Recruits' Families Have Buckeye Bond

Joshua Perry, Warren Ball and their families have more in common than the fact the two Ohio State signees will be playing in the Horseshoe over the coming years. The two families have a lot in common, as evidenced by the support they had for each other on National Signing Day.

When Warren Ball put pen to paper to sign with Ohio State on National Signing Day, he did it in front of a packed gymnasium at Columbus DeSales High School.

Most of those in attendance were DeSales students and teachers, but there was also one special guest – Jim Perry, the father of fellow Ohio State signee Joshua Perry.

That was no accident, as the Perry and Ball families have become close since the two sons committed to Ohio State more than a year before Wednesday's official ceremonies.

"Warren is a great kid who works real hard," Jim Perry said. "He and Joshua, being future teammates really, hit it off and have the same goals and ideas in terms of what they want to accomplish with the Buckeyes, so I'm very excited. I'm very happy for Warren and I'm glad to be here today."

Warren Ball Sr. said the situation helped outline just how special the bond is among those families sending children to be part of the Ohio State football program, which was highlighted in 2002 when some parents created the Football Parents Association at Ohio State that is still going strong.

"That also helps you feel good about where you're going and lets you know it's the right place," Ball Sr. said. "He has that support system not just from Ohio State but other families that will be there as well. I may talk to (Perry) the most, but we have a good relationship with all the other families that we've had the opportunity to meet."

It's no surprise the Perrys and Balls have hit it off so well. Both families hail from central Ohio, and the two sons are similar. Perry carried a 3.8 GPA and mentored an autistic classmate at Olentangy High School in Lewis Center before enrolling at OSU in January, while Ball has often been described as a humble hard worker who gets it done both on and off the field.

In addition, the two have had the longest time to become friends as well. Perry was the first member of the class, committing in June 2010 before even receiving a written offer prior to his junior season, while Ball gave his pledge on Sept. 1, 2010, to become the second commit.

"They were the first," Warren Sr. said. "I think Warren and Josh are really similar in terms of the way they carry themselves, their approach to the game. Honestly, it's also because they were the first two commits. They camped together. They competed against each other at the camp. Warren remembers it and will still talk about it. They remember going back to that point. It's just stayed from there."

With that much time to become friends, it was only natural for the two families to become close, it seems.

"We've managed to see each other over the course of games, especially on Saturday afternoons, but we've developed a bond and it's unique," Jim Perry said. "You learn different personalities, some more forthcoming than others, but we do have something in common and it's our sons and this university. It does make for a great friendship. We're trying to be good leaders. We're trying to exhibit to our kids that what we would expect them to do and how we would expect them to behave as adults and parents."

Perry's visit to DeSales for the signing ceremony was far from the only interaction between the two families. The Ball clan made the trip to see Olentangy's game this year against Dublin Jerome, while the two families also got together to go to the Ohio State-Duke basketball game in November.

"We have a great relationship, and to see the two families vibe together is a great thing," the younger Ball said. "It means a lot (he came to the signing ceremony), showing the support for a fellow Buckeye. I was very appreciative that he was there. Josh and I are really close. Having that relationship with someone you can talk to who's a friend, it's a great thing to have."

Jim Perry figures that relationship will continue on for at least the next four years and likely beyond.

"It's like a big family," Perry said. "I think understanding realistically that those young men will be teammates for the next four or five years and then they'll be friends for life, that's kind of the mentality we have with the Ball family, a great family too. We've basically developed a new friendship that we expect to be a lifetime friendship and a lifetime bond."

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