Sporting a pair of green, black and orange argyle socks along with his tennis shoes and uniform, the soon-to-be Ohio State offensive lineman finished off his prep track career with a state title in the discus. Although it was a sunny afternoon in Columbus that saw him bring home the title, the groundwork was laid during what was assuredly a cold day in December.
While in Pittsburgh on a shopping trip in Pittsburgh, Linsley's girlfriend told him to buy a pair of argyle socks. He obliged and then tossed them into a sock drawer where they remained for a few months – until one fateful track meet.
"I rushed out of the house one day because I was late to a meet and I threw on these socks," Linsley told BuckeyeSports.com. "I was in the dark and I thought they were black socks. I threw them in my bag, realized they were argyle and ended up throwing 177 and I was like, ‘Hey, I might as well stick with these.' "
Fast forward to the month of June, and Linsley was donning the socks as he earned a state championship. Lucky or not, it still took one monstrous throw and an anxious finish before Linsley could exhale.
After advancing to the finals, Linsley and the other eight finalists had three throws each. On his first throw, the Boardman, Ohio, native uncorked a throw of 191-2 – easily tops among the first-round throws. It came on a throw that hugged the right foul line and looked to be headed out of bounds until the final few feet.
"It felt like every other throw," Linsley said. "My coach says the best throw you'll ever have won't feel like the best throw because if your technique is right the momentum and torque will take care of themselves. That's what I felt."
With still two rounds to go, Linsley put his mind on trying to improve on the throw. His second toss went for 183-6, but the very next throw caused the most nervous moment of the afternoon when Toledo St. John's Jesuit thrower Cody Riffle – who finished eighth in last year's meet – unleashed a throw that was every bit as impressive as Linsley's.
It was officially measured at 191-1, and Linsley would go on to hold onto the one-inch margin of victory despite fouling on his final attempt.
"It looked like it was gone," Linsley said of Riffle's second throw. "I was sweating it out. When they said it was an inch short, I was like, ‘He's going to give an abnormal amount of effort and adrenaline on that last one.' When I fouled, I was like, ‘It's in his hands now.' I was sweating it out."
The first-place medal that came with the title was the second medal of the afternoon for Linsley, who borrowed a page from Riffle's book and finished second in the shot put earlier in the day. His throw of 62-09.00 finished behind Canfield's Dustin Brode at 62-11.25 but ahead of Riffle at 62-00.50.
In all, not a bad way to end a prep career.
"I'm real satisfied with it," Linsley said. "If I had to pick a way to go out and I didn't win shot, this would be it. I'm really glad I could get my coach a state title because I don't think he's ever had a state champion. I'm glad I could get him at least one title."
In both events, Linsley found himself competing with Bellbrook's Sam Longo, also a future Buckeye offensive lineman. Longo took fourth in the shot put at 56-02.75 and 11th in the discus at 152-10.
The two will be teammates for the Big 33 game and then roommates at OSU. Although he did not advance to the finals in the discus, Longo stuck around to watch Linsley bring home the title.
"It's the last competition, so you might as well stick it out to the end," Longo said. "His throw of 191, that's pretty impressive."
Linsley said he does not know what jersey number he will don at OSU, but he is excited to get to campus and get down to business. As soon as the meet was over, Linsley said his thoughts were turned toward his OSU career.
Asked about his immediate goals for his college career, Linsley said, "Compete. That's pretty much it. The chances of me starting aren't fantastic. They aren't for any freshman Well, I shouldn't say any freshman – Terrelle (Pryor). I just want to come in there and compete and make the team better. If I'm competing for a guy's job, that's making him and me better and overall makes the team better. That's my main thing, just to bring a Youngstown attitude."
Hopefully that attitude does not extend to his wardrobe.