Long Looking For D-I Offers

There's been plenty of talk about WR/ATH Brian Hartline out of Canton GlenOak, but his teammate Brandon Long has been very impressive this spring as well. He is working hard to get Division I offers.

Although he might not be as well known across the state as his highly-touted GlenOak teammate, Brian Hartline, Brandon Long is pleased with the attention that is beginning to come his way.

"I'd say it's really exciting. It's great," Long said. "It's a little nerve-racking at times because you're not sure whether this school wants you or that school wants you but I'd say I'm enjoying it definitely."

It's safe to say that Long helped his cause in the recruiting circles tremendously at the Nike camp held at Ohio State back in April.

"I did real well," said Long who at 6-feet-3 and 230 pounds ran a 4.56 second 40-yard dash, vertical leaped 36.6 inches and bench pressed 185 pounds 25 times. "I actually thought that I was going to get my name out there a little bit more than I did but right now I think I'm still (ranked) in the top 20 overall out of all the camps together. I was fourth at the Nike camp."

Regardless of the ranking it was a good experience at the Nike camp for Long.

"I think it was more for exposure," he said. "I don't think it was to go there and really try to pick up on a lot of things; I think it was more for trying to help yourself out as far as recruiting goes."

The long and short of it all from the Nike camp was that Long thought he held his own amongst his linebacking peers there, a position that is relatively new to him at this point.

"Athletically, I thought I did, definitely," he said, "but I never really played inside linebacker, and that's who I went with and on the 7-on-7 drills and stuff like that. I was slacking a little because I wasn't really sure exactly of the position. But I'm probably going to be playing there next year."

Up to this point in his prep career, Long has played mainly at defensive end and tight end for the Golden Eagles. He's looking forward to making the position change on the defensive side of the ball.

"I had talked about it with my coaches and we both decided that if I'm only on the one side of the field, left or right, on defense, they're kind of taking my speed away from me. I'm one of the fastest kids on the team, I'm only a couple of steps behind Brian in the forty," Long said. "We decided if I'm in the middle of the field I can utilize my skills a little better and I'd be able to, instead of chasing after somebody, I'm going to be able to make more hits and make more tackles from the inside. So we thought it was the better position."

Long has started at defensive end since his sophomore season at GlenOak.

"I was the only sophomore starter on the team," he said. "I just added tight end last year."

And he was an integral member of the offense at times last season.

"Our offensive scheme is a little sketchy sometimes, so during some games I was more of a receiver, especially toward the beginning of the year, and some games I was more of a blocker," he said. "It just kind of depended going from game to game."

Although he claims to have no real preference about his future position at the next level, Long thinks he's more of a defensive player at heart.

"As long as I'm going to be playing  Division I football I'm going to be happy," he said. "Personally I'd say I like the defensive side of the ball better because I get to be the hitter. I'm going to make myself better no matter what position I'm playing.

"Don't get me wrong, I say I like the defensive side of the ball better, but I still love playing tight end, and as long as I'm playing, I'm happy. If a school like Ohio State wanted me and they needed me as a tight end, I'd definitely work my butt off and make myself a better tight end."

Long could be a solid complement to the Hartline brothers on offense next season.

"I know (Mike) Hartline has definitely exploded. I think he grew into himself," Long said. "He's got a great arm and I think we'll have a great season as far as receiving goes."

The sky is the limit on both sides of the ball for Long in his senior campaign.

"I want to set big goals for myself and I think I'm really capable of achieving them," he said. "Last year, I was never really the strongest or the fastest, and this off-season I've worked hard on lifting weights. I've added about 80 pounds on my bench press and squat and I think I'm going to be a much better athlete next year."

But the offers need to catch up with Long's ambition. No one has yet to offer but as many as eight suitors are waiting to see him in camp or on game film next season before they extend one. He's excited to see his name attached to any of the schools that are interested in him.

"Most definitely Ohio State is my number one," Long said. "Watching Hartline, he gets a lot of that stuff and I think that would be great. I really enjoy it."

Brian Hartline is certain to add a lot of eyes to GlenOak game film this season.

"I want to take as much advantage of it as I can," Long said. "A lot of eyes are on him and he definitely deserves it because he's a unbelievably athletic kid. But I'm going to surprise a lot of people next year and they're going to see some great things from me."

Whether Ohio State is in the cards or not for Long is something that still needs to be determined. He doesn't plan on committing early to anyone at this point.

"I would absolutely love to go to Ohio State but I've got to find what's best for me," he said. "But I'm going to take my official visits, and I'm going to see what's going on as far as rosters go and academically and stuff like that and see what school is best for me."

At this time, Ohio State is the only school for sure that he's scheduled to camp at this summer. He's been preparing solely for his senior season since football ended last fall.

"I tried to take off this season because I had played baseball since I was eight up until last year," Long said. "I make all these gains in the weight room and then I go play baseball and I lose them all. So I decided to take a break from baseball season this year and focus on grades and lifting weights and getting faster."

Long, who has a core GPA in the 2.5 vicinity and he's scored a 19 on the ACT already, can make his dreams come true with a good senior season in the classroom and on the football field.

"Since I was a little kid it's been my dream to play division I football and eventually go pro some day if that's in my future and I'm right there," he said. "I'm very excited and I think I only see myself definitely getting more exposure."

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