Upon putting pen to paper to sign national letters of intent four months ago in February, those players made it official that they would be joining the Buckeyes.
Now, the members of the Buckeye class expected to join Ohio State for summer classes and fall practice have arrived in Columbus. With OSU's Summer Quarter beginning Monday, the time to report was Sunday morning at 11:30, according to cornerback Doran Grant.
And, the Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary star said it's a surreal feeling to finally have his OSU career set to begin.
"I noticed that right before I came here – I was like, ‘Wow, I feel like I'm in a movie,' " he said Saturday night after Ohio's dominating win in the Big 33 Classic vs. Pennsylvania. "It really doesn't feel real. I'm really about to leave to go to college like in the movies. But I'm used to it now. It's going to happen. I have to do my thing."
Grant was one of those set to arrive Sunday – and one of six coming from Hershey, Pa., after the win in the all-star game. He was joined in that regard by Devin Smith of Massillon Washington, Antonio Underwood of Shaker Heights, Nick Vannett of Westerville Central, Chase Farris of Elyria and Steve Miller of Canton McKinley.
Those players joined the seven players who enrolled for spring practice, including January arrivals Braxton Miller of Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne, Jeff Heuerman of Naples (Fla.) Barron Collier, Joel Hale of Greenwood (Ind.) Center Grove and Jeremy Cash and Ryan Shazier of Plantation, Fla. Tommy Brown of Akron Firestone and Ron Tanner of Columbus Eastmoor joined in time for Spring Quarter classes.
In all, that means 22 members of OSU's class should have arrived in the Buckeye State's capital. Quarterback Cardale Jones, another member of Ohio's Big 33 winning squad, has delayed his enrollment to take a grayshirt, while Pennsylvania linebacker Ejuan Price said Saturday night that his request to be released from his scholarship has been granted by Ohio State.
Those arriving said they were excited to join up with their classmates – and in some cases family. That was the case for Grant, who was set to join cousin Curtis Grant, the top-ranked player in the class and a native of Richmond, Va., in Columbus.
"He's been calling me all day," Doran said. "We're ready to move in and have some fun."
On the other hand, there was the reaction of Smith, who was set to move two hours southwest from his family in Massillon.
"I'm really looking forward to it, but of course I'm going to miss my mom and my family," he said.
That wasn't going to be a huge problem for a player like Vannett, who grew up just outside the Columbus outerbelt and whose family will remain a short drive away. While he'll have no troubles getting a home-cooked meal or even doing some laundry in a familiar place, he'll still be on his own for the first time – an experience he prepped for at the Big 33 contest.
"I didn't get to see my parents for the whole week and I kind of missed them a lot," he said. "They told me that they won't be coming down, knocking on my door a lot in the dorms. I'll miss them, but it's good at the same time because they're right up the road so I get to visit them whenever I need anything or when I want to see them."
Then there's the small matter of classes beginning, which is sure to be a transition for even the biggest scholars in the group. It also will ensure a busy summer just weeks after the newest enrollees graduated high school.
"The only thing about it is I just graduated from school last week, so I'll be back in school Monday," Underwood said with a laugh. "But besides that, I'm just happy to get my college career started. It doesn't get much better than that."
Those arriving enter the OSU program in a time of turmoil given Jim Tressel's May 30 resignation, but Vannett said that should have a uniting effect as the Buckeyes get ready for the 2011 campaign under interim coach Luke Fickell.
"It's sad news with him leaving, but I think if anything it made us come together as a unit," he said. "We want to do it for each other. I'm confident in Luke Fickell. I think he's the perfect guy for the position and I think we're going to have a great season."