Wittenberg football announces 77-man 2022 recruiting class

Tecumseh's Braden Berner tries to avoid a tackle by Shawnee's Cameron Brucker. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Tecumseh's Braden Berner tries to avoid a tackle by Shawnee's Cameron Brucker. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

New coach Jim Collins places emphasis on quarterbacks and offensive linemen

Jim Collins’ first Wittenberg football recruiting class numbers 77 players. It includes players from nine states. Forty seven of the recruits are from Ohio. Two are from Clark County.

Hired in late November when Joe Fincham stepped down after 25 seasons, Collins first worked to connect with recruits who had already committed to Wittenberg or were being recruited by Fincham and his staff.

“You build relationships,” Collins said. “You talk about what your goals are, the culture of the program, all the things that Wittenberg has to offer from an academic standpoint, the things that Wittenberg can do for you while you’re attending it and then after you graduate what it prepares you for. I think it is a great selling point when it comes to recruiting. That was the goal: to tell that story to as many good student-athletes as we possibly could. We knew if we did that, we were going to get a lot of good ones, and that’s how it turned out.”

Wittenberg had 65 recruits in its 2021 class and 65 in 2020. This group includes eight quarterbacks and 14 offensive linemen.

“This spring taught me that we need more quarterbacks,” Collins said. “We’ve got a large group of QBs coming in, and I thought that was critical because I don’t want to be in a position where we’re limited in practice because of our quarterback numbers. Even though our talent level is really good, I just felt it was really important to improve our depth at QB. But the other spot — and it’s no different than any other time — I think you’ve got to bring in a lot of good O linemen. The offensive line, you’ve got to have a lot of guys there. Depth at that position is critical. We brought in a good group of running backs and skill guys offensively. Defensive backs is really a good looking group. But every position we’ve got good numbers.”

The freshmen will report Aug. 9. Wittenberg will hold its first practice Aug. 11.

The Tigers open the season at SUNY Cortland in New York at noon Sept. 3 and stay on the road throughout September, playing at Kenyon on Sept. 17 and at Hiram on Sept. 24. The first home game is a big one: against rival Wabash on homecoming at 1 p.m. on Oct. 1.

Collins, a 1988 Wittenberg graduate, used his own experience as a player in recruiting. He led the Tigers in receiving in 1985, 1986 and 1987 and was the team’s MVP as a senior in 1987.

“I can speak from experience, and I think that’s big,” he said. “I can talk about the experience that I had there and how special it was, but then I think we take it to another level, especially with parents. I can talk about the fact that my wife and I both graduated from Wittenberg and what it meant to both of us. Talking from that perspective has been really good. Part of the recruiting process is not just connecting with the student-athlete but connecting with the parent. They’ve got to be able to visualize where their son is going after Wittenberg. It’s not just about the experience they have at Wittenberg, the four years of excelling in the classroom and on the field, but where’s Wittenberg going to take them? We’ve really talked about all of the outstanding outcomes of our former football players that are Wittenberg graduates: where they are, what they’ve accomplished.”

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Hamilton's Kerry Ware (8) scores touchdown and is lifted in celebration by offensive lineman Derrick Deaton (72) during their football game Friday, Sept. 24, 2021 at Fairfield Stadium. Fairfield won 28-14. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Hamilton's Kerry Ware (8) scores  touchdown and is lifted in celebration by offensive lineman Derrick Deaton (72) during their football game Friday, Sept. 24, 2021 at Fairfield Stadium. Fairfield won 28-14. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Combined ShapeCaption
Hamilton's Kerry Ware (8) scores touchdown and is lifted in celebration by offensive lineman Derrick Deaton (72) during their football game Friday, Sept. 24, 2021 at Fairfield Stadium. Fairfield won 28-14. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Wittenberg football 2022 recruiting class

Name, Position, High School, Hometown, Height, Weight

Ethan Adkins, DB, Franklin, Franklin, Ohio, 5-11, 160

Julien Alcaraz, OL, Lehigh, Lehigh Acres, Fla., 6-1, 265

Mason Bailey, WR, Westland, Galloway, Ohio, 6-0, 163

Bryce Barbian, QB, Cudahy, Cudahy, Wis., 6-0, 200

Labronze Barnett, RB, Freemont Ross, Freemont, Ohio, 6-2, 225

Trevon Barton, DE, Crestview, Convoy, Ohio, 5-11, 220

Braden Berner, DB, Tecumseh, Springfield, Ohio, 6-0, 175

Henry Birchwell, OL, Badin, Franklin, Ohio, 6-1, 240

Jaylan Blake, RB, Wesley Chapel, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 5-10, 175

Jack Blaul-Green, OL, Tippecanoe, Tipp City, Ohio, 6-4, 315

Ben Bretzin., OL, St. Vincent-St. Mary, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, 6-1 , 265

Isaiah Bridges, WR, Central Crossing, Galloway, Ohio, 6-5, 225

Trey Brininger, WR, Cardington Lincoln, Cardington, Ohio, 6-3, 215

Wyatt Buxton, QB, Westerville North, New Albany, Ohio, 6-2, 180

Tyshawn Campbell, WR, St. Augustine, St. Augustine, Fla., 5-8, 180

Trenton Carter, QB, Carmichaels Area, Carmichaels, Pa., 6-2, 185

Malcolm Carter, DE, KIPP Columbus, Columbus, Ohio, 6-2, 232

Trevor Chambers, OL, Southport, Indianapolis, Ind., 5-11, 265

Dylan Chana, TE, Wesley Chapel, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 6-1, 180

Alex Cher-Aime, LB, Bradenton Christian, Parrish, Fla., 5-8, 195

Leonello Collins, DE, Somerset Academy, Homestead, Fla., 6-0, 200

Andres Cummings-Byrd, WR, Maple Heights, Cleveland, Ohio, 5-10, 165

Jerome Daniel, LB, Lima Senior, Lima, Ohio, 5-11, 210

Gage Easterling, OL, Tecumseh, New Carlile, Ohio, 6-3, 240

Mike Evans, DT, St. Edwards, Cleveland, Ohio, 6-0, 255

Jake Fleming, DE, Windermere, Windermere, Fla., 6-2, 215

Owen Gabel, K, New Bremen, New Bremen, Ohio, 5-7, 170

Daniel Gaskill, OL, Westerville Central, Westerville, Ohio, 6-1, 260

Jake Gregg, QB, Wheelersburg, Flatwoods, Ky., 5-11, 195

Sebastian Gutierrez, DB, Wesley Chapel, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 5-11, 170

Ethan Harper, QB, Wesley Chapel, San Antonio, Fla., 6-2, 175

Conor Hayes, WR, Community School of Naples, Naples, Fla., 6-0, 165

Nate Hickman, QB, Cardington Lincoln, Cardington, Ohio, 6-2, 205

Jackson Higgason, LB, Highlands, Ft. Thomas, Ky., 5-11, 195

Bryan Hines, RB, Lima Senior, Lima, Ohio, 6-0, 190

Jordon Huff, RB, Cleveland East Tech, Strongsville, Ohio, 6-0, 205

Connor Ingram, K/P, Olentangy Liberty, Powell, Ohio, 6-0, 190

Luke Jackson, DB, Indian Lake, DeGraff, Ohio, 5-11, 180

Dawson Jones, QB, St. John Neumann, Naples, Fla., 6-0, 190

Bryce Kahl, LB, Anthony Wayne, Whitehouse, Ohio, 6-1, 185

Darius Love, OL, Westland, Columbus, Ohio, 6-4, 300

Wesney Malbranche, DB, Evangelical Christian School, Lehigh Acres, Fla., 6-2, 180

Joesian McCann, WR, Akron Buchtel, Akron, Ohio, 6-1, 185

James McCreery, WR, Westerville North, Westerville, Ohio, 5-11, 180

Andrew McFeeters, OL, Bishop Hartley, Pickerington, Ohio, 6-2, 265

Diego Medel, LB, Chelsea, Chelsea, Mich., 6-0, 215

Noah Merkel, DE, Anderson, Cincinnati, Ohio, 6-1, 220

Lincoln Mollenkopf, RB, Colonel Crawford, Bucyrus, Ohio, 5-10, 180

Thomas Monnig, K/P, Miamisburg, Miamisburg, Ohio, 5-10, 170

Gavin Murdock, QB/DB, Lakeview, Stoneboro, Pa., 5-11, 175

Connor Murga, DB, Thomas Jefferson, Clairton, Pa., 6-2, 215

Hayden Olcott, K, Olentangy, Delaware, Ohio, 5-11, 160

Vinnie Palladino, RB, Paul G. Blazer, Ashland, Ky., 5-10, 200

Hunter Payne, TE, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Mich., 6-2, 255

Andon Peacock, WR, Cincinnati Country Day, New Richmond, Ohio, 5-9, 170

Eli Renick, DE, Riverview, Sarasota, Fla., 6-2, 225

Haiden Renner, OL, Hamilton, Hamilton, Ohio, 5-10, 255

Christian Reyna, DB, Eaton, Eaton, Ohio, 6-1, 180

Noah Reynolds, DT, Westland, Columbus, Ohio, 6-3, 255

Dom Salazar, DB, Big Walnut, Galena, Ohio, 5-8, 165

Connor Savenas, RB, St. John Neumann, Naples, Fla., 6-1, 215

Kenny Sims, RB, Harrison, Lafayette, Ind., 5-8, 200

Ashton Snell, RB, Cincinnati Country Day, West Chester, Ohio, 6-0, 180

Andrew Stamp, LB, Olentangy Liberty, Powell, Ohio, 5-10, 190

Lucas Swierk, K/WR, Little Miami, Morrow, Ohio, 6-0, 175

RJ Swift, RB, Lakewood, Mayfair, Calif., 5-10, 190

Kinsy Thermidor, DE, Immokalee, Immokalee, Fla., 6-1, 225

Terrell Triplett, DT, Scioto, Dublin, Ohio, 6-0, 255

David Walterhouse, LB, Bethlehem Christian Academy, Statham, Ga., 6-0, 195

Zack Walton, DE, KIPP Columbus, Columbus, Ohio, 6-1, 215

Kerry Ware, WR, Hamilton, Hamilton, Ohio, 6-1, 170

Brandon Weller, OL, Riverview, Sarasota, Fla., 6-1, 280

Jacob White, LB, Springboro, Waynesville, Ohio, 5-10, 200

Erryl Will, DT, Marysville, Marysville, Ohio, 5-10, 205

Carson Williams, LB , Wheelersburg, Wheelersburg, Ohio, 6-2, 215

Jaiden Woods, OL, Massillon, Massillon, Ohio, 6-1, 260

Cabraun Woody, RB, Exeter Township, Reading, Pa., 5-8, 165

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