While his actual LOI was sent to Ohio State in the morning, Hamilton and five of his Tiger teammates had a ceremony at the high school for friends, family and of course media. Hamilton was the first of the sextet to speak, to make his intentions public and final.
“At this point, I am furthering my education at The Ohio State University,” said Hamilton, who was surrounded by family at a lectern on the gymnasium floor. “I would like to thank my family and all of the people out there that have supported me all this way.”
Hamilton, who played both ways for Pickerington Central, initially committed to Ohio – the Bobcats, not the Buckeyes – in May. A month later, he changed his verbal to Pittsburgh. Then, in December, he switched again, this time to Kentucky. Finally, shortly before Signing Day, Hamilton got an offer from the nearby Buckeyes and chose to stay home.
Picking a college is difficult for athletes and non-athletes alike, and Hamilton admitted that he was happy to finally be set on a destination.
“It was a long process,” Hamilton said with a smile. “It’s a long process for anybody, really, but I’m definitely glad it’s over with.”
Hamilton, listed at 6-3 and 290 pounds by Ohio State, cited the school’s environment for why he chose Ohio State.
“It was really the atmosphere,” said Hamilton, who donned a red OSU cap during the ceremony. “I feel like it’s a wonderful place to be. … I was just trying to find the best place for me. Ohio State just happened to be that place in the end.”
OSU defensive coordinator Luke Fickell and defensive line coach Larry Johnson was Hamilton’s primary recruiters, so it is no surprise that Hamilton will begin his collegiate career on the defensive side of the ball. Hamilton played both ways for the Tigers and was the Scout’s No. 54 defensive tackle in the class of 2015.
“It’s a different type of thrill,” Hamilton said of why he prefers playing defense to offense.
Of course, no prospect goes through his or her recruitment alone. Hamilton was no exception, as he had plenty of family on hand. Father Damien Hamilton wore a black OSU cap and a big smile after the ceremony.
“It was a lot of hard work, a lot of effort, a lot of dedication on his part as well as parents,” Damien Hamilton said. “He earned it. He earned it as far as what he did his junior and senior year.
“It takes the words out of my mouth because you envision that you want your kid to go to the next level and get a chance to play at a high level somewhere. And going to Ohio State at the end? That’s a mind blower.”
In the end, the elder Hamilton said the pull to play near his hometown was too much to ignore.
“I think that’s what he was thinking,” Damien Hamilton said. “Do I want to be three hours away or do I want to be at home? At the end, home was where he wanted to be. … Ohio State was where he was meant to be.”