The Massillon football team is set to have more of an Akron flavor in 2020 with four Buchtel High School standouts transferring to Washington High School for their senior years.
Martavien Johnson, Mike Miller, Jumacius Portis and Kyree Young have decided to leave Buchtel and transfer to Massillon.
“I think it was a good opportunity for me to further myself as a player and student in their program,” Portis said via a Twitter message of his decision to transfer to Massillon.
Massillon finished each of the past two seasons with a 14-1 record and as the Division II state runner-up. Archbishop Hoban topped Massillon in the 2018 state final and Cincinnati La Salle beat Massillon in the 2019 state final.
“They are good kids, and sometimes you look for something in other places,” Buchtel coach Ricky Powers said of Johnson, Miller, Portis and Young.
″… We will continue to do the things that we do at Buchtel for our young men. We are not changing that. Some guys might think it is bigger and better somewhere else and they have to go find that out for themselves. I think that is the case with this situation.”
Additionally, Powers said that rising senior running back Robert Young-Jones is transferring to Canton McKinley and junior offensive lineman Keisean Johnson-Wilson has transferred to Streetsboro. Young-Jones suffered a knee injury in 2019 after rushing for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns on 114 carries in 2018. Johnson-Wilson graded out at 80 percent blocking efficiency as a sophomore in 2019 with 15 pancake blocks.
“Keisean moved to Streetsboro,” Powers said. “His family built a house out there, so he had to go. He was a two-year starter for us. That kid keeps in touch with me every week.”
Martavien Johnson is a defensive back, wide receiver, kick returner and punt returner who attended Buchtel as a junior and sophomore after spending his freshman year at Hoban.
Johnson had 1,217 all-purpose yards, scored nine touchdowns, had 36 tackles and made four interceptions in a game against McKinley in 2019. He had 914 all-purpose yards and scored four touchdowns to help the Griffins win the City Series title and advance to the Division IV playoffs in 2018.
Johnson’s list of colleges offering a scholarship include Kentucky, Maryland, Louisville, Air Force, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Harvard, Kent State, Liberty and Miami (Ohio).
Portis, a linebacker and fullback, was at Buchtel as a junior after attending St. Vincent-St. Mary as a sophomore and freshman. Portis, who had 75 tackles and four sacks in 2019, has scholarship offers from Akron, Kent, Central Michigan, Indiana State and Liberty.
Kyree Young, a running back, played four games for Buchtel as a junior after playing at Barberton as a sophomore and St. V-M as a freshman. His list of colleges offering a scholarship includes LSU, Alabama, Michigan State, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Georgia, West Virginia, Akron, Kent State, Boston College, Iowa State, Nebraska, Purdue, Texas A&M and Toledo.
Young ran 177 times for 1,829 yards and 24 TDs and had one receiving touchdown to help Barberton compile a 10-0 regular season, win the Suburban League American Conference title and reach the Division II playoffs in 2018.
Miller, a defensive end, attended Buchtel as a junior after going to Hoban as a freshman and sophomore.
Johnson and Miller both played at Hoban during the Knights’ run of state championships, which spanned from 2015-2018.
“We will be fairly new in 2020,” Powers said. “We have Dylan West coming back. He will be a four-year starter as our kicker, and he will also play quarterback. We have senior Daemond Gibbons, who played very well for us last year at wide receiver and defensive back. He was on the other side of Martavien. We have some up-and-coming guys like senior defensive back and wide receiver Zion Paynther, who will do a good job for us this year. Junior outside linebacker and running back Nino Jennings is getting some schools interested in him. Senior Michael Swoope is another kid that is a good athlete who plays defensive back and quarterback.
“We have a lot of guys that are going to be able to improve themselves and show that they can play. We will not miss a beat. We will be fine. I know everybody looks at the guys that are leaving and they have all of these scholarship offers, and they are great players, but we will be all right.”