On the Lighter Side

In this week's On the Lighter Side, Gary Housteau chats with Youngstown Ursuline OL Brandon Braxton about where things stand with recruiting. Braxton felt his season wasn't as good as he wanted it to be, but he still has an impressive visit list.

To say that Brandon Braxton of Youngstown Ursuline High School is an enigma just might be a huge understatement.

In the thick of recruiting season with national signing day a little more than two months away, I met up with Braxton this week in his high school gymnasium right after he just finished basketball practice. At 6-7, 300 pounds, Braxton could be regarded as an atypical big man with an affinity toward taking the 15-footer on the hardwood.

The first thing I had to ask him was, "What's going on with Brandon Braxton right now?"

"Nothing much, I'm just waiting to decide where I'm going to go (to school)," he said. "I'm waiting to take my visits and things like that, and basically just trying to stay in shape by playing basketball a little bit and get ready for football."

Although he has five official visits set, Braxton said he's not sure how many he'll be able to go on because some of them already conflict with his basketball schedule. In most instances, taking an official visit to a school is generally a good indication that a recruit has a real interest in eventually going there and in some cases it's the deciding factor on whether to attend a certain school or not.

"Everybody is even. I don't really have a sure pick of where I'm going yet, like someone with an advantage or nothing like that," he said. "Where I'm going to take my visits is not necessarily where I'm going to go to college. People just think since I'm not visiting them, they're out of it. It's not like that. I'm just taking my visits to places I can't drive. That's basically it with that."

Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State are three of the schools that he's already visited unofficially and now are not on his official visit list.

"A lot of coaches gave up on me," Braxton said. "The only coaches I'm really talking to are the ones that I'm visiting, so those are the ones that stand the highest chance I guess. I still talk to Ohio State but Michigan gave up on me and I haven't been talking to Penn State a lot either."

Braxton came back to live in Youngstown after being reared in Georgia and has previously stated that he would possibly like to play somewhere down there.

"I just have connections down there because I grew up down there," he said. "I was born here but I grew up down there and I just like everything down there, I like the way it is. Mainly I like the weather. I don't really like being cold but if it's a school that I like then I'm going to have to deal with it. All of my visits are down South mainly."

In no certain order Braxton said LSU, Georgia, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Miami are the schools that he intends to take an official visit to, right now.

"I just have to wait until I take my visits and see how they really are and then compare them to the schools that I've already been to," he said.

So just where does Braxton stand with the Buckeyes?

"I like the Buckeyes," he said. "When I go down there I feel comfortable down there. I have cousins and family down there so if something happens I'll be all right. I like the coaches and it's easy to get along with everybody there. Louis (Irizarry) is down there so I have somebody that I'd now if anything goes wrong. So Ohio State stands pretty tall. I just got to wait and see."

If an official visit should become available Braxton said he would consider taking it at Ohio State. He is still in communication with Tim Spencer and it could probably be arranged at some point.

"If I end up not going somewhere or if a visit doesn't work out then I might," he said. "But at Ohio State there ain't nothing that I really need to know. I've been down there a few times and I know mostly everything that could happen there."

And to its favor, his favorite player just happens to be former Buckeye Orlando Pace. Braxton said it was really exciting when he got to take a picture alongside his idol at an Ohio State game last season.

"I play left tackle and I got his number, 76," he said. "I just like his style and I like it in the Shoe. It's real intense down there. You're not even playing and you can feel it."

No matter where Braxton eventually goes, a redshirt year is likely in his future.

"My senior year wasn't the greatest. It was like average and it shouldn't be," he said. "I need to get stronger to be on the college level. Everything can always get better and I'm going to have to work on some things. But I need to get better physically."

You can't coach size and because of that, Braxton will have schools holding a scholarship for him up until Feb. 4 if he decides to take that long to name a school.

"I really don't have a favorite right now. Everyone is the same until after my visits," said Braxton, who added Pittsburgh and West Virginia to the list of schools that he has some real interest in. "Ohio State and the schools that I've been to stand a little taller than the schools that I haven't been to yet because I haven't seen what it's really like. But I'm just going to wait it out.

"Everyone is going to get their fair chance. I'm going to wait it out and then in the end I'm going to talk it over with my parents and I'll make my decision from there."

Already on Braxton's first three official visits, which are slated to begin with Nebraska on Dec. 5, he has a basketball scheduling conflict and his last two official visits are "Sometime in January."

In a likely scenario, Braxton just might end up going to Ohio State by default! It's safe to say that no one, including Braxton himself, really knows at this time.

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