Elyria trio mulling college options

Last fall, the Elyria (Ohio) trio of offensive guard Darius Badford, athlete Jordan Connell and running back Jumarr Lewis could count on one hand schools showing interest.

It’s funny what successful junior seasons have done for the Pioneers' three, as schools have come out of the woodwork.

“I’ve been amazed,” Badford said. “I didn’t know I’d get more coming at me. They all say I’m good and am a prospect for the future. I’m so excited I can’t even explain it.”

He’s excited because his list of suitors has blown up. While the 6-foot-3, 295-pound Badford is waiting for that first offer, he’s got no fewer than 17 schools looking into possibly landing him.

Of the 17, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Toledo are sticking out the most. Why?

That’s easy. It’s all about atmosphere and feeling like he’s part of the team.

“I’m a family person,” Badford said. “Family is No. 1 with me.”

Lewis has an even dozen schools looking at him, but likes what he sees in the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry and the offense West Virginia runs.

“It’s just the unity they have,” said Lewis of the Mountaineers. “They’re like the underdog even though they’re pretty good. They think I can play on both sides of the ball.”

For Connell, it’s a battle between Michigan State, Purdue and Toledo, though the Boilermakers are taking the early lead thanks in part to Darrell Hazell taking over.

“They have a good coaching staff,” Connell said. “The team might not be that good right now, but their coaching staff will have them doing big things.

“I like what their coach did with Kent [State] this year. It’s a good school. The coaching staff is good, the players are good.”

In 10 games last season, Badford was the key to an Elyria team that averaged 208.6 yards passing and 204.2 yards rushing per game.

Connell lead the way with 904 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns on 166 carries. Lewis had 123 carries for 846 yards and nine touchdowns.