St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall
No. 19 DE, No. 191 overall
Committed on July 2, 2014
Cornell's Recruitment:Cornell burst onto the scene at Cretin-Derham Hall, which has produced such star athletes as Joe Mauer and Seantrel Henderson, after a 2012 sophomore season in which he made 14 sacks and 26 tackles for loss. That attracted the interest of such schools as Iowa, Notre Dame, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois and others.
Cornell made early visits to the West Coast and checked out the Iowa spring game in 2013, and by summer boasted offers from more than 20 schools. He made a trip to Columbus in June for a Nike Football Training event, then hit up Sound Mind Sound Body in Detroit to firm himself up as a Scout 100 kid going into his junior season.
He had clear Ohio State interest at the time, and he said in January of last year the departure of Mike Vrabel to the NFL wouldn't hurt OSU's cause.
"I really liked Coach Vrabel but him leaving won't hurt Ohio State at all moving ahead to the future," Cornell told Scout. "Coaches come and go and it's still a great school. I'm looking forward to getting on campus for a visit to meet the next one."
It helped that Ohio State hired Larry Johnson, who had been recruiting Cornell at Penn State, as Vrabel's replacement. Things in his recruitment turned serious over the winter as he finished January by cutting his list to 15 schools, including many of the top schools in his Big Ten.
He visited Michigan State for its spring game in April and left proclaiming the Spartans as the No. 1 team on his list, but things seemed to change June 1 when he visited Ohio State for the NFTC camp and bonded with highly rated linebacker Justin Hilliard. He also raved about his time in Columbus and his interaction with the OSU staff.
"I was surprised by how much I like it because usually when I go to a school I don't talk or anything, but when I came, I was actually interacting with the coaches and stuff, it was nice," he said. "They're real with me. They're straight up – if I come here, this is what they're going to do with me and how they're going to make me into a football player and then outside of football, they'll make me go into a corporate business. They said you're guaranteed three job offers after you leave Ohio State."
Cornell said Michigan State, Penn State, Michigan and UCLA were still in the mix for his services. He took another trip through the Midwest and worked out at SMSB again before setting the early-July date for his commitment, the same date as Hilliard's choice in Cincinnati.
When the dust settled, Cornell made his pick -- he was a Buckeye, crediting relationships built with Johnson and the rest of the coaching staff as well as the fact he has family near Columbus.
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"We built a great relationship there and when he came to Ohio State, he kept the relationship with me and kept building it," he said of Johnson. "Urban Meyer is a coach I can't go wrong with. Both of those two guys have great resumes and even if I don't make it to NFL, academically, what they can offer me as far as jobs and opportunities after I graduate, I can fall back on that."
Cornell has continued to be visible on the recruiting trail, taking part in Nike's The Opening camp and participating at the Under Armour All-American Game this fall. He signed an early enrollee aid agreement in August and began classes Jan. 12.
Early Impact: Ohio State will have an open defensive end spot opposite Joey Bosa in 2015 as Steve Miller and Rashad Frazier exhausted eligibility, but there will be plenty of competition in the form of youngsters like Tyquan Lewis, Jalyn Holmes and Darius Slade. But bringing in Cornell will definitely help add to the depth, as he's a national recruit who took part in some prestigious event and has received top-flight coaching. It's a deep spot but he provides an intriguing combination of size and quickness that could give the Buckeyes two strong rushers if he plays opposite Bosa.
Expert Take: "Cornell's projection has changed a little as his body has changed over the years. Initially, he was a 225-230-pound hybrid linebacker type of edge rusher. Now up around 270 pounds, he offers possibilities as a strongside end who can slide inside in certain situations. He gets off the ball well and has good finesse as a pass rusher. He has a good inside swim-move and is able to get low and dip his shoulders to get around offensive tackles on the outside. He has good, quick feet and does a nice job with his hands as well." - Scout Midwest analyst Allen Trieu
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