I caught up with some of the top seniors in Stark County to see where they stand from a recruiting standpoint. One of the top players in the state, according to Ohio High magazine, is Brian Hartline of GlenOak. Hartline has committed to Ohio State, and when asked if his commitment was still solid, he replied "Absolutely. I've been to every home game, and I talk to the coaches every week. I would never turn on the OSU staff just because things aren't going well right now. This is the same staff that won a national championship."
When asked about reporting early to Ohio State, Hartline said, "It's 50-50 right now. They told me all jobs are open for next year, so part of me wants to go and get an early start. On the other hand, I would like to play in the summer All Star games, just to get back on the field again. Dustin Fox is encouraging me to come early, and a lot depends on when they take the rod out of my leg. I'm way ahead of schedule with my rehab, and I just might fool everybody and sneak out on the field for our last game for a few plays."
Four other seniors have committed also. Massillon Jackson's Kevin Samy has committed to Miami of Ohio, St. Thomas Aquinas' Dennis Underwood to Indiana, McKinley's Brad Jones to Cincinnati, and Alliance's Chris Banks to Indiana.
The highest-rated uncommitted player is Brandon Long, of GlenOak. Long, ranked as one of the top seniors in the state by Ohio High magazine, has offers from Michigan State, Iowa, Cincinnati, Akron, Bowling Green, Ball State, Kent State and Ohio U.
When asked to name a favorite, Long replied, "Right now Michigan State is my leader, but I'm in the process of visiting schools to decide where the best fit will be. I've been to Michigan State, and I'm trying to set dates for Iowa and Indiana. Originally I was going to wait until the end of recruiting to make my choice, but now I think I want to get it done as soon as possible. It's hard to schedule visits during our season, but when this season is over I'll devote more time to recruiting."
Two Canton McKinley players, Antwon Hight and Ryan Brinson, are also trying to select a college from many offers. Both players are ranked among the top seniors in the state by Ohio High magazine. Hight has offers from West Virginia, Syracuse and Akron.
"West Virginia is my favorite at this time. The coaches are coming to watch me play this weekend. I'm going to visit them at some point, and I'll probably commit to the head coach when I'm there. I haven't really set up any other visits at this time. If things go well at West Virginia, I'll end up going there."
Ryan Brinson's stock has been rising as he's having a great senior season.
"I have offers from Iowa, Indiana and Kent State," Ryan said. "West Virginia has contacted my coach, and they're coming to watch us this weekend. I'm interested in them. Boston College has been calling, but I haven't received an offer from them."
Jackson's Mike Nemeth is also close to naming his college choice.
"I'm most interested in Lehigh University. If things work out, I'll commit to them. I've also been contacted by Bucknell, Mercyhurst and Wooster, but Lehigh is my favorite," said Nemeth.
One of the top juniors in Ohio, GlenOak's Mike Hartline, also spoke about his recruitment. Hartline, ranked as one of the top quarterbacks in the state by Ohio High magazine, will be Stark County's heaviest recruited player in his senior season.
"I've been to most of the Ohio State home games this season," said Hartline. "They're my favorite at this time, followed by Purdue, Michigan, and Florida State, in that order. I was at Michigan for Minnesota game, and it was okay. I was surprised they don't have a recruiting room, and I didn't really like the stadium that much. The atmosphere was pretty good.
"I'm going to Purdue on November 13th to see them play Ohio State, and
I'm looking forward to that. Florida State has just started calling my coach,
and I'm interested in them."