The 11W Community Interview is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people. You submit the questions, vote on them, and then we pass the top ones on to the biggest names in the world of Ohio State athletics.
With almost 100,000 in attendance for Ohio State's 2016 spring game, it wasn't a surprise when the Buckeyes' recruiting class had a huge weekend in mid-April.
What was a surprise is which player started the five-pledge weekend: Illinois' Tuf Borland, a four-star linebacker from Bolingbrook and a Wisconsin legacy. Borland had been in Columbus earlier that week but missed the spring game. He chose the Buckeyes seemingly unexpectedly but he had been a primary target of the Ohio State defensive staff for a while.
The country's 20th-ranked inside linebacker and 268th-ranked overall prospect, Borland joins us in the 11W Community Interview from Columbus. This weekend he's visiting Ohio State for the first time since his commitment.
Did the B1G championship game and Gary Anderson subsequently leaving Wisconsin have a big impact on your recruitment? – TeddyBallgame
TB: Not so much the Big Ten Championship Game, but Gary Anderson leaving had some impact. It really put the new Wisconsin staff behind from the start, but that does not take away anything from Ohio State during the recruiting process. That is where I felt most comfortable.
With your father being a former Badger, how did that affect your decision process? – BuckGuyFan1
TB: My family's strong ties to the state of Wisconsin did not really play a huge role in the recruiting process. It was something to consider because of the proximity to family, but there was never any pressure from my dad, specifically. At the end of the day, I knew Columbus was right place for me. My family all understood that and they were happy with my decision.
Is there an interesting story behind your first name Tuf? Family name or your parents just thought it was really cool? – Squirrel Master
TB: My dad had a co-worker when we lived out in California who's name was Tuf. My dad originally threw the name out as a joke to my mom, but she happened to love it, so they went with it.
What's the weirdest or most ridiculous thing a coach has done during the recruiting process? – YTownBucki
TB: The weirdest thing that happened during the process came from a whole school, not just a coach. I received a call from a coach saying, "Congratulations on your newest offer!" but in reality nobody told me they were offering me. There seemed to be a disconnect between the coaching staff. Although I didn't get offered by that school, it wasn't the end of the world, I just thought that whole situation was really strange.
What is your inspiration, what motivates you to do what it is that you do on the field? – WezBuck28
TB: I am definitely the type of person that is motivated by what others say about me. If someone says I can't do something, that only makes me want to do whatever it is that they say I can't. At the same time, a person cannot be worried about what other people say all the time. You have to be able to block that out and motivate yourself. That is what I can do. I am a self-motivator.
At the end of the day, I knew Columbus was right place for me. My family all understood that and they were happy with my decision.
How did you know you were ready to commit? – BroJim
TB: Going into my last visit to Ohio State, the week of the spring game, I knew the recruiting process was coming to the end. The visit to Columbus was great. I saw everything I was looking for and I loved it. I knew coming right out of the visit that this is where I wanted to attend school.
What was it about Ohio State that you enjoyed that was non-football related? – BlockO330
TB: My interest in the human body and how it can be trained physically is something I really enjoy. I felt that Ohio State gave me the best opportunity to pursue a career in strength and conditioning after football. The school gives all the support a person could ask for and has a great resource in Coach (Mick) Marotti, the Strength and Conditioning Coach. I'm extremely excited about that.
Was there anything you'd like to share about your recruiting experience that really blew you away, about Ohio State? – Buckeye3M
TB: There was one instance in the recruiting process that I knew Ohio State was the place for me. I was actually on a recruiting trip to Purdue and I was meeting Coach Marcus Freeman, the linebacker coach, who played at Ohio State under Coach Fickell as a linebacker. I really enjoyed my time with Coach Freeman and saw he was someone to look up to. I felt this spoke words about the job that Coach Fickell and the Ohio State staff do with their players.
Who do you model your game after? – WesPatterson23
TB: I would say James Laurinaitis. The last time I visited, Coach Fickell pulled up some tape and we were able to see the similarity. Laurinaitis is a complete linebacker with great instincts and plays physical. He is a great player to strive to play like. I feel I can bring a similar skill set to the table.
There are a few numbers that Buckeye fans relate immediately to linebackers, No. 36 for one. What number would you like to wear? Has that number been promised to you? – JohnnyKozmo
TB: I have always worn the number 32, but a number is just a number. Nothing has been promised. I just want to play.