Wilson Deciding Between Notre Dame, Ohio State

DE/TE Lawrence Wilson of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary is in the middle of a personal debate, but it has nothing to do with presidential candidates. Wilson is trying to decide between Notre Dame and Ohio State, and even though he would like the decision to be made before the start of the basketball season, he is still a bit torn between the two schools. Gary Housteau has more.

Location, location, location. It's important axiom in real estate and it could possibly be the determining factor, with all other things being equal, as Lawrence Wilson of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School tries to decide between Notre Dame and Ohio State sometime over the next few weeks.

"It wasn't that far," said Wilson a couple of days after his official visit to Ohio State. "We got home pretty quick so the location is great."

But obviously there's more to it than location for Wilson who made an official visit to Ohio State for the Wisconsin game just a week after he made an official visit to Notre Dame when they played Purdue.

"I enjoyed it," said Wilson of his weekend experience at OSU. "I basically liked their whole system, how they did things there."

It was his initial game-day adventure in Columbus.

"That was the first game I ever went to," Wilson said. "It was exciting. It was kind of overwhelming walking through all the fans and the fans are screaming and yelling. Then you go through that pep assembly (at St. John Arena) and there were so many people there. So it was really exciting."

But he was expecting as much prior to the visit.

"It wasn't surprising because I knew it would be like a big-time atmosphere and I was pretty much expecting that," Wilson said. "But it was nice."

Wilson's high school team played Friday night in Columbus and he began his official visit immediately afterwards. He was hosted by Devin Jordan that night and then Jay Richardson showed him around after the game on Saturday.

"I got to see the offense and defense, and I asked a lot of questions of them to see how it was like there and see how the coaches were like," Wilson said. "So I got a real good feel for it just from talking to the players."

He also talked with Sian Cotton and Tony Pittman, who both hail from the Akron area as well, at the team hotel before the game on Saturday. Wilson played hoops against Cotton while Wilson was at Walsh Jesuit High School, before he transferred to SVSM last season.

"We all just started talking and I was asking them how (Ohio State) is like compared to high school football in Akron," Wilson said. "They definitely said that Ohio State was the place that I needed to be."

Wilson's initial impressions of Ohio State overall after the visit were very favorable.

"I saw a lot of good things, and I can see myself playing there," Wilson said. "I think I can fit into their system pretty good with Coach Heacock, so I really liked that."

Although he'd like to play on defense at the next level, Wilson admitted that he'll play on whatever side of the ball that he can play the earliest on. He currently plays tight end and defensive end for the Irish who stand 4-3 and are ranked 14th in Division IV Region 13 going into week eight of the regular season.

"I don't know (what position) I'll have an impact the most at but I'll probably just play wherever my team needs me at first," Wilson said. "I used to want to just play defense but it doesn't really matter now because I'm starting to feel more comfortable playing on offense. So whatever (position) I'll get to play first at is where I'll probably play in college."

And whatever school, between Ohio State and Notre Dame, that he thinks he has a better chance of getting on the field first just might be the one where he'll actually play at in college.

"Basically the determining factor is going to be where I fit in the best at. That's what I've been trying to find out the past couple of weeks," Wilson said. "Where I fit in best and where I'll play the earliest at."

Wilson is admittedly fond of both programs and he's still searching for the one main reason to select one school over the other. Early playing time is likely to be a big influence for him.

"I'm pretty much equally impressed with both schools, but I'm looking at where I'll make an impact at the quickest," he said. "That's probably the program that I'm going to choose, the program where I'll make the biggest impact. I've got a way better picture now. It's kind of clear to me now, and I'll probably make a decision in the next two to three weeks. I'm just going to re-evaluate everything over the next two weeks, and I'll probably make a decision after that."

In addition to him being an Ohio kid, his older brother is currently a sophomore at Ohio State and the two are real close, and Wilson and his parents were "blown away" by Jim Tressel, according to Wilson's father, on an unofficial visit to Ohio State just prior to the start of the season. But all that is Notre Dame in his eyes has obviously made this an extremely difficult decision for Wilson.

"I debate it every day and every day it seems to change. One day it's Ohio State and one day it's Notre Dame," he said. "So I'm going to commit when I know for a fact that it's the right school for me to go to. When I wake up one day and I say, ‘this is where I want to be at,' then that's when I'll commit."

But with basketball on the horizon – he led SVSM in both scoring and rebounding last season on the hardwood -- and recruiting becoming more of a problem, Wilson would like to make his final decision sooner rather than later.

"Yeah it's really becoming a nuisance and I want to get it over with as soon as possible but I don't want to jump into a decision that I'll regret," he said. "So I'm just really evaluating everything right now."

Does Wilson's evaluation include the future employment status of Tyrone Willingham at Notre Dame, who has yet to have any real success there?

"Basically I talked to Coach Willingham and he said that his contract was set until 2009, and I didn't have anything to worry about it," Wilson said. "So I could just come there and play and not have to worry about his coaching status or anything."

And Jim Tressel?

"I really like Coach Tressel," Wilson said. "He's definitely a class act and he told me how it was."

So for now, Wilson will chew on his findings for a couple of weeks and then a decision is likely to come prior to the start of the football playoffs and the high school basketball season. Buckeye fans have to be happy that his Ohio State visit left him with a very favorable last impression overall.

"I really enjoyed the visit and I think it's going to have a big impact on my decision," he said.

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