Peterson Discusses Camp, Recruiting Areas

John Peterson, OSU's new recruiting coordinator, is enjoying the challenge of his first time as co-director of the school's summer football camp. Peterson talked about the camp as well as the recruiting assignments for the staff. Click here for all the details.

You could say that John Peterson has eased into his job as the new tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Ohio State, his alma mater.

After playing at OSU and working as a full-time assistant at Akron and Miami (Ohio), Peterson is back on familiar ground. He is even following in the footsteps of Bill Conley, his former high school coach at Middletown, Ohio, right down to his role as co-director of the OSU summer football camp. (Assistants Joe Daniels and Luke Fickell are also serving as co-directors this year.)

Peterson arrived on campus two months ago. He talked about preparing for the camp on such short notice.

"With the camp, there are a lot of impactful people -- (secretaries) Sherrie Kauffman and Betty Affelt and Coach Bob Tucker," Peterson said. "They are some of the key people in this camp. Luke, Joe and myself are trying to spearhead the parts that Coach Conley did.

"It's exciting. I don't know if I was a victim of this camp or a product. I spent a lot of years as a camper here and also a lot of years here as a visiting coach from all the schools I was at. It creates great opportunity for a lot of people."

OSU coach Jim Tressel told reporters last week he has been impressed with how Peterson has handled his new duties.

"John Peterson has done a great job of coaching for 10 years now," Tressel said. "He has fit in fine because he loves Ohio State and he's a people person. He's the kind of guy we like having here at Ohio State.

"The camp is real important to him and to all of us because we feel we're the flagship university to serve the game of football in our state and beyond. We want to do a good job and he's certainly part of that."

Peterson discussed how the OSU staff has divided various parts of Ohio and the country for recruiting purposes.

"Obviously, for the coaches who have been in the program, continuity is a big thing," he said. "The coaches who had their territories have continued in those same territories. Coach Hazell and Doc Tressel have taken on some areas, but they are also areas they are familiar with."

Of course, Ohio remains OSU's bread and butter. Mel Tucker has been instrumental of late in the Cleveland area, while Jim Heacock has done a similar job in Cincinnati and Dayton.

"The Ohio bases pretty much stayed the same," Peterson said. "As a whole staff, Ohio is the backyard we want to work hard the year-round. Everyone has an impact on the state of Ohio.

"Coach Conley handled central Ohio for us, but Coach Fickell and myself have also recruited in this area a bunch. We'll both do that."

OSU has done well in Florida in recent years with standouts like Chris Gamble, Michael Jenkins, Lydell Ross and others coming through for the Buckeyes. Who will handle that key "swing" state for the Buckeyes?

"Coach Hazell is down in Florida. Coach Snyder and Coach Heacock all have great experience in the state of Florida," Peterson said.

Daniels came up in a big way in Pennsylvania with OSU's first four signees in a decade last year. But Peterson admits that OSU needs to step up its presence in Illinois as well as in areas west of the Mississippi.

"Doc Tressel will have the Midwest area," Peterson said. "Anything else, the California area is definitely an area where we will position recruit. I will do a little bit of followthrough with Texas and California."

Under Conley's watch, OSU posted seven top-10 classes in the last 11 years. Peterson said the Buckeyes' approach will not differ too much.

"Recruiting is such an inexact science," he said. "It is a people business. You build relationships. One thing I really believe is the staff here loves dealing with high school coaches. We understand we have to build relationships every day."

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