Buckeyes Secure Commitment from New Albany Athlete Darron Lee
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Buckeyes' 2013 recruiting class grew by one on Tuesday after New Albany's Darron Lee (6-2 205) committed just minutes after finally receiving an Ohio State offer that he has worked the last month for.
"It felt amazing, honestly," Lee told NBC4 in Columbus. "A sense of relief. I took a deep breath afterward. I was really excited. I called Mom immediately and told her I got offered by Ohio State, and she was like, 'Don't lie. Are you serious?' I was like, 'Yeah, dead serious.' She was like, 'Call them and tell them that you're committing', and that's when I committed."
Lee, who participated in two Ohio State camps in June in an effort to earn an offer, is a quarterback and safety for New Albany, but has been told by OSU that they are looking at him as an athlete who will likely end up on the defensive side of the ball.
He worked out at safety during his first Ohio State camp in June, and was arguably the second best safety in attendance, behind five-star Georgia prospect Vonn Bell, who is also interested in the Buckeyes. The second time around, he reportedly worked out as a linebacker primarily and clearly did enough to impress the coaches.
As far as where Lee will eventually end up, that question is still up for debate, though there are some who think his best position will ultimately be linebacker.
"He's a good athlete and I would hope that they're going to make an outside linebacker out of him," said John McCallister, who runs the McCallister Scouting Report. "He's gotten faster. He's a tough kid, no question about that, and he plays really hard."
Taking a prospect who plays quarterback, receiver and safety and projecting them to linebacker can backfire if the player isn't interested in contact. According to McCallister, however, that's not a problem for Lee.
"Yeah, he'll hit ya," he said. "He'll smack ya. He'll come up and hit you. He's fast enough, and he's gotten a lot faster. He'll be a fast outside linebacker."
Lee, who ran a 4.61 as a freshman at a National Underclassman Combine in 2010, ran a 4.68 at a Nike combine this past spring on a slow track. Fellow commit Jayme Thompson ran a 4.77 at the same combine, and then ran a 4.45 this past weekend at the Ohio State camp.
For a tweener like Lee, sometimes a player's final position isn't known until they get into the football program and begin to grow into the player that they will eventually become. Some tweeners don't have the frame to add extra weight, but that won't be an issue for Lee.
"He'll be able to add weight," McCallister said. "He'll get in the strength program and the weight program and he'll be able to do that."
Lee, who is rated a three-star recruit by all three recruiting services, chose the Buckeyes over offers from Arizona State, Boston College, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Purdue and West Virginia.
While he hasn't lived in Ohio his entire life, becoming a Buckeye was certainly a dream for Lee.
"My mom and I had discussed this earlier, and the plan was always to take the offer if it came," he told Scout.com. "There was no reason to wait and think it over. This is my dream come true. My mom and I knew they had limited spots, and getting a scholarship would be tough."
According to Lee, he might not have gotten the Ohio State offer if not for Luke Fickell going to bat for him.
"A big shout out to Coach Fickell from me," he told Scout.com. "He really went to the wall for me to get offered, and he told me he was going to fight for me to be a Buckeye. He means a lot to me, and the same for Coach Withers and Coach Coombs, because they were on my side as well. Obviously, I would run through a wall for this coaching staff for giving me this opportunity."
After reflecting on his camp performances and single-mindedness in attaining an offer from Ohio State, Lee had a piece of advice for those in his same position.
"Hard work pays off," he told NBC4. "Go in there and bust your butt and do whatever you can to get noticed, and it really pays off."
Lee is commitment number thirteen in a class that could reach twenty for Ohio State.
1. Cameron Burrows (6-1 195), DB Trotwood, Ohio
2. Jalin Marshall (6-0 190), ATH Middletown, Ohio
3. Billy Price (6-4 280), DT Youngstown, Ohio
4. Eli Woodard (6-1 185) CB Voorhees, New Jersey
5. Evan Lisle (6-6 265) OT Centerville, Ohio
6. Ezekiel Elliott (6-0 200) RB St. Louis, Missouri
7. Jayme Thompson (6-2 184) DB Toledo, Ohio
8. Marcus Baugh (6-4 229) TE Riverside, California
9. Tracy Sprinkle (6-4 270) DL Elyria, Ohio
10. J.T. Barrett (6-1 209) QB Wichita Falls, Texas
11. Joey Bosa (6-5 260) DE Fort Lauderdale, Florida
13. Darron Lee (6-2 205) ATH New Albany, Ohio
12. Johnny Townsend (6-2 200) P Orlando, Florida
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