Joyner Claims A Leader

Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas defensive back Lamarcus Joyner took his first official visit last weekend at Ohio State to watch the Buckeyes battle USC. Joyner, one of the top recruits in the country, went so far as to name a clear leader following the trip to Columbus. Bill Greene caught up with Joyner and filed this report.

Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas star senior Lamarcus Joyner was one of several recruits on hand at Ohio State last weekend to watch the Buckeyes play USC. Joyner, one of the Buckeyes top remaining targets, was impressed by what he saw in Columbus.

"My Ohio State visit was great and it was everything people said it would be," Joyner told "It was so loud that it gave me a headache, but I still loved being there for that game with USC. It was my third trip to Ohio State and I feel pretty familiar with the players and the coaching staff. The game was unbelievable because of the atmosphere and all the hype, and I loved being there for it."

Joyner has developed a close relationship with the Buckeye coaching staff after his third trip in six months to the Ohio State campus.

"I talked with all the coaches, especially (head) coach (Jim) Tressel," he said. "I talked with my position coaches, Paul Haynes and Taver Johnson also. It feels like home being up there now and I'm real comfortable talking with all the coaches. Coach Tressel and I sat for over a half hour in his office on Sunday and just talked about everything, not just football. He told me what Ohio State can do for me and how it can impact my future. He also told me how much he appreciated me and how highly he thinks of me as a person."

When Joyner sat down with Buckeye defensive back coaches Paul Haynes and Taver Johnson, both men emphasized how Joyner would be used in the Ohio State defense.

"Both men showed me how I can fit in at Ohio State and what I can accomplish as a freshman," Joyner explained. "They told me I will compete for a starting job as a freshman and if I don't start, that I can still get on the field for them. I love the Ohio State scheme on defense and I can see myself succeeding in their defense. After seeing the Ohio State defensive backs in action I feel I can definitely add something to what Ohio State is trying to accomplish. I can see why Ohio State puts so many defensive backs in the NFL, because the coaches teach those guys so well and have them in the right position to make plays."

Joyner is also strongly considering Alabama, Florida and his childhood favorite, Florida State. He is planning on taking more official visits, but none are set at this point.

"I don't have any other official visits set at this time," he said. "I might head up to Florida State and Alabama, but that won't be for at least another month. I'm still planning on a signing day decision. Taking official visits during the season is kind of rough and it doesn't allow for any schoolwork to be done, so I'm going to cool it for a few weeks."

When asked if anything surprised him about the visit Joyner admitted there were a few surprises.

"There was one negative about the trip and that was the attitude of the Ohio State players," he said. "They seemed like they were just happy to play well, while the USC players were there to win. After getting beat so bad last year it seemed all Ohio State wanted to do was not get beat bad again, but that's just my opinion and I could be wrong.

"The biggest surprise to me was how much it seemed like Christmas to me up there. It was like when it's Christmas down here. The coaches and me get along so well. I really like being around Coach Haynes so much. They're always smiling and they're always happy and that's how I am. You can write that Ohio State is definitely leading on my list right now. I'm not saying I'm going there, or I'm not going there, but I've been around those coaches so much that now I just need to decide whether it is the best place for me, or it's not. I probably have more information to make an intelligent decision than most out-of-state recruits because I've been there so much, and they're my leader today."

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