High School Football

Althoff High running back commits to Miami Redhawks

Althoff’s Jaylon Bester, who ran for a team-leading 1,246 yards and 21 TDs last season, has committed to Miami (Ohio)
Althoff’s Jaylon Bester, who ran for a team-leading 1,246 yards and 21 TDs last season, has committed to Miami (Ohio) dholtmann@bnd.com

Before he takes his first handoff of the 2017 high school football season, Althoff High senior running back Jaylon Bester has already given a verbal commitment to the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks.

“I liked the school in general and I love the coaching staff,” said Bester, who made the commitment Monday on his Twitter account. “They want me as a scatback; they want to get me in the open field quickly with quick passes and handoffs in the backfield.”

Bester has breakaway speed and moves and led Althoff in rushing last season with 1,246 yards, averaging 9.6 yards per carry. He also scored a team-leading 21 touchdowns for the Crusaders (13-1), who won their first 13 games before losing to Chicago Phillips in the Class 4A state championship game.

“It’s a big relief,” said Bester, who also racked up 270 yards on only six kick returns last season. “It’s a lot of pressure to make that college decision, but I feel like this was the best decision for myself both football-wise and academic-wise. Why would you wait if you feel like that’s the perfect spot for you?”

Bester (5-foot-8, 156 pounds) also had offers from Southeast Missouri State, Jackson State and Florida A&M.

“As good a football player as Jaylon is, he’s a better kid,” Althoff coach Ken Turner said. “He’s good with his books, he’s good on the field and he’s great with people.”

Turner feels Bester will be a good fit for Miami’s offense.

“They can feature him as a speed back and catching passes out of the backfield,” Turner said. “He’s got great hands, great speed and a great burst — and some of the best quickness I’ve ever had as a coach. I think he should have had a bigger offers, but they look at that size and he’s not getting some of the offers he should have.

“With his quickness and his ability to get in and out of holes, he’s great. He had a great year in track and he actually looks faster than he did last summer.”

Bester, a 5-foot-8, 156-pound senior, has been timed at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He visited Miami during the Redhawks’ Junior Day and also made a second visit to the school earlier this year.

As a sophomore, Bester ran for 543 yards and seven TDs on 78 carries.

“I felt like I had a great junior season, but I feel like I can have a better season this year,” Bester said.

While he is widely expected to pursue a basketball scholarship, where he has offers from numerous major Division I programs, Althoff senior tight end Jordan Goodwin also has football scholarship offers from Iowa, Iowa State, New Mexico and Jackson State.

Althoff senior wide receiver/defensive back C.J Coldon has a growing list of football scholarship offers that already includes Illinois State, Eastern Illinois, New Mexico, Miami (Ohio), Northern Iowa, Bowling Green, North Dakota State and Western Illinois.

Althoff senior defensive lineman Christian Wills has an offer from Western Illinois and Althoff senior cornerback/receiver Edwyn Brown has offers from Tennessee-Martin, Southeast Missouri and Eastern Illinois.

Althoff defensive lineman Devyn Nash has an offer from Lincoln University and Althoff all-state linebacker Bryson Strong has Division I interest from several schools.

Norm Sanders: 618-239-2454, @NormSanders