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Ohio State Signs 19 to National Letters of Intent

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State Buckeyes signed what will be another top-10 ranked recruiting class on Wednesday, as 19 high school players signed National Letters of Intent to continue their education and football careers with the Buckeyes on the first day of the early signing period. The class is highlighted by a five-star prospect as well as 17 others who had four-star designations. As a group, Ohio State’s class is ranked No. 5 nationally according to the 247Sports composite. Its average star rating of 93.57 is third-best nationally.

This will be Ohio State’s 12th top-10 class in a 13-year period. It’s the top-ranked class in the Big Ten and has seven national top-100 prospects.

The Buckeyes’ class includes nine players on defense and 10 on offense. There are two safeties, two cornerbacks, four defense linemen and a linebacker. On the other side of the ball, Ohio State signed four wide receivers, three of whom are top-10 players at the position according to 247Sports, one quarterback, one tight end and four offensive linemen.

Seven of the top eight-ranked players in the state of Ohio signed with the Buckeyes on Wednesday. That includes the state’s No. 1 overall prospect, OL Luke Montgomery from Findlay, and CB Jermaine Matthews, who is a Cincinnati native and ranked No. 2. The Buckeyes also went south and signed four players from the state of Florida, three from Georgia and one each from Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Dakota and Texas.


Ohio State Signing Class – December 2022

Name                             Pos.      Ht.       Wt.       Hometown/Last School
Malik Hartford               SAF      6-3        175       West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West
Cedrick Hawkins           SAF      6-0        175       Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa
Brandon Innis                WR       6-0        190       Hollywood, Fla./American Heritage
Lincoln Kienholz           QB        6-3        185       Pierre, S.D./T.F. Riggs
Jermaine Matthews        CB        6-0        180       Cincinnati/Winton Woods
Kayden McDonald        DL        6-3        310       Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett
Joshua Mickens             DE        6-5        225       Indianapolis/Lawrence Central
Luke Montgomery         OT        6-5        295       Findlay, Ohio/Findlay
Jason Moore                  DL        6-6        260       Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha Catholic
Joshua Padilla                OL        6-4        285       Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne
Arvell Reese                  LB        6-4        225       Cleveland/Glenville
Bryson Rodgers             WR       6-1        175       Zephyrhills, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch
Noah Rogers                  WR       6-2        195       Rolesville, N.C./Rolesville
Austin Siereveld            OL        6-5        330       Liberty Township, Ohio/Lakota East
Calvin Simpson-Hunt    CB        6-0        175       Waxahachie, Texas/Waxahachie
Will Smith Jr.                DL        6-3        285       Dublin, Ohio/Coffman
Carnell Tate                   WR       6-2        180       Chicago/IMG Academy
Jelani Thurman              TE        6-6        225       Fairburn, Ga./Langston Hughes
Miles Walker                 OL        6-6        285       Greenwich, Conn./Brunswick School


Malik Hartford // SAF // 6-3, 175 // West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West

  • A four-star recruit and the No. 4-ranked player in the state of Ohio according to the 247Sports composite.
  • Named the Greater Miami Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2022.
  • Selected by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association as the Division I Southwest District Defensive Player of the Year and co-Division I Defensive Player of the Year.
  • The leader of a Lakota West defense that gave up just 10.0 points per game during a 13-1 season this fall.
  • His stat line in 2022 included 43 tackles, two interceptions, four tackles-for-loss five pass breakups
  • Finished his junior season with 58 tackles, two INTs, a sack and six blocked kicks/punts
  • Will play in the 2023 All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 7
  • Parents are Zainab and Jim Hartford


Cedrick Hawkins // SAF // 6-0, 175 // Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa

  • A four-star prospect by the 247Sports composite rankings
  • Considered to be one of the top 25 best players in the country at his position
  • A two-way player for Cocoa High School where he lined up at both safety and wide receiver
  • Had a total of 50 tackles, one interception and three passes defended in 13 games as a senior leading his team to a state championship
  • During his junior season, finished with 117 tackles, 3.0 tackles-for-loss, 10 PBUs and three fumble recoveries
  • On offense, caught 38 passes for 671 yards and five TDs; also returned kicks and punts while amassing nearly 1,000 all purpose yards
  • Finished his high school career with 309 total tackles, 14 interceptions and 43 pass breakups
  • Parents are Lakeesha McCloud and Cedrick Hawkins Sr.


Brandon Inniss // WR // 6-0, 190 // Hollywood, Fla./American Heritage

  • Is a five-star recruit by 247Sports and the nation’s No. 22-ranked overall player
  • No. 3-ranked wide receiver and the sixth-highest ranked player in the state of Florida
  • Set school records for receptions (73) and receiving yards (1,336) to go along with 15 touchdowns during his senior season
  • Helped American Heritage to a 13-2 record in 2022 and a spot in the 2M state championship game.
  • Had 1,947 all purpose yards and 16 total touchdowns while averaging 18.3 yards per catch
  • Played his sophomore season at TRU Prep Academy in Miami Gardens where he caught 30 passes for 723 yards and 10 touchdowns
  • Selected to play in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 7.
  • Mother is Amy Flinton


Lincoln Kienholz // QB // 6-3, 185 // Pierre, S.D./ T.F. Riggs

  • Is the nation’s No. 13-ranked quarterback and No. 172 overall player according to 247Sports
  • Only the second-ever player from the state of South Dakota to sign with Ohio State
  • Completed 66 percent of his passes for 3,422 yards and 46 touchdowns as a senior while being named the state’s 11AA Player of the Year
  • Added 1,435 yards rushing with 24 TDs in leading T.F. Riggs High School to its third consecutive state championship
  • Threw for 9,100 yards and 104 touchdowns over his career at T.F. Riggs where he was a three-year starter.
  • Became South Dakota high school football’s all-time passing leader last fall.
  • Named the Most Valuable Player of the 11AA state championship game for three consecutive years
  • Threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 121 yards and two scores in this year’s state title game
  • A three-sport athlete who also excels in basketball and baseball.
  • Batted .472 with six home runs and went 3-0 with a 1.24 ERA as a pitcher.
  • First team selection on the Class AA all-state basketball team after averaging 19.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game as a junior.
  • Mother is Kacy Kienholz


Jermaine Matthews // CB // 6-0, 180 // Cincinnati/Winton Woods

  • The second-highest rated player in the state of Ohio according to the 247Sports composite
  • Comes in at No. 135 nationally, regardless of position, and the No. 15 cornerback
  • A four-star prospect
  • Named the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association Division II Southwest District Defensive Player of the Year and the Division II Defensive Player of the Year
  • Finished the season with 51 total tackles, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and six interceptions
  • He returned three of his six interceptions for touchdowns
  • Also had a touchdown receiving, one on a punt return and another on a kickoff return
  • Winton Woods finished the 2022 season with a 12-1 record; helped his team with a state championship as a junior in 2021
  • Made 40 tackles and had five interceptions during that season while also returning two punts for TDs
  • Mother is Bianca Adkins


Kayden McDonald // DL // 6-3, 310 // Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett

  • A four-star prospect and top 25-ranked player in the state of Georgia
  • Had 68 tackles in 12 games as a senior with 13.0 sacks and 40.0 tackles-for-loss
  • Was just as productive as a junior, amassing 95 total tackles in 12 games with 58.0 TFLs and 19.0 sacks
  • Had seven sacks in a first round 7A playoff game and 14 sacks in a three-game span during the regular season
  • Career totals include 234 tackles, 46.0 sacks and 131.0 tackles for loss in 40 games
  • Add 77 carries on offense for 409 yards and 11 touchdowns during his senior season
  • Mother is Kristi Green


Joshua Mickens // DE // 6-5, 225 // Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central

  • A top-150 prospect who is the No. 2-rated player in the state of Indiana
  • Has a composite four-star rating from 247Sports
  • Finished his senior season with 74 tackles, 20.5 tackles-for-loss and 6.5 sacks
  • Was named the top defensive lineman in the state by the Indiana Football Coaches Association and first team all-state
  • Had a superb junior season in which he totaled 23.0 tackles-for-loss, 12.0 sacks, five quarterback hurries, five forced fumbles in 11 games.
  • Also is a talented basketball player who averaged 13,0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last season
  • Mother is Lavonnya Mickens


Luke Montgomery // OT // 6-5, 295 // Findlay, Ohio/Findlay

  • Is the top-ranked player in the state of Ohio by 247Sports
  • A consensus four-star prospect who is also a top-100 ranked player nationally
  • The fifth-ranked offensive tackle in the class nationally
  • Versatile and athletic enough to play any position on the offensive line
  • A multi-sport athlete who also played basketball at Findlay High School
  • Started out his high school career playing tight end and on the defensive line
  • First team All-Northwest District and All-Ohio by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association
  • Member of the 2022 All-Toledo Blade team
  • Selected to play in the All-America Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 7, 2023
  • Parents are Christina and Mike Montgomery


Jason Moore // DL // 6-6, 260 // Hyattsville, Md/DeMatha Catholic

  • A top 100-player in the 247Sports composite rankings and the nation’s No. 6 defensive lineman
  • Ranked as the No. 2 player in the state of Maryland
  • Hails from the same high school that produced DE Chase Young, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft
  • Was the star on a defensive unit that allowed less than 10 points per game as DeMatha went 10-2 and was the WCAC runners-up
  • Named the Washington Post Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 as well as first team All-Met.
  • Recorded 73 tackles and 14 sacks for DeMatha as a junior in 2021
  • Has an older brother, Justin, who was the 2019 All-Met basketball Player of the Year; Justin now plays at Villanova
  • Parents are Keli and Greg Moore


Joshua Padilla // OL // 6-4, 285 // Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne

  • The second-highest rated offensive lineman in the state of Ohio
  • The No. 6-rated player in the state regardless of position
  • Is a consensus four-star player and one of the country’s top-10 interior line prospects
  • Was the second member of the 2023 recruiting class to give his verbal commitment
  • First team All-Southwest District for Division I this past fall
  • Two-time Ohio Prep Sportswriter Association Division I All-Ohio
  • Helped power the Wayne offense to an average of 36.8 points per game in its six wins last season
  • 2022 state runner-up in heavyweight wrestling
  • Parents are Lora and Mike Padilla


Arvell Reese // LB // 6-4, 225 // Cleveland/Glenville

  • A fifth-ranked player in Ohio by the 247Sports composite and No. 19 linebacker nationally
  • Named the Division IV Defensive Player of the Year by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association
  • Led Cleveland Glenville to its first state title this fall and the first-ever by in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
  • Had an interception in the state championship game vs. Wyoming
  • Selected to play in the Army All-American Bowl
  • Named a finalist for the 2022 High School Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top high school linebacker
  • First team All-Ohio by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association
  • Was the catalyst of a defense that did not give up a point in six league games
  • Parents are Maeko Walker and Alex Reese


Bryson Rodgers // WR // 6-1, 175 // Zephyrhills, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch

  • A four-star prospect according to the 247Sports composite rankings
  • Played three varsity seasons and totaled 110 receptions for 1,625 yards and 29 touchdowns in 26 games
  • As a sophomore in 2020, caught 47 passes for 710 yards and 10 TD; followed that up with 645 yards on 42 receptions with 14 TDs in 2021
  • Averaged 62.5 yards receiving per game
  • Is originally from Warren, Ohio
  • Parents are Amanda Dorchock and Brandon Rodgers


Noah Rogers // WR // 6-2, 195 // Rolesville, N.C./Rolesville

  • A top-100 national prospect who is the No. 1-ranked player in the state of North Carolina.
  • Consensus four-star player who holds a No. 44 national ranking by 247Sports
  • Finished his career at Rolesville High School with over 3,200 receiving yards
  • Had an 82-yard kickoff return for touchdown as well as another TD receiving in a playoff win over rival Wake Forest
  • Caught 70 passes for 1,432 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior
  • Averaged 20.5 yards per catch
  • Had 37 touchdown receptions over his final two high school seasons
  • Is the fourth North Carolina native to sign with Ohio State in the last five recruiting cycles
  • Mother is Lisa Rogers


Austin Siereveld // OL // 6-5, 330 // Liberty Township, Ohio/Lakota East

  • Is Ohio’s No. 7-rated prospect overall and No. 11 interior offensive lineman nationally
  • A four-star prospect according to the 247Sports composite rankings
  • Three-time All-Southwest District and All-Greater Miami Conference
  • First team All-Ohio for Division I by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association
  • Was a member of the Top 23 list of players in the greater Cincinnati area by the Cincinnati Enquirer earlier this fall
  • Parents are Karla and Clay Siereveld


Calvin Simpson-Hunt // CB // 6-0, 175 // Waxahachie, Texas/Waxahachie

  • Holds rankings of No. 102 nationally by the 247Sports composite and No. 19 in the state of Texas
  • A four-star prospect from every major recruiting service
  • A gifted track athlete, he ran a 10.97 100 meter and a 22.00 200 meter as a sophomore in the spring of 2021
  • Finished out his high school career with 25 tackles in 10 games as a senior this past fall
  • Added 2.0 tackles-for-loss, one fumble recovery and three passes defended while helping Waxahachie to a 10-3 record
  • Had 29 tackles, five tackles-for-loss, one sack and one interception as a junior in the fall of 2021
  • Selected to play in the All-America Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 7, 2023
  • Mother is Janel Simpson


Will Smith Jr. // DL // 6-3, 285 // Dublin, Ohio/Coffman

  • The No. 8 overall player regardless of position in the state of Ohio
  • Helped Coffman to a 7-4 record and an Division I first-round playoff appearance as a senior
  • Voted as the All-Central District Division I Defensive Player of the Year
  • First team All-Ohio for Division I by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association
  • Recorded 47 tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss and five sacks in 10 games
  • Is a Ohio Division I state qualifier is the shot put; also throws the discus
  • His father is the late Will Smith, who played in Ohio State’s 2002 national championship team and also for the New Orleans Saints
  • Mother is Kerry Monahan


Carnell Tate // WR // 6-2, 180 // Chicago, Ill./IMG Academy

  • Rated as the No. 25 player regardless of position by 247Sports
  • Has a composite ranking of No. 62 overall and No. 10 at wide receiver by 247Sports
  • Is a four-star prospect
  • Had eight receptions for 103 yards and two TDs in a 27-16 win over nationally-ranked St. Frances Academy (Md.)
  • Averaged 20.3 yards per catch as a senior in 2022
  • Began his high school career at Marist High School in Chicago; caught 28 passes for 444 yards and five TDs as a freshman in 2019
  • Finished his career at IMG Academy in 2021 and 2022
  • Totaled 750 yards receiving and eight touchdowns over eight games in 2022
  • Parents are Ashely Griggs and Sean Tate


Jelani Thurman // TE // 6-6, 225 // Fairburn, Ga./Langston Hughes

  • One of the nation’s top-ranked tight ends; is No. 104 nationally regardless of position in the 247Sports composite
  • The No. 4-ranked tight end and a four-star prospect overall
  • Caught 36 passes for 582 yards and 12 touchdowns in 14 games as a senior for Langston Hughes High School
  • Led Langston Hughes to a 15-0 record as a senior and a 6A state title win over Gainesville.
  • Amassed over 1,000 yards receiving over his final two high school seasons with 19 touchdowns and an average of nearly 16 yards per catch
  • Also played defense where he had 74 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 3.0 tackles-for-loss and four pass breakups.
  • His mother, Kara Braxton, was a two-time WNBA champion with the Detroit Shock


Miles Walker // OL // 6-6, 285 // Greenwich, Conn./Brunswick School

  • One of the top-ranked players in the state of Connecticut
  • First team Northeast Prep Football Conference All-League
  • Helped his team rush for 1,836 yards and 25 touchdowns in 10 games
  • Was the leader of an offensive line that gave up just eight sacks in over 200 pass attempts
  • Walkers’ team won the Mike Silipo NEPSAC Class A Bowl and finished the season 9-1
  • His father, Bobby, was an All-American at Williams College in football and track and a national champion in the weights
  • Two-sport athlete who also played baseball at the Brunswick School
  • Parents are Becky and Bobby Walker


I attended Malone College to pursue a Journalism career in Politics...I have found that writing about Sports is a lot more fun! I am an avid NBA, MLB & NFL fan. Find me on Twitter @nats_sportschat

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