Dublin Linebacker Nick Conner is Lucky Number Seven for 2015
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — On Tuesday, Dublin Scioto linebacker Nick Conner finally got the payoff he had been working so hard for during the offseason, as the Buckeyes offered him a scholarship, which he quickly accepted.
Conner (6-3 225) broke the news via his Instagram account, writing "I just want to say that I have officially committed to play football at The Ohio State University."
The offer came on the heels of a camp performance for the OSU coaches Tuesday afternoon. Following the camp, the offer was extended and accepted. It was seemingly a long, hard-fought road for Conner, who remained patient and diligent in his quest for an Ohio State offer.
Conner is a four-star prospect and the #5 inside linebacker in the nation according to the 247Sports Composite. He was named Second-Team All-State following last season where he recorded 129 tackles and 19 tackles for loss. He committed to Ohio State over a recent offer from Michigan State. He also had offers from Oregon, Virginia Tech, Iowa and Maryland.
Back in February, Ohio high school football scout John McCallister said that Conner was definitely one to watch, but that he still had some work to do.
"He's big, he's tall, but he's still developing. I think he's going to be a really, really good football player, but he's just starting to do the things that he needs to do to be really good training wise."
Those efforts in the offseason were evident a little more than a week ago when Conner replaced Cincinnati St. Xavier linebacker Justin Hilliard at the Rivals 5-Star Challenge camp in Baltimore.
As a last-minute replacement, Conner went on to perform well enough in the 7-on-7 contests to win the overall MVP at the linebacker position. He excelled in pass coverage throughout the camp, which was an area where many had concerns.
He answered those concerns and questions with emphasis, and during Tuesday's camp, he answered any other lingering questions that the Ohio State coaches had as well.
"He's trained really hard this winter and devoted himself to getting bigger and faster," McCallister said Tuesday night.
"He's a really good prospect. He's a middle linebacker. I think that's his position. He's aggressive. He's gotten bigger. He's taller, but he's got to continue getting bigger. I know he trains really hard and works really hard. He passes the eyeball test.
"He's worked on his quickness to the outside. I think he's got to get better at changing directions, but he's a good hard-nosed football player. I think he's going to be okay. He's really come a long way over a short period of time. He's got all of the tools. I know he's really going to be a hard-working football player.
While the Buckeye coaches would have been happy to take two linebackers in the 2015 class, they are probably just as happy that an in-state kid who wanted to be a Buckeye so badly was able to force their hand through his various on-field performances.
Still on the docket for Ohio State at linebacker is Hilliard and Cleveland Benedictine's Jerome Baker. Both are looking good for the Buckeyes, and Hilliard plans to announce his decision by the end of this month.
The trio would be a formidable linebacker haul, and could provide quite the complement to the four linebackers in the 2014 class.
2015 Ohio State Recruiting Class
ATH Eric Glover-Williams (5-11 165) Canton McKinley
CB Jamel Dean (6-1 180) Cocoa (Cocoa, FL)
QB Joey Burrow (6-4 205) Athens (The Plains, OH)
DB Tyler Green (6-3 195) DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD)
OL Grant Schmidt (6-6 275) Roosevelt (Sioux Falls, SD)
LS Liam McCullough (6-3 230) Worthington Kilbourne
LB Nick Conner (6-3 225) Dublin Scioto (Dublin, OH)
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