Yes, the teams are made up of excellent players from top to bottom, but there are always a few that stand out from the rest. Linebacker Chad Hoobler comes to mind from 2004.
This summer, one of those players is defensive end/tight end Lawrence Wilson from Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary. He picked Ohio State over Notre Dame just before signing day in February and it is looking more and more like a great pickup by the Buckeyes.
Wilson was unblockable at times in Ohio's North-South Classic in June. This week, he is in Hershey preparing for the Big 33 Classic, which pits Ohio versus Pennsylvania.
"I'm looking forward to this game," Wilson told Bucknuts. "North-South was a lot of fun and I'm just excited for (this) week and the game in Hershey. I just want to go out there, have fun and play well."
Wilson showed everyone what he had to offer at the North-South event. He was sharp all week in practice, then excelled on both sides of the ball during the game.
The Big 33 will be a slight step-up as far as competition, but Wilson hopes to play even better.
"I'm going to pretty much try and play my game and try and dominate," Wilson said. "I actually didn't think I played that well at the North-South game. I played OK, but I thought I could have played better on a couple of plays. I over-pursued a couple times. I've tried to learn from what I did wrong in the North-South game. I've watched that tape about four, five times. I wanted to see what I did wrong so I could fix it for the Big 33."
One of Wilson's best plays in the North-South game came on offense. He made a Rickey Dudley-like catch down the middle of the field with defenders draped all over him.
Wilson was asked if he could play both ways in college, or if he thinks he will strictly be a defensive end.
"Yeah, I think I can," he said. "I can do more than one thing, so I think I can play more than one position."
But playing two ways did not come up much during Wilson's recruitment. Ohio State's coaches did not say much about it at the time.
"Not really," Wilson said. "We briefly talked about it. But we didn't talk too much about playing two ways. They just said they wanted me as a defensive end, but there could be opportunities to play offense as well."
As for the Big 33, the people in Hershey do a great job of making the event fun for the players and the community. Each player has a host family and proceeds from the game go towards scholarships and charities.
"It's a great experience," Wilson said. "I've been thinking about it a lot. I've heard a lot of good things about it."
The 6-5, 260-pound Wilson is looking forward to hanging out with the other six future Ohio State players on the Big 33 team this week (Brian Hartline, Rob Schoenhoft, Andre Amos, Todd Denlinger, Austin Spitler and Brian Robiske).
"Well, basically, I didn't really meet anybody until the North-South game," Wilson said. "I met a lot of Buckeyes there and I really like them. We were exchanging phone numbers and talking all week. Talking smack all week. It was real fun."
Wilson's college career is now just a few short weeks away. Many expect him to contribute right away as a freshman. And Wilson feels the same way.
"I just want to contribute," he said. "But if I redshirt, I redshirt. Everything happens for a reason, so if I redshirt, I won't be too mad. But I want to play early. I want to contribute to the team early and do the best job I can. Whether it's special teams, offense, defense, it really doesn't matter. I just want to play."
Wilson would be excited to begin his college career no matter what. But the fact that Ohio State will begin the season ranked in the top 10 in the country just adds to it.
"Yeah, it definitely does," Wilson said. "Everybody around says we're going to be top five, top five. Everybody expects us to be national champs and even the players are talking about competing for a national championship. So, I'm real excited. I just want to contribute to the team and have a successful season."
Wilson has the Texas game and the Michigan rivalry to look forward to, but there is one moment that he is anticipating the most.
"Probably the first game of the season," he said. "Running out of the tunnel and experiencing college football as a player. That's what I'm looking forward to the most right now."