The Hurry Up is your nightcap of Ohio State recruiting news, catching you up on the day’s events with an ear on the ground for what’s next.
I'm just going to cut to the chase: after three-and-a-half years, this will be the last edition of The Hurry Up I'll write. Today is my final day at Eleven Warriors.
The decision to leave this site – which I truly identify as "home" – has been the hardest-to-make professional decision of my life. Even today at Ohio State's recruiting camp, I introduced myself to multiple people as "Jeremy Birmingham, Birm from Eleven Warriors." This website is as much a part of my identity right now as anything, and the decision to move on from it has been anything but easy, but as Woody once said "Nothing easy is worth a damn."
The decision to leave 11W isn't something I've taken lightly, but it's one that I simply had to make for my future.
Years ago, when Alex was given a chance to move on to different things, there was concern that 11W wouldn’t be able to replace his contributions to the site. But I know, looking at the last three-and-a-half years, that not only were we able to meet, but in many instances, exceed those expectations. I believe full well that will prove to be the case once more. Eleven Warriors is far bigger than one person, and my replacement will succeed here because of the Eleven Warriors reach and tradition of hard, innovative work. This community and this website is the model that others will continue to compare themselves against. There is no shortage of talented people chomping at the bit, waiting for an opportunity to fill my shoes here, and I know they'll do a great job.
This site has been nothing short of a blessing in my life, and I don’t say that lightly. It has afforded me opportunities I would never have dreamed of growing up and has opened doors for me beyond my expectations.
I spent January 12th, 2015 on the sidelines of Jerry World in Dallas taking pictures of an Ohio State national championship game because of this site, because of the support of all of you. I still struggle to comprehend on occasion that I actually did that.
I traveled to The Opening, the Army All-American Game and have gotten to know hundreds of people that as a kid growing up in Toledo, I'd never have imagined I'd get to know, and they knew me, because of Eleven Warriors. This was a dream come true, all of it. I'll never forget the drama around Demetrius Knox and his commitment, calling me five times in three days, changing his mind every time. The relationships we've built with recruits, their parents, coaches and mentors. It's those things that matter, those opportunities to give back to the people who've made me worth reading. The chance to be the only web-based media invited to the Football Parents at Ohio State welcome dinner last year, those moments? That's what it's about and why this site matters to me and why I know what we do – and how we do it – matters to all of you who read it.
There are things we've created that I'm truly proud of. Great things like the 11W Community Interview, our Inked series and of course, The Hurry Up, which has in some way redefined what guys all over the recruiting world have had to do on a daily basis. I am exceptionally proud of what we've built here and I am so grateful for all the encouragement and support from each and every one of you.
I love Eleven Warriors and I always will.
This was a hobby when I first typed out a column here in August 2011 and for it to evolve into a career the way it has is because of your support, 100-percent. I owe everything that has happened to me in the last few years, and everything that comes next, to all of you. More than anything, I want to just say thank you.
Thank you to you, our readers, for giving me your ears and your attention and for supporting this incredible place. I will always love this website and consider it my home. I will always revere and respect 11W not just because of the insane amount of great content that gets produced here, but because the men and women whom I've been fortunate enough to call teammates over the last few years are some of the hardest-working and most-talented people I've ever met. That's how I know 11W will continue to thrive, long after I'm gone.
Thank you to Jason for believing in my vision for the recruiting section of the website. You've turned your dream of a place for Buckeye fans to gather into the best Ohio State website on the internet, and it's been your vision, elbow grease and commitment that has led the way. Thank you to Ramzy. You're truly the "Most Interesting Man in the World" and it's been an honor to work alongside you, to sip bourbon with you and to consider you a friend.
Thank you to the Lord of Whiskers, DJ Byrnes, for being an absolute hammer at every possible turn along the way. If you think you know DJ because of the Skull Sessions or his Twitter persona, I'm here to tell you: you're right. He's certifiable and it's wonderful and there's no one more valuable to this website's success than he is. Without DJ, we're good, with DJ, we're a monster and that's entirely because he's relentless and smarter than pretty much anyone I've ever met.
Thank you to Kyle Rowland and Patrick Maks, a couple of absolute pros I feel lucky to have worked with during their time here. To Eric Seger and Tim Shoemaker, who made road trips significantly more bearable in the last year and a half. A special thank you to Tim for accompanying me to Old Navy prior to our Sugar Bowl trip and helping me throw together a new wardrobe after I inexplicably forgot my suitcase in Toledo. I like to think that as a group we complemented one another well because we all genuinely like each other and the work we did reflected that. It's never felt like "work" for a single day, and that's a direct testament to the people I've worked with.
Thank you to Johnny, Chris, Michael Citro, Vico, Walt, Andrew, Kevin, Grant and Matt. The truth of the matter is that with a website like this one, that's grown like this site has, doesn't do it without a bad ass team of people and we've had that in spades.
Believe me when I say that what comes next for 11W will be great. As long as the guys I mentioned are in charge, things will continue to get better for this site and for the readers who have turned it into what it is today, and I'll eat my shoe if it doesn't. There are big things coming for this site and I know Jason and the leadership here will execute all those plans flawlessly. They deserve all the support you’ve shown me in the last three-plus years. They are the talent, I'm just a guy who loves recruiting and was blessed to be able to write about it here.
My success is a byproduct of the success – of the brand – that we've built here. None of that could be possible without everyone reading this site, and I know that things here will continue to grow and improve.
Details about what’s next for me will be coming down the pike, and I hope you’ll find me and support me in the future as well. In the meantime, I just wanted to say thank you. You all have no idea how much the support you've shown me in the last few years means to me.
Until we meet again...