Several area football players made their college choice official last Wednesday by signing national letters of intent to play at their respective schools. Here's at look at Division I signings for 2017.

Four payers will call Big Ten schools home for the next four years and three of those are offensive linemen. Massillon's Thayer Munford will play at Ohio State, Perry's Matt Carrick chose Michigan State, and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh welcomes Garaway's Joel Honigford to the Wolverine family. Massillon defensive lineman Malcom Robinson will play for coach P. J. Fleck, who takes over at Minnesota following a successful stint at Western Michigan.

“The guy knows how to work,” Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said of Carrick. “What impressed me about Matt early on in the process is that he plays defense as well. If you watch his junior film you can see him playing defensive end, (and he has) Power, change of direction and those type of things. He gets out and pulls very effectively, he gets on you, and he can probably play any of the (offensive line) positions. He's a big guy and an extremely committed guy. He comes from a great program, and he understands how to work and what you have to do to be successful.”

“This kid is incredibly smart, and he's a wonderful leader,” said Fleck when describing Robinson. “He makes you better every time you're around him and he's infectious. He's positive all the time. He's going to make you feel good about yourself just by standing around.”

Two area players will play at service academies, and that commitment includes five years of military service following four years of academics and football. Linebacker Griffin Baumoel, who helped lead Central Catholic to the 2016 Division V State Championship, will play at Navy. St Thomas Aquinas long snapper Kyle O'Connor will continue his rivalry with Baumoel by playing at Army. Because of the specific service academy appointment process, Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo and Army coach Jeff Monkin cannot comment on incoming players until they arrive on campus this summer.

Four players will play at Mid American Conference schools. Offensive lineman Fransisco Pedrozo of St. Thomas Aquinas is headed to Eastern Michigan, while Coventry wide receiver Dusty Burkhart will play at Akron along with McKinley linebacker Reggie Corner, whose father also played for the Zips. Bulldogs quarterback Dominique Robinson is already enrolled at Miami of Ohio and is eligible to participate in spring practice.

“I don't know where (Robinson) is going to end up,” Miami coach Chuck Martin said. “He's starting off at quaterback, that's what he played in high school. He didn't care when we recruited him. We didn't even get into that. We just wanted him. We know he's a crazy great kid, crazy great student and crazy great athlete. Even though he was the starting quarterback, they'd bump him to receiver in the middle of the game and throw balls to him. He's just 6'4” and he's going to be a gigantic human being. He's a great kid that loves to compete. He's going to stat at quarterback and we'll see. Maybe he's the next Cam Newton. We'll see and we'll go from there, but I think he's going to help us win a lot of games somewhere somehow.”

Two other area players will continue their careers at Division I schools. McKinley linebacker/safety Kadeem Trotter will play at Syracuse, while Massillon defensive lineman Vincent McConnell has chosen to play at Cincinnati.

Three players have chosen to play at the FCS (formerly IAA) level, including New Philadelphia quarterback Logan Bitikofer (Bucknell), Louisville wide receiver/defensive back Tyler Adams (Harvard) and Massillon offensive lineman Chris Anthony (Eastern Kentucky).

Below is a look at area players who will continue their careers at the Division II and III level.

Alliance- WR/DB D. J. Hancock (Malone)

St. Thomas Aquinas-- OL Jimmy Burchett (NotreDame College), WR Aaron Hoffman (Walsh)

Central Catholic- WR/DB Jaret Cummins (Walsh, QB Jack Murphy (Hilsdale)

Dover- WR/DB DeAndre Clark (Ohio Dominican)

Hoover- LB Dillon Smith(Walsh)

Glenoak- LB Jake Steiner (Malone), DL Matt Udowski (Denison), DL Jake Scott (Muskingum), OL Mike Mathie (Malone

Lake- DB Adam Loeonti (Findlay)

Louisville- OL?DL Chase Lautzenheiser Ashland)

Manchester- OL Austin Todd (West Liberty)

Massillon- WR Austin Jasinski (Ashland), DE Izak Farrington (Notre Dame College), DT Jesse King (Ashland), DL Edwin Glick (Hocking College), OL Nathan McGlaughlin (Walsh)

McKinley- DL Joe Corner and DB Re'Merle Burrows (Walsh)

Salem- Cooper Bezeredi (Findlay)



10-Feb-2017 10-Feb-2017

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The Jackson High School boys basketball team is looking to claim the second Division I State Championship in program history this weekend in Columbus. The Polar Bears (26-2) face Lakewood St. Edward (23-5) Friday night at 8:30 inside Ohio State's Jerome Schottenstein Center. Undefeated and top ranked Cincinnati Moeller (27-0) tangles with Central Ohio juggernaut Pickerington Central (26-2) in the other half of the Division I Final Four at 5:15. The two winners square off in the title game Saturday at 8:30.


The Lake High School boys basketball team dropped a 29-22 decision to Garfield Height's in Wednesday night's Division I regional semifinal at Cleveland State University. Don't adjust your eyes-- 29-22 really WAS the final score.


Perry product Casey Sparkman, now a sophomore at Kent State University, is one of two wrestlers who will represent the Golden Flashes at the NCAA Championships. The event will be held at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Coach Jim Andrassy's squad has had at least one All American for eight consecutive years, which is the 10th longest active streak in the nation. Sparkman, who finished third at 157 pounds in the Mid American Conference, received one of seven at large bids in the 33 man NCAA Championship bracket for his weight class.


The state wrestling tournament will be held Thursday through Saturday at Ohio State University's Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus. The top 16 wrestlers in each weight class have qualified for state competition, and area athletes and coaches are well represented in all three divisions. Below is a look area wrestlers who are headed to the state capital with a chance to bring home the hardware, and each athlete's 2017 record is in parenthesis. Scheduling information for the tournament is also posted below along with ticket information.