For two of the most recent verbal commitments to Ohio State, their paths to Columbus were significantly aided by other players around them who had already gone through the recruiting process.
Both Adam Homan and Johnny Simon just put the finishing touches on their junior season but are verbally committed members of OSU's class of 2009. As it turns out, both had a lot of early exposure that helped the Buckeyes land the two of them.
For Simon, playing at a state power such as Youngstown Cardinal Mooney always helps to raise a player's profile with college coaches. However, the Cardinals had a trio of players who were all considering OSU at one point who opted to go elsewhere for next season.
Safety Dan McCarthy and linebackers Brandon Beachum and Michael Zordich all received offers from the Buckeyes. McCarthy eventually chose Notre Dame, while Beachum and Zordich will be suiting up for Penn State next season. However, the time and effort the OSU coaches put toward landing any of those three players had another effect.
It helped them land Simon, a 6-3, 265-pound defensive tackle.
"I don't know if I'd be as comfortable (if OSU hadn't been recruiting my teammates), but now that I got so comfortable with the coaches it's the place for me," he told BuckeyeSports.com. "I think I got to build better relationships with the coaches. They're a great coaching staff. They are easy to talk to. It's perfect for me."
As he watched his teammates go through the recruiting process, Simon said he was taking notes and preparing himself to do the same thing. Apparently he was paying close enough attention to make his final decision well before any of his teammates did so.
"They were real thorough about it," he said. "They wanted what was best for them, and that's what I wanted to do. I didn't just want to go to a place because other people were going there or because it was the hometown place. I wanted to go wherever was most comfortable for me, and that place was Ohio State."
The coaching staff did only discover Simon because of his teammates, he said, but the added exposure helped.
On the other hand, Homan has benefited from having a family member currently on the OSU roster. His older brother, Ross, is at the tail end of a medical redshirt season that will mean the two brothers will possibly have an extra season to play together further down the road.
Having grown up in Coldwater, Ohio, the younger Homan said he was simply raised to be a Buckeye.
"I've been an Ohio State fan since I was a little kid," he said. "There's a great support system in my community and I wanted to stay close to that. Ever since I was little, Ohio State's been the place I've wanted to go. It makes a lot of sense for me to go there."
A 6-2, 230-pound linebacker, Homan said he will likely be lining up at fullback when he gets to Columbus.
It did not hurt OSU's chances that his older brother was already there, obviously.
"I think it helped out," he said. "I went to a few of his practices and just seeing him practice and watching all that, getting introduced to the coaches I think that helped me out a lot, that he's at Ohio State and he's already gone through all this stuff."
Adam said he received some simple advice from Ross: Take your time and be certain of your decision, wherever it might take you. In this case, it meant heading down a path that had already been blazed by a member of his immediate family.
Much like Simon did with his teammates, Adam watched and took notes as Ross was recruited.
"I just paid attention, learned from him and took it all in stride," he said. "I was going to make the right decision when the best time came. He got a few more calls from colleges than I did because I don't think he committed as early as I did. I think it's pretty much the same with the letters and everything, the way he handled it."
Although they were together for just one year in high school, the Homans grew up playing football against each other. Who would win a battle between the two now is up for debate, but Adam said it was no contest when they were kids.
"Back then he would whoop on me pretty good, but I think it would be a little bit more even now," he said.