When Lawrence Cager visited Ohio State for the first time, barely three weeks ago at Friday Night Lights, he left campus with an offer and a declared leader in his recruitment and a funny story that involved Urban Meyer and a cheeseburger.
"They told me they had forgotten to tell me that I had an offer to play here at Ohio State," Cager told 11W following the Buckeyes biggest camp of the summer. "I almost spit out my cheeseburger. I didn't know how to react but it was a funny experience.They're definitely a top school right now on my list...Probably number one.""
The trip to Ohio State was the last trip in a whirlwind summer for the 6-foot-5, 200 pounder from Towson, Maryland. A summer that saw trips to Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio, Oregon and a handful of others, Cager saw himself go from a relative unknown to holding offers from many of college football's elite. Tonight he has trimmed his list to seven final schools. Of those seven, the only school he's scheduled an official visit to — Ohio State — remains at the top of his list. He'll be back in Columbus on September 6th as the Buckeyes host Virginia Tech under the lights in Columbus.
"Ohio State was always the place I wanted to be and the offer I wanted. I grew up loving Ohio State," Cager told 11W as he released his final seven schools. "I think that's enough said about the Buckeyes, and people can infer from that whatever they'd like to."
After the Buckeyes, things are a bit less clear for the Army All-American, although the quality of the options don't drop off even a little bit. Here are the remaining six schools that made the final cut and why.
"Alabama is Alabama, it's a tradition of winning football season-after-season and consistent national championship game appearances. I love coach (Lane) Kiffin and (wide receiver's) coach (Billy) Napier and especially coach (Nick) Saban. My good friend Minkah Fitzpatrick is already committed there as well."
"Notre Dame has great academics as well as good football teams all throughout their history. They always find a good quarterback to get their receivers the ball and it is just a great program. Ashton White is consistently in my ear about them about how he wants me there with him.
"Tennessee is "wide receiver U," who wouldn't want to be a part of the history and tradition of producing great wide receivers? (Wide receivers coach) Zach Azzanni is a great coach and Butch Jones is a very down to earth and tells me I can call him anytime i need anything from him. They're building something special there."
"I've had the best relationship with Coach (Aaron) Morehead since my freshman year in high school. Virginia Tech needs an impact receiver and I think I could be that guy, and that's what they tell me when we talk. They've got a good history of success and a lot to offer anyone."
"Coach (Dave) Clawson is always telling me that I could be the face of Wake Forest football for all my years there. If I went there I would start immediately and have a chance to make an instant impact on their offense. That's a big draw plus he's had a lot of success where ever he's coached in the past.
"Rutgers is similar to Wake Forest in a way. They've got a program on the rise and they're looking for players to come in and make an impact immediately. Coach (Kyle) Flood is hoping to turn things around there and I could be a part of them turning the corner."