Perhaps the fastest player in Ohio for 2015, Denzel Ward of Nordonia High School, has had a relatively slow start to his recruiting process. A 5-foot-11, 170 pound cornerback, Ward visited the Buckeyes for the first time on Saturday and came away very impressed with Ohio State.
"I'd been in contact with (Buckeye offensive line coach Ed) Warinner just recently, but today I hung out mostly with (Kerry) Coombs," Ward told Eleven Warriors when asked what prompted the visit to Columbus. "(The visit) was great. I love the coaches there, and I feel they really know what they're doing. They gets their players motivated and competing with high energy. The facilities were nice and they gave me a lot of feedback on what I need to do in order to be a Buckeye."
Ward has picked up five scholarship offers in the last two months, with the Bearcats of Cincinnati being the first. Cincinnati was his only previous college visit; he attended a junior day on their campus. As for his trip to Columbus, Ward said the Buckeyes were straightforward with him about what he'd need to do in order to earn a scholarship.
"The number one priority is getting my grades up," he said. "They also want me to attend camp this summer. The grades are something I am going to put my full effort into and it's not just something I want to do, I need to do it."
After a successful junior season (37 receptions, 658 receiving yards, nine touchdowns to go along with five interceptions on defense) the blazing fast Ward (personal best 40-time of 4.31) is looking towards a big summer to help grow his game.
"I feel you have to go to camps that a lot of scouts and coaches are going to be at, and I wasn't able to do that last summer," Ward said of his late arriving attention. "You have help make a name for yourself. This summer I'm going to keep going to speed training and working on my technique," he said of plans for the future. "I want to help Nordonia win a championship in my senior year."
Ward saw glimpses of where his technique needs to be when he checked out the Buckeyes' practice.
"Their defensive backs were physical and looked like they were enjoying the game of football," he said of watching Ohio State up close. "I like the different schemes and coverages they were doing. I enjoyed watching the mental phase (of the game) in the classroom with coach Coombs and how he broke down the plays."
As for a return to Ohio State, whether it be for the spring game or camp?
"I want to come back to Ohio State for both," he said about any planned return to Columbus. "I'll be there at camp in June."