Emilien Feeling The Squeeze

Vlad Emilien is enough of a planner to realize that this will be his last summer enjoying the comforts at home, and as a result the three-star safety prospect is enjoying himself at home while working for his senior season. Find out where Ohio State stands in the race for his services, what his plan is moving forward and what he thinks of OSU's 24 verbal commitments in this update.

This is probably the last summer Vlad Emilien will get to enjoy at home. The last summer to hang out with close friends, to eat a home-cooked dinner with his family and the last chance to hang out at the place he comes home.

Next summer, Emilien will be attending classes at a college of his choosing. But for now, his focus for the summer of 2008 has primarily been on hanging out at home and enjoying himself when possible.

But at the same time, the three-star safety prospect from Plantation, Fla., has been preparing for his senior season on the gridiron. To do so, he has enlisted the help of his mentor, former University of Miami wide receiver Kevin Beard, also an alumnus of Plantation.

"Basically he helps with a lot of things receivers will bring to try and beat me with," Emilien told BuckeyeSports.com. "He shows me techniques on how to stop them, jamming techniques, how to backpedal and break on the ball and things that will counteract anything a receiver will bring to me. If they do a little slant, he shows me how to break on it and what to expect from a receiver based on how he's positioned."

Those lessons learned from someone who played on the other side of the line of scrimmage should pay off this fall, Emilien said.

But one thing he has only recently begun to reconsider in his mind is the recruitment process. After listing Ohio State as his top school in the spring, the Buckeyes began to slip down his list and other schools raced to take over the top spot for his services.

Emilien does not have a list of five top schools, and he does not know where he will be taking his official visits this fall. However, he is starting to get an idea as to which schools he might trek to during his senior season.

"Florida might get an official visit but I might just visit them unofficially," he said, adding that the Gators have offered him a scholarship. "Wisconsin might get an official. Wake Forest, North Carolina, Tennessee."

In addition, Emilien said the Buckeyes stand a good chance of getting an official visit as well, but there is a problem. OSU already boasts 24 verbal commitments for its class of 2009 and six of them are defensive backs. Of those six, two are safeties.

Those numbers have caused Emilien to take a long, hard look at whether or not he could find himself playing in Columbus.

Needless to say, those chances are not as bright as they were a few months ago.

"The Buckeyes are still on my top contention list, but right now they're very stacked at my position," he said. "For me to try to go there, it's just filling up a spot. I want to compete, but at the same time I don't want to compete with a whole bunch of people that's good too. I'm not trying to say I don't want to compete against the best, but by them filling up at my spot it's basically telling me that they are loaded there and other top prospects in the country want to go there at the same position as me.

"They kind of fell off my list because I basically feel like I'm pressured to go there. I don't feel like I'm ready to make a quick decision."

That pressure is not coming from either OSU linebackers coach Luke Fickell or safeties coach Paul Haynes, both of whom are recruiting Emilien.

"They aren't pressuring me in anything," he said. "They just tell me, ‘Vlad, do what's best for you.' That's what I like about the O-state coaching staff. All of them are the same way. All of them are very encouraging people to work with. I wouldn't mind them being my coach, but there's so many kids that want to go there."

As Emilien goes forward and tries to come up with a final list, he is still hoping to land a few more offers. The 6-1, 190-pound athlete said he would like both Georgia and Texas to offer, adding that either of those schools could jump up his list with a scholarship offer.

And while he is focused on the depth charts at each potential school, the future business and finance major said he is more focused on his education than anything else.

"All of the schools that I've picked are ranked in the top five or the top in the nation in academics," he said. "Depth chart is probably second because I want to go there and play early. Even though I primarily think of education, I honestly want to play. I think I could play at a big-time level. It's close to my primary factor."

Expect Emilien to have a list of his final five schools within the next two weeks. In the meantime, look for him at home.

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