“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.