With dozens of prospects on campus this weekend, Ohio State still found a way to make a significant impact on Darius Fullwood, the nation's 21st-ranked defensive end. An Olney, Maryland native, Fullwood visited the Buckeyes with his friend, Gonzaga High School (Washington, D.C.) wide receiver Jabari Greenwood.
Ohio State has been high on Fullwood's list since January, according to the 6-foot-4, 240 pounder. That was when the Buckeyes made headlines by hiring former Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson, Sr., a coach Fullwood has long had a close relationship with. Fullwood spent a good portion of his Buckeye visit with Johnson.
"It was a great trip, and yes, they are my leader," Fullwood told 11W Sunday night. "I think what stood out was the coaching staff and the intensity of the practice. Everyone seems like good people there, and we also got a chance to see the academic side of things."
One of America's most respected line coaches, Johnson is known for his player-friendly approach and history of producing first round NFL draft picks. This weekend gave Fullwood a chance to see how he operates in person.
"I got a chance to see (Larry Johnson) set up a gameplan for his players early in the morning before the scrimmage," he said of how he spent his Saturday. "I also got a chance to go to the scrimmage itself. It was great to see the high-tempo offense and just to watch how (Johnson) coaches his players."
Fullwood has a full slate of visits upcoming, and despite Ohio State's emergence at the top of his list, he didn't consider committing on this visit. He has offers from a number of major schools including Florida State, Alabama, Michigan State Penn State, Miami (Fla.), Georgia Tech and others; and he has a couple big visits coming up before a decision is made.
"No, not yet," Fullwood said of whether he considered pulling the trigger for the Buckeyes. "My commitment will come in May. I'm visiting Virginia Tech April 5th, Georgia Tech April 18th, Alabama April 19th and Michigan State, but I don't know that date yet."
Can the Buckeyes hold on to the lead for Fullwood through those visits? That's unclear, but he seems confident that this post-visit glow isn't going to be a fleeting feeling.
"I like Ohio State a lot," he said of whether he thinks the Buckeyes will be the barometer for other visits. "I've been in contact Johnson every week, and that won't change. His hiring made Ohio State move to the top of my list because he's one of the best defensive line coaches in America. I think he can be a great mentor for me on, and off, the field and he can help get me to the NFL."