Lamarcus Joyner Discusses Buckeye Visit

St. Thomas Aquinas [Fort Lauderdale,Fla.] superstar athlete Lamarcus Joyner created quite a stir by unofficially visiting Ohio State for the annual spring football game. Joyner, one of the top prospects in the country, currently holds offers from most of the top programs in the country. Bill Greene spoke to Joyner and filed this report.

Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas superstar Lamarcus Joyner couldn't have picked a better time to take an unofficial visit to Ohio State. Joyner, who is being wooed by most of the top programs in America, was awed by a spring game record crowd of more than 95,000 people.

"I was pretty stunned by the whole atmosphere at Ohio State," Joyner told of his first trip to Columbus. "Being able to see practice and spend time with the players was everything I could have hoped for."

Being able to see Ohio State go through a full practice session was an enlightening experience for Joyner.

"It was amazing seeing Ohio State practice," Joyner said. "I was always told the college teams don't hit all that much in practice, but these guys really went at it hard. They were in full gear and they really got after it. It was a very physical and intense session."

Joyner was also impressed with the type of defensive schemes employed by the Buckeyes.

"I loved the type of defense Ohio State plays," he said. "I love the style of defense that Paul Haynes has the secondary playing. It would give me the opportunity to play my type of football, both in man and zone. Coach Haynes is a great coach, and a great man, and he's one of the main reasons Ohio State is my number one school."

The atmosphere was electric in Columbus even though the Buckeyes were only playing the annual spring game. Joyner was moved by what he saw.

"Being a high school athlete, it was unbelievable to see the fans react to me the way they did," he said. "It was great to be here and be part of history with a record crowd of 95,000 people. I could see myself wearing those colors and being a part of this. The coaches told me about the fan support, but I was surprised to have people yelling my name and asking for my autograph. I know I'm a high-profile athlete, but I really don't like all the individual attention, but I was totally blown away by everything I saw today."

Last weekend Joyner took unofficial visits to Alabama, Tennessee and Florida State.

"I liked all three places, but only Florida State compared to Ohio State," Joyner said. "I liked Alabama because I really like Nick Saban. He gets a lot of bad press but I saw a side of Coach Saban that I really liked. Tennessee is always writing me and showing me how badly they want me. Florida State really rolled out the red carpet for me, and they've always been my dream school. Florida State and Ohio State are both great programs and it seems they're both going at it to see who comes out on top. We will just see which program comes out on top and only the future will tell."

Joyner has an idea of when he will make his final decision public, and even hinted that he may already know where he will play his college football.

"After seeing Ohio State this weekend I feel I know everything about the program I need to know," he stated. "I kind of think I already have made my mind up but I'm not about to make that public right now. I should be making it public right around signing day, but I could announce during my season next year. We will just have to see how it goes."

St. Thomas Aquinas will play Upper Arlington in Ohio Stadium next fall and Joyner is anxious to show his skills in front of the Buckeye faithful.

"I'm looking forward to playing in front of the Ohio State fans," he admitted. "I know they've seen my highlight tape, but that covers up the bad plays. I want them to be able to see me in a full game. It will be great to play in that stadium next season."

Joyner is a multi-talented athlete who plays all over the field in high school, but he knows his future is at cornerback.

"All the schools are recruiting me as a defensive back," Joyner said. "I would love to play offense, but I'm not sure that's real smart playing both ways at that level. I want to return kicks, but I think just doing that and playing defense makes the most sense. As a cornerback I think my strength is as a physical coverage man. I like to hit people and tackle. I have great ball skills but I need to work on getting more interceptions. I want to be as complete a player as I can be."

The move to St.Thomas Aquinas will bring added pressure to Joyner and he's prepared to meet that challenge head on.

"St. Thomas Aquinas is a great school and it provides me better opportunities, both in football and in the classroom," he said. "This move will force me to be better in every aspect of my life. I have to take my entire life to that next level. My first grading period I had all A's and only one B. I have never had a report card like that in my life and it is proof that hard work always pays off. St. Thomas Aquinas will help prepare me to succeed in college in every way."

Joyner spoke about the single most important factor in choosing a college to further his career.

"It will be about what I feel deep in my heart," he stated. "All these schools have great facilities and great coaches. That's why they are at the top. For me, it will be about being in a place that I know is best for me in every way. The players in the program will be my brothers and the feeling I get with them will mean a lot to me inside. That will help me make my decision."

Joyner is already thinking about taking his official visit to Ohio State next fall.

"I'm thinking about that and I will definitely be coming to Ohio State," he said. "I want to come for the USC game. I want to really see this place going crazy as Ohio State plays in one of the top games in the country. I can't hardly imagine how these people will act toward a real opponent, not just an intra-squad game. I got a good feeling this place is going to be insane and I want to be a part of that. This visit was so great and I can't wait to get back here again."

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