“It just felt like home,” Stephens said. “I had two great visits, one with my parents and another with my teammates. It was a good visit both times. I love the coaching staff and the players there. They were recruiting me the hardest, too.”
He chose the Rockets over Youngstown State, Miami and Ball State.
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Stephens, 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, caught 15 passes for 363 yards and a team-high five receiving touchdowns for the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East Division champion Wildcats (9-3). As a sophomore, he caught 19 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown. In the 247sports composite rankings, Stephens is 51st in the state in the Class of 2020.
Stephens also plays cornerback on defense, but will play wide receiver in Toledo’s spread offense, he said.
The Rockets have had a huge run of success in the Mid-American Conference in the last decade, winning the MAC Championship in 2017. Last season, the Rockets finished 7-6 and fell to Florida International in the Bahamas Bowl. The Rockets have advanced to a bowl game eight of the last nine seasons and haven’t had a losing record since 2009.
Stephens’ cousin is Springfield offensive coordinator and South High grad Chris Wallace, who starred at quarterback at Toledo in the mid-90s, throwing for 5,454 yards and 44 TDs.
Stephens, who also plays on the Wildcats basketball team, plans to stay for his entire senior year at Springfield in order to participate in basketball. This year, three Wildcats graduated early and enrolled in college in order to participate in spring football — Moses Douglass and Isaiah Gibson are both at Kentucky, while Michael Brown-Stephens is at Minnesota.
Larry Stephens one of the first of the large 2020 senior class to commit. Several other Wildcats are getting interest from Division I schools, including running backs Jeff Tolliver and Tavion Smoot.
Before he leaves for college, Stephens and his Wildcats senior teammates have big goals, he said. That class went 8-0 in both seventh and eighth grade.
“We’ve been playing together since seventh grade,” he said. “We haven’t lost a game together yet and we plan on keeping that streak.”
The Wildcats fell to Hilliard Davidson 17-14 in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal game last season. Springfield hopes to advance past that point next fall, Stephens said.
“We want to be conference champs and state champs,” he said.