Florida well represented in Witt recruiting class


Coach Joe Fincham spent spring break with his family in Florida. He wasn’t recruiting — hard to do that when you’re building sandcastles with your three kids — though you might think otherwise after looking at the list of 2013 Wittenberg football recruits.

The Tigers had 17 players from on the roster last season, 12 of whom were freshmen. This season, Wittenberg recruited 15 players from the Sunshine State, and they make up a large chunk of a class that numbers 75.

“This is our second big year being down there, where we send our coaches down and they spend time there,” Fincham said. “They start in Orlando and work their way to Naples.”

Assistant coaches Tom Mescher, Dan Bauder and Matt Vitzthum, who has since left to become the running backs coach at Grand Valley State, represented Wittenberg at recruiting fairs in Florida.

“They didn’t come back with tans,” Fincham said, “which means they worked. I always threaten them, ‘If you guys come back sunburned or otherwise, that means we’re not getting much work done.’”

Of course, there’s plenty of local talent among the incoming freshman, too. Recruits from this area include: Urbana wide receiver Tyler Powell, Tecumseh offensive lineman Derrick Donovan, Northwestern defensive back Jeff Bost, Southeastern defensive back Zane Grove, Graham defensive back Trent Thomas and Catholic Central kicker Taylor Gannon, who redshirted last season at Ohio Dominican.

Fincham named several players who could be standouts in the class: Nathan Krohne, a defensive end from Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Ind.; Austin Jarvis, an offensive lineman from Loveland; Alex Rafeld, a quarterback from Delaware Hayes; Scott Sholar, a linebacker from Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter; Keith Hopkins, a wide receiver from Wharton High School in Tampa, Fla.; Greg Fletcher, a linebacker from Lawrence Central in Indianapolis; Jon Ellerbrock, a quarterback from Tipp City Bethel; and two players from Kings High School, defensive lineman Brady Vanover and offensive lineman Kennedy Cook.

Player arrested: Mark Swope, a junior starting for the Tigers last season, was jailed on several counts of inciting to violence after an incident early Monday at Station One Bar, 325 N. Fountain Ave.

“Right now we’re still in the information-gathering phase,” Fincham said. “With the timing of the incident and the fact that I’ve been out of town and things like that, we’re addressing it. We’re going to handle it within our team and leave it at that.”

Preseason polls: After finishing 10-1 last season and tying for the North Coast Athletic Conference title, Wittenberg is ranked eighth in NCAA Division III by Lindy’s 2013 College Football Preview and seventh by the Sporting News.



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