A Big Ten Battle?

Pemberton (N.J.) Township defensive lineman Johnnie Troutman returned home Sunday afternoon from his official visit to Ohio State with high marks for the Buckeyes. The prospect now says two Big Ten schools are leading for his services.

“I really loved it although I didn’t commit,” he said of his trip to Columbus.

Troutman was hosted by New Jersey native Malcolm Jenkins over weekend, as he and fellow recruits Walter Dublin, A.J. Jones, Kylan Robinson and Mark Johnson, among others, hung out, toured the campus and saw some of the facilities for football and their individual majors.

Specifically, Troutman said he toured the Fisher School for Business and came away impressed.

“It was really bigm but I liked how the buildings were connected and close together,” he said of the school.

He returned home with a list of about four schools.

“I am looking at Penn State, I like them a whole lot, and Ohio State, I like them a whole lot,” Troutman said. “Then I would put Virginia probably third on that list and Maryland fourth then Michigan State.”

Is there a favorite right now between the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes?

“No, probably not.”

At 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, Troutman is a big defensive lineman, but also is a little more lean and explosive than many others. Ohio State is hoping to have him join a class that already includes Cleveland’s Robert Rose, a standout in Saturday’s Army All-American game in San Antonio, and possibly Florida defensive end Dublin, who enjoyed his trip to Ohio State, according to Troutman.

At Penn State, he would join an already outstanding cast of defensive line recruits that includes Army All-Americans Maurice Evans and Jared Odrick.

Troutman compared his visit to Penn State and summed up his thoughts on the two Big Ten powers.

“Both had great facilities and have a great coaching staff,” Troutman surmised. “The only real difference for me is their area. Penn State is more of a college town and not as much around where Ohio State has a lot more around it and is a bigger town.”

Troutman will now turn his focus to his final two visits, Virginia and Maryland. Sometime between the final visit and signing day, he will make a decision.

Right now, it could go either way.

“I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but I’ll probably decide close to signing day after I finish the rest of my visits,” Troutman concluded.

Ohio State did about as much as it could do this weekend.

“It was a great first impression of Ohio State,” Troutman said.


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