11W Community Interview: Raekwon McMillan

By Jeremy Birmingham on December 22, 2013 at 7:00p

The 11W Community Interview is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people. You submit the questions, vote on them, and then we pass the top ones on to the biggest names in the world of Ohio State athletics.

This past Monday, on live television, the nation's top prep linebacker, Georgia's Raekwon McMillan, committed to the Buckeyes over the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers. The pledge, arguably the biggest recruiting win for Urban Meyer as the head coach of Ohio State, rounded out an incredible haul at linebacker for the Buckeyes. McMillan joins Kyle Berger, Dante Booker and Sam Hubbard, giving Ohio State a formidable foundation the middle of the defense in the future.

As acclaimed as the group is in its entirety, McMillan's addition gives the Buckeyes the nation's top linebacker, the winner of the high school Butkus Award, another Nike "The Opening" participant and a player as coveted as any in the country. The 6-foot-2, 243 pound linebacker will enroll at Ohio State in just under two weeks, giving him a better chance to make an early impact as a freshman.

Take a little time to get to know Hinesville, Georgia native and future Buckeye, Raekwon McMillan.

Raekwon, did it really come down to a game-time decision? Or were you leaning in a particular direction over the past few months? - MN Buckeye

RM: You know it came down to a couple simple things, really. It was about the feel that I had on campus; it always felt like home to me up there. It also came down to whether or not I trust this staff with my future, and I do, so that was it. 

You're a very cerebral guy who seemed to keep your recruiting very close to the vest. Can you walk us through what the final couple of weeks were like for you, and some of the biggest factors that ultimately led you to your decision? - Jedkat

RM: I knew that if I kept doing interviews leading up to the decision that I would have a numerous amount the week right before so I prevented all that by not doing them, it was a good decision for me to stay "quiet" because the decision needed to be made by me and my family. 

Where was your head at in regards to Ohio State before Urban took over? How did he sell the program to you and your family that made you want to come up to Columbus? - CalgaryBuck

RM: Coach Meyer is one of the best head coaches — if not the best head coach — in America . Fans and spectators can say what they want to say about this guy, and I know people like to speak negatively about him for some reason, but as long as he is my coach I will go to war for him.

Since you are enrolling early, what are you looking forward to most once you get to Columbus? Although you're not the first guy to "go north" to play college ball, have you experienced much backlash for not committing to a Southern school (SEC, ACC, etc.)? - TennBuckeye19

RM: I'm just ready to get acclimated to the weather, It's cold and I can't hide from that. As far as the backlash (of leaving the south,) I'm sure many people have had it before, but I am the one who has to do this for my future, it's not their choice.

Did relationships with other commits such as Dante Booker weigh heavily in your decision? - Alpo

RM: Dante doesn't really talk that much, he likes to keep to himself a bit. Actually, Jalyn Holmes was the guy that I talked to the most about Ohio State, he and I got really close. He's a great guy and we have a lot in common, but I've developed friendships with lots of players heading to lots of schools.

As one of many recent highly rated defensive players committed to the Buckeyes, how do you go about building that a “defensive identity" with your new Team? - BuckGuyFan1

RM: I'm going to go in, work hard, become a student of the game and do whatever I can to become the nucleus in the middle of the defense. (Buckeye linebacker coach) Luke Fickell always talks about being an "alpha male" at linebacker, and that is what I'll be working hard to do. I want to be someone that can make everybody else around him better.

Your mother has mentioned in interviews that you enjoy baking as a hobby. What are some of your favorite items to make, and do you just stick with baking (cakes, pies, etc.) or do you prepare other dishes as well, much like a chef?

“I'm going to.. become a student of the game and ...become the nucleus in the middle of the defense."

RM: Yeah I used to love baking, but as football has taken more and more of my time, I see it as a time killer when I could be working on my game (laughs). I do still love to make cakes for holidays, though.

What current player on the OSU roster (or incoming recruit) do you think would be the toughest challenge for you in the circle drill? - Brutus’ Left Nut

RM: I keep hearing that Ezekiel Elliott is the real deal! I'm going to love going against him everyday, playing against the best players in the country should help make me a better player.

Do you think your teammate Richard LeCounte (Class of 2017, has a Buckeye offer) will follow you to Columbus? - TDible2132

RM: I'm not pushing him to follow me anywhere, and Richard knows that. At the end of the day he will know that his big bro will take care of him if he decided to join me my senior year in college, and if he doesn't, I'll be rooting for him no matter what. 

What are you planning on majoring in at tOSU? - OregonianBuckeye

RM: I'm going to major in finance. I wanted to pick a major that would mean something in this forever changing world and something that can help make me a success if for some reason football doesn't work out.

Thank you for the questions and for all the support over the last two years. Go Bucks! I'm finally home guys!!


Comments Show All Comments

Ohio State Ombre's picture

just proves everything birm and the gang have been saying about him. good guy with an even better head on his shoulders. cant wait to see him in action

Lawver_5's picture

Seems like a great kid with a good head on top of his shoulders. It will be exciting to see what he and the rest of Meyer's recruits can do the next couple years!

Seattle Linga's picture

Agreed - just think where this program will be in just a few years.

avail31678's picture

but as long as he is my coach I will go to war for him.

THIS.  Love it!!!

FitzBuck's picture

I love this: 

RM: I'm going to major in finance. I wanted to pick a major that would mean something in this forever changing world and something that can help make me a success if for some reason football doesn't work out.

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

avail31678's picture

Agreed.  I think I just love this kid.  Perhaps he can major in Finance and minor in Wolverine Baking 101?  He's gonna knock the snot out of the B1G.

sharks's picture

I was going to suggest some kind of baking or cooking course, but not with the course load for finance.  Way to challenge yourself.

A man got to have a code...

Woodshed's picture

Jalyn Holmes: Such an important piece to this class for SO many reasons.
IMO many forget what a coup he was. Kid will be a stud and is obviously a HUGE asset in osu recruiting.

Baroclinicity's picture

Destroys people and bakes.
My kind of linebacker.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

lljjgg's picture

Not to put too much pressure on the young man (I'm sure he's getting/has gotten enough of it already), but I've been saying for almost two years now, when I first saw his tape and a few interviews with him, that he is exactly that "Alpha Male" leader type that Luke Fickell spoke of -- that the Buckeyes have been missing, with all due respect to Ryan Shazier and Christian Bryant (who've done a great job of leading). It's different when it's the MLB. I think with the right coaching (likely Coach Fickell + whoever we get to come in to coach the secondary), this defense will take on Raekwon's personality; it says a lot to the other players on the field that this kid could have gone to any school in the country, was pursued by every school in the country (that felt they had a shot at him), and CHOSE to go to OSU. In the same way that the Ravens took on Ray Lewis's confidence/identity, I think the Buckeyes will follow suit with Raekwon when he gets the starting MLB role.

I'm very excited for his future so long as he continues to keep his head on straight, which I'm confident he will. The guy, all along, has done everything to turn the spotlight onto his team, his coaches, and his teammates, rather than eat it up himself. Going to be the next great Buckeye LB, I have a feeling.

zebiraross's picture

Raekwon, can't tell you how excited I am to have you as a Buckeye!


Ethos's picture

finance should be required for any players that have posible NFL futures

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

buckeyedude's picture

I agree with you, but my ex-wife had a degree in finance, and couldn't balance a checkbook.



partisan's picture

What's a checkbook?

Oyster's picture

Something that doesn't get your identity stolen...

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

JYBUCKEYE's picture

Seems wise beyond his years. Welcome to Buckeye Nation Raekwon!!!

ITWASME's picture

Great stuff! Now he just needs to come up here and enroll in January so he can get going with Coach Mick!

timhbomb's picture

majoring in Finance seems like a natural for someone with NFL aspirations.

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Great interview.  Oh, and Raekwon...people talk negatively about Coach Meyer because of the incredible success he has wherever he goes.  It is a defense mechanism centered around jealousy and bitterness that they don't have him.
At Ohio State, you will get used to the hate.  And the haters.
We see it as a good thing.
But this fan base is one of the largest, most vocal and intense in all of college football.  We have a few idiots like everybody, but all in all, Buckeye Nation is proud to have you representing THE Ohio State University, young man!
See you soon!

I like cookies.

Buckeye5000's picture

THE Largest, THE Most Vocal, THE Most Intense! Because we are THE Ohio State University!

2014 Undisputed National Champions!

MN Buckeye's picture

Congratulations, Raekwon! Welcome to the Buckeyes, and thank you for addressing the questions. It was very interesting to follow your recruitment: you were thoughtful and thorough, considering every detail. These traits will serve you well in finance as well as in football.

BullCityBuckeye's picture

Very well spoken and thoughtful for his age.  Future looks bright for this young man both on and off the field. 

Buckeye419er's picture

Sounds like a natural born leader on defense. Smart, athletic, and respectful. He is sounding like a model tOSU linebacker. Someone get that man a helmet.

There can be only one

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I'm finally home guys!!

I can't express how much I loved this.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

sivaDavis's picture

This kid will be special. 

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

Seattle Linga's picture

Nice interview Birms and thanks for the write up sounds like a great young man

Remington2323's picture

Welcome to the family

Eph97's picture

Sounds like a solid student and player. The best possible recruit. Impressed by his decision to major in finance.

BassDropper's picture

You mean "under age boy crush?"


ScarletNGrey01's picture

Wow, appears to be a very mature young man.  Looks like he has the potential to a be great success both on AND off the field.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

FUqUespin's picture

Reminds me of guys I went to West Point and served in our Army with.  Solid leader.  Tough.  Smart.  Driven.  Great family.  Great teammate.  Integrity.  Looking forward to his success and what he and his teammates can create for themselves and for their coaches as we watch them unfold in the coming three to four years.  Great kids - check that - emerging men and leaders - in this crew.

SavannahGABuckeye48's picture

I live in Richmond Hill, GA. It's about 20 minutes from Hinesville, so I got to catch a couple of games this year and Kwon was a god among children out there, and Richard LeCounte seemed to stand out even more than Kwon did. LeCounte is the real deal

dlb72osu's picture

We will all need sunglasses! This young man's future looks bright!

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

- Invictus

Urban Ohio's picture

Thank you for the questions and for all the support over the last two years. Go Bucks! I'm finally home guys!!
I'm finally home guys!!  That says it all for me.
                                                  Welcome Home Sir.

Newcomerstown Trojans between Woody and Beaver.

Wesleyburgess1's picture

Don't worry man WE WILL GO TO WAR FOR YOU TOO..Go Bucks

almurray10's picture

I will now expect nothing short of a Raekwon vs EzE circle drill at the next Spring Game.

Hovenaut's picture

Love it.

This class of 2014 is going to be amazing.

ubutango's picture

wow. sounds like a great young man. go bucks!

Ericgobucks's picture

What a great interview. Hopefully, MLB spot will finally have some stability. Cam Williams seems like a very nice kid, but he's not getting it done. 

Jbucks's picture

Wow Great Potential & a Great Attitude!!! Cant wait to see this kid in that in the shspe of a Scarlett Bullet. 2 things that stood out to me though 1. Was him pointing out he trusted these coaches with his Future!! that speaks volumes!! 2nd take away was how he committed to not only stand upfor Meyer but how he would/will go to war for him.... Great young guy, coming in Early to be the Alfa... Too Excited

Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it-John 1:5 SEC meet Ohio State, Ohio State meet SEC

buckskin's picture

Welcome home Kwon.  It is nice to hear Fickell discussing with him the aspect of being an alpha male at MLB.  Great defenses have always had great leaders at MLB.  They are truly the QB of the defense.  That is what was missing this past year on D, a solid leader.  I can picture him the next in line of great MLBs at OSU:  Spielman, Hawk, Laurinitis, McMillan.  Sounds great.

buckz4evr's picture

So glad you are a Buckeye!  Good luck to you may God bless you in the coming years

cinserious's picture

This is perhaps my favorite 11W Community Interview ever! The questions were all great and the answers even greater.

RM: Coach Meyer is one of the best head coaches — if not the best head coach — in America . Fans and spectators can say what they want to say about this guy, and I know people like to speak negatively about him for some reason, but as long as he is my coach I will go to war for him.

^^ This quote had me almost as excited as when he put the Ohio State hat on last week.^^
I can definitely see future 'circle drills' featuring 'Kwon vs EzE.
I can also see a future with the Silver Bullets defense being masterfully orchestrated by Raekwon 'the chef' McMillan. 

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Buckabroad's picture

Very impressed. It was clear that Raekwon was intelligent, but in this interview he shows that he is mature far beyond his years as well. We are extremely lucky to have him in our family. Raekwon, I wish you a Merry Chrismas and the greatest success throughout your career.

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

DenBuck's picture

Great stuff. Curious who moves outside, Mitchell or Kwon. Sounds like Kwon will plant himself firmly in the middle but MM has 1 year head start. Can't wait to see how it shakes out. The LB's will be our strength the next 5 years...

Buckeye For Life

cinserious's picture

I think Kwon takes the MLB spot from day 1 and Curtis Grant moves to strongside. If Shazier leaves, the Weakside goes to Perry or Tre Johnson. From what I understand, Mike Mitchell is still a work in progress lessening the nuances of playing linebacker.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

RBuck's picture

Damn, I like this kid man.

Long live the southend.

ToTheHouse's picture

Linebacker U. you ROCK ! Bucko's the Urb-pieces are being "precisely-placed" in their Columbus Home: Proof...Kwon's Home, K. Berger Home, D. Booker Jr. Home...
Tony Glazer, an assistant coach at Liberty County told Eleven Warriors when McMillan was awarded the Butkus. “He turned into the best LB in the nation (because) he was the ultimate team guy. It was always about just trying to get in the win on Friday an not how many tackles could he get. He's a better person then he is football player.”  
*This is continued Proof: When Coach wants Quality...he GETS Quality...♫ ROCK'N around the Commit-Tree, till the #1's [he wants] all get Home !_!

To the NC House...Repeat gonna be Sah-weet!

Iron_Buckeye's picture

I see what you did there at the end....it was corny, but I like it! 

“The minute we stop expecting greatness from our football program, we become Wisconsin.” Craig Krenzel

Buckeye Knight's picture

Kwon reminds me of Vonn Bell.  Smart, well spoken, and a great player.  I LOVE that we are getting these type of recruits!!!

Edincostarica's picture

Congratulations, Raekwon and welcome to the Buckeye Nation.


Barnsey69's picture

Sounds like the kind of intelligent player that can come right in and challenge for playing time, especially with the early arrival. I'm sure he can find a few ways to stay warm and acclimate to the world of Ohio-indoor winter activities...

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

Jack Burton's picture

Welcome home Raekwon!

It's all in the reflexes - Me

rjsmitty's picture

Great video. Thanks for sharing.
Just get yourself a nice North Face jacket, Kwon! Welcome home!

"I don't wanna coach average! To hell with that!"  -UFM

Crimson's picture

Yeah, except don't buy North Face.  I'm sure they'll hook him up with some nice tOSU winter apparel.

kcbrez's picture

Really, really enjoyed that. He comes off as thoughtful and intelligent. I can't wait to see him on that field.