Recruiting: What is Pike's Connection To OSU?

Zeke Pike will not begin his junior year of high school for a few months but is already gaining attention from colleges from coast to coast, including Oklahoma State where he impressed the coaching staff at last weekend's camp in Stillwater. OSU may have a chance at the standout from Kentucky because of a special connection with Pike's family. Read about it in this exclusive interview with Pike.

The 6-5, 225-pound Pike was one of the top performers at the OSU camp last weekend, and received a scholarship offer from the Cowboy coaching staff before leaving campus. The junior-to-be at Dixie Heights High School in Fort Mitchell, Ky., across the border from Cincinnati, Ohio, said that he is now up to 12 scholarship offers.

Pike threw for 1,634 yards and 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions as a sophomore, while also rushing for 611 yards and 12 touchdowns. He caught 11 passes in one game for 183 yards and two scores. He also had 75 tackles, 60 unassisted, with an interception, 6 sacks, a fumble recovery and three forced fumbles while playing defensive end.

"Everywhere I've gone (on visits this summer), we've went there because through the contact we've had with them they've showed a lot of interest in me. I knew that if I went down (to Oklahoma State) and threw well, and that if the coaches got to know me and got to know my personality, than I thought there could be an offer on the table. We got there and I threw great and right now they offered me as an athlete because I also play defensive end," Pike said of the scholarship offer from OSU.

"I guess they'll watch the first couple games of the junior season and then we'll figure out what they really want to offer me as whether it be a defensive end or a quarterback but I think the most important thing is they want me at OSU and that just feels great."

Pike made the trip to Stillwater to participate in the camp with his dad, former NFL player Mark Pike who played 12 seasons with the Buffalo Bills (1987-98) before retiring following the 1998 season.

"It was my first time going to Stillwater and it was definitely a wonderful trip," said Zeke Pike. "Just the atmosphere on the campus was unbelievable. Obviously there are not very many students there with it being summer but just the facilities and the town and the college atmosphere is unbelievable.

"All the coaches were very welcoming. I got to spend some time with all the coaches really, and got to know them and get a feel for OSU. Needless to say, it was unbelievable. The campus was beautiful, and everything about it was really great," Pike added.

Pike said he was not expecting to see what he did when he walked into Boone Pickens Stadium.

"Obviously I grew up in the locker room with my dad and back then the facilities weren't as nice in the NFL. A lot of schools now have really great facilities but Oklahoma State's facilities were really just unbelievable. It was just really classy but it wasn't too flashy. It was really like everything gave you a great feel for how OSU wants you to feel at home and feel comfortable where you were at," said Pike.

Pike and his dad have made trips this summer to Oklahoma State, Iowa, Purdue, Kentucky, South Carolina and Clemson (returning home just hours before we interviewed him Wednesday night). They also are planning to visit Michigan State, Indiana, Auburn, Boston College, and possibly Texas A&M.

"Nowadays recruiting has changed so much. They are now recruiting kids going into their junior year and you've got to get ahead of the game," Pike said. "I've been working hard and it's really paying off. I've been able to see a lot of schools, and it's something that's got to happen sooner or later if I want to figure out where I want to play at the next level.

"You've got to get a feel for the atmosphere and the coaches and get to know a little bit about the school and the academics and things like that, and being able to get a feel for the program."

Pike said he got a good feel for the OSU program after spending the weekend in Stillwater, and getting to know new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen.

"I got to visit with Coach Dana and the head coach and hear a little bit from him and hear what their feelings were for me. They offered me a scholarship, and all the coaches are really excited about me, so it made me feel really welcome," he said.

"Coach (Bill) Young, the defensive coordinator, got to see my film, and the head coach and the quarterback coach all got to sit down and watch it, and they were all like, ‘Wow!' I think they were all really impressed by it," Pike added.

But Pike's relationship with Cowboy assistant Glenn Spencer may be just an important as the one with Holgorsen or any other member of the OSU coaching staff. Spencer and Mark Pike were roommates and played together at Georgia Tech, were such good friends that the OSU coach was the best man in Pike's wedding.

"I'd met Coach Spencer a couple of times (before this past weekend)," Zeke Pike said."Dad and him had been together a couple of times from being teammates and good friends. Coach Spencer told me off the bat, ‘Look, I'm not going to offer you a scholarship just because I'm friends with your dad. I'm going to be honest with you and if I don't think you can play here, I don't think you can play here.'

"So Coach Spencer was the one who showed us around and that was great just being able to talk to him like another dad. I could feel comfortable asking him questions."

Pike indicated that Oklahoma State offered him as an athlete for now but could re-evaluate that this fall.

"Truthfully, I would love to play quarterback at the next level. I know Coach Dana likes me a lot," said the Kentucky teenager. "I think Coach Dana is kind of laid-back and he's got a different personality about him, and he's not real worried about things and he's not rushing things.

"He likes me a lot but I think he wants to see maybe the first one or two games of the season just to see how I look in action. I think there will be an offer on the table at the quarterback position but right now just being offered as an athlete still feels really great."

Pike still has two years of high school before attending college but he realizes the time to make a decision – especially if he wants to be a quarterback – is sooner rather than later.

"Obviously at the quarterback position things are a little different. When you play running back or you play receiver or one of those highly skilled positions they're going to take a lot more kids on scholarship but at quarterback most schools just take one a year," he said.

"I want to commit after my junior season. I think when Sept. 1 comes and schools can start writing me and I can start having contact with schools, and getting a feel for who's really interested by the way they are recruiting me, I'll get a better feel for who wants me there. I'd love to make a commitment before my senior year, that way I can just go into my senior season and be completely focused on the team.

"God is going to work things out and where I'm supposed to be is where I'll end up."

Pike says his weekend at Oklahoma State would rank among the best of the school's he's visited thus far, and he is interested in learning more about the program and the school.

"It was a great experience. I got to meet some of the guys (on the team) too, and that was good to just hear some of their opinions on what they like about OSU. It's definitely an interest of mine. I don't have any favorites right now but obviously I have the schools that I'm more interested in. I think OSU is a school that I'm very interested in, and I want to get to know more about the program."

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