DiLillo has a Change of Heart

Madison star tight end Nic DiLillo completed a strange recruiting odyssey by committing to play football for Jim Tressel and the Ohio State Buckeyes. DiLillo, who had previously committed first to Clemson and then Pitt, said in the end the chance to be a Buckeye was too strong to resist.

"My mom was never happier than when I said I would be a Buckeye," Nic DiLillo stated explaining his decision to commit to Ohio State. "That means everything to me. I'm ready to take the heat for committing again, but to see the look on my parents face made it worthwhile to me. I've never seen them happier. Ohio State is my dream school. What kid doesn't grow up in Ohio wanting to be a Buckeye? I know I look like a jerk but had the Buckeyes offered earlier there never would have been any thought of Pittsburgh or Clemson. I'm a Buckeye and I couldn't be happier."

DiLillo received his offer from Jim Tressel while he was at an Indians game with friends. He originally thought someone was playing a trick on him, but became extremely excited when he realized that it was Jim Tressel on the line.

"I couldn't believe it when the text message came through," DiLillo said with a laugh. "I thought my friends were messing with me. When I realized it really was Jim Tressel I started to shake. I didn't know what to think. After the game I called coach Tressel and we talked about the offer. He didn't pressure me at all and said he understood if I never got back with him. I really respect him for that." "I got to Columbus today around noon," DiLillo continued. "I met with coach Tressel for over an hour. We talked a little bit about football but mostly we talked about family. We were really just getting to know each other and starting a personal relationship. He's a great guy and I can't believe he's going to be my coach."

DiLillo did not commit to the Buckeyes in Columbus but called Jim Tressel before he reached home and said he wanted to be a Buckeye.

"I knew the entire time I was there that I wanted to be a Buckeye but I hated doing that to Pitt," DiLillo insisted. "In the end I knew this decision would effect the rest of my life and if I ended up looking like a jerk, so be it. I also didn't want to commit to Ohio State while I was still committed to Pitt. I called the Pitt coaches first and told them and then I called coach Tressel and told him the news. I just couldn't see myself regretting the rest of my life that I gave up a chance to be a Buckeye."

DiLillo said he never expected an Ohio State offer even after Kevin Koger committed to Michigan. DiLillo hadn't had any contact with Ohio State for months.

"I saw the Ohio State coaches at Cleveland Browns combine in May," he said. "After that combine there was no contact at all. I never expected an offer so I continued to look for the right school. I saw Kevin Koger commit to Michigan and I never thought they would contact me. The text message at the Indians game is still like a dream to me. Had they offered me at any time I would have committed on the spot. I guess it all worked out in the end."

DiLillo also wanted to take the time to thank Mike Martin, his position coach at Madison.

"I asked coach Martin to come along with me and my parents to Ohio State today," DiLillo stated. "Any question or problem I have he's the guy I go to. Coach Martin helped me through every aspect of this difficult process. I know I've made some mistakes but he's always been there for me with the right advice. He sat in on the interview with coach Tressel and was a big help. I owe a lot to coach Martin."

DiLillo said the Buckeye staff didn't give him a weight or strength target for his freshman season. He will play tight end for Ohio State.

"They didn't say anything about where they want me to weigh," he said. "I weigh 230 pounds right now and I think I'm in good shape. My goal will be to arrive in Columbus as a bigger, faster, stronger football player. I plan on being at Ohio State for the first summer session after I graduate from high school. I will do whatever they want from me for giving the chance to be a Buckeye."

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