The Buckeyes have been blessed with great kicking in the past two years, and it sounds like they found the man to continue that pattern in the future. Aaron Pettrey of Raceland, KY is a diamond in the rough discovered by the Buckeyes, and he'll be kicking in The Horseshoe starting in 2005.
Raceland is a small school as the area has 450 kids in grades 7-12, but Pettrey stood out.
"In one game, he broke the Kentucky state record with a 58-yard field goal," said coach Randy Vanderhoof. "In that same game, he had a 53-yarder and hit three kickoffs through the uprights."
In addition to being a great kicker, Aaron (6-2, 180) stood out at QB. The coach said Aaron set the state record this year as a quarterback with 71.3% passing. He threw for 21 TD passes this year and 32 last year. Aaron also recovered four onside kicks himself this year and averaged 42 yards per punt also. Aaron's also a basketball player and just hit the game-winning three and then ran down and blocked the other team's shot to win the game (he's a shooting guard in basketball and averages 15 points a game), and he's also a .400 hitter in baseball, where he plays SS and 2B when he's not pitching.
Where Aaron caught the eye of the OSU staff was at the kicking camp this summer. Out of 200 place kickers, he was rated the #1 kicker. He had also been to the Ray Guy camp for the last three years.
Aaron will not be a part of the team until 2005, but he is thinking of starting class earlier as he has an uncle in the Columbus area and will be staying with him.
"I may come up and enroll, just take a couple of classes this fall," Aaron said.
He's eyeing becoming part of the team once the year is out.
"With the season over and everything, I'd be able to go to a bowl game next January," he said.
Aaron's understanding is that he will be the backup punter to A.J. Trapasso and Trapasso will be the back-up kicker to him. Coach Conley's been recruiting him for OSU, and Coach Tressel will be coming to the school soon, which will be a very exciting event for Aaron and the school.
" I don't when Coach Tressel will be here," Aaron said. "They're supposed to call me this week and tell me when he will be here."
Aaron also received offers from Eastern Kentucky and Murray State, and Tennessee was in contact and wanted him to come to a game for a visit. He was a frequent visitor in Columbus this year.
"I made it to just about every home game," he said.
"It's a great atmosphere. Ohio State's always been one of my dream schools."
Aaron plans on coming up to OSU next weekend, where he plans to make his decision final.
"I plan on accepting the offer," he said.