Ohio State is down to the last week of its spring practice and the Buckeyes will have some major recruiting opportunities both this Saturday and next Saturday (April 13) when OSU takes its spring game to Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium.
This Saturday, OSU will open its doors to students with a valid ID for Student Appreciation Day. Our columnist, Matt Baxendell, labeled it as Prospect Appreciation Day in this column because a byproduct of the day will have the Buckeyes hosting a ton of great prospects.
Top prospects due in include Akron SVSM LB Dante Booker, Cleveland Glenville WR-DB Marshawn Lattimore, Georgia WR Demarre Kitt, Georgia DT Chris Williams, New Jersey athlete-DB Jabrill Peppers, New Jersey OL Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Pennsylvania OL Alex Bookser, North Carolina WR Trevion Thompson, Indiana WR Lonnie Johnson, Maryland OL-DL Sam Mustipher, Georgia DB Cortez McDowell, North Carolina RB Donte Thomas-Williams and Delaware QB Darius Wade.
Also due in are 2015 Michigan prospects RB Michael Weber and DL Josh Alabi. (Keep in mind, any lists like these are always in a state of flux as conflicts may arise.)
OSU tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Tim Hinton admitted this Saturday will be a big day for OSU’s recruiting efforts.
“It will be a big day,” Hinton said. “We certainly will have a very good group of young men here to see why Ohio State is special. It’s a great opportunity for us to have a student appreciation day. We hope to have 10,000 students running around. We want all the recruits who can to see the campus and the atmosphere that Ohio State can create.”
Next Saturday, Ohio State will play its spring game at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium. This was necessitated because of renovations ongoing at Ohio Stadium. According to Hinton, though, Ohio State will be permitted by NCAA rules to host prospects at the spring game at PBS.
“We are allowed to have kids there because it is a special event, it’s our event,” Hinton said. “We had to talk to the NCAA and made sure we cleared everything. But we will have some recruits there.
“We have some kids who will be there. It probably will not be the same as a normal spring game because of the location. Part of recruiting and the spring game is not only the game, but what we can do with them by getting them into the locker rooms and see the campus. It won’t be quite the same, but, hey, there is a reason we have to go down there and we will make the very best of it.
“It’s another nice venue. We will have an excited fanbase in Cincinnati and let those guys who can make it there feel the impact Ohio State has on a city when it rolls into town. That never hurts.”
Since OSU is not hosting the spring game at the Horseshoe, Hinton said the Buckeyes have hosted prospects at many of their spring practice sessions.
“We have probably done more right now than we have in the past,. Every day we’re out here, there are a lot more guys who are here on visits. It’s a mad rush every day at practice. It will continue from now until July with all kind of kids coming through here on the weekends.”
With Ohio State coming off a stellar recruiting class in 2013 – and still working under NCAA-imposed scholarship restrictions – Hinton talked about OSU’s recruiting philosophy.
“Being at Ohio State, one, we are going to recruit the state of Ohio very thoroughly,” Hinton said. “We have to make sure we get the best players out of the state of Ohio. That’s our obligation to the great state of Ohio. After that, we have an obligation to recruit the best player at that position that we can get.
“That means sometimes we have to leave the state to do that. When you leave the state, there is another major college somewhere and you are now recruiting on somebody else’s front yard. They don’t want you there. That’s where it gets fun and exciting and you have to develop great relationships with the parents, the high school coaches and the mentors who are around.
“When you get outside Ohio, it is a different recruiting battle than in the state of Ohio.”
Stay tuned to Bucknuts.com all weekend as our Bill Kurelic and Alex Gleitman as well as 247Sports.com’s Steve Wiltfong have updates on many of these key prospects.