Ohio State Is Small's World After All

When Ray Small transferred to Glenville from St. Edward three years ago, he only dreamed of having a chance to go to Ohio State. But on national signing day, 2006, that dream came one step closer to being a reality. Small, who joined teammates Robert Rose and Bryant Browning as members of Ohio State's newest recruiting class, will now continue to pursue his football dreams and get an education at the school he always thought he would end up from the very first day that he went to Glenville.

Sure Ray Small of Glenville High School seriously considered USC and even Tennessee at one point during the recruiting process, but he couldn't even imagine what he would have needed to see at either school that would lure him away from the one place where he always knew he would end up going to in the first place.

"Everywhere I went (on an official visit) they would always tell me to go where your heart is at," Small said. "So ever since I first went down to Ohio State, and with all of my (former Glenville) teammates down there, that's where my heart was at. So I just followed my heart."

Small anticipated his signing day experience with Ohio State ever since he to transferred to Glenville after attending St. Edward in his freshman year.

"I went to Ed's because my father thought, at the time, that if you go into the hood you're not going to get out. So I went to Ed's," Small said. "And then my father transferred me because he saw Dareus Hiley and Donte Whitner (Whitner actually enrolled before signing) go to Ohio State on their signing day. So when he transferred me he was like, ‘that's going to be you in a couple of years.' So I kind of expected this."

But, nevertheless, it was still very much overwhelming to him on signing day.

"I'm proud of myself to tell you the truth," Small said. "I never really thought that I would be right here going to Ohio State. So this is great. Glenville is great. Coach Ginn is great."

It's like a dream come true for Small. But it's only the beginning.

"I hope to go there and play at least four years and get a degree and follow my dream," Small said. "Some day I hope to play in the NFL."

According to his dream, Small would ideally play on offense during his career as a Buckeye but he'll remain flexible in case the situation calls for it.

"I'd love to play the slot receiver, any receiver you know, that's where my heart is," Small said. "But anywhere they put me is where I'm going to go because it's Ohio State and they'll put you where you need to be."

The comparisons to Ted Ginn Jr. are inevitable when Small gets to Ohio State whether they're justifiable or not. Small was actually a more accomplished receiver in high school than Ginn, who played quarterback during his senior season, ever was. But both prep stars were very proficient at returning kicks at Glenville.

"Everybody compares us because I try to set my standards to what he does," Small said. "I try to be like him and add some of my stuff to it and try to be better. But I've learned everything from Ted Ginn. And yeah I want to be like Ted but in the back of my mind and in my heart I'm like, ‘I'm better than Ted. I want to be better than Ted.' And I know Ted wants me to be better than him."

Although it's a huge honor for him to be compared to Ginn in any manner, just being a member of Ohio State's 2006 recruiting class is a big enough deal for Small for right now.

"It just feels great today. Being a Buckeye is like the biggest thing in the country so it's just a real honor to be me today," Small said. "I just feel like Ohio State is the right place for me."

However Small confirmed that there still may be an academic hurdle for him to navigate before he officially becomes a Buckeye.

"As far as the academics go, I'm just one more step there," Small said. "I've talked to Coach Beck, Coach Tress and all of them and they all tell me that I'm one step closer and all I have to do is work hard and bust my butt. I know what I need to do to make sure everything is taken care of."

In the mean time, Ginn Sr. is there to hold his academic feet to the fire and that's more than okay with Small.

"As far as Coach Ginn is concerned, he's like everything to me," Small said. "Coach Ginn is kind of like an angel in my eyes. He saves kid's lives. He's more than a father or a coach or anything like that. And everything that he says is so true."

So when you consider the fact that Ginn has primarily been the one to assert any comparisons between Small and his son up to this point, that should give anyone associated with Ohio State a whole lot to smile about.

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