Tom Grippa was not quite sure about DeVier Posey as he entered his junior season.
A wide receiver with lots of potential but without a vast amount of experience, Posey was the type of player who was going to be a Division I prospect, the head coach at Cincinnati La Salle said. But was he good enough to land a coveted offer from Ohio State?
Grippa said he was not completely sold. It was not until one actually arrived from the Buckeyes that he realized Posey was an OSU-caliber prospect.
The rest, as they say, is history. Now a five-star wide receiver prospect who verbally committed to the Buckeyes in early March, Posey became one of the most sought-after targets in the country.
But the groundwork for the attention the 6-3, 190-pound wideout was to receive was laid during his junior season. With two years left in high school, Posey's progress was somewhat derailed before the season even got underway due to a season-ending injury suffered by the Lancers' starting quarterback one week prior to the first game of the year.
As a result, Posey – and the rest of the team's wide receivers – had to adjust to a new signal-caller. And that took some time, particularly for a wideout as talented as Posey.
"The thing that makes it hard when you're throwing the ball to DeVier is as a quarterback you're used to throwing the football to guys that run 4.8 and now you're throwing to a guy who runs a 4.4," Grippa said. "It just took (the quarterback) a little time. By this season they were pretty good and DeVier had an awesome year and the rest is history."
Despite a slow start, Posey finished his junior season as the top wide receiver in the Greater Catholic League. In 10 games, Posey nabbed 35 catches for 750 yards and seven touchdowns, an average of 21.4 yards per catch.
As the season progressed, Posey's confidence grew. After amassing three catches for 39 yards in a season-opening win against Lakota East, he struggled in a rainy game against Clayton (Ohio) Northmont and did not record a catch.
But he increased his reception totals the following three weeks, highlighted by a five-catches-for-149-yards performance in week four against Louisville Butler. His high point of the season came in week nine, though, when he had seven grabs for 161 yards – both season-high totals – in a road game against Columbus St. Francis DeSales, helping the Lancers snap a four-game losing streak.
Despite the numbers he put up during his junior season, Posey was not officially offered by the Buckeyes until the latter end of February when wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell sent him a text message.
From there, it was about a month until he became the third verbal member of OSU's class of 2008.
"I was always shooting for a Big East or a MAC school," Posey said. "I had some big offers before Ohio State offered, so I think that when Ohio State came in I kind of knew that's where I was going to go because I knew I could play at a great place like that so close to my house."
Posey's recruitment was the exact opposite of former teammate Ben Martin, who was widely regarded as the top prospect in the state of Ohio during Posey's junior season. After listing the Buckeyes as one of his top schools throughout the process, the defensive end eventually chose to head to the University of Tennessee while playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in early January.
This time around, Posey said he was glad he was able to get his decision out of the way and focus on his senior season. That sentiment was shared by Grippa.
"Extremely happy," Grippa said when asked of his reaction. "It made it really easy. You don't have to worry about getting injured, so you can let it all hang out. I think that DeVier did not have a distraction. He wasn't getting the phone calls on Thursday and he could focus on just playing high school football."
That focus was reflected in the body of work put forth by Posey as a senior. Although he was not the leading receiver in the conference, Posey snagged 48 passes for 776 yards and eight touchdowns – all improvements on the totals he put forth as a junior.
"After seeing him as a senior, you see that he can play at the Ohio State level," Grippa said. "He will contribute as a freshman. Maybe it might just be special teams, but he will get to touch the ball as a freshman."
Posey plans to enroll in summer classes at OSU and potentially room with Fort Washington (Md.) Friendly wide receiver Lamaar Thomas.
He has been one member of the recruiting class who has helped to attract other top talent to Columbus. However, where Orlando (Fla.) Edgewater offensive lineman Michael Brewster has been more apt to actively recruit other players, Posey said his role has been different.
"I really don't look at it like that, like, ‘I recruited you to come here,' " he said. "I look at it that I'm really proud of these guys coming here because we're going to be really good friends and I like this kid because he's a really good guy. That's how I look at it.
"I want to see what they are like off the field and see if this is a guy that we can be friends with. I just tried to get with them and let them know that Ohio State is a good football school but we also have good guys here."
Regardless, then, of who rounds out the class of 2008, Posey is confident it will consist of people who will become lifelong friends with him.
"I've made some good friends through this whole process," he said. "I met some really good guys. I think I've made some lifelong relationships. I know some of these guys I'm sure that most of them will be my best friends."