Ted Ginn's Excellent Recruiting Adventure

Ted Ginn took his final official visit this past weekend, and it was a fun one as he traveled out to California to check out USC. In the final chapter of this series, Ted talks about the visit and much more.

Although his own instate voters didn't even have the wherewithal to select Ted Ginn Jr. as much as a nominee to win the state's Mr. Football, possibly the biggest insult imaginable to such the complete and talented young man that Ginn is, Gatorade thought enough of him to select him as Ohio's Player of the Year and now USA Today is poised to name him as their Defensive Player of the Year.

Ginn, with obviously enough talent to play football at any school in the country, looks like, in the end, he'll choose between USC and Ohio State to continue his football and track careers at on the college level when he announces his decision on national television at halftime of the Army All-American Bowl, on Jan. 3, 2004.

On his fourth and final stop, Ginn officially visited the campus in Southern California this past weekend.

"It's a nice place. The weather is warm all of the time," he said. "I had fun being in California, in Hollywood."

Ginn, who went on the visit with his mom, raved about the lobster feast that he had for lunch as soon as he got off the plane on Friday.

"It was a five-pound lobster, they just got it right out of the ocean," he said. "I had said when I went to Michigan that they gave me a big lobster tail and when I went there they gave me a huge one. I only ate one-half of it."

After lunch on Friday, Ginn had a few meetings he needed to attend before he went out to dinner with his host Will Poole, a defensive back, who later that night took him to Hollywood. On Saturday after breakfast, Ginn had some academic meetings and then a meeting with the training staff before he watched the Trojans practice for their bowl game. After practice, Ginn attended a few more meetings before having dinner and then, again, going out for the evening.

Of course track is going to play a big part in the final decision that Ginn makes, but he was already well versed in the program from being there for track before.

"I talked to the track coach the first day I was there," he said. "I had already saw their facilities but my mom went to go see them. He stayed around all weekend, both track coaches, and they talked with my mom a lot."

I asked him how their track facility compares to Jessie Owens.

"It's like in the middle of the campus," he said. "It's not a real big stadium like Ohio State."

How big a decision is the track aspect going to play in the decision?

"It's going to be a big part," he said. "I'm just trying to see how they produce hurdlers and how their 4X400 team goes. Individually that can take care of itself wherever you're at, but team-wise, I'm looking to see who can enhance my hurdling skills."

And what have you uncovered in those areas?

"USC is real good with hurdlers. Ohio State is real good with hurdlers. Pitt and Michigan aren't really that good," he said. "USC was Pac-10 champions and national champs in the hurdles so I know that they can enhance my skills some more. Ohio State had a guy in the nationals too, I believe so, and I know that they can enhance my stuff. All I need is for people to enhance me. Basically I've got everything down to a science, I just need to go over it and keep going over it. Have somebody coach me instead of me coaching myself."

How is track in relation to football? Is one more important than the other?

"No," he said. "At first it was, it was just all about football. But now track and football go hand-in-hand; I don't put one over the other because I can succeed in both of them. There is going to be a time when I'm going to have to sit down and decide if I'm going to run track or if I'm going to play football."

As it gets closer to decision time on Jan. 3, I asked him what's going to happen between now and Jan. 3.

"I'm just going to have a big round table talk me and my parents, probably this weekend," he said. "I'll sit down and go over some things and then after that I'll be ready to make my decision."

So it won't go right up to wire or will you know before Jan. 3?

"I'll know before Jan. 3," he said. "I'm not going to let it get to the wire because it'll get overwhelming."

Being an Ohio kid and a Glenville kid, a lot of Ohio people obviously want Ginn to stay at home and so I asked him how much importance that fact will play in his decision.

"It's very important because you can never get love anywhere else like you can get love at home," he said. "As I look at Ohio State, everybody loves to play for Ohio State and me being an Ohio kid, it's going to be hard for me to go away from Ohio State. But I just have to look at the schools and see what they offer me and then make my decision off of that."

Is distance a factor?

"Really it's not that far if you look at it as a plane ride. Three hours or three hours and forty five minutes or something like that. That's not long," he said. "It's just like driving in a car from here to Ohio State."

But what about his family?

"That's a difference for them, me being that far," he said. "It's going to be hard to really check on me or come to the games a lot. So that is hard."

Will all of this be a factor in his decision as well?

"I don't know right now," he said. "Probably after I sit down with my parents I'll know. I really haven't heard from my parents lately about making my decision."

Obviously there are other outside factors, no matter how big or small, that can have some role in the decision. I asked him if he was disappointed in any way that he wasn't even recognized for the Mr. Football award in Ohio.

"I was because all year I strived to try to be Mr. Ohio," he said. "I played hard to try to be Mr. Ohio and I tried to have a certain amount of touchdowns and certain yardage so yeah I was pretty disappointed about that but I get over things quickly."

Did that leave a negative impression on him in any way?

"No," he said. "Being Mr. Ohio that's something to be, that's a good honor, but being nominated for the defensive player of the year by USA Today is bigger than Mr. Ohio. I'm not going to sweat that at all."

I asked him if he had all of his facts right now to make his final decision.

"Basically I've heard everything, I've seen everything and I went everywhere I wanted to go," he said. "Nothing else can really change my decision after I sit down and talk with my parents."

We talked about the good and bad points of USC and Ohio State, be it football or track, and both schools were so closely regarded by Ginn. And we also talked about the weather of which he admittedly gave the edge to USC in that aspect. So if you counter that with the slight edge in proximity going to Ohio State, it's a fairly even proposal for Ginn at this time.

So how about the opportunity to play football right away?

"I'm not about to go anywhere and automatically sit on the bench because I'm a freshman," he said. "I'm going to go in and do what I've got to do to be one of the guys. If you're better than me then you better beat me out."

Is his future on offense or defense when he first goes to college?

"I see it on both sides," he said. "If I learn the offense and the defense and it's working well, and the coaches see that it's good, then they can't help but let me do both unless I'm not in shape. But I'm not worried about being in shape because I'm going to be in the best shape of my life when I go."

Is he promised that chance at both schools?


Does he realize how important his decision is to both of the football programs and the universities and the fans?

"Yes it's a very important decision and it's something that you really have to take time and sit down and really go over it and make sure it's really what you want to do. Everywhere I go, everybody is congratulating me and saying that ‘You are the best' and ‘Come here' and stuff like that. I can't really base my decision on what somebody wants to see. I have to base my decision on what I like, what best fits me."

What are his goals for his first year in football at college?

"I just want to play on both sides of the ball and start," he said. "My goal is just to go in and take spots."

How blessed does he feel to be where he is right now?

"I'm blessed a lot, coming from where I came from," he said. "When I got to ninth-grade I really didn't have talent. I never thought I would be this good. But I worked hard and this is my outcome from working hard. I just thought I would be one of the good players that came out of Glenville and I didn't know I was going to be one of the great players to come out of Glenville."

Does he worry that he'll disappoint people because of highly touted he is?

"No, because if I do what's right then I won't disappoint nobody, but if I do what's wrong then I'll disappoint a lot of people," he said. "I know it's hard to live up the hype, but I'm not a perfect person. I'm going to try to go out and try to get a pick or knock it down if somebody throws to my side, but if I get burnt you can't really get mad at me because I'm a freshman and good players are suppose to try and make good plays. I know there's going to be 111,000 people booing me if I do something wrong, but I'll just shake it off."

What are his thoughts about the Army game?

"I want to play in that a lot because I want to see the competition," he said. "I just want to have fun. I've never been on TV for a football game, nationwide, and to be playing against the best players in the country... I want to do that. I just want to just go out and dominate other people the way I dominated around here."

And finally, did he have anything positive to say to Ohio State fans out there who are hoping to see him in Ohio Stadium next fall?

"It's a great school with great people and a great program," he said. "Just because they had a little rough season this year...we're going to be good."

(Call it Freudian slip, but he did say, "We're going to be good.")

Is he a fan of the Buckeyes?


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