OSU Verbal Boone Considered Among Nation's Best

Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward standout Alex Boone is already regarded as one of the top junior offensive linemen in the country. The 6-8, 300-pound Boone talked about his early verbal to Ohio State as well as his hopes for his senior year, when he and his teammates will try and return to the state championship game.

The top prospect lists for 2005 are starting to filter out and most, if not all, of them are listing Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward junior offensive tackle Alex Boone as one of the nation's top prospects.

Sure enough, Bucknuts.com and Ohio High recruiting editor Duane Long is considering the 6-8, 300-pound Boone as one of Ohio's top prospects -- along with fellow Ohio State verbal Jamario O'Neal, a defensive back from Cleveland Glenville.

Boone actually verbaled to Ohio State last summer while attending the school's summer football camp.

"Their coaches had come to my school before that," Boone said. "They told my coaches they wanted to offer me and they would probably do it at the camp. When I got down there, right away they were like, `Nice to meet you,' and `We need to talk to you. Have your mom come down.'

"I thought I was in trouble. But they just wanted to offer me a scholarship. I was excited just to be sitting in Coach Tressel's office and talking to him."

It did not take Boone long to accept that offer.

"I have always been a big Ohio State fan," Boone said. "I have always loved them. They have so much football tradition."

Michigan and Michigan State have subsequently offered as well. But Boone said he plans to stick with his initial decision.

"I'm not really considering anybody else," he said. "I am such a big Ohio State fan. I love Ohio State."

When asked what makes him a special offensive lineman, Boone said, "I think I have good speed (5.0 seconds in the 40-yard dash) for such a big guy. I don't want to brag but coaches who see me play or see my film say they love my footwork. I guess I'm pretty agile and I can move around. I am quick for such a big guy."

Boone said it is an honor to be considered as one of Ohio's best prospects as well as one of the country‘s top offensive linemen.

"My friends have been saying they hear I'm an All-American and I'm on these lists," he said. "That's great. It is an honor that people say that. To me, the best thing is to hear my coaches are excited for me and that they believe I could be that good."

Boone was a key member of St. Edward's 11-4 team that reached the Division I state championship game. They dropped that game to Cincinnati Elder 31-7, but the run to the title game was memorable, Boone said.

"The first week against Strongsville we did very well and then it just took off from there and every game was a challenge," said Boone, who earned first-team All-Ohio honors in Division I as a junior.

"Coach (John) Gibbons told us to just take it one step at a time. As we progressed, we got better and we learned how to play with each other. Whenever we would get frustrated or hurt ourselves, he would say, `Relax and be calm.' I think for the state championship game we may have been a little jittery.

"Every week as we kept winning, my uncles would tell me we were lucky to be moving on. They'd say, `Out of 600 schools in Ohio, you're in the final four.'

"On the day of the state championship game, I went out to breakfast and people were telling me good luck and to go win it. It was great to just say you got to play in the state championship game."

Of course, it will be even better when and if Boone and his teammates get to win it, he said.

"The workouts have already started," Boone said. "They actually started two months ago. The first thing Coach Gibbons said was, `Hey, we lost it. You have to put that behind you, but also use that to motivate you. Coach Gibby won two state titles already. For him to say that, it gets everybody pumped.

"We'll have seven starters back on offense and three back on defense. But I know we will have a lot of juniors step up and play. We know they can.

"Playing for Coach Gibbons has been a great experience. If there is anything wrong, you can go to Coach Gibbons and he'll lean back and listen to what you have to say. Football-wise, he's a genius. He knows what he's doing. All of the players trust him. He's a father figure, almost a grandfather figure. It's just an exciting thing to see him coach."

Boone drew some parallels to OSU offensive coordinator/line coach Jim Bollman.

"I had met him a few times, but I had a chance to go down there on junior day (in February) and I spent the day with him," Boone said. "I can't tell you how much I look up to that man. I have a great deal of respect for him. From what I hear, he is a great coach. I can't wait to be there and actually be under his tutelage."

Boone will not begin his college football career until the fall of 2005. But already has some ideas on what he'd like to see happen.

"I don't think I'd like to redshirt," Boone said. "I'd like to be thrown right out there in the mix. Even if I do redshirt, I will take it as it is. I have great respect for the guys who are already down there. They have some good players there and I know it would be hard to start as a freshman. But either way, it will be exciting."

Boone said he plans to spend one day each at camp at Ohio State and Michigan this summer. He holds a 3.0 GPA and will take college entrance exams this spring.

Boone said his weight training has been disrupted a bit by a dislocated elbow. His previous bench press highs were 320 pounds in the bench and 500 on the squat.

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