Sometimes when Ohio State goes out of state to recruit a talented player, that player will have some previous connection with Ohio State. Perhaps they have family that attended OSU, or they grew up as a fan, or moved away from Ohio when they were younger.
For freshman cornerback Sevyn Banks, however, there was no previous connection, only an opportunity to experience something new and different.
“It’s a whole new branch for me,” he said. “You’ve got to get out and explore and you’ve got to get out and do things.”
When Banks was participating at The Opening last summer, he received a quick lesson on just how many other Ohio State branches are out there. Ohio State receiver Terry McLaurin was one of the coaches at the event last summer, and he let Banks know what to expect when he finally arrived in Columbus.
“Terry was the first person to reach out to me,” Banks said. “At The Opening he was one of our coaches and he was really helping out. And at the time I didn’t even know he went to Ohio State, but when he told me that, he was giving me some idea of what is going to be expected of me.”
It was clear pretty early on in Max Wray’s high school career that he was going to be a college football player. Now that he is enrolled as an Ohio State freshman, the first part of his plan for success has been met.
“I knew as soon as I was starting to get recruited I was going to do it,” Wray said of enrolling early.
Now that he is at Ohio State, there are a number of benefits that he is experiencing, even if none of it is exactly easy.
“It’s good,” he said. “Obviously I had some things to work on and it’s good to come in here and be able to work on it and be ahead of everybody else coming in. It’s going to be good to get a full offseason with the team and get to know everybody and get to know the playbook and everything.”
Great Isn’t Good Enough
Urban Meyer has often said that Ohio State could have its recruiting class completely full in a matter of weeks if they wanted to, but it wouldn’t bring them the quality of player that they are looking for.
When the Buckeyes make scholarship offers to players, they want them to know that this is no small thing.
Freshman cornerback Tyreke Johnson understood that early on, but it has only become more apparent each day since he enrolled last month.
“It’s truly a blessing to be a part of the Buckeye family, period, because we just don’t take anybody,” he said. “You have to have outstanding character, you have to be a phenomenal student and you have to be a great football player. You know, we will only take the elite guys. We don’t take good and we don’t take great. We take elite, so to be a part of the Buckeye family in this recruiting class that is going to go down in history as one of the best classes in history, it’s truly a blessing from God.”
Young Guys Gotta Stick Together
While the early enrollees all stick together a bit in order to simply survive, they also have to rely on the older players who have already gone through everything they are experiencing.
Freshman quarterback Matthew Baldwin is one of five guys at his position this winter, so he has a number of teammates to lean on. They are getting him through, but there is still quite an adjustment for Baldwin now as the young guy.
“Just getting to know them has been great so far. Good group of guys, great group of guys,” he said of his fellow quarterbacks. “I’ve been working with Tate [Martell] in the weight room a little more just because he’s younger so he’ll work with me a little bit right now. But it’s interesting being the youngest guy coming in because I was the oldest guy at my high school the past couple years. It’s interesting. You change where you are at the top and now you’re at the very bottom.”