When talking about some of Ohio's juniors, you won't get far in a conversation without mentioning Jordan Mabin.
Mabin is a 5-11, 185-pound running back from Macedonia Nordonia High School and ranks as one of the top 20 players in the state of Ohio for next season by Ohio High Magazine despite a disappointing four-loss season for the Knights.
Arguably the best back in the state for next year's senior class, Mabin rushed for 1,495 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. He toted the ball for 6.8 yards a carry despite teams focusing their efforts on stopping Mabin.
"We had kind of a rough schedule and started off slow this year, but we won our last four games," Mabin told Bucknuts.com Monday evening. "We had some key injuries that set us back also on the line and at fullback."
It's not as if 1,495 yards is anything to be disappointed about, but a 6-4 season at Nordonia left the Knights at the No. 10 spot in Region 5, two spots shy of making the playoffs.
The four losses came to teams currently combined for a 37-9 record in Tallmadge, Bedford, Solon and Mayfield. That schedule kept Mabin down from the 1,775 yards and 25 touchdowns he had as a sophomore.
But Mabin's stock has not fallen much, if any.
He was clocked at 4.5 at the Scout combines this summer in Akron despite nursing a hamstring injury. He ran 10.8 seconds in the 100-meter dash this spring for his school's track team.
Teams have taken notice. And consequently, been after him.
"The main schools are Ohio State and a lot of schools in the Big Ten like Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Notre Dame - schools like that," Mabin noted.
Ohio State fans may notice that Nordonia is also the alma mater of Buckeye offensive lineman, Rob Sims. But in addition to Mabin's connection to Ohio State, he has an even closer connection elsewhere.
Current Pittsburgh commitment Dorin Dickerson, a 5-star receiver from Imperial, Penn., is Mabin's cousin. Mabin hears all about the Panthers.
"Oh yeah, he's always talking to me and telling me I should go there," Mabin laughed of Dickerson's attempts to get his cousin to join him at Pitt. "Pitt is a good school. I'll definitely look at Pitt but I will have to see what's best for me."
This past weekend, Mabin spent his time in Ann Arbor for the Ohio State - Michigan game.
With the Buckeyes and Wolverines being two of the schools high on Mabin's list, it was a good chance to watch both play. He talked about the experience.
"That was my first time ever being at an Ohio State-Michigan game," he said. "I always have watched it since I was little and being there was just crazy."
"The last time I was there (at Michigan), I went to the locker room after the game but we didn't get to this time, probably because they (Michigan) lost. We did get to go on the field after the game though which was pretty cool. I got to see what it would be like as a player," Mabin added.
Of course Mabin didn't get off without having to answer whom, if anyone, he may have been pulling for deep down in the depths of his heart in the classic battle of the two heavyweights.
"I was actually rooting for both teams," he said while laughing.
He described the game has being hard-fought, and exciting to watch. Remaining neutral, he was able to take in a classic rivalry game that came down to the very end.
But he did have his favorite moments.
"Probably the end of the game when Troy Smith took over the game on that last drive - that was pretty cool watching him take over the game like that," Mabin recalled. "He is athletic, he made some plays and he was really fun to watch."
The talented back will now take it easy through the winter until the spring and summer, when he says he will likely begin taking more visits.
Mabin, who sports a 3.6 GPA and will take the ACT in December, visited Ohio State in September for the Buckeyes' game against Texas. He has also visited for a couple of Michigan home games.
Watching the Buckeyes improve from the beginning of the season to the end was a big thing according to Mabin. He also explained how he feels he potentially fits in at Ohio State.
"I definitely see myself fitting in there (at Ohio State). They had some key wins and I like the schedule they played too," Mabin concluded. "They played some name schools like Texas, it was a real good. There is nowhere to go but up for Ohio State now. With the future going on in recruiting and everything, I can definitely see myself playing there with over 100,000 fans. That would be great."