What a difference a year has been in the life of Alex Boone, the behemoth offensive tackle from St. Edward High School and the no. 2 rated prospect in the state according Ohio High.
Just a year ago, Boone was somewhat of an obscure lineman who first burst upon the national scene when Ohio State offered him a football scholarship. Now, along with Jamario O'Neal, Boone is representative of the prodigious potential of the 2005 recruiting class for Ohio State.
Boone had a good time among some of his future Buckeye teammates at Ohio State's recent advanced senior camp.
"I went there basically to meet new people and kind of help out and recruit a little bit," he said. "And I met so many nice kids and funny kids, and it was just a good time basically. It really didn't feel like a football camp; it was more about meeting new kids and having fun."
One person Boone got reacquainted with at camp was Jim Cordle, the other offensive lineman from Lancaster who has verbally committed to Ohio State.
"We've actually went to dinner before camp to kind of get to know each other and then I saw him at camp again. I'm excited to play with him," Boone said. "I also saw Todd Denlinger and I got to talk to him for a little bit. He looks real good. I met Jamario again and he looked really good. And I was walking by Adam Myers-White's dad, and I talked to his dad for a minute and then I saw him."
He commented briefly on what made him finally end the recruiting process, for good.
"Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye, and that's how I looked at it. And I've been looking at it like that the whole time," Boone said emphatically. "My mom was the only one that made me look around just to see what I was passing up. I wasn't really interested in anybody else, and once I started looking around, I started to realize that more. And now this is St. Ed's time and I'm all St. Ed's right now, so that's basically why I tried to finalize it before August and July."
Boone pronounced himself 100 percent healthy going into his senior season.
"Actually my elbow is 100 percent right now and I'm feeling better than ever," he said. "I'm excited about the season, and I've been hitting the weight room really hard. I just can't wait to get back on the field and strap on the pads."
His summer workout itinerary has been rigorous to say the least.
"I lift with my team and then I go lift with my uncle as well on days that I can. And then even after that I lift on my own," Boone said. "I was nervous going into the summer thinking that I wasn't going to be able to get my weight up and my bench and squat up, but they're shooting up like crazy. I'm at 320 right now and I want to play at 330. And I'm 6 -7 ½. I like to say 6-8 but you can say 6-7 ½."
At OSU's camp, the only one he went to this summer, Boone ran a 5.1 second 40-yard dash, bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times, broad jumped eight feet and his vertical jump was 24 inches.
"My vertical's not too bad. I wish it could be better, but I'm too fat to jump that high," Boone said with a chuckle. "People say I'm not fat, but I think I am. I have a little baby fat left."
Boone admitted that his focus on the Buckeyes temporarily ended at the conclusion of the camp.
"Right now, I'm just thinking St. Ed's, and I'm not worried about Ohio State really," he said. "I don't mean that in a negative way, but I'm just trying to focus more on St. Ed's because this is my last season with them and I owe it to them."
Whether he likes the label or not, Boone is the considered by many to be one of the top offensive linemen not only in the state but in the entire nation as well.
"It's very overwhelming," he said. "People tell me that a lot, and I try not to let it go to my head ,but it's hard not to. I never thought I'd be like this. So I just try to work as hard as I can, and I work out as much as I can. But I'm very excited about it."
And he's just as excited about his senior season. St. Ed's lost to Cincinnati Elder in the state final last year, and Boone wants to win it all this time around.
"I think this team might be better than last year's team," he said. "I don't want to say that with any disrespect because I know that a lot of my friends who graduated had a lot of heart and that's how we got there (last year). But I think this year's team has a lot of talent. This is my class and we were undefeated as freshman, so I hope that we can just go undefeated and win it all."
And as hard as it might be for him to look past his senior season, he allows himself to do it every once in a while.
"I think about being a Buckeye everyday," Boone said. "Just to think about strapping on the scarlet and gray gives me chills up and down my spine. I played in front of 20,000 in the state championship, and I can't imagine what it's like in front of 100,000 people. I'm not nervous; I'm just excited and I'm just ready to go, and I'm going to do the best that I can."