The college football off-season at Eleven Warriors provides us the opportunity to look forward to the upcoming season by providing a comprehensive recruiting profile every member of Ohio State's latest recruiting class.
The sixth edition of this now 23-part series titled Better Know A Buckeye continues with Kyle Trout, the third commitment in this recruiting class. Trout, currently enrolled in Ohio State, is from familiar territory for Ohio State fans. A former Lancaster Golden Gale, Trout comes to us from the same high school that gave us Bobby Carpenter and Jim Cordle. Both were celebrated multi-year starters for the Buckeyes. Ohio State fans hope that Trout will be the same for the Buckeyes as well.
I retell his brief recruitment below. Courted by schools like Michigan State, Toledo, and West Virginia (among others), Trout was offered shortly after his junior year of football. It took a week from receiving his scholarship offer to an unofficial visit to campus, in which Trout committed.
Thereafter, I offer an assessment of strengths and areas for improvement for what is arguably the prospect in this class with the most pro potential. I give a projection of a redshirt in 2014 and provide film of Trout to observe. I conclude with miscellaneous things about Kyle Trout you may find interesting.
High School: Lancaster High School; Lancaster
Kyle's recruitment is similar to other stories I have penned before in previous versions of these series. One of the top blue chip prospects in the 2014 class, Trout caught Ohio State's eye after his sophomore season. However, this happened to coincide with Urban Meyer's arrival after the fall of 2011. Intrigued by Trout's potential and confident in its own leverage as the in-state powerhouse, Ohio State waited until after his junior year before giving Trout a scholarship offer.
Trout's recruitment took hold in the summer of 2012. He not only had a couple MAC offers from Ohio and Toledo, but also had offers from Cincinnati and Illinois. These offers came in a summer in which Trout took several unofficial visits and also performed in various camps. This was a great start for Trout in his recruitment, but he eyed the scholarship offer from Ohio State.
He was invited to visit Ohio State for Friday Night Lights and was encouraged to compete. He did not compete in the camp, given the proximity of Ohio State's signature camp to the first week of practice for Lancaster football. However, he still visited and observed the festivities. For the meantime, no offer came and Trout was encouraged to be patient as the football season began.
Trout took several unofficial visits during the fall of 2012. These unofficial visits coincided with scholarship offers from places like Pittsburgh and West Virginia. Indiana offered a scholarship as well. At this time, the big player to emerge in Trout's recruitment was Michigan State. Trout took an unofficial visit to Michigan State for the weekend of the Notre Dame game.
Shortly thereafter, Michigan State extended a scholarship. When Trout was informed of the offer by Mark Dantonio over the phone, he immediately hugged his mom and dad. A prescient Dantonio told Trout that the offer from Michigan State was going to open a lot of doors for Trout. That is, he could expect movement by Ohio State and also Wisconsin.
Trout took several other visits during the 2012 season. He visited Illinois for its conference-opening demolition by Penn State. He was also a frequent guest of Ohio State during the 2012 season, attending games against Central Florida and Michigan.
Ed Warinner, for the meantime, advised Trout to be patient as they continued to evaluate him.
The story picks up after the football season had concluded. A bowl-ineligible Ohio State team was able to invest all resources in recruiting. Kyle Trout's recruitment nears its conclusion when Ed Warinner visited Lancaster High School to watch a basketball game in which Trout was playing. Trout showcased his athleticism for Warinner to observe. A Cleveland Plain Dealer feature on Trout summarized how he got the attention of Warinner.
It wasn’t anything Trout did in a summer camp or on the football field that eventually convinced Ohio State line coach Ed Warinner that he was the guy. It was at a basketball game, in which Trout starred as the Gales’ center.
Trout ran up and down the floor with great agility, he guarded all five positions and he never came out of the game. This wasn’t some out of shape lineman playing basketball just for the sake of his 6-foot-6, 285-pound frame.
Trout is immeasurably athletic for a person of his vast size. Smaller guards from the opposing team couldn't believe how quickly Trout was moving.
After being encouraged to take an unofficial visit to Ohio State a week later, Warinner and Meyer informed the family that Kyle Trout had an official scholarship offer from Ohio State.
A week later, Kyle Trout took another unofficial visit that ultimately concluded his recruitment.
On February 10th, 2013, Kyle Trout committed to Ohio State as the third member of its 2014 football recruiting class.
He spoke of the decision with Eleven Warriors shortly after he committed.
You committed to Ohio State this past weekend. How does it feel to be a Buckeye?
Once I committed I felt like nothing had changed. I am still just a kid from Lancaster, Ohio, who plays football and have been blessed to make it to the next level. I know I still have a lot of work to do, because while I may stand out at my high school, I'm entering a new pool of players, all like myself, who were recruited by great college football programs and will all be fighting to be the best at that level. I'm just going to keep working hard and training to make sure I'm ready for Ohio State.
You were offered on January 26. Why did you decide now was the time to commit to OSU?
When I first got my offer I was so relieved and it was a really big thing to happen to me. That Sunday night I almost called the coaches to commit, but got scared when I picked up the phone and decided to take some time to weigh the pros and cons of making that decision. Last Wednesday I almost picked up the phone and committed again, but decided that I wanted to be a man about it and let them know in person.
While weighing the pros and cons over the last two weeks I just realized there was no reason not to commit. It was close to home, I had a former teammate there already (Luke Roberts), they have Athletes in Action on campus, they went 12-0 last year and I know they're going to keep winning. It's something I always dreamed about, it's a great education, and they have Coach Warinner who just won an award as the best offensive line coach in the country, so there's nobody better to help me succeed at the next level.
I thought, 'why not?' and after praying on it I knew Ohio State was where I needed to be.
How did the coaches react when you committed?
Coach Meyer was pumped and gave me a high five, but was so excited that he brought me in for a hug. Coach Warinner was really excited as well and afterwards I told them both I wanted to help them get the best recruiting class in the country for 2014. When I said that they were really happy and pulled me back into their office to talk even more.
Where He Excels
Trout is arguably the most intriguing prospect in Ohio State's recruiting class. Most of the intrigue may involve how promising Trout could be to NFL scouts a few years from now rather than how serviceable he could be for Ohio State football in the immediate future.
Descriptions of Trout's athleticism are on point. He was a combine workhorse through 2013. He crushed it at the Nike Football Training Combine in Columbus, leading to an offer to attend The Opening in Beaverton, Oregon.
There, again, he showcased his speed and lateral quickness. His shuttle time was better than some big name tight ends like Jeb Blazevich (Georgia) and linebackers like Clifton Garrett (Louisiana State).
“His running ability for a lineman, its unparalleled... I haven't seen a lot of linemen in the NFL, college level or high school, that can run like he does. You can acquire and teach strength, but you can’t acquire his type of athleticism.”
Trout's frame is ideal for the tackle position. He's a solid 6-6, 295-pounds with long arms for keeping defenders at bay. He shines in run blocking, for which he got a lot of reps in Lancaster's Wing-T offense. He has a great first step, even showcasing an ability to pinch and pull. I am not sure he does much of that for Ohio State, but it was still impressive to see.
He finishes blocks too.
Further, everything I have read indicates a solid attitude and professional approach, even as Trout transitions to a stage of his career where he begins on the third team and works his way up. Consider this quote from Trout from the same article.
When I first started getting recruited, a lot of people thought I was just another Ohio kid, that [Urban] Meyer thought I was like (part of) a quota,” Trout said during an in-person interview with Cleveland.com on Thursday. “But I'm a player.”
“Coach Meyer wants the best kids, and if they aren’t in Ohio then he isn’t going to only get Ohio kids to make Ohio parents happy,” Trout said. “He just wants to win. He loses his job if he doesn’t win. He wants the best.”
“I knew (I was competing) before they even told me,” Trout said. “It was tough because it was a long time of (the Ohio State coaches) going to Westerville Central and then coming to Lancaster to figure out which kid they wanted to give an offer to. Then finally it was me. It was a great honor.”
Must Work On
One reason for the deliberate use of the word "intriguing" in describing Kyle pertains to his limitations right now. Though Trout shined in Lancaster's Wing-T offense, the design of the offense is not conducive to a seamless transition to Ohio State's offense. For example, Lancaster's offense included a lot of shoulder blocking, which is as vintage Wing-T as it gets.
Trout played some left guard for Lancaster and the Gales rarely threw the ball. There were not a lot of reps for Trout in pass protection, though it will be an important part of what Trout does for Ohio State.
This leads to some comments on his technique. Trout has great hips and a good knee bend, but is not that consistent at the moment. His hand use and reach are not consistent either. He is strong enough to overpower players his size or smaller than him. However, technique matters to winning the battle in the trenches against players bigger than Trout, or smaller, but faster. I have read Trout had struggled with some smaller speed rushers.
Put another way, Trout is "raw". Very raw. However, that is why Ed Warinner is paid handsomely to do what he does. Most high school football is run-intensive anyway.
This is a close call. I am going to err on the side of him not redshirting in 2014 as a result of his enrollment in the program this January. Tackle is a position of immediate need and uncertainty for Ohio State this season. Darryl Baldwin has positioned himself nicely and Taylor Decker should slide to left tackle in 2014. However, there are more questions than answers right now.
If Ohio State handles Navy in the season-opener like we expect, look to see if Trout is in the game in the fourth quarter. If he is not, that might indicate a redshirt is coming.
This brief junior year film is the best I could find.
To compensate, here is an interview with Kyle Trout at the Touchdown Club of Columbus.
- 11W Community Interview.
- High school coach was Rob Carpenter, father of Bobby Carpenter.
- High school mascot is the Golden Gales, or "Gales" for short.
- His high school also produced national champion quarterback Rex Kern and David Graf, who played Sgt. Eugene Tackleberry in the Police Academy films.
- Trout had a highly publicized battle at the Nike Football Training Combine with Da'Shawn Hand. Some footage is here. Hand signed with Alabama, but, at the time, was considered to be a lock to Michigan.
- Brief 10TV feature.
- Trout fell short of his goal to make it to at least the playoffs as a senior. Lancaster finished 5-5 in 2013.