At Saturday's North-South Classic, quarterback Rob Schoenhoft started the game strong, showing the cannon that made him one of the top prospects in the Midwest.
In the first half, he was 6 of 14 for 164 yards and was doing his best to keep the South in the game.
However, after being chased out of the pocket and knocked around most of the night, Schoenhoft slowed down quite a bit in the second half. He finished the game 9 of 23 for 179 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. The North rolled to a 45-17 victory over the outmatched South.
"It was a good time; a good experience," Schoenhoft said. "I learned how to get hit, I guess. But, you know, I got play with and against some really great athletes. It was a real special experience for me."
On the first drive of the game, the 6-5, 235-pound Schoenhoft connected with fellow Ohio State recruit Andre Amos for a 30-yard reception. Schoenhoft then found Purdue commitment Greg Orton for 33 yards and the South was in business with a first and goal.
However, the drive stalled and the South had to settle for a field goal and a 3-0 lead.
"Yeah, we came out strong," Schoenhoft said. "We talked in the locker room that names don't mean anything when you strap the helmets on. They only take you so far, up to the field, but when you strap your helmets on, it's game on. Everyone is no one.
"So, we came out with a lot of confidence and drove all the way down the field, but got a field goal. Maybe if we would have got a touchdown the game might have come out a different way. But it was a good experience."
When a team has just a week to practice, it can be difficult to get on the same page offensively.
"The thing that we had trouble with today was some timing stuff, which is really hard to do when you have a week," Schoenhoft said. "It's hard … usually you're with people all summer, all offseason, working on timing. But, we did our best to get our timing routes down, but they just weren't falling today. So, hopefully all these guys will do great at their colleges and we'll keep in touch."
Schoenhoft's one scoring pass was a 74-yard strike to former Jackson quarterback Jared Humphries (who was playing wideout in this game). They burned Jamario O'Neal on the play.
"It was a jailbreak screen and go," Schoenhoft said. "I actually didn't know it was Jamario until he almost caught him. I was like, ‘Where did he come from?' I looked up on the screen, and there's Jamario. That's some bragging rights, I guess. If I can take away anything, I can give him that."
The star of the game was North tailback Tyrell Sutton, who had 21 carries for 201 yards and three touchdowns. The Mr. Football winner is headed to Northwestern, which is getting quite a steal.
"He's a tough kid," Schoenhoft said. "For how small he is, he just keeps running and keeps going. He's pretty darn good and I'm not looking forward to playing against him."
Schoenhoft is already looking forward to next month's Big 33 Classic, which pits Ohio versus Pennsylvania.
"Oh yeah, hopefully I'll have some more time in the pocket and I won't have to test my mobility, which is slim to none," Schoenhoft said. "It will be a good experience, just like the North-South was a good time.
"We all bonded pretty well, North and South as a group. It's going to be fun to get the best of the North and the best of the South together and represent Ohio in the Big 33."
* Future Buckeye linebacker Austin Spitler unofficially had 10 tackles from his linebacker spot for the South.
"I played all right," Spitler said. "I didn't have my best game. But it was a lot of fun to play with these guys and I'm honored to be here. These guys are such great athletes."
Spitler got a close-up look at Sutton and came away impressed.
"Oh, he's underrated," Spitler said. "He's so good. He's everything there is. He's got the speed, he's got the power to break tackles, he's real good."
After seeing him in action, Spitler says he is surprised that Sutton didn't receive more interest from bigger schools.
"Now, yeah for sure," Spitler said. "But schools don't really look at small backs and he's a small back. But he's everything a big back has."
Spitler says playing in the Big 33 next month will probably have a different feel than the North-South game. Instead of playing against some of his future teammates, he will get to play against players from another state.
"Yeah, you want to hit them a little harder," he said. "Not that you didn't want to hit these guys hard, but it's just that rivalry in the Big 33. That should be a great time."
As for the rest of his summer plans, he just wants to hit the weights hard and do a lot of running.
"I'm just going to keep working out hard and doing what I need to do to get ready," he said. "I've added about 10 pounds since last season (up to 235) and I just want to keep getting stronger and faster."