Demetrius Knox, the first member of this site to sign with Ohio State to play football, is back to share the story of his recruitment.
First of all, I'm happy that I finally get to write on my favorite site again, and thanks to Birm and the rest of the staff, I may be able to write a couple articles on here. It's been a while but I thought I would give you all a heads up on what the last month or so has been like for me.
Some of you may know that when coach Strong left Louisville and went to Texas, Daniel Gresham had his offer pulled with the new coaching staff at Louisville. That really hurt me because Coach Strong promised Daniel that he wasn't going anywhere and even if he did, he promised that Daniel would be able to come with him. Once (Strong) left like he said he wouldn't, he did not take Daniel with him and that threw me into a bit of a funk with recruiting and coaches everywhere. It was so late in the process and everyone was pretty much full at the running back spot and I was worried Daniel would be left out in the cold.
That got me thinking about my own recruitment. "Do all these coaches lie? Are they are only in it for the money and they don't care about the guys they offer?" Because of this, I started to have my own second thoughts about Ohio State. All these questions came to my head like, "do they even like me as a player? Do they even care about me as a person?"
Over the past two years or so, I had managed to build a great relationship with the Ohio State coaching staff, but after the incident happened to Daniel, who is basically a brother to me, I just felt a shield go up around me, because I didn't want to put all my trust in to a group of men that would one day let me down. I tell you people this isn't easy stuff for a grown man to handle, let alone a high school kid being told this, that and the other thing by every coach in the country every single day. I know there's mixed emotions about recruiting and from the people who follow it, some who think that we (recruits) bring this attention on ourselves and that if we would just "stop playing games," that things would be easier, but we're making the biggest decisions of our lives and it's hard to even have a remotely normal life with college coaches and recruiting analysts and writers calling, texting, direct messaging on Twitter, messaging on Facebook every 15 minutes.
I've tried very hard to be as good to everyone as possible, but unfortunately a few weeks back I made an error in judgment and publicly embarrassed a writer who had always tried to be pretty good to me. I was frustrated with repeated messages and I let my frustration get the better of me, and I sincerely regret it. I had no intention of things blowing up the way they did, and I am sorry I handled it the way I did. I was just so tense with everything going on around me, my recruitment and with my best friend's recruitment that I didn't think clearly.
Fortunately, I discussed the situation with the Ohio State coaches and they completely understood what I was going through and why I was feeling the way I was. I knew Ohio State was the place for me after that because of something coach (Buckeye offensive co-ordinator Tom) Herman and coach (Ed) Warinner did without me ever considering asking. Herman and Warinner started to call around to different colleges to see if they could find a school that wanted to sign another running back. I didn't know that at the time, but it showed me that not all coaches are just using the kids they offer. They did care about me, and not just me, either. My friends and family mattered to them.
Deep down I knew I had so much faith in the Ohio State program and coaches, but it was just so tough for me to see someone who was close to me put in that situation. The Ohio State coaches sensed this and Urban Meyer, being the genius that he is, sent the house to come and get me back in my right mind. Coach Herman, Warinner and Urban Meyer all came on a visit to my school to see me and go out to dinner.
This may sound corny or whatever but there are just some people that you can be around and they don't have to say a word but the vibe that they give off is so strong that you can automatically know what they're about. That meeting in my coach's office took me back to when I first met coach Meyer up at Ohio State. I saw him and after talking to him the first time I was like "wow, this man is really smart and has a plan, he's going to get the job done." It was like that when I walked into my coach's office. Just to see all the coaches that came to see me, but the first person I saw was coach Meyer and anytime you're around him, you just catch that vibe that he's a man who deserves respect, and that's because he gives respect first.
That day it was almost automatically that I was like, "What am I doing? This is the best overall staff that I've seen in college football. This is my dream school and I'm committed to play for and be a student at The Ohio State University."
I immediately came to my senses but I tried to play it cool with the coaches (laughs.) We were all talking then all of a sudden coach Meyer cut everyone off and said "You're my left guard. I need you to come in mature, I need you to come in ready and prepared," he said this with a face that was screaming that he was serious.
I looked him in the eyes and said "Yes sir, I'll be there."
He said he loved how mature I was already but if I'm going to come in and take over then I'm going to have to act like a twenty year old man around all of the other men that play at Ohio State. I was proud, I had Urban Meyer sitting in my school telling me that he needs me to come in and take over. This all made my day but it was implied that nothing is going to be given to me, I've got to work my tail off to earn it. I'm going to have to be ready and better than the rest if I want to come in and take over left guard and reach my goal of being a freshman All-American.
That entire day at school, I guess you could say coach Meyer was "brain washing me." The word "preparation" kept playing over and over in my head. He had only said that one word, that I have to get to work now so I can work my butt off to be the man in the fall. All day all I heard was "preparation". It has stuck in my head since then, so if you ever hear or see me tweet "preparation" then you know why. I will be prepared when I arrive at Ohio State.
Yes, it's all one big blessing that I have all of this going for me as far as playing for my dream school and talking to all of these highly ranked coaches but I could tell that throughout the day that the coaches didn't see the excitement from my face. Yes, I am excited and I don't take any of this for granted but the thing is I've been saying this since the second grade. I said that I was going to be an All-American in high school. I said that I was going to go to Ohio State, I said that I was going to win national championships and go to the NFL. I'm hope that I am not sounding cocky but all of this has just been expected. It's expected because that's just my work ethic will bring me. As long as I work at it, whatever I put my mind to, I'm going to do it.
I can remember my sophomore year when I received my first offer (from Texas A&M,) I was so happy! I came home and told my mom and brother and they were just like "OK, that's really cool," and then carried on with their conversation. It was a blessing to know I'd have my college paid for as a sophomore but again, that was expected because I knew I was going to work for what I wanted.
Of course, even after that day other schools still had to do their jobs and try and recruit me, but I knew Ohio State was where I wanted to be. It was only a week or so later that the point was hammered home, and again it was something the coaches at Ohio State did; it's how I knew they were different.
Everyone knows about the story about when coach Herman was stranded in traffic for nineteen hours because he was on his way to the airport to come and see me. He ended up missing his flight because of traffic but managed to finally get to the airport. Nineteen hours without food or water and he didn't choose to fly back home to Ohio, when most people would have. Yet he chose to come and see me because he said he would and maybe a little bit because Coach Meyer told him to "Go and drink a Gatorade, eat a granola bar and go and close the deal on Demetrius."
The night before signing day I was so excited that I couldn't even sleep. I was up all night trying to figure out what I was going to wear and everything. When I woke up that morning, everything was still cool but when I got to school, I was a nervous wreck, I couldn't explain it but I was just really nervous. The fact that I was actually signing to live my dream just got to me. I guess it finally sunk in a bit.
Being the type of person I am, I couldn't end this without going out with a bang. I planned on faxing a little joke to the coaches, two papers that said, "To coach Herman, Meyer and Warinner, my apologies but I regret to inform you that I will not be faxing my letter of intent to The Ohio State University this morning..." then send the next paper that finished by saying, "...from this fax machine, will you please give me a second?" I decided to not go through with that since I didn't want to cause any heart attacks and end up paying for it with 5:00 a.m running by myself when I get there, though. The staff was happy and they all congratulated me as soon as I sent it in.
I'm so happy that I'm able to live my dream and be an Ohio State Buckeye. It's a blessing that I have the opportunity to bust my tail and work for all of the accolades that will come with hard work in the future. Now that my high school football career is over, I'm doing everything that I can to be ready mentally and physically so that I can succeed in the classroom and on the field at Ohio State starting day one. I'm happy that I'm able to tell my fellow 11-dubbers what's really gone on in the last month or so for me.
PREPARATION and Go Buckeyes!