Cold War: Buckeyes Battling Irish for Another Ohio Lineman
By Michael Chung
What is there not to like about Jimmy Byrne? He stands 6-4 and weighs 275 pound, an Ohio boy who grew up a Buckeye fan, and is the epitome of an Ohio offensive lineman.
With a shortage of offensive line commitments for 2013, Urban Meyer and his staff will need to recruit 4-5 top-flight offensive linemen for 2014 if they want to solve the depth issue that has plagued this team for a number of years.
A sophomore at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Byrne currently holds an offer from the Buckeyes, but has also spent some time in South Bend developing am interest in the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The-Ozone has already documented the ongoing ‘cold war’ in recruiting between Meyer and Brian Kelly, head coach of the Fighting Irish.
Is another Midwest fight brewing?
Notre Dame recently slapped the Big Ten in the face by joining the ACC while retaining their independence in football – something B1G Commissioner Jim Delany would not allow. The Irish also slapped the B1G with a backhand by sending a letter to Michigan AD Dave Brandon informing the Wolverines that Notre Dame would no longer continue their football series after 2014 and opted out of their contract.
Defeating three B1G teams already for the 2012 season, Notre Dame is a big thorn in the B1G’s side. Can OSU slap back and win Byrne back to the Buckeye State? He recently took some time to discuss Notre Dame, Ohio State and when he will commit.
Ozone: Tell me about your Notre Dame visits? Do they lead?
Byrne: I was at Notre Dame in June and they offered. I went to ND-Michigan game, met all the coaches, saw videos, had pre and post-game passes. It was a cool experience. It will come down to Notre Dame and Ohio State, Michigan could be No. 3 but they have not offered, I grew up an Ohio State fan.
Ozone: Do you have a committable offer from OSU or a non-committable offer?
Byrne: I have not spoken to them in particular. I was offered in December, at the camp they said the offer still stood. I think from the talks I have had with coach (Ed) Warinner, it is committable offer but I guess you never really know.
Ozone: You told us your top 3 but who are your top 5 schools?
Byrne: Still early, it is not like another school can’t come out. MSU offered and I want to check them out. Really it is between OSU and Notre Dame as of now. ND is standing out, their offensive line coach is a great teacher, coach Warinner is great too. Right now, ND is slightly ahead.
Ozone: When do you think you will make a decision?
Byrne: Sometime after the season – either winter, spring, or summer, not sure, when it feels right. It is early and it is not unreasonable for another team to jump in there.
Ozone: Do family or friends put pressure on you to commit to OSU?
Byrne: Not so much my family but at school, lots of Ohio State fans. Blake Thomas was at my school last year and is recruiting me. I have not spoken to Blake in a while but we played next to each other on the line and won state.
Ozone: Who did you grow up rooting for or childhood favorite college football team?
Byrne: Growing up it was mainly OSU, I am a big college football fan in general but growing up it was Ohio State. It is not necessarily an advantage though in my recruiting. Coaching and academics are most important.
Ozone: Which coaches do you have the closest relationships with?
Byrne: I am closest to the Notre Dame offensive line coach, second would be Ed Warinner. I have spoken to coach Meyer on the phone a few times and have talked to him at camps, but have not met coach Kelly. All these schools have there own way of recruiting, Meyer likes to talk to recruits, both schools impress me.
Ozone: When will you visit OSU?
Byrne: After the football season. Our school usually plays on Saturdays so I am not able to visit colleges on the weekends. We were off the weekend I went to Notre Dame.
Ozone Quick Hitters with Jimmy Byrne:
College major? Exercise science or computer science.
Way you relax? Video games
Favorite meal? Steak and mashed potatoes
Best subject in school? English
TV Show? White Collar
Movie? Black Hawk Down
Book? Lance Armstrong Biography
Football idol? Coach Kyle, my high school coach.
Former St. Ignatius Buckeyes you are closets too? LeCharles Bentley.
*Thank you Jimmy for giving Buckeye Nation the update on your recruiting. It sounds like there is a long way to go and that you are still considering other options. We wish you all the best as you sift through your college choices.