Relationships Lead Cornell to Buckeyes

Ohio State added one of the nation's top defensive ends, St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall's Jashon Cornell to their 2015 class. He spoke to Scout about his decision and explained what made the Buckeyes stand out from his bevy of offers.

School from around the country recruited, offered, and pressed Jashon Cornell for his commitment. He had his choice of nearly any school in the country. He visited schools far and wide with his mother.

Through all the tours, facilities, nice weight rooms, big stadiums and everything that he saw on those visits, it ultimately came down to people, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive end says, and that's why he chose Ohio State, announcing his intentions to play for the Buckeyes this morning.

"My auntie lives 30 minutes from Ohio State. It was a big thing for me support system down there to see my family and talk to somebody and be able to get away and just travel 20 to 30 minutes away to spend time and I've built a great relationship with Larry Johnson over the years since he was with Penn State."

Johnson recruited Cornell when he was with the Nittany Lions, a school which also made his final list of choices along with Michigan State, who at one point, was declared his leader. Once he was able to visit Columbus again last month, however, the Buckeyes shot back up to the top. Johnson, head coach Urban Meyer, and the academics all played a role in that.

"We built a great relationship there and when he came to Ohio State, he kept the relationship with me and kept building it. Urban Meyer is a coach I can't go wrong with. Both of those two guys have great resumes and even if I don't make it to NFL, academically, what they can offer me as far as jobs and opportunities after I graduate, I can fall back on that."

Cornell announced at the same time as fellow top recruit Justin Hilliard. The two have been recruited by nearly all of the same schools, been on a lot of the same visits, and now will look to wreak havoc on the same opposing offenses.

"The relationship is one we've built over the years. Sophomore year we met each other at Iowa and had the idea of playing with each other wherever we go. We can be like a Ray Lewis-Terrell Suggs combo, him at linebacker and me on the line."

The opportunity to be recruited by the nation's college football powers may seem like a glitz and glam, but Cornell has been heavily recruited since his sophomore year, so it has been a long road filled with a lot of stress and long hours on the road.

Cornell is grateful to have been presented with the opportunity, but he is also excited to be able to get back to being a high school kid.

"Good luck to the people behind me," he said. "It's a long process. Long and crazy and fun, but it has ups and downs. When you hang out with friends, you always have to talk to people and talk to coaches, go out of town, go to camps, it's not easy."

Cornell has 27 sacks the last two seasons and is ranked as Scout's number one player in Minnesota and number 77 overall player in the country. He and Hilliard will attend The Opening in Oregon next week.

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