Hale Felt Pressure To Commit

With Ohio State's class of 2011 starting to fill up, Joel Hale decided he could wait no longer. The three-star defensive tackle prospect from Indiana issued his verbal commitment in early June because he did not want to be left on the outside looking in. BuckeyeSports.com has more.

Credit Joel Hale for being able to identify a trend as it begins to develop.

After Ohio State accepted two verbal commitments in the span of three days, its class of 2011 sat at 13 members. Counted among them were four other defensive linemen.

In other words, if the lineman from Greenwood (Ind.) Center Grove wanted to become a Buckeye, the time was running out. After taking a trip to campus June 7, Hale said he opted to pull the trigger.

"I had planned on maybe (committing) toward the end of the summer, right before my first game, but once I got back from Ohio State I knew the that the spots for defensive linemen were closing down so I went ahead and committed to secure my spot," he told BuckeyeSports.com. "I got to meet a couple of the players. That was really what locked it down.

"I knew that Ohio State was probably going to be the decision because it's close to home. I didn't have a problem going away from home but it's going to be a lot easier for my family."

With that, Hale became the 14th member of a recruiting class that now numbers 17 and could top out north of 20 recruits. First, Hale called running backs coach Dick Tressel, who has been among his primary recruiters. Next up was head coach Jim Tressel.

"He was excited," Hale said. "He was glad to have me on the team. He's very happy with our class right now going in for 2011."

A phone call was also placed to defensive coordinator and line coach Jim Heacock.

"He said that I have great potential," Hale said. "I can play three spots on the defensive line right now with my size and my athleticism. I think we can have one of the best defensive lines in the nation in our class."

Scout.com lists Hale as a three-star prospect and the No. 26 defensive tackle prospect.

While at a June 26 OSU camp, Hale said he spent time hanging out with five-star defensive end prospect Steve Miller from Canton (Ohio) McKinley. The two have been texting each other, said Hale, who also has been texting four-star defensive end Ken Hayes from Toledo Whitmer.

The 6-5, 295-pound Hale said his decision came down to OSU, Florida and Penn State with Georgia Tech, Cincinnati and Wisconsin also hanging around. Issuing his verbal commitment to the Buckeyes has cut down on the volume of phone calls and mail he has been receiving, but it has not stopped it completely.

"Penn State wanted me to at least get out on campus and Georgia Tech wants me to go back down," he said.

Hale said he does not plan to visit any other schools.

"It'll probably just be Ohio State," he said. "I see that as disrespectful. If guys want to see another school and they're already committed then more power to them, but I find that disrespectful."

Indiana was the first team to issue Hale a scholarship, and his high school team participated in a recent team camp in Bloomington.

Hale said the Hoosier coaching staff was complimentary of his decision.

"They were excited for me because they were my first (offer)," he said. "They were proud of me and they were excited and they wished me luck. I have the most respect for IU. I love the coaching staff."

But in the end, not as much as he apparently loves the OSU coaching staff.


Buckeye Sports Top Stories