It was a long time coming for Ohio State and junior college transfer Kendall Sheffield.
The Buckeyes offered Sheffield way back in November of 2013. At that time he was nearing the tail end of his junior season at Fort Bend Marshall High School in Missouri City, Texas.
A 5-star prep prospect, Sheffield had offers from every major program in the nation, including Ohio State. His first visit to OSU would come nearly a year later, on an official visit to see the Buckeyes host the Cincinnati Bearcats. It was his first of his five official visits.
He would go on to make official visits to USC, Florida State, and Texas A&M. His official visit to Alabama, however, was his final visit, and it came two weeks after he had actually committed to the Crimson Tide.
Sheffield went on to sign with Alabama, but he redshirted as a freshman. It turned out that Nick Saban’s program just wasn’t for him, so he left and transferred to Blinn College in Brenham, Texas.
The departure to a junior college essentially started the recruiting process for Kendall Sheffield all over again, and that was pretty much all OSU cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs needed to hear.
“I felt like we were really close to getting him the first time,” Coombs said this spring. “I was very disappointed that we didn’t. I worked really hard on it and really liked him, really liked his family. He’d been here for a visit, all the things that normally lead to us getting a kid. When he decided to go somewhere else, it was hard for me.
“As soon as I found out that he was becoming available again — I can’t remember exactly how, if it was internet or whatever — I reached out immediately. That was somebody I knew had the right skill set for what we do here. I began the process of recruiting him at Blinn right away really hard, and thankfully he chose to become a Buckeye.”
Coombs makes it sound easier than it was, of course. While Ohio State immediately entered the mix, so did USC again, and Texas A&M, and then came an offer from Texas. He took official visits to USC, A&M, TCU, and Ohio State. On the first day that junior college prospects could sign, he finally — and officially — became a Buckeye.
It took three years, two months, and three days from the time Ohio State offered Sheffield to the time he put his name on OSU scholarship papers.
The relationship that Coombs had built with Sheffield played a huge role in him becoming a Buckeye. But there was also another factor at play.
“I think actually it was an advantage to us the second time around because I think the things that he and I had talked about the first time had come to fruition,” Coombs explained. “I think that’s powerful recruiting when you tell someone something’s going to happen and it does. I’m not talking about with him. I’m talking about with us. It was an accurate portrayal of what happens in the corner room, and I think he was excited to have the opportunity to revisit it.”
Sheffield enrolled in time for spring football, but arrived nearly three months later than the rest of the early enrollees. He hit the ground running, however, which didn’t surprise Coombs in the least based on what Sheffield had to do just to get to Columbus.
“He had to front load all those classes, I don’t think everyone understands,” Coombs said. “He took 24 credit hours in a semester at Blinn Junior College to be able to be here and be able to compete in March and be here for spring ball. His work ethic is outstanding. The thing they said at Blinn, which I found to be exactly true, is he’s the first guy out there and willing to work. That’s what I see. I’m really excited to have him in the room and really excited to have him as a part of our program.”
It may have been a long time coming, but Coombs and the rest of the Ohio State staff believe that it will absolutely be worth the wait.