Alter High School sophomore C.J. Hicks makes a short gain during a scrimmage at Beavercreek on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Alter’s Hicks, Northmont’s Allen add local flavor to Ohio State-Michigan rivalry

College football’s greatest rivalry added more Miami Valley flavor this week.

Alter defensive back C.J. Hicks committed to Ohio State on Friday, three days after Northmont receiver Markus Allen committed to Michigan.

Hicks (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) is considered Ohio’s No. 3 overall Class of 2022 prospect by 247sports.com. Allen (6-2, 190) is the state’s No. 20 recruit in the Class of 2021.

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Hicks was offered by Ohio State on April 7. Holding 27 offers, he picked the Buckeyes over Notre Dame, Miami (Fla.), Texas A&M, Penn State, Iowa and Michigan State among others.

Hicks is the third member of OSU’s 2022 class. Lakota West offensive lineman Tegra Tshabola, the No. 2 recruit in Ohio in the Class of 2022, committed to the Buckeyes last week.

Despite being a defensive back and running back at Alter, Hicks will play a new position in Columbus.

“They offered me as an outside linebacker,” Hicks told Bucknuts.com. “That’s fine with me. I just want to play ball.”

Hicks had 48 tackles last year.

“He reminds me of Josh Perry, Tyvus Powell and Malik Harrison, who the Ravens just drafted,” ScoutingOhio.com director Mark Porter said. “He’s a very long athlete with an amazing skill set that has played corner, running back and safety. It looks like he’ll easily be a linebacker or even grow into a defensive end. He can be physically dominant at many positions and has great speed.”

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Allen held over 30 offers and picked the Wolverines over Wisconsin, West Virginia, Purdue, Michigan State, Indiana, Pitt and Kentucky among others. He is the first receiver commit in Michigan’s 2021 class and its ninth overall.

Northmont High School receiver Markus Allen is tackled by Springfield’s Bryce Walker during a game last season in Springfield. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Spending his first two seasons at Xenia, where he caught six passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns in the Bucs run-dominated offense as a sophomore, Allen transferred to Northmont last year. He ended his junior campaign with 51 receptions for 1,099 yards and 15 touchdowns (new school single-season record). Allen did not catch a pass in the T-Bolts opener, but blossomed at midseason. He caught seven touchdowns the last three games against Centerville, Wayne and Toledo Whitmer.

A three-sport athlete, Allen’s basketball and track skills have helped him become a key red-zone target.

“He has great speed and body control for a ‘thicker’ wide receiver,” Porter said. “He’s a very smooth route runner who makes high school football look easy. Markus can dominate matchups and take over a high school game. He has room for development with great upside in college. Definitely one of the top wide receivers in Ohio.”

Allen will join 2019 Northmont grad Gabe Newburg on the Wolverines roster and continues a local link to Michigan that includes previous area players Tyree Kinnel (Wayne), Mike McCray (Trotwood-Madison) and Roy Roundtree (Trotwood-Madison).

Roundtree, who started 37 straight games at receiver at Michigan, was influential in Allen’s recruitment. He was on Michigan’s staff in February when the Wolverines originally offered. Roundtree has since taken the receivers coaching position at Grand Valley State University.

Michigan may not be done locally.

The Wolverines have also offered Northmont 2021 safety Rod Moore (5-11, 180) and Alter 2022 defensive tackle Derrick Shepard (6-3, 315).

To date, Ohio State has not offered either.

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