The Wittenberg football program has taken advantage of the lack of Division III schools in Florida for years, mining the state for talent such as quarterback Zack Jenkins and wide receiver Zach Culvahouse, two of the stars of the offense the last two years.
Joe Fincham’s staff, led by Tom Mescher and Nate Wilson, took Florida recruiting to a new level this year. Seventeen of the 82 recruits in the new class are from the Sunshine State.
“I always warn them, I don’t expect you coming back with suntans,” Fincham said. “They’re going down there to work.”
One of the recruits is Joshua Paul, a defensive tackle from St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale. That’s the same school that produced former Ohio State defensive lineman Joey Bosa and his brother Nick, a freshman at Ohio State.
Defensive line was an area of need for the Tigers, who finished 8-2 last season. They graduated Greenon graduate Josh Bannick and another starter, William Norelia.
Fincham mentioned Paul, Fairfield’s Micah Vann, Springfield’s Aaron House, Toledo Bowsher’s T.J. Mack and Monroe’s Ryan McNerny as the top defensive line recruits.
With the loss of seniors Jimmy Dehnke and Sean Gary, the coaches also emphasized recruiting running backs. Among the standouts in the class are three players from Florida — Jaheem Washington, of Palmetto Ridge, Freddy McCoy, of Bloomingdale; and Troy Jones, of Bartow — and one from nearby Riverside, Connor Cotterman.
The class also includes a two-sport start. Wide receiver Colton Bachman, of Piqua, will also play basketball for Wittenberg. He will miss his freshman football season because of an injury, but Fincham said he should be healthy by the time basketball season begins.
Among the other top players in the class, Fincham said, are: offensive lineman Justin Rolfes, of Fairfield; tight end Vashawn Walker, of Columbus Bishop Hartley; Hayden Thompson, an offensive lineman from London, Ohio; Bryson Owens, an offensive lineman from Bartow, Fla.; offensive lineman Chris Reisiger, of Covington Catholic; and Alter cornerback Marcus O’Neal.
“I am happy with (the class),” Fincham said. “I think our staff and our players did a really good job going out and beating the bushes for kids. We found some not only good players but good students and good kids.”
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