Three of the top rated senior players in Stark County visited Cincinnati yesterday, and all three came away impressed with what they saw. WR/DB Brian Hartline and LB Brandon Long of Canton GlenOak and Kevin Samy of Massillon Jackson spent the day at UC yesterday. All three players came away with scholarship offers from UC. The one day camp also attracted many of the top stars in the Buckeye state, including Jamario O'Neal, Freddie Lenix, and Greg Orton.
Traditionally, UC has not recruited the talent rich Stark County area, but that appears changed with the selection of former Buckeye defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio as head coach. Dantonio has a great reputation in this area, dating back many years as an assistant coach, and his relationships with the high school coaches will serve him well as he attempts to recruit the top talent in northeast Ohio.
Hartline, ranked #11 in the latest Ohio High magazine, now has added to an impressive offer list. Stanford, Vanderbilt, Michigan State, Pitt, Kent State, and Pitt are other schools that have offered the senior. Of his visit to UC, Hartline said, "Coach Dantonio is building something special. He's a great coach, and a great role model to look up to."
Hartline, who will compete in the national track meet this weekend in Raleigh, will attend the Ohio State camp next week, and OSU remains his leader.
Long, ranked #53 in Ohio High, also expressed high regard for Coach Dantonio. "Coach Dantonio is a very sincere man," he said. "His approach is straight forward. UC has moved way up in my eyes due to yesterday's visit."
Long will also visit Pitt this Saturday, where he's been told by Pitt assistants that Walt Harris will be offering him a scholarship but wanted to do it in person. Brandon, being recruited by UC as a linebacker, ran a 4.5 forty at camp. He is 6'3" 225 pounds. Long has also been offered by Akron.
Samy may be a surprise to some football fans, but he's not a surprise to college recruiters. Kevin was a second-team all state performer at Jackson the past season. He is being recruited as a defensive lineman. UC becomes the third school to offer, in addition to Ball State and Miami of Ohio. Samy is 6' 2", 250 pounds and ran a 4.7 forty recently at Penn State's camp. He is a 3.7 student with an ACT score of 28 and has received interest from Yale and Princeton as well. Of his experience at UC, Samy commented, "Coach Dantonio reminds me of Jim Tressel. He is a really good guy." Kevin will be attending Ohio State's camp next week.
If these three players are any indication, it seems that Cincinnati has found the right man for the job. UC has not had much success recruiting Stark County in the past, but that all may be changing under the direction of Mark Dantonio.