Nicol to announce for Ohio State Thursday

According to sources, Beaver, Pa. tight end Rory Nicol, rated as the No. 2 TE in America by, will announce a verbal commitment to Ohio State during a press conference Thursday morning at his school.

EDITOR'S NOTE -- contributor Gary Housteau wrote the story below on Beaver, Pa., tight end Rory Nicol Tuesday afternoon. Later in the day, however, sources indicated that Nicol had, in fact, committed to Ohio State. Nicol contacted OSU coach Jim Tressel to give him the good news as well.

His formal announcement is still planned for Thursday. Nicol is ranked as the nation's 79th-best player and No. 2-ranked tight end by He joins Huber Heights Wayne linebacker Marcus Freeman as national top-100 prospects in this class and becomes OSU's 16th verbal commitment in a class that could number 25 or more.

Here is what Gary had to say about Nicol on Tuesday:

Ohio State is definitely attempting to make inroads into their neighboring state of Pennsylvania in this recruiting season and it looks like Beaver tight end Rory Nicol is on the verge of becoming the second Keystoner, along with Mt. Carmel's Jon Skinner, to become a member of OSU 2004 recruiting class.

"Thursday I'm going to make an announcement; I'm going to have a conference at the school," said Nicol. "Ohio State is one of the final two for sure. I think I did all of the research that I needed to do and I feel pretty comfortable with the school I have and I think it's just time for all of this to come to a closure."

For the longest time, it seemed like Nicol was ticketed for the University of Pittsburgh but now it's clearly down to Ohio State or Florida. Both schools are looking for tight ends in this year's recruiting haul to restock the position.

Of course, the versatile Chad Hoobler of Carrollton has already committed to the Buckeyes, but he's more than capable of playing tight end or linebacker as well.

"From what I understand, Chad may end up playing linebacker," Nicol said. "I have not met Chad but from what I've understood, he's one of those kids that wanted to play linebacker but they brought him in as a tight end. I really don't know much about him. I don't know his style or how big he is or anything."

And Florida?

"Florida is trying to bring in two other kids with me so it's pretty similar," Nicol said. "In this class they wanted to have three kids. I think they're trying to get a junior college kid and two high school kids."

And where does Nicol fit better?

"I think Ben Troupe was a little bit more of a speed guy than Ben Hartsock but I think either offense I would fit into pretty well," Nicol said. "Ohio State's offense is very similar to the offense that we run at my high school."

Nicol admitted an affinity toward Hartsock.

"I really like Ben as a person, I met him one time and we've been in touch," he said. "He represents the kind of character kids that (Ohio State) brings in; pretty high class."

With his final decision already behind him, the Beaver, Pa. product will announce his intentions publicly at a press conference that has been set for 10 a.m. (tentative) Thursday at his highschool.

Nicol (6-5, 240, 4.8) also plays basketball and runs hurdles in track. Last season as a junior, Nicol caught 14 passes for 178 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, he recorded 78 tackles and 6.5 sacks. As a senior, Nicol caight 19 passes and scored 5 touchdowns.

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