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STATE CHAMPS! SCOUT TEAM: Ohio football recruiting notebook — Indiana’s Big Ten schools clean up in Buckeye State to end June; MAC grabs its share, too

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, July 4, 2021, 9:51 pm

The state of Indiana had a good week in Ohio at the end of June. 

Both of the Big Ten’s representatives from the Hoosier State hauled in commitments a couple of top-35 prospects from the Buckeye State’s Class of 2022 in the first week of official summer, adding to already deep classes. 

Indiana got a commitment from Olentangy Liberty offensive tackle Carter Smith — ranked the No. 12 prospect in Ohio’s 2022 class by 247Sports — on June 23, then picked up a verbal from Kenston tight end Ryan Miller — 247Sports’ No. 26 player in Ohio — on June 29. 

Those two commitments came on the heels of a verbal from London linebacker Isaiah Jones earlier in June, giving the Hoosiers a trio of Ohio prospects in their nine-member class. 

Purdue already had a June 19 commitment from Lakota East’s do-it-all Charlie Kenrich, but added another from Boardman athlete Terence Thomas — the state’s No. 33 player, per 247Sports — on June 25, and a third from Valley Forge running back Kentrell Marks — the No. 20 player in Ohio’s class, according to 247Sports — on June 27.

Smith choose the Hoosiers 11 days after taking a visit to Bloomington, Ind., the third of his four official visits in the month. The 6-foot-6, 280-pound tackle was ranked as a top-35 tackle in the nation by 247Sports, and had 26 total offers, including Auburn, Ole Miss, Pitt, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Cincinnati Virginia and Tennessee. 

Miller’s only visit was to Bloomington on June 18. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound, three-star pass-catcher choose the Hoosiers over 13 other offers, including Auburn, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Tennessee, Louisville and West Virginia, among others. He had 18 catches for 138 yards and three scores in the shortened 2020 season

A three-star prospect and the No. 37 running back in the nation according to 247Sports, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Marks chose Purdue from his eight offers, which included Iowa State, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Michigan State, West Virgina, Pitt and Akron. He ran for 1,470 yards and 23 touchdowns in eight games as a junior in 2020. 

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Thomas played a little bit of everything for Boardman in 2020, racking up 1,162 all-purpose yards (380 passing, 655 rushing, 165 receiving) with 17 scores for the Spartans. He ranks as a three-star prospect, and is just outside the top 100 of athletes in the nation, according to 247Sports rankings. He picked Purdue over six other offers, including Boston College, Kent State, Kentucky, Marshall, NC State and Toledo.

It wasn’t just Indiana’s Big Ten schools, either.

Ball State also pulled in a top-50 recruit from Ohio’s 2022 class when Pickerington Central defensive lineman Dakari Frazier said yes on July 1. 

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive end/outside linebacker had 52 total tackles (24 solo) and seven tackles for loss for the 11-1 Tigers, and chose the Cardinals over four other Mid-American Conference offers. 

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MACtion scoops up its share

Frazier isn’t the only Ohioan to commit to a Mid-American Conference school recently.

Between June 23 and July 1, a total of six top Ohio prospects from the 2022 class committed to MAC programs.

Dayton Wayne linebacker Adam Trick was the first, committing to Miami (Ohio) on June 23. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder ranks as a three-star prospect, and the No. 66 player in Ohio’s 2022 class, according to 247Sports. He chose the RedHawks over nine other offers, including Air Force, Eastern Kentucky, Youngstown State, three other MAC schools (Eastern Michigan, Kent State and Akron) and a handful of Ivy League squads. 

Princeton quarterback Mekhi Lynn (Buffalo) and Cleveland Benedictine linebacker Derell Bedingfield Jr. (Toledo) both committed on June 25. 

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Lynn is a three-star prospect ranked No. 28 in Ohio’s class of 2022 by the 247Sports Composite. He committed to the Bulls over five other offers (Ball State, Cincinnati, Miami of Ohio, Toledo and Indiana), becoming the highest-ranked player in head coach Maurice Linguist’s 2022 class. He threw for 1,429 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2020 and rushed for 358 yards and six scores. 

The three-star, 6-2, 190-pound Bedingfield Jr. — ranked No. 49 in Ohio’s 2022 Class by the 247Sports Composite — chose Toledo over 12 other offers, including Cincinnati, Air Force and Central Florida, among others. 

Three-star quarterback Owen Bainbridge of Stow-Munroe Falls committed to Bowling Green on June 26, giving coach Scot Loeffler’s Falcons a fourth player in a small, but star-studded 2022 class. Bainbridge passed for 1,191 yards and nine scores and rushed for a team-high 402 yards and seven scores in just seven games as a junior. 

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Ashton Duncan played defensive end and tight end for Ironton, but may flex into more of a fullback roll for Miami (Ohio). The three-star prospect became the fifth Ohio product to commit to the RedHawks when he gave his verbal on June 28. He chose Miami over nine other offers, most of them from the MAC, along with Marshall, Coastal Carolina and Illinois State.