Though no team has put the pads on and played, there is already an early list of the best high school football programs for 2022.
Three of Ohio's five are right here in Cincinnati.
MaxPreps, a partner of the Ohio High School Athletic Association recently put out their Preseason Top 100, which was dominated by recruiting hotbeds in California, Florida, Georgia and Texas.
Florida and Texas placed 16 teams in the grouping, while California had 13 and Georgia 11. The state of Ohio was after the front four placing five schools on the list with Arizona next at four. Among neighboring states, Indiana had two and Kentucky and Pennsylvania one each.
No. 65 Moeller
Coach Mark Elder's Crusaders improved from 3-6 in 2020 to 11-4 last season and a trip to the Division I state semifinals. They lost by one to Springfield, which is No. 49 on the Preseason Top 100, but defeated 2021 DI champion Lakewood St. Edward during the regular season in overtime. That was the only loss for St. Edward, which is ranked the highest of the Ohio schools at No. 24.
Rising junior Jordan Marshall is a top recruit for the Crusaders, currently ranked the fourth-best Ohio player of the Class of 2024. At 5-foot-11-inches and 180 pounds, Marshall has offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Pitt, Purdue, Rutgers, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
He ran for 1,155 yards as a sophomore with a season-high 154 in the semifinal loss to Springfield.
Super swift receiver Tennel Bryant (71 catches, 896 yards, 15 touchdowns in 2021), linebacker Joe Ginnetti, offensive lineman Thomas Biel, defensive lineman Peyton Wilp and safeties Matt Seliga and Isaiah Summerlin have assorted Division I offers.
Among Moeller's rising juniors, cornerback Karson Hobbs has offers that include Kentucky, Marshall, South Carolina and West Virginia. Iowa and Kentucky have offered receiver Jewett Hayes.
"We've got a number of guys who are really good," Elder said. "Who the next guy is, I don't know. That's for those (recruiting) guys to figure out."
Moeller begins the season at Massillon Washington Aug. 19.
No. 81 Lakota West
Greater Miami Conference champion Lakota West lost their opener last year to St. Xavier, then won 11 straight including a regional semifinal rematch with the Bombers. Their season ended at 11-2 when Moeller knocked them off in the regional final the following week.
Coach Tom Bolden is 26-7 with back-to-back GMC titles since taking the Firebirds job. For a second straight season, he has a top-five recruit in safety Malik Hartford who is committed to Ohio State just as Jyaire Brown and Tegra Tshabola were a year ago.
Hartford is part of a secondary full of Division I talent as Joshua Fussell has committed to Northwestern and rising senior Ben Minich has offers from Cincinnati, Duke, Wake Forest, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky and Wisconsin among others. Rising juniors Taebron Bennie-Powell and Bukari Miles are also being pursued by Division I schools.
Offensively, four-year starting quarterback Mitch Bolden and receiver Trent Lloyd are among the Firebirds being checked out by Division I institutions.
"I understand the necessity of Twitter but I'm not big on taking pictures of our guys in the weight room or videos and all that stuff," Bolden said. "I always tell the kids the lion doesn't have to remind people he's a lion. We lost three All-Americans last year. We've got one coming back. We have some future ones in the fold. I'm kind of excited about the future."
Lakota West will host St. Xavier in their opener Aug. 19.
No. 92 Winton Woods
The Warriors are Ohio's only Division II selection but certainly earned their stripes by winning the 2021 Division II state championship last December against Akron Hoban.
Coach Chad Murphy's men finished 13-3, going on a 12-1 run after starting the season 1-2. Winton Woods, like Lakota West, also has a star-studded secondary led by Ohio State commit Jermaine Mathews Jr and Cincinnati commit Cameron Calhoun.
"You ain't throwing the ball on us," Mathews said.
Lorenzo Hudson has substantial college interest and the Warriors are high on rising sophomore Donmeil Rogers. The brother of Ohio State running back Miyan Williams, Qierstin, is also waiting to bruise ball carriers.
Winton Woods has replaced last year's top rusher TyRek Spikes with Mount Healthy transfer Trey Cornist, who is committed to Georgia Tech. K.C. Spears is also back with an array of moves that warrant his Division I offers. Plowing the holes is rising sophomore Raphael Greene at 6 feet, 6 inches and 340 pounds. That frame has garnered offers from Kentucky and Miami University.
"Football season's never over," Murphy said of the interest in Winton Woods football. "This past offseason has been 100 miles an hour. Every year is faster than the one before; every season is faster than the one before."
Winton Woods opens at home versus Trotwood-Madison Aug. 19.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Which 3 Cincinnati prep football teams are listed among U.S. top 100?