One That Got Away

The 2002 recruiting class within the state of Ohio was considered one of the best in recent memory, featuring nationally ranked players like Mike D'Andrea, Justin Zwick and Maurice Clarett. There were a number of positions in the state that were stacked with talent, and none were more stacked than the running back position.

Of course the Buckeyes pulled in the state's Mr. Football Award winner in Clarett, and the late Drushaun Humphrey from Toledo's Rogers High School was also expected to be part of the class. One star running back from the Buckeye State OSU failed to land will be on the opposite sideline during Monday night's BCS National Championship Game. Despite being offered by the Buckeyes, DeShawn Wynn of Reading High School in Cincinnati opted to accept a scholarship offer from the Florida Gators.

Sitting in the stands during media day at the University of Phoenix Stadium, Wynn claimed while he was a Buckeye fan growing up, he never really considered attending Ohio State.

"I didn't want to play in Ohio," Wynn explained. "I told everybody I wanted to get out of the state. Going down south to play football had always been a dream of mine."

Despite growing up in Ohio, Wynn doesn't know too many current OSU players.

"I didn't play against any of them in high school," Wynn said. "I do know David Patterson. He came to Florida on a visit and I was his host. I also played bally with Jay Richardson in a high school all-star game. I know him pretty well. It's going to be fun to go against him. I talked to Jay the other night. He's real pumped up and ready to go. He's trying to get another championship right and I'm trying to get my first. It's going to be a good battle."

And for those who think Wynn chose the Gators to avoid battling Clarett for playing time at OSU, that doesn't appear to be the case.

"I came to Florida in the same class as another All-American running back named Ciatrick Fason, so it really wasn't about competition," the former Blue Devil said. "You can't help but to be an Ohio State fan when you're in the state of Ohio. I use to love them when they had Eddie George. But, somehow I got away; I just didn't want to go to Ohio State. It didn't seem too appealing to me."

The 5-11, 230-pound back is motivated to face the Buckeyes by the words and taunts of people in his hometown. It would obviously be a lot easier for him to visit Cincinnati if the Gators are able to beat Ohio State on Monday night.

"My close friends are rooting for me," Wynn stated while noting others will be pulling for the Buckeyes to shut him down. "A lot of people I know, and their parents, are Buckeye fans. A lot of people throughout my career have been talking about how Ohio State has a better program than Florida. Now, I get to go out my senior year and play them for a national championship and just settle it on the field."

Wynn credited Reading High School coach Ken Minor, and his perseverance, for helping him get to Florida.

"He kind of helped me get into Florida," said Wynn. "His brother lives in Gainesville. He sent a tape of me down, but they threw it to the side and didn't watch it. He called down there to check on it and they watched it and ended up offering me a scholarship."

During a career where he has faced numerous injuries and was even benched, Wynn admitted that he thought about what it would have been like to attend Ohio State. However, in the end, his days as a football player for the Gators are wrapping up just the way he always thought they would -- playing for a national title.

Dave Rice will be covering the Ohio State Buckeyes for as a fully credentialed reporter throughout National Championship Week.

Rice has been working in the local and national media field for more than a decade. He has a degree in broadcast journalism from Northern Arizona University and has been serving as a writer, editor and producer of sports and international news for a national wire service for nearly ten years.

Originally from the Cincinnati area, Dave is a lifelong Cincinnati Reds and Ohio State University fan. He enjoys spending time with his wife, young daughter and by watching high school and college sports.

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