Top LB Prospect Takes In Buckeyes

Ohio State fans had been wondering if Jeff Luc would wind up making an unofficial visit to check out the Buckeyes while on a tour of colleges across the country. The question was answered this past weekend when the nation's top middle linebacker prospect made a stop in Columbus. has the story.

It is not often that a five-star prospect is able to surprise anyone, but last weekend saw Jeff Luc do just that.

The nation's top middle linebacker prospect as judged by finished off a whirlwind of a trip that saw him and 13 teammates take in a half-dozen schools across the country by making a stop at Ohio State to check out the Buckeyes.

The trip was at the behest of Port Saint Lucie (Fla.) Treasure Coast head coach Aaron Sheppard.

"The truth is most of the kids in Florida grow up only knowing about Florida, Florida State and Miami," Sheppard told "Football is very big in Florida, so they see that and they love the football in Florida. What they don't realize is that outside of Florida there is a lot of good football."

Although Luc was rumored to be making an appearance in Columbus, no word was made public one way or the other until after the trip was completed. The 6-1, 240-pound Luc arrived in Columbus during the afternoon of June 20 and departed the following day after working out.

The visit left an impression on Luc, Sheppard said.

"Columbus is a great place, but just Ohio Stadium is huge and it's beautiful and it's amazing," he said. "Just to see something like that and the indoor facilities and meet the coaches – Jim Tressel who's a legend – stuff like that, the kids really go and enjoy that stuff."

In addition, Luc spent time with OSU linebackers coach Luke Fickell.

"Jeff got a chance outside of the beauty of looking at campus to actually sit down and talk to Coach Fickell, and he loved Coach Fickell," Sheppard said. "He got a chance to work with him at the camp and he liked it. He really liked the experience. It was something that opened his eyes to football outside of Florida."

Prior to the stop in Columbus, Luc and his teammates visited Georgia Tech, Georgia, Clemson, Duke, North Carolina and Tennessee and there are plans to take further visits this summer. In all, Luc is up to around 45 scholarship offers, Sheppard said.

Luc claims no leaders for his services, and Sheppard said he is advising him to weigh the different schools against each other based upon their merits away from the gridiron.

"Whatever your plan for your life is, that's the first thing you start with," the coach said. "They're going to love him and he'll be a star when he gets on campus. Now take that out of the equation, and the first thing that you do is ask if you could live there for four years if there's no football. That, and what's your degree going to be in? Can they help you in that program? Do they have a successful graduation rate in that program? The graduation rate of the school, period, without football.

"All that kind of stuff, and then you add in football and let football be the determining factor but don't let it be the only factor."

Although no schools have separated themselves from the pack, Sheppard said the visit to OSU means that the Buckeyes are a serious player for Luc's services.

"This is the truth: every school is legitimately in the running," Sheppard said. "He hasn't set a top five or top 20 or anything like that, but Ohio State is a legitimate choice. We wouldn't have gone all the way up there for no reason. He definitely likes them. I know that, but it's too early to say. There's still so much more that has to be looked at because that (visit) was all football."

That outlook is just as well because Sheppard said Luc is not an avid football supporter aside from his own career in the sport.

"Jeff's not a football fan," Sheppard said. "He doesn't watch ESPN. He has no idea. Until he met Jim Tressel, he probably didn't know who Jim Tressel was. He doesn't know names. He doesn't know Pete Carroll, Urban Meyer, Charlie Weis. He didn't know those guys until now. He's just not a football fan."

Sheppard cautioned against interpreting that outlook as meaning that Luc does not have a true passion for the game.

"He's very good at it, but he's very passionate about playing," he said. "That doesn't necessarily translate over into being very passionate about watching NFL games."

Asked to describe Luc as a player, Sheppard said, "Jeff is a hitter. He is violent. He's violent and he runs downhill a lot. He's very fast and very violent."

He could perhaps add sneaky to the list as well.

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