Huskers trying luck in Buckeye state

The state of Ohio certainly puts out its share of superstar prep athletes. This last recruiting season the Buckeye state produced some 150 Division 1-A football players alone. Another that will be included in next year's list is linebacker Brandon Beachum. The offers keep pouring in, and Nebraska is trying its hand to see if it can pull one out of this talent-rich state.

The offers keep pouring in for Cardinal Mooney ( Youngstown , OH ) linebacker Brandon Beachum. It's up 12 now, according to Beachum, the most recent from LSU. That offer joins the likes of Colorado , Wisconsin , Pittsburgh , Michigan State and Nebraska , amongst the many others.

But no Ohio State

As with many states like Texas , California and Georgia , the brunt of the most talented kids in those states long and dream for the offer from THE school everyone knows. Beachum said that the luster around Ohio State is obvious, but the priority he has in recruiting goes well and beyond just the name and tradition the program has to offer.

"Ohio State is a great school, but the first thing I do is look at what offers I have and looking at academics first, I figure out the place that suits me best," he said. "The biggest thing for me isn't deciding on a school, because of their record last year. It has to do with how much being there will benefit me in regard to my education.

My education means more to me than anything. So when I look at schools, it's the school part I look at first. The football comes after that."

Beachum already has a qualifying GPA and ACT score, the Cardinal Mooney standout boasting a 3.2 along with a 19, respectively. Not surprising that while Brandon has a reputation for his tenacious and physical play, it's upstairs where he says his game starts. "If someone says "defensive player's mentality" to me, I think someone who is aggressive, but smart," Beachum said. "It's someone that can be the quarterback of the defense, but can also make all the plays. That's how I approach it, and I have learned that it doesn't matter how old you are, you can be the leader of your team."

When you talk to Beachum it doesn't take long to figure out how analytical he is about both the game and his academics. You then get a similar impression as to just how he approaches the game of recruiting. While he takes the teams into account, he looks at variables, factors, tangibles and those not so quantifiable, and then he puts it all together. It's about creating the picture rather than letting one little thing here or there dictate just what you are going to do.

"I look at everything, and obviously the academics come first. But after that there's so much that I am considering," he said. "It's the team, the coaches, the contact, the school itself – what it's like, where it's at and how I fit in. It's everything. It's my future and I don't take that lightly. When I do make my decision I know I will have covered everything that matters to me."

Without the offer from the Buckeyes, many inside and around that state probably feel that if it comes, that's all that it will take. Not wanting to do any injustice to what Beachum feels are his criteria, the luster of Ohio State to a kid from the state of Ohio , most think that's just too much to turn down.

That usually stops many schools from even going into the state to try their luck at beating out Ohio State or Michigan and Notre Dame – two of the very few schools which have any luck pulling kids out there with any real consistency.

Nebraska can't be considered even in that class. The Huskers don't go into the state very much or at least, don't have that much success. But Beachum maintains that even though he doesn't know much about the big red, he's not ruling any school out right now. "All I know about Nebraska is what little I have learned on-line," Brandon said. "I think the last time I had any contact with them was probably over a couple of weeks ago. I'm still looking at every option for me, so nobody is out of it right now. There's nobody I don't consider an option right now."

The list may not be getting narrowed down right now, but it won't be long before Beachum says he'll want to have it down to a realistic list. Not wanting to waste any time getting to the next level in academics, Brandon said that he'll definitely be enrolling early, wherever he decides to go. To that end, this off-season, if you can call it such a thing, will be about visiting, camping and doing whatever to get to know as many schools as he can.

"I'm probably going to take in a couple of junior days and then maybe hit a spring game here or there," he said. "Then I think me and some teammates of mine will hit maybe a combine or two. It's up in the air right now as to exactly what we are going to do, but I want them to be a part of this process too, so they can see what it's like."

Beachum obviously wasn't ready to name any favorites, because he's looking at everyone the same. But he did comment on those that were currently recruiting him the hardest right now. " Colorado has been keeping in pretty regular contact with me, and I actually talked to them today," he said. "And Oklahoma is a little bit as well. Pitt is really recruiting me and you can really tell how much recruiting means to them. I'd say those are the ones right now."

With his off-season still in front of him, Beachum considers this an opportunity to better himself, both physically and mentally too. He's looking to help his team repeat the state-title feat from last year. That's Cardinal Mooney, according to Beachum, and like the school he only expects the results to be the best. "We expect a state title, no more, no less, and every player on this team expects of themselves to play like a team that expects nothing but that," he said. "That's what makes us as good as we are. There's no one leader, and the leaders aren't always the oldest guys.

We push each other to be better than everyone we face. If we are good individually, it's because we as a team push each other to get to that point."

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