Tyrone Ezell's Surprising Offer

There might not be many spots left in Ohio State's class of 2009, but that has not stopped the Buckeye coaching staff from continuing to target and pursue even more top talent from across the country. Four-star defensive end Tyrone Ezell fits this category as a player high on potential who has just recently seen the Buckeyes enter the picture.

With a rapidly dwindling number of scholarships still available to give, it seems that every new player offered by Ohio State is met with a degree of surprise.

Even, at times, to the players themselves. At least, that was the case in mid-May when four-star defensive end prospect Tyrone Ezell said he received an offer from the Buckeyes.

"Yeah, it was a little shocking," he told BuckeyeSports.com. "Ohio State, it's a big school so I was like, ‘OK.' "

As he prepares for his senior season at Munhall (Pa.) Steel Valley, Ezell has received interest from schools from across the country. But it was not until about a month ago that the Buckeyes even entered the picture for the 6-4, 248-pound prospect.

Despite the relative newness of the relationship between Ezell and OSU, the Buckeyes are already making gains among his list of top schools.

"They're in the top five," he said. "So far I've got Pitt in the top five, Ohio State, Colorado and that's about it so far."

All three of the aforementioned teams have had their head coaches visit Ezell at his school at one point or another in the past few months. The nation's No. 24 defensive end prospect said his three biggest offers are from OSU, Michigan and Georgia.

When trying to decide on which school to pick, Ezell listed several factors he will weigh.

"I want to find a good program with good academics and good coaches, good facilities that I could live in for four years and socialize at," he said. "I also want it to be a good area to be at, a nice environment."

Weighing schools against those criteria, Ezell said he plans to take official visits this fall to his top five schools. Although he does not know which five will make the final cut, he did say that OSU would be among them.

Ezell is being recruited by OSU defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Jim Heacock as well as head coach Jim Tressel.

"They said they like the way I play," Ezell said. "They like my explosiveness, my aggressiveness and the way I come off the ball well. Plus, they said they like my overall character and my grades. They think I'm a good person and I could be a great player in their program."

In turn, Ezell listed what he likes about the OSU program.

"I like Ohio State," he said. "I like how they're an established program known nationwide. I like how dominant they are because I hear that they bring in good players like myself, like three players as good as me every year so it might be hard to keep a starting position. I can deal with that. It makes more competition."

The Buckeyes are recruiting Ezell as a defensive end. They have commitments from one end and one defensive tackle in their class of 2009: Melvin Fellows from Garfield Heights, Ohio, and Johnny Simon from Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney, respectively.

Ezell said he does not like to compare himself to other players, but that has not stopped others from doing so. According to Ezell, he has been described as looking like Michael Strahan and playing like Julius Peppers. As a junior, he racked up 122 tackles and nine sacks.

The plan is to make a final decision sometime after taking his official visits, but that does not always seem immediate enough for Ezell's tastes. Admitting that the recruiting process has been stressful, he has contemplated making a decision sooner rather than later.

"I thought about that a couple of times," he said. "I thought about making a decision so I can be done with this whole thing but it's only a verbal commitment. It's not like I signed anything, so schools will probably keep coming after me just to try and change my mind. I'm going to wait the whole process through."

The way spots are filling up in Columbus, though, he might not want to wait too long.

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