The commitment of Dublin Coffman star receiver Jacob Stoneburner to Ohio State was hardly a surprise to anyone who follows recruiting. Stoneburner might have had a slight worry about whether he would receive his cherished Buckeye offer, but he had no doubt what he would do if the offer was forthcoming.
"I've always wanted to be a Buckeye, probably from the day I was born, Jake Stoneburner began. "It was just a matter of if they would offer me, not what I would say to Ohio State if they did. I was never 100% sure they were going to, but when I started receiving all the big time offers I had a feeling Ohio State would come through. Once they offered me it was over. There isn't a school in the country that could make me think twice. Not one."
Stoneburner stated he wasn't that worried about Ohio State not offering him, even when they officially offered Mike Adams, Mike Brewster and J.B. Shugarts. He knew how important it was for Ohio State to rebuild their offensive line and he knew how key the above mentioned three players were to the Buckeye recruiting effort.
"I knew the offensive linemen were the cream of the crop," Stoneburner explained. "I mean these guys were the best you could get in the whole country. They had to be a priority for Ohio State. Also, when they offered those guys they were the only players with offers. They didn't start offering people until after January. We were at the All-American combine in San Antonio and Mike Brewster kept getting on me about being a Buckeye. I just told him I needed an offer and he kept saying it was coming. He kept saying we had to all be together, but I told him I needed my offer first. I still pushed Ohio State to other players in San Antonio and on recruiting visits. I just really felt that Ohio State was the best place to play in the country, so I just told everybody that."
Stoneburner never hesitated to recommend Ohio State as the place to play college football, and one day he received the opportunity to be a Buckeye. Once he received his coveted Ohio State offer, Jake Stoneburner turned into a part-time recruiter, under the direction of Michael Brewster and Mike Adams.
"I was telling people to come to Ohio State during all the Junior Day visits I took," Stoneburner admitted. "Devier Posey and I knew each other and we started saying to everybody to come to Ohio State with us. We kept telling people that if we got offered by Ohio State that we were going there. I was always telling Brewster to go ahead and commit to Ohio State before I even had my offer. All of us just kept telling everybody we saw to come to Ohio State if they offered you. I really wanted Michael Brewster to commit because I knew he was an animal as a recruiter. I felt once he and Big Mike [Adams] committed, that this class would just take off. Mike Adams and I have been friends for a long time, but everything changed when we got to know Michael Brewster. We met at the Michigan game our parents met and got along really well. Then we were all together in San Antonio and we all became like brothers. We all just started texting like crazy and he came and stayed at my house last summer. We've had a great relationship ever since. It really got better once I got my offer."
Stoneburner remembers the day he received an offer from Ohio State. It basically came out of nowhere and took the entire ‘Brew Crew' by surprise. The excitement in everyone's congratulations made Stoneburner understand just how special this class was becoming.
"That was the most awesome experience in the world," he said with emotion in his voice. "When I started calling the guys to tell them I got offered, not only did they go nuts, but their parents did too. Mr. Brewster was screaming into the phone. I can still recall Devier's mom yelling in the background. I remember it like it was yesterday. Big Mike was really happy for me too and we've been friends for so long that it was great to know we were going to stay together my entire college career. I'll never forget that feeling for as long as I live. Even without an offer I knew Ohio State was the best place to play."
Receiving his Buckeye offer the way he did was a total shock to Jake Stoneburner. His father knew about the offer, but didn't tell his son about it so as not to ruin the moment. Once the offer was tendered there was no turning back for Jake Stoneburner, both in his quest to be a Buckeye and in his effort to help recruit his future teammates.
"My dad talked with John Peterson about a future visit and later that day Coach Peterson texted me and asked me to call him," Stoneburner recalled. "My dad told me he didn't know why I needed to call. When I called him he told me that they wanted me to be a Buckeye. I immediately called Jim Tressel and thanked him and then I called my dad back. He knew what was going on the entire time, but he didn't want to spoil it for me. It doesn't get much better than that. I didn't want to commit right on the spot, but it didn't take much longer." Seeing his friend Devier Posey, from Cincinnati LaSalle, commit to Ohio State a few weeks later convinced Stoneburner that the time was right to get it done. He decided he would commit to Jim Tressel in person, with his family with him.
"I called Coach Tressel and asked him if I could come by and bring my mom and sister with me," Stoneburner explained. "We toured the facilities and then we all sat in Coach Tressel's office and talked about how recruiting was going. Out of the blue I just looked at him and told him I was ready to commit and be a Buckeye. He came flying out from behind his desk and started hugging me and my whole family. That was pretty sweet."
Once the formality of officially committing to Ohio State was done it was time to get serious about recruiting other great players to Ohio State. Stoneburner attacked his new job with the intensity he shows on the field.
"Things really got exciting at the Spring Game," Stoneburner said enthusiastically. "Wow, was that a great weekend. When Brewster committed it was really unexpected. We were at dinner with Jim Tressel and a few of the assistants. We all were thinking he was going to wait forever, but he just announced to everyone that he was coming to Ohio State. We all went nuts. Mike's mom was crying and everybody got all emotional. I think Jim Bollman was a little teary-eyed too. Then the next day J.B. Shugarts committed and we all went crazy again. That was really the start of the official ‘Brew Crew'. We all just decided to really get serious about pulling in a huge class, not numbers-wise, but talent-wise. We were after Andrew Sweat really hard. He came to Columbus and hung out and had a great time. We knew we had him then. Garrett Goebel came to Dublin and hung out with Big Mike and me after camp. We hit it off well and we knew we had him too. The same thing with Terrelle Pryor and Josh Jenkins. We're still really tight with those guys. Brewster and Pryor are like brothers. They text each other every day, and sometimes all day long."
Stoneburner credits the fact that most of the recruits are so internet savvy for being able to form such strong bonds between them. He feels it's an advantage that they will already have built strong friendships even before they begin their careers at Ohio State.
"I saw DeVoe Torrence at the Scout.com combine in Pittsburgh," he related. "I had seen him around before, but that was when we got to know each other really well. At camp we hung out together and got closer. The other guys are people I talk with on MySpace or Facebook. The internet is how we all communicate best. We also text message each other a lot, especially Brewster. We all go on Scout.com to see the recruiting videos and read the message board. We get a kick out of Nevadabuck and the stuff he puts out there. I love seeing people talk about the ‘Brew Crew' and stuff like that. They're right about Brewster and his text messaging. He's a work horse. He never stops texting all day long. Devier, Big Mike, Andrew and myself all put in a lot of effort to build this class, believe me. Brewster is the text message king though. He's really into it. It's not over yet either. We still have a lot of work to do. Brewster is coming up this weekend to hang out with Lamaar Thomas on his visit. Thomas goes back and forth, but this will be great to get him here for a game and to meet the coaches. I feel real good about us getting Thomas. I think he will see a difference in how close we all are. I don't think this happens anywhere else. When we all finally get here it will be one big, happy family. We will already have great chemistry. I think that will make a difference in winning a national championship. Everybody has great talent, but we will be like brothers, on and off the field. Coach Tressel loves the way we all are forming these relationships. He thinks it will pay off for all of us too."
In the next edition of The Making of the Brew Crew we will look at another key member of the 2008 Ohio State recruiting class. It is amazing that this recruiting phenomenon has taken on a life of its own. Hopefully this inside look will help explain how this class got off to such a great start., and its clearly not over yet, either…