Ben Gedeon started to get a reputation as a standout football player around the Hudson community in youth football.
The reputation expanded in middle school and grew even larger in high school.
“I think the first time I saw him play was his seventh-grade year,” Hudson coach Ron Wright said earlier this week.
“I had his older brothers [Alex and Sam] and they were all telling me about this kid, their brother. When he was on the Hudson Hawks and on the middle school team, he was talked about as this guy that was unbelievable.
“Alex said to me, ‘wait till you see my little brother’ and Sam said the same things. He has had this aura and thing around him.”
Ben continued to grow, and get stronger and faster, en route to a four-year run as a starter for the Explorers. His contributions at inside linebacker and running back helped Hudson win the past three Northeast Ohio Conference River Division titles and make Division I state playoff appearances in each of the past two seasons.
His play on the field also earned him the title of 2012 Akron Beacon Journal Football Player of the Year. The Akron Beacon Journal high school sports staff selected Gedeon and the 25-man all-star football team.
Gedeon, 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, has a scholarship to play football waiting for him at the University of Michigan.
“I would think he has lived up to the hype and pushed it even further,” Wright said. “Obviously, he is going to the University of Michigan. He is not chopped liver. He is going to a Big Ten school on a full scholarship. He is really good. He is smart, plays hard and is a good person.”
Wright was an assistant under Tom Narducci when Alex and Sam played at Hudson, and during Ben’s first two years. He served as head coach during the past two years.
“Out amongst his peers he is Ben Gedeon, a good person, a guy you can trust, a guy with a good sense of humor and a guy you want to hang around,” Wright said. “He has all the qualities that you want a person to have.”
Ben, 18, credits his parents, Mike and Pam, for instilling a solid work ethic in him and his siblings, Alex (22), Sam (21) and Gabrielle (14).
Alex graduated from Harvard University in 2012 after playing football. Sam is a junior at the Naval Academy, and currently plays rugby after playing football. Gabrielle is a Hudson freshman who dances, competes in track and is also interested in fashion.
Ben said he started playing football in third grade. He also played baseball and basketball as a youth, and is set to play his fourth year on the Hudson varsity basketball team this winter.
Hudson went 8-2 and 4-6 during Gedeon’s first two seasons. He led the Explorers to records of 10-2 and 9-3 as a junior and senior.
“It was a great ride from where we came from,” Gedeon said. “A lot of people were doubting us after my sophomore year. We went 4-6 that year, but we won our conference. Maybe we were not the biggest team or the fastest team, but we always played together and found a way to win. My junior and senior year we made the second round of the playoffs and I think that is only the third and fourth time that has happened in the program’s history. To be able to play with my best friends from childhood was pretty special.”
Wright said Gedeon caught many people’s attention as a freshman with a one-handed catch from his tight end position on the varsity level.
It became clear during the next three seasons he would make his biggest impact as a linebacker and running back, leading Hudson to playoff wins over Findlay and GlenOak.
“Playing in the four playoffs games my junior and senior year, and leaving the program like we did as seniors are my fondest memories,” Gedeon said. “From where we started as freshmen to now, I feel like we left the program in great shape. The younger guys got a taste at winning and I think it is something they will strive for each year.”
Michigan coach Brady Hoke and his staff recruited Gedeon to play linebacker in college.
“I like hitting people and flying to the ball, but playing running back was definitely fun and I will miss it,” Gedeon said.
Gedeon said he had “14 or 15” scholarship offers from Bowl Championship Series schools, including Stanford, Ohio State, Penn State, Boston College, Virginia, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Tennessee.
“It was always my dream growing up to play college football at that level,” Gedeon said. “To have that come true is something I am looking forward to.”
Gedeon has a 4.2 grade-point average and scored a 27 on his ACT. He plans to major in business.
“The combination of academics, the relationship with the coaches and the tradition they have there set them apart,” Gedeon said of Michigan. “I am just thankful for Hudson, the coaching staff and all the players around me. They made a lot of this possible for me. I am excited and happy for Hudson, my coaches and my teammates.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.