Pickerington (Ohio) Central is one of the best football programs in Ohio State and over the years the Tigers have produced dozens of Division I prospects. Parker Harder appears to be the next man for the Tigers in the 2025 class as he recently received his first offer from Cincinnati.

“It was amazing. It was hard for me not to lose him. Like immediately after talking to him and I just had to celebrate with my family for about a good hour,” Harden said.

The fact that his first offer came from the Bearcats made him even more special considering two of his former high school teammates, Tyler Gillison and CJ Dogette, signed with Cincinnati in the class of 2022.

“Oh, that means a lot because Gilly and CJ reached out to me after the game congratulating me and they were saying you should come join us here. So it was a great place,” Harden said. good thing to be like, okay, they really want me to be here with all these guys that I’ve been looking to play football with who have always been older than me.”

The 6-foot-5, 295-pound Harden has yet to start at the college level for Pickerington Central, but the Cincinnati coaching staff loved his movie and what they saw of him at camp last summer, which ultimately led to the Bearcats offering him.

“They said they liked my movie. They said they liked me as a person. And they liked when I came to camp and how I talked to the coach at that time- there,” Harden said.

Also, now that Harden has his first deal under his belt, more Power 5 programs have started following him on social media and inviting him to games.

“Yeah, other Power Five schools started following me on Twitter and I got invitations for more visits right after,” Harden said. “So it seems like a huge step in the recruiting process for me.”

Harden has already made a handful of game day visits this fall and, for the most part, the message from coaches and college staff has been the same with each visit.

“I’ve been to Pitt, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Miami University, Notre Dame, West Virginia and Ohio University,” Harden said. “They said they like what I can do with my feet and the quality of my hand placement. The main criticism they had for me was to stay in the weight room and keep getting stronger.

In addition to what he does on the grill, Harden is also an outstanding baseball player on the field and plays travel ball for Canes Baseball in the summer.