Sweeting Not Sweating It Out

The state of Georgia has proven to be a beneficial one to Ohio State in past years with both Cameron Heyward and Antonio Henton leaving home to become Buckeyes. This year, the OSU coaching staff has targeted Roderick Sweeting, a cornerback prospect from the Peach State, to potentially keep that pipeline flowing north.

Although finding defensive backs in high school is one of the most difficult challenges for college coaches, that fact has not stopped Ohio State this year.

The Buckeyes have extended nearly a dozen offers to defensive backs for their class of 2009, but one of the most recent offers went to Roderick Sweeting, an unranked cornerback prospect from Locust Grove (Ga.) Luella. A 6-0, 170-pound prospect who has been timed at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Sweeting told BuckeyeSports.com that he was not expecting a school like OSU to offer him.

"That's a big school," he said. "I was shocked that I would get an offer from them. It gets me excited. It shows me that I'm a good player."

Sweeting is being recruited by OSU safeties coach Paul Haynes, who has been to his school "a few times," Sweeting said. The two have not spoken on the phone, only in person.

That has not stopped the Buckeyes from telling Sweeting what they like about him.

"They said they like how I've got good cover skills, good awareness and a nose for the ball, stuff like that," he said. "When he came to the school he said they would offer me. He just had to go back to the school and show all the coaches my film and things like that."

Haynes did so, and in early May an offer came in from the Buckeyes. Sweeting said he also holds offers from Auburn, Alabama and Virginia Tech, among others.

When trying to select a final school, Sweeting said he will look at the school's overall environment, the coaching staff in place and the players he would join. Distance from home will not be a factor, he said. Sweeting plans to take a full slate of official visits during the fall but is unsure which schools will make his list.

Leaning on his parents and his head coach for advice throughout the recruiting process, Sweeting said he is taking a relaxed approach to the situation and letting things come to him.

It appears to be working, as the recent offer from OSU helps to show. The Buckeye coaches are pushing for Sweeting to take an official visit to Columbus, and it looks like that will happen this fall.

"That's one thing: the coach is trying to get me up there," he said. "He said if I come up there, they have a better chance of me coming to the school. I haven't been up there yet. I'm just waiting on an official visit.

"I want to see it. I've never been up there. I've been to Auburn but it wasn't for a visit, it was for a camp. I've been to Georgia Tech one time and I watched one of their practices."

Sweeting's knowledge of OSU limited, although he said he remembers watching the Buckeyes defeat Miami for the 2002 national championship.

If what the OSU coaches have told Sweeting is accurate, he might not want to wait too long to get involved with the Buckeyes. With verbal commitments already in from four-star cornerback C.J. Barnett from Clayton (Ohio) Northmont and four-star safety Jamie Wood from Pickerington (Ohio) Central, Sweeting said Haynes told him they are looking to take four defensive backs for the class of 2009.

Although he plays a multitude of positions in high school, Sweeting would apparently line up at cornerback for the Buckeyes. As a junior, Sweeting had 58 tackles and one interception.

"They say I have good size and great speed to play cornerback for them," he said. "I prefer free safety, but whatever they want me to play, I can play. I can play cornerback too, so it doesn't really matter to me."

Sweeting said he looks up to Sean Taylor and Champ Bailey as players he tries to emulate on the field.

"They play with a lot of heart and Sean Taylor made big hits," he said. "He was always around the ball, and that's kind of like how I am. I'm always around the ball."

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