On The Lighter Side

Brian Hartline of Canton GlenOak came down to Ohio State with one goal in mind -- getting an Ohio State scholarship offer. Mission accomplished. An offer is coming in the mail... what will come next? Gary Housteau has Hartline's thoughts on the Buckeyes and much more in On The Lighter Side.

One of the hottest commodities coming out of the Senior Camp at Ohio State is Brian Hartline from Canton GlenOak High School. Hartline was clearly one of Ohio's top wide receiver prospects prior to last week, and his entire camping experience only enhanced his lofty status.

Hartline, along with his younger brother Mike, participated in the four-day camp at Ohio State before the senior camp on Saturday to end his five-day grueling odyssey.

"It went really well on Saturday. I didn't have to test again, so I got to rest my legs a little bit," Hartline said. "But the one-on-one drills went really well against the defensive backs, and then our seven-on-seven went really well. I thought I had a really good showing.

"And then later on that day, me and Dustin (Fox) were able to work out too, and he gave me some tips on releasing and how to beat the DBs. He gave me some inside information on what hurts the DBs and how I could trick them. So that helped me out a lot. And I was able to work out one-on-one against Dustin, and I guess I shocked the heck out of him. So it was a positive."

Some comments about his 40-yard dash times at the camp have been a bit critical of Hartline recently, so I asked him about his camp times and if he was happy with it.

"I ran 4.50 and 4.52," he said. "It's decent and I'll take it. It's good for me if the coaches like it, and Coach Tucker and Coach Daniels and all of them said, ‘You'll be fine, that's a great time.' At the indoor facility, the turf there is really slow. When I went to Michigan for their one-day camp, they ran the electric time, which is like two tenths of a second slower than hand time, and I ran a 4.62 there which is actually like a 4.42. So I'm right in the ball park, it's fine with me, it doesn't bother me at all."

Being a 6-3, 180 pound Caucasian, Hartline obviously fits the profile of being a step slow or of being a "possession receiver.".

"I wouldn't call myself a possession receiver," he said. "I have big play capabilities and I can run. A lot of people that think that I'm a possession receiver are usually the people that end up getting beat deep. But I am stereotyped a little because I am a wide receiver. A lot of time at camp, I was hearing the name Ed McCaffery. I'm a little bit faster than him, but that's what I've been called the entire camp.

"But as a receiver, I can make the cuts, I've got the hands, and I can play at this next level. So I think I have big-play potential, and so do many of the colleges recruiting me."

Obviously, the Ohio State coaching staff thought well enough of what they saw of Hartline's big-play potential at camp because he is now expecting a letter from them in the mail on Tuesday.

"Actually, I was able to talk to Coach Bollman (on Monday), and he told me that I have an offer, so now I'm waiting on the paper," he said. "So I got what I wanted out of it. I went down there to try to get an offer and I got it. So when the letter comes, everything else will probably take care of itself. So I think everything went really well at camp. I felt I reassured everybody with what I needed to do, and I came away with an offer that I guess was really rare this year at camp."

So Hartline indeed will finally have that coveted offer in his hands on Tuesday.

"Jim Bollman said I have a scholarship offer, but the actual paper will be in the mail," he said. "But I have one."

So naturally the next question is when will there be a verbal commitment made to OSU?

"I'll have to say there's high hopes for the Buckeye fans," Hartline said, "so just sit tight for the next couple days."

If this is any indication, Hartline was thinking about going to Notre Dame's camp on Tuesday, but he's put the kibosh on that now.

"As soon as I commit to the place that I'm going to commit, I am full blown devoted to them and then I'm turning all gears and concentrating on my own team (GlenOak)," he said. "I'm done with camps anyway. It was up in the air whether I was going to go to Notre Dame on the 29th, but as far as I'm concerned camps are done and I'm ready to start concentrating on my own team and our season."

Fox, who was recently married to his longtime sweetheart, was also a product of GlenOak and Hartline and his brother stayed with Fox in Columbus and commuted to camp. Fox is the guy that Jack Rose, the head coach at GlenOak, is comparing Hartline to in so many ways. And that's more than okay with Hartline.

"Yeah, I'm trying to emulate Dustin a little bit, but those are some really big shoes to fill," he said. " But I'm doing what I can, and I've been compared to him a lot and they say I might even have a little more versatility than he had, but he was an amazing athlete and still is.

"So I'm trying to keep that tradition going from GlenOak, but I'm just trying to do the best that I can. I'm just going to be my own player and turn out how I'm going to turn out."

Mike should benefit immensely from having Brian around when recruiting begins to heat up for him soon, just like Brian benefited from have Dustin and Dustin benefited from having his older brother go through the recruiting process.

"I'm trying to help Mike out too in the fact that he has someone to watch and see the procedure of how things are going on," Brian said. "Dustin was trying to help me do that too because he had his brother, but I didn't have anybody in front of me to kind of watch and see how the situation goes. So by me going through the process, it's helping Mike get looked at and to
know how to take it all. So it's working out well."

Ideally, Brian would like to see a package deal come to fruition of him and his brother going to the same school, but he would never stipulate that to Ohio State or any other school.

"I don't know how he really feels, but I know that it would be pretty sweet if we could go to the same college and play together," the older brother said. "I think it's pretty marketable (to the recruiters) if you're really a good brother combo as a quarterback and receiver."

The grayshirt talk to put Brian and Mike in the same class is utter nonsense as is the likelihood that Brian will play any other position at college other than at wide out.

"I'll play anything they want me to play, and I'll play it to my best ability," Brian said. "But as far as having that mentality for playing on offense or defense? Maybe I could turn into a defensive player, but I prefer offense. But I'll play any position at my fullest capability to get on the field. I prefer receiver, but I could play safety.

"I played a little at safety the past couple of years, more like when they needed me I would go in. But this year I think I'm going to start at corner, that's where they decided I'm going to play. We're going to have a great defense as well with a lot of speed, and we're going to try to use that as much as we can."

It's been whirlwind of a month for Hartline, to say the least. He just recently achieved All-American status in track at the outdoor national championships in the 400 meter hurdles. He finished fourth in the event and the top seven earn All-American honors. And at the beginning of the month, Hartline competed in the state track meet, where he finished second in the 300 hurdles, the event he was considered as the favorite by many to win.

And since 30 days have November, April, June and September, we all should know by the end of the month how Hartline's courtship with Ohio State is going to turn out. Already, Stanford, Pittsburgh, Michigan State, Cincinnati, Kent State and other MAC schools have offered him, and Iowa would like to if he can make it up to their campus as well. But all of those offers might be for naught when the one delivered in scarlet and gray colors arrives at his door on Tuesday.

"Ohio State is an awesome place. Being able to play and live down here would be awesome," said Hartline when I asked him earlier last week to tell me his thoughts about the chance to be a Buckeye. "Being an Ohio kid, you always dream of playing there, but all that I'm just trying to do is make sure it's the place for me and I fit as a receiver into their offense and In fit into their team. I've been down here for a week and the coaches have been awesome and real personable and I really enjoy them. So yeah, I'd love to be a Buckeye but we'll just have to wait and see what Ohio State thinks of me."

When Hartline gets that letter in the mail on Tuesday, I think it won't be very long before Ohio State knows what he thinks of them.

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