Wittenberg’s 2023 football recruiting class largest in decades

Recruits will arrive on campus Aug. 8

Credit: Name Test

Credit: Name Test

Coach Jim Collins’ second recruiting class with the Wittenberg Tigers is the football program’s largest in decades.

Collins released a list of 98 recruits in the 2023 class this week. His predecessor Joe Fincham’s largest class in 25 years numbered 89.

“We feel like we hit our goals,” Collins said. “It is a big class, but big classes are key when it comes to success in Division III. At the skill and big skill positions on both sides of the ball, we found speed and playmaking ability, and that is exciting. We are also excited about what we have coming in at the offensive and defensive line positions. Our goals were to target talent and build depth at these spots, and we have accomplished both. The other area to be excited about is the kicking game, where we feel good about addressing all three spots: kicker; punter; and longsnapper.”

Counting the 2023 class, Wittenberg has averaged 75.6 recruits over the last 10 years. It had 77 recruits in 2022, 65 recruits in 2021, 65 in 2020, 61 in 2019, 71 in 2018, 89 in 2017, 82 in 2016, 63 in 2015 and 85 in 2014.

The Tigers finished 5-5 last season as Collins took over the program.

Fifty nine of the new recruits come from Ohio. There are two recruits from Clark County: Tecumseh running back Lucas Berner, who rushed for 1,708 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior; and Shawnee linebacker Bobby Shaw, who led his team with 92 tackles.

Florida continues to be an area of emphasis for Wittenberg coaches. There are 12 recruits from the Sunshine State.

One of the recruits, safety Brady Ridder, of Buckeye Valley, is the son of a Tiger. His dad, Randy Ridder, played safety at Wittenberg in the late 1980s.

“We are really excited about this year’s recruiting class,” Collins said. “Bringing in a recruiting class is a collaboration of a lot of hard work by a lot of people. I really credit our staff, present student-athletes, faculty, administration, alumni and admissions team for all the hard work they put in to recruiting this group.

“We target young men who we feel have the character, academic prowess, and the athletic talent to be champions on and off the field. It is also critical to attract young men who are fired up about the Wittenberg Tiger football tradition and want to leave a legacy.”

Wittenberg opens the season Sept. 2 at the University of Dubuque in Iowa. Players report to campus Aug. 8 for preseason camp.

“The student athlete we recruit wants to compete from the moment he walks in the door,” Collins said. “One of our jobs as coaches is to create a competitive environment in preseason where we can identify which newcomers can make an immediate impact. I am sure there are going to be more than a few. At the same time, there will be guys that are going to need more time, and that is the beauty of playing a full JV schedule and emphasizing development. Whatever the case, as a coach, you devote all of your energy to continually develop everyone in the program to be the best they can be.”

Wittenberg football 2023 recruiting class

Name, High School, Position, Hometown, State

Dalton Allen, Rutherford B. Hayes, DL, Delaware, Ohio

Chasen Allison, Blanchester, DL, Blanchester, Ohio

Scott Arnold, Milford, OL, Milford, Ohio

Ryan Assoku, Westerville North, WR, Westerville, Ohio

Joseph Babusci, Seneca Valley, CB, Cranberry Twp, Pa.

Donald Bailey, Cincinnati Prep Academy, TE, Cincinnati, Ohio

Federico Becerra Saenz, Thomas Worthington, TE, Worthington, Ohio

Keith Bell, Batavia, DL, Batavia, Ohio

Cleve Benson, Palmetto, RB, Sarasota, Fla.

Lucas Berner, Tecumseh, RB, New Carlisle, Ohio

Eric Brewer, Western Brown, OL, Mount Orab, Ohio

Joshua Brophy, Simon Kenton, DL, Union, Ky.

Noah Brown, Western Brown, OL, Bethel, Ohio

Lafonza Burel, Joe T. Robinson, DL, Little Rock, Ark.

Divad Bush, Solon, LB, Solon, Ohio

Dylan Campbell, Preble Shawnee, WR, Camden, Ohio

Cameron Casto, Miami Trace, OL, Washington Court House, Ohio

David Clossin, Kenston, DL, Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Xavier Coach, Indian Hill, DL, Cincinnati, Ohio

Chase Collins, Patriot, DL, Bristow, VA

Landen Cope, Miami Trace, WR, Washington Court House, Ohio

Ryan Crampton, Greenville, LB, Greenville, Ohio

Jakob Curry, West Carrollton, OL, West Carrollton, Ohio

Evan Davis, Madison Comprehensive, OL, Mansfield, Ohio

Aidan Dawson, Mount Lebanon, RB/LB, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Owen DeHanes, Milford, OL, Milford, Ohio

Kevin Denham, Whiteland, QB, Whiteland, Ind.

Ali Diakite, Stone Mountain, LB, Stone Mountain, Ga.

Tanner Domyanich, Buckeye Valley, TE, Delaware, Ohio

Brayden Doran, Preble Shawnee, RB, Somerville, Ohio

Michael Dye, Attucks, CB, Indianapolis, Ind.

Paul Edwards, Franklin Road Academy, CB, Brentwood, Tenn.

Darrion Fannon, Winton Woods, OL, Cincinnati, Ohio

Korben Felton, West Holmes, DL, Millersburg, Ohio

Tommy Funk, Willoughby South, K, Willoughby, Ohio

Luka Garver, New Albany, QB, Columbus, Ohio

Ryan Greenhalge, St. Charles, LB, Westerville, Ohio

Charles Grier, North Atlanta, DL, Atlanta, GA

Reginald Haugabook, Nova, WR, Margate, Fla.

Omarion Holloway, Stebbins, RB, Dayton, Ohio

Jeremy Holloway, Stebbins, SAF, Dayton, Ohio

Chandler Humphrey, Paulding County, P, Dallas, GA

Christopher Hurd, Dwyer, DL, Jupiter, Fla.

Jermell Jackson, Norwood, TE, Norwood, Ohio

Rayne James, Shaker Heights, RB, Shaker Heights, Ohio

Jazander Johnson, Bellefontaine, OL, Bellefontaine, Ohio

Miami Jones, Cedar Grove, WR, Ellenwood, GA

Brennan Kelsay, Highlands, CB, Fort Thomas, Ky.

Nicholas King, Canal Winchester, OL, Canal Winchester, Ohio

Treyven King, Ontario, WR, Ontario, Ohio

David Kramer, Fairview, OL, Cleveland, Ohio

Alvondre Lewis, Sumner, LB, Sun City Center, Fla.

Markus Mauldin, Bishop England, LB, Huger, S.C.

Wesley Maxwell, Carlynton, DL, Carnegie, Pa.

Ethan McLean, Graham, LB, Saint Paris, Ohio

Blair McMurray, Pickerington Central, OL, Pickerington, Ohio

Lavontae Miley, Westside, WR, Macon, Ga.

Torrence Miller, Cardinal Gibbons, RB, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Derek Motter, Vandalia Butler, WR, Dayton, Ohio

Joshua Mullinger, Centerville, WR, Dayton, Ohio

Jaheem Murray, Lassiter, RB, Marietta, GA

Manny Noesi, Sumner, WR, Wimauma, Fla.

Keagon Overton-Story, Bellefontaine, OL, Bellefontaine, Ohio

Nasir Page, Mount Pleasant, SAF, Providence, R.I.

David Parks, Madison Comprehensive, OL, Mansfield, Ohio

Josiah Payne, Chaminade Julienne, RB, Dayton, Ohio

Bryce Pearce, Bishop Fenwick, SAF, West Chester, Ohio

Jacob Pearlman, Fishers, K, Fishers, Ind.

Duane Pollard, Attucks, WR, Indianapolis, Ind.

Marcus Randolph, Craigmont, RB, Memphis, Tenn.

Bryce Ray, Riverview, WR, Sun City Center, Fla.

Kade Ray, Sumner, WR, Sun City Center, Fla.

Samuel Reynolds, Sidney, WR, Sidney, Ohio

Brady Ridder, Buckeye Valley, SAF, Delaware, Ohio

Eric Robinson, Westside, DL, Macon, Ga.

Elizjah Salat, Germantown, CB, Memphis, Tenn.

Andrew Schneeman, Western Brown, SAF, Mount Orab, Ohio

Trevor Schuler, Bradley, RB, Hilliard, Ohio

Bobby Shaw, Shawnee, LB, Springfield, Ohio

Tyre Smith, Riverview, LB, Sarasota, Fla.

Bryce Spangler, Johnstown Monroe, WR, Alexandria, Ohio

Nathan Speakman, Fairborn, CB, Fairborn, Ohio

Carson Spradlin, Anthony Wayne, SAF, Maumee, Ohio

Logan Steiner, Jupiter Community, SAF, Tequesta, Fla.

Jacob Stewart, Cuyahoga Heights, SAF, Bedford, Ohio

Evan Swartz, Edgewood, TE, Trenton, Ohio

Landen Taylor, Norwood, OL, Norwood, Ohio

Camron Thomas, Westside, DL, Macon, GA

Ethan Tousley, Fairborn, OL, Fairborn, Ohio

Santiago Trainor, Lansing Eastern, QB, Lansing, Mich.

Jacob Valerio, Edgewood, CB, Trenton, Ohio

Zach Warnock, Miami Trace, K, Washington Courthouse, Ohio

Lander Wheat, Oakwood, RB, Oakwood, Ohio

Jeremiah Williams, Northeast, RB, Clarksville, Tenn.

Malique Wilson, Southfield A&T, LB, Southfield, Mich.

Austin Woods, Gulf, DL, New Port Richey, Fla.

LeJon Woods, Trinity, CB, Cleveland, Ohio

Dylan Wright, Forest Hill, DL, West Palm Beach, Fla.

About the Author