Tressel and Buckeyes Impress Hale

The Ohio State Buckeyes have several talented linebackers on the board for the class of 2008. Shayne Hale may be the most talented of the bunch and the Monroeville, Pa. standout was in Columbus on Thursday for an unofficial visit.

Shayne Hale is a specimen at 6-foot-4, 230-pounds, running a 4.6 forty and benching over 350-pounds. The Gateway Gator has his choice of schools that he can attend, but one continuously keeps popping up and that is Ohio State. Hale and several of his teammates made the two-hour trek to Columbus on Thursday for an unofficial visit.

"We got up there and watched their practice and took a tour of the facilities," Hale said. "I had the chance to sit in on the linebacker meetings with coach (Luke) Fickell. The facilities were real nice. Everything is so big and brand new.

"The linebackers were going over the film from practice trying to prepare for the next days session," he said. "Fickell is cool. He knows how to have fun, but he knows how to coach and when to be serious."

Hale had a chance to focus in on the linebackers during practice and he felt he got a good feel for how they do things.

"I did focus on the linebackers and how they work on staying low," he said. "I like to see how they prepare and I can use that to make myself better and to help my team. It also helps prepare me for that next level."

Hale admitted that head coach Jim Tressel may have made the biggest impression on him during his trip.

"Me and coach (Terry Smith) were in his office and he explained to us how he runs things," hale explained. "He talked about how they try and help their players. We talked about a bunch of things, most of it wasn't even really about football.

"I really like the fact that he sat down with me one-on-one and didn't hold anything back," he said. "A lot of these coaches won't do that with you."

So where do the Buckeyes stand now with the talented linebacker?

I still like them a lot, they are one of my top teams," Hale said. "But I am still open to everyone."

Hale visited Pittsburgh on Saturday as the panthers held their annual Blue Chip junior day.

"I really like the coaches down at Pitt," Hale said. "It's close to home and everyone can come see me play."

Don't expect Hale to pick a program based on a depth chart, because the confident teenager will not shy away from the competition.

"Every school I look at I feel I will go there and start as a freshman," he stated. "If I play the way I am capable of I know I will play early. It's something inside of me, a desire to be the best."

Hale will participate in the All-American Combine in Pittsburgh on May 6. He is currently trying to plan a visit to check out the national champion Florida Gators.

"I'd really like to go check out Florida sometime this summer," Hale said.

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