First let me make something clear. I've lived in the Miami Valley (Dayton, Ohio) for most of my life. During this time I've had the chance to watch the teams and players in the GWOC (Greater Western Ohio Conference) or better known as the old WOL (Western Ohio League) since the mid-nineties in detail.
While I try to have an open mind, I often find myself defending players from Southwest Ohio as they compare to those from other parts of the state or across the country. Over the years I've had the chance to watch many of the area's top prospects as players like A.J. Hawk and Marcus Freeman along with many others headed off to college stardom.
Zach Domicone is another player I've seen in game action as well as at several camps and combines over the past couple of years from the area. With this said I'm still surprised by what happened this past weekend and wanted to get the behind the scenes story as how one players recruiting took such a turn in such a short time.
As of last Wednesday, Zach Domicone according to his high school coach Scott Clodfelter was all set to end his football recruitment and issue his verbal commitment.
"As of last week, Zach was all set to head off to Nebraska and play", said Clodfelter. "Then we got a call from Coach Stoops at Oklahoma and he wanted to know if Zach would have interest in Oklahoma as they wanted to offer him a scholarship and have him out for an official visit. It was then that we called Ohio State and let them know what was going on."
With that one phone call the wheels were set in motion that not only changed the path Zach Domicone was headed down, but also the direction of the Ohio State class for 2008 as the Buckeyes didn't sit silent for very long.
"On Friday Coach Peterson called me asking for Zach not to make his trip to Oklahoma. He wanted to know if Zach would visit Ohio State instead of Oklahoma. I was honest with him that the only way Zach was going to back out of his Oklahoma visit was if Ohio State would offer. Coach Peterson told me they'd be back in touch shortly."
Just as Ohio State had done in getting back in touch about Zach making a visit, Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel was next to get in on the action.
"At 3:30 we received a call from Coach Tressel and he made an official offer to Zach on the spot. Zach then said he'd cancel is Oklahoma visit and be in Columbus for his official visit."
Even a few days later both player and coach are still in a state of surprise with the turn of events.
"It's the strangest thing I've ever been part of since becoming a high school coach. We've had college coaches coming in here about Zach since he was a sophomore. But to go from several very nice programs looking at him to programs like Nebraska, Oklahoma and then Ohio State to come in this late was a real surprise. I'm so happy for Zach because Ohio State is his dream school."
During his talks with Ohio State did the Buckeyes talk about what made them react and offer his star athlete so late in the process?
"Ohio State really likes Zach's upside. He's got great physical size with legit speed. If we could have just played him as a safety during his high school career instead of quarterback they feel he'd be a major recruit."
What does Coach Clodfelter feel are Zach's strengths and weaknesses?
"Zach has such a great upside as he's got a great football IQ. He understands angles to the ball, being in the right place and making the right decisions on the field. He's Big, Fast and Strong and it's going to be hard for anyone to outwork him on or off the field. He'll need to work on learning how to play safety since he's not really played it in high school. I'm sure he'll pick it up fast but he'll need to learn more on reading and reacting to the ball. While he's got explosiveness once he's gets it going, he'll need to work on having it in a short area. I feel before he's finished his career at Ohio State he'll find his way to the field."
There you have it, the behind the scenes story about one of the strangest recruiting stories in recent memory.