In 2014, Ohio State dipped into the talented pool of Southwest Ohio talent and nabbed Cincinnati Moeller linebacker/athlete Sam Hubbard.
This past week, Hubbard's talented teammate at Moeller, defensive tackle Elijah Taylor, visited the Buckeyes and left campus with a scholarship offer from Ohio State. Ohio's best defensive lineman for 2015, Taylor is a big (6-foot-3, 275 pounds,) agile and versatile. He currently has scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Michigan State, Tennessee, Miami (Fla.,) Louisville and others. The offer from the Buckeyes caused a bit of a shake-up for the Cincinnati lineman.
"With all the recent offers, my list really hasn't been refined," Taylor told 11W. "But Ohio State is definitely in the 'higher-up' section."
Traditionally, Cincinnati is less slanted towards Ohio State than most regions of the state, and Taylor is another player from the area who didn't grow up with any particular affinity for the Buckeyes. That said, he admits he wasn't much of a fan of any school.
"I wasn't really a fan of anyone until I started playing football," he said of his earlier years. "I didn't grow up with a favorite college football team."
Ohio State and Taylor have flirted for a while, but he's uncertain what triggered the recent scholarship offer.
"I'm not really sure what the tipping point was," Taylor said of the surprise he felt when Ohio State offered. "They kind of hinted at it Thursday (he visited Friday.)"
Taylor has been to Columbus for previous visits, and this one was a bit different.
"I got to sit and watch film with, and meet Coach (Buckeye defensive line coach Larry) Johnson," he said his trip. "I also got to see the campus for the first time and also got to meet some of the players on the team."
Meeting Johnson is a big deal for Taylor, who would be coached by the former Penn State fixture. Kerry Coombs, a Cincinnati legend, had been previously recruiting the Moeller star.
"I'm starting to talk to Johnson more," he added. "I actually met him at Penn State last year. I really like how he handles the defensive line."
Does Hubbard, the four-star linebacker heading to Columbus, try and influence his junior teammate? Not really says Taylor.
"(Hubbard) won't really tell me too much because he wants me to make my own decision," he said of the Ohio State signee. "Every once in a while he will talk about them a lot, though."
Taylor plans on making an as-of-yet-date-undetermined return to Ohio State, but says another trip is definitely in the plans. For now, he's focused on what all his opportunities have to offer him. He's no different than most prospects looking for a college home in that relationship with coaches, playing time, and academics are vital. He does want to know about life outside of football as well.
"I also want to make sure I what the life of an everyday student-athlete is like," Taylor said of what he's looking for in a school. "I hope to make my decision by the end of the summer."