Possible Changes Ahead For Mobley

Now that Willie Mobley has issued his verbal commitment to Ohio State, the debate can begin as to where he best fits in college. While he has been pegged as a defensive lineman, it appears a third position is creeping up on the radar. Find out what it is, as well as what early gesture by Jim Tressel helped the Buckeyes land this four-star prospect from Minnesota.

The dust has cleared, and Ohio State is preparing to welcome in Willie Mobley as the 15th verbal commitment in its class of 2008.

A 6-2, 263-pound prospect, Mobley has been viewed as a likely defensive end in college with the potential to put on weight and move inside along the line. However, it appears a new position has materialized for the Eden Prairie, Minn., native.

As a senior, Mobley spent time toting the ball in the backfield and opening holes as he manned the fullback position. With the Buckeyes losing their top three fullbacks to graduation following this season, the coaching staff broached the topic to Mobley while he was in town for his official visit during the Nov. 2 weekend.

"When I first came out there and (head coach Jim Tressel) was like, ‘Yeah, we have three seniors moving on,' " Mobley told BuckeyeSports.com. "I was like, ‘Shoot, I can play fullback.' I was just messing around with him because I'm sure there's someone faster or some more athletic guy who can play fullback out there, but they haven't found anyone.

"I don't know what position I'm going to play, to tell you the truth."

On Wednesday, Mobley was visited at his high school by OSU running backs coach Dick Tressel, who has been one of his primary recruiters. The two discussed, among other things, the possibility that Mobley could line up on offense when he gets to Columbus.

"He brought it up," Mobley said. "He said maybe Brian Rolle, the linebacker from Florida from last year, (could switch). He's a good linebacker but he played fullback a lot in high school.

"We were just joking around about it, but it could be pretty serious. This year was my first year playing fullback, but I was playing a lot on offense."

Although Mobley said he prefers to play along the defensive line, he will play wherever the coaches need him.

It's all part of how the four-star prospect wound up selecting the Buckeyes over the in-state Minnesota Golden Gophers. Despite pressure from those around him including his head coach, Mike Grant, Mobley selected OSU on Nov. 30.

Grant was not upset with his decision, Mobley said, just disappointed he would not be able to see him play more frequently at the next level.

"I don't think he was disappointed," Mobley said. "He just wishes I would've stayed and he could have watched me in college. He told me, ‘You're like a son to me.' His son is going to Minnesota, so he said ‘If you go to Minnesota I can watch you grow.' Now he's saying, ‘Maybe I'll have to make some trips down to Columbus.' "

The wheels were set in motion for Mobley to wind up at OSU late in his junior year. After falling behind academically early in his prep career, he began developing a plan to ensure his collegiate eligibility.

As a junior, Jim Tressel stepped in and helped Mobley lay out the path before him in the classroom and make sure there were no question marks. That gesture gave the Buckeyes an early lead they would never relinquish.

"There was no other school coming in to help me with my academics before football," he said. "Coach Tressel helped me out a lot through this whole process. That was huge. When that got cleared up, I kind of knew where I wanted to go."


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