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It did not take long for some members of the class of 2016 to make their presence felt on the football field this past fall. What is most impressive about this group of freshman is that they didn’t seem to mind performing under pressure. That bodes well for their leadership skills as they get older and turn towards what lies ahead.
Here is a look at some of 2012’s top performing freshmen throughout the Tri-state area:
Messiah DeWeaver, Trotwood-Madison, QB: The Rams were just waiting for Weaver to be ready when the season began and once head coach, Maurice Douglass inserted him into the lineup the results were worth the wait. The youngster would start T-Mad’s last eight games, throwing for 831 yards with 13 touchdown passes and just four interceptions. His only loss under center was to Toledo Central Catholic in the Division II state championship.
Kyle Fieger, Beechwood, QB: Fieger did not throw a pass until the playoffs. He started all four of the Tigers post-season tilts and handled himself quite nicely by completing 65.2 percent of his passes for 573 yards with 11 touchdown tosses and no interceptions in four games.
Jacob Harrison, Chaminade-Julienne, QB: A prodigy before he ever walked onto the field for the Eagles, Harrison showed signs of why he was so highly touted coming into high school. He earned Second-Team All-GCL North honors after throwing for 832 yards, rushing for 409 more and accounting for 10 touchdowns (six passing & four rushing).
Ean Hornung, Western Brown, WR: Western Brown is very judicious with the football in their spread offense and Horning was able to find his piece of the pie. The Bronco Blazer picked up 129 yards on the ground with a score and averaged 13.0 yards per catch on 39 receptions for 508 yards and two touchdowns on his way to Second-Team All-SBAAC American honors.
Jeremy Larkin, LaSalle, RS: Very rarely do you see a freshman returning kicks and punts at the high school level and in the GCL South it is unheard of. That was until Larkin broke the mold in 2012. The fleet-footed, sure-handed Lancer racked up 532 total return yards with touchdowns on a kickoff and a punt return.
David Montgomery, Mount Healthy, FB: The bruising runner found the end zone six times on 34 carries for 223 yards in his Owls' debut. That was good enough to earn Montgomery Second-Team All-SWOC accolades.
Jacob Smith, NewCath, RB: Smith didn’t emerge until Week 7 when NewCath was sitting at 2-4. The Thoroughbreds went on to win nine in a row on their way to the Class 2A state championship. During that span the rising star would go on to finish second on the team in rushing yards (264) and six touchdowns while playing a major role as a return specialist during the post-season.
Nick Watson, LaSalle, QB: It didn’t take long for Lancers fans to get a look at the program’s future when injuries forced Watson into the opener. He came off the bench firing for 325 yards and a score against Lakota West. Eventually taking a backseat to healthy senior Brad Burkhart, Watson wound up playing in four games as a ninth-grader, throwing for 510 yards with three touchdowns and just one pick.
Others to watch: Clay Guillozet, Greenville, QB; Jake Bonner, Indian Hill, QB/RB; Darryn Jordan, Cincinnati Country Day, RB/LB; Damian Blythe, Clark Montessori, TE/DE; Micah Blythe, Clark Montessori, DL/FB
Greg is a co-founder of TSF and is now entering his ninth season as a Featured Analyst for the website. The Xavier University grad also serves as the Content Manager for the website and is widely considered one of the top high school football experts in the region. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.