When you're 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds as a 16-year old, it's not easy to be "under-the-radar," but Toledo Whitmer defensive tackle Phil Hoskins has been just that.
The Glass city junior was a relative unknown until this year, but if his visit to Ohio State today is any indicator, we're about to see him blow up.
"I was asked to visit Michigan State last weekend," Hoskins told Eleven Warriors. "Unfortunately I couldn't make it because I had a game that day."
The Buckeyes are hoping to get in early on Hoskins, whose frame could easily hold 300-plus pounds, and to that end they kept his trip today a bit quiet. For his part, Hoskins is having trouble staying silent about his adoration for the program he grew up wanting to be a part of.
"(Today) was amazing, I really loved it," he said after his visit, his first ever game at Ohio State. "As soon as I got there they made me feel like I was at home. I had great seats and the coaches couldn't wait to meet me. I got to meet the players we prayed together, and then the game got going. It was so sweet, the entire experience. The crowd was amazing, the stands were packed there literally was no room for fans of the other team, all you could see was scarlet and gray! I loved the 'O-H-I-O' chant, the whole thing was amazing. I really loved Coach (Buckeye defensive line coach Mike) Vrabel as well. I really want to be a Buckeye."
Of course, to be a Buckeye, Hoskins will need to a coveted offer from Ohio State. To do that, he'll need to continue to develop on the field as a player who is just coming into his own. He admits that he's had a tendency in the past to not play through to the whistle, but he says those days are behind him. He recognizes the chance he's got in front of him and won't let it pass.
"When I was younger, I was lazy," he said. "Then I got to Whitmer and saw how they do things here and I realized I couldn't take plays off anymore. That's the biggest difference between me now and me a year ago. Last year if the ball went away from me I'd just save my energy and watch, this year I'm hunting everywhere I see the ball, and my physicality is making a difference. If I hustle to where the ball is, the chance to make plays on the back end is there. I'm doing the little things right and I am staying focused. I don't want people to say 'Oh, Phil Hoskins has a lot of potential but he wasn't willing to put in the work,' so I'm going to do what it takes to get the opportunity I want."
The opportunity he wants is to play at Ohio State, his childhood favorite. With that comes the chance to play for Mike Vrabel, the three-time Super Bowl champion and former Buckeye star who is one of a few Buckeye coaches that have reached out to him recently.
"It was beyond exciting when they first messaged me," Hoskins said of the first interaction with Buckeyes. "I read a message from them in class and I flipped out. I stood right up and start bouncing off walls; I told my teacher and he was excited too, when your favorite school has interest there's no way to be calm about that. It's amazing to me. Guys like Vrabel are people I've looked up to, and I'm sure I could learn things I've never known about football from him. It was great to see how he coaches in person."
Buckeye fans will need to keep an eye on Phil Hoskins moving forward.