Muldoon Could Break The Norm

Ohio State has not frequently ventured into the Cincinnati St. Xavier program to draw prep talent, but Pat Muldoon could find himself as the exception to that situation this season. Find out what the Buckeye coaching staff thinks about the four-star prospect's talents, where they rank on his list and what is coming ahead for Muldoon.

Ohio State is renowned for keeping the top in-state players from heading elsewhere, but the Cincinnati St. Xavier program has been an exception.

On the school's Web site, 37 former Bombers are listed as being on college rosters. Of those 37 – not including former OSU quarterback Robby Schoenhoft – just one Buckeye dots the list: sophomore long snapper Patrick Howe, a walk-on.

But that number could double by next season if the OSU coaching staff is able to land Pat Muldoon, a four-star defensive end prospect as ranked by Scout.com. Although the nation's No. 18 prospect at his position has received extensive interest across the country, the Buckeyes are currently leading for his services, according to St. Xavier head coach Steve Specht.

"Obviously Ohio State is at the top of his list," he told BuckeyeSports.com. "What Ohio kid doesn't have Ohio State at the top of their list? They are right up there."

That does not mean the Buckeyes are lacking for competition, however. Specht said every Big Ten team has expressed interest in Muldoon, and schools such as Alabama and Virginia also heavily factor into the equation. During one long weekend during the spring, Muldoon took unofficial visits to Wisconsin, Michigan State and Iowa.

The hard part for Muldoon has been telling some schools that he is not interested, Specht said.

Moving forward, the plan is for the highly touted prospect to continue to study the schools still in the picture and narrow his list based on where he can best fit in and where he will receive the best education.

"Unless there's a clear-cut favorite from day one, my advice to all the kids is to do your due diligence and study all the schools," Specht said. "You've got to remember that the chances of Patrick playing in the NFL are point-whatever percent like all the high school kids in this country. You've got to go where you're going to get a degree and has a course of study that you want to focus on, where you feel comfortable. Do you like the staff? Are you going to be able to fit into their plans?"

It is for reasons such as the ones posed by Specht that Muldoon, who was recently visited by OSU defensive line coach Jim Heacock, has not yet made a final college decision.

"Everybody says, ‘Why hasn't he committed to Ohio State?' Because when he commits, that's where he's going to know he's going to school," Specht said. "Right now he loves Ohio State like all kids do, but let's face it: Ohio State's Ohio State and they're going to recruit the best year-in and year-out and he wants to know that he's going to fit into their plans long-term and I think he does."

Plenty of schools are hoping that Muldoon does fit into their plans after a standout junior season for the Bombers. In helping lead his team to its second state championship in three years, Muldoon had 75 tackles – 16 for loss – and 12 sacks, earning first-team all-district, all-city and all-league honors in addition to second-team all-state honors as well.

Last season, Muldoon often found himself lining up opposite from Greg Scruggs, a 6-5, 225-pound prospect who wound up going to the University of Louisville. This year, he will likely find himself the target of more aggressive strategizing by opposing coaches.

However, Specht's one goal for Muldoon during the offseason leading into his senior year has nothing to do with overall on-field production.

"I tell him all the time that I'm not concerned with his level of play because I know what he's going to bring to practice every day and I know what he's going to bring to the games," he said. "Where he needs to get better is leadership. He hasn't had to lead because he's had incredible leaders around him and incredible guys around him showing him how to lead and how to do it the right way."

Describing Muldoon as "not a rah-rah guy," Specht said he has been pleased with Muldoon's growth in the leadership department since last season ended.

If things continue to progress as they are right now, there is reason to believe that Muldoon could find himself headed to Columbus in the future largely because he – unlike many of his talented predecessors at St. X – fits a need for the OSU coaching staff.

"They select kids that fit their mold and this year they're looking for defensive linemen and Patrick is one of the best around," Specht said. "He just fits what they're looking for. I don't think it's a matter of Ohio State not recruiting our kids as much as we just haven't had a fit. Patrick's a fit for them this year."


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