We caught up with defensive tackle Nader Abdallah today, soon after making his decision.
"It's official – it's Ohio State," he told Bucknuts.com
Abdallah (6-5, 300) was expected to make his announcement on ESPN, but things didn't work out.
"No, they cancelled it," he said. "It got out somehow."
Abdallah is not a candidate to graduate high school early and participate in spring ball. But he is going to get to OSU a several weeks earlier than the average freshman.
"I'm coming in early June so I can work out with the team and get settled in Columbus," he said.
He will be paying for the early arrival out of his own pocket.
"I guess I am going to live in the dorms; I'm going to have to pay for it I think too," he said. "My scholarship doesn't kick in until the fall."
Abdallah plans to major in business management. He cites several reasons for selecting the Buckeyes over Tennessee.
"Yeah, I picked Ohio State because it's a great school with one of the elite football programs in the country," he said. "It's in a great city with a lot of opportunities. There isn't anything there but opportunities right there for me, so I have to take advantage of it.
"In Knoxville, great city, great town, but there's nothing really happening there."
Abdallah is excited to play for OSU defensive line coach Jim Heacock, one of the best in the business.
"He's known for putting people in the pros," Abdallah said. "He knows what to do with defensive linemen. He knows how to improve a player's skills and make them a great player."
Heacock told reporters a few weeks ago that his goal for the 2004 season is to have a 10-man rotation up front.
"He talked to me about an 8-man rotation," Abdallah said. "Rotate two people per position; try to see what we can do. If it's 10, that's great. I just want to play and help out the team. I'm not looking to start or anything, but I'm not going in with the intention to redshirt."
Abdallah was asked when it first occurred to him during the recruiting process that Ohio State might be the best place for him
"When I took the visit, I really realized it," he said.
What made it final?
"Nothing really made it final until I heard Coach Tressel talk," he said. "So, his visit pretty much shut down the doors of everybody else."
Abdallah doesn't know too many of his fellow Buckeye recruits, but he has struck up a friendship with defensive end commitment Vernon Gholston.
"I don't know who I am going to be rooming with, but I'm trying to find out," Abdallah said. "I might call Vernon to see what's up. Hopefully he's coming in same time as me in the early summer. We had our official visit together."
Abdallah, who put on about 50-55 pounds after his junior season, works out 4-5 days per week.
"Right now I'm on my own routine, working with a personal trainer," he said. "I'm waiting for Coach Heacock or someone up there to send me one of those workout books."
Abdallah can bench 365 pounds, squat 530 and run the 40 in 4.95 seconds.
He quickly dispelled any rumors that he could play offensive line at OSU.
"No, I am strictly coming in as a DT," he said.
Abdallah obviously has the frame of a 3-technique DT, but he also has enough quickness to play DE if need be.
"I still move like a 240-pound man, but I'll play whatever Coach Heacock thinks I'm best at."
But his preference is defensive tackle, right?
"No, my preference is D-line," he said.
Finally, Abdallah was asked what a Louisiana boy could possibly know about the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry.
"I know it's a real heated rivalry and I'm looking forward to playing in that game," he said.