HUBER HEIGHTS — Four members of the Wayne football team were named to the AP Division I All-Ohio teams with defensive back Tobias Gilliam earning first team honors while Ben Jackson, Daryl McCleskey and Alex Reigelsperger earned Special Mention recognition in a season in which Wayne finished as Division I state runner-up with a 14-1 record.
Wayne Coach Jay Minton these four were part of a “great team.”
“You always feel as a coach when you have a season like we’ve had this year, you’d hope a lot more of them would be recognized because I think there’s a lot more on our team that are worthy of mention,” said Minton. “However, when you look across the great state of Ohio, there’s a lot of great players in the state of Ohio, so four of them to get mentioned in an all-state recognition is pretty special. It shows what kind of a team we had this year, what kind of players we had and where the program is going. And the greatest thing about all four of those is they are all great students.”
Gilliam said it felt good to be named to the first team all-state, but admitted “I just wanted to win state.”
“It wasn’t just me, my defense helped me out a lot,” said Gilliam. “We have a good front seven, so they made it easy on me to get to passes and to guard my man…, so I thank my front seven. They really helped me out a lot.”
When told about his teammates who received Special Mention, Gilliam said they should have been first team selections, also.
“I just feel like it was a blessing to be an honorable mention all-state as a sophomore,” said Reigelsperger, a defensive lineman. “It helped with all the work was Coach Minton and…my teammates —I couldn’t be anyone without my family and my teammates around me. We all built a bond over the year and they helped me get where I am.”
“It’s just an honor to be named special mention all-state; I mean I couldn’t have done it without Alex and my teammates and Tobias pushing me through all the hard times and adverse times and have the best coaching staff in Ohio and it’s an honor,” said Jackson, a junior offensive lineman.
“Being named all-state, it was really an honor and it’s a blessing because there’s a lot of talent in Division I and there’s a lot of athletes,” said McCleskey, a running back. “Being named as one of the top was really a blessing.”
Gilliam will be attending college at the University of Kentucky. Minton said McCleskey is getting “a lot of looks from Division I now, late looks, because of his play in the stretch.” He indicated that Jackson and Reigelsperger return next season and said both are “destined” to be Division I players.
Reach Greg Smart at 937-684-8088 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.com.