsh, Otterbein, Lake Erie and Ohio Dominican.

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Norwalk specialist Garrison Smith committed to Michigan State as a preferred walk-on

Ranked the No. 7 kicker and No. 11 punter by Kornblue Kicking, and the No. 13 punter/No. 19 kicker by Kohls Kicking — and a five-star kicking prospect by both — the 5-foot-10, 150-pound Smith hit field goals of 57 and 54 yards as a senior. 

His 57-yarder was tied for the fifth longest in Ohio football history, and second longest in OHSAA playoff history. 

Smith was the first-team specialist in the Northwest District of D-III, and the first-team all-Ohio kicker. 

His first full scholarship offer came from Fordham in early December, followed by one from Old Dominion in late January. He got the PWO offer from Michigan State in mid-November, following offers from South Dakota State in September, and Cincinnati in August. 

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Indian Hill offensive lineman Grant Lanham committed to Virginia as a preferred walk-on late last week. 

The 6-foot-5, 292-pound road grader earned first-team all-league honors in the Cincinnati Hills League, and second-team all-star status from the Cincinnati Enquirer. 

After playing left tackle for Indian Hill as a junior, Lanham kicked inside to left guard as a senior, blowing open huge holes for the Braves, who went 7-0 before calling to Valley View, 22-21, in the regional quarterfinal. 

After getting the PWO offer from UVA on Jan. 25, Lanham took a visit to the Charlottesville, Va., campus two days later, then announced his decision two days after that. 

Lanham had a slew of other opportunities (scholarship and non-scholarship) to play at the next level: Valparaiso, Butler, Gannon, Fordham, Central Arkansas, West Virginia Wesleyan, Lawrence Tech, Hope College, Thomas More, Ohio Wesleyan, Lake Forest, Oberlin, Centre, Carnegie Mellon, Concordia (Chicago), Kenyon, Bates, St. Norbert, Ohio Northern, Baldwin Wallace, DePauw, Mt. St. Joseph, Bowdoin, Bethany, North Park and Denison.

Teammate Luke Hammond, a first-team all-Ohio honoree at wideout and the Cincinnati Hills League football athlete of the year, committed to Arizona State for baseball on Sunday, turning down D-I football offers from several schools, including Valparaiso, Butler and Stetson. 

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Shaker Heights had a pair of players chose college destinations recently.

Alex Benson, an acrobatic, 6-foot-4, 190-pound basketball player who tried football for the first time in five years this fall, chose Tiffin on Saturday, while linebacker Noah Foster committed to Wayne State over the weekend. 

A wideout and defensive back, Benson had offers from Wayne State and West Virginia State in mid-December and Central State in October.

The 6-foot, 205-pound Foster had huge shoes to fill as a senior, bumping outside to the nickel or sam linebacker spot to replace the departed Dakota Cochran, who signed with Central Michigan in December. 

Like Benson, Foster got his bid from the Warriors in mid-December, and had other offers from Baldwin Wallace and Central State.