Friday Night Lights is the biggest recruiting night of the year for Ohio State. A night where the most important names on the Buckeyes' recruiting board find themselves under the bright lights of Ohio Stadium, performing in front of Urban Meyer, his assistant coaches and a smattering of scarlet and gray clad fans there to catch any glimpse of their beloved Buckeyes.
This year's version of the camp started with a bang – four-star tight end Luke Farrell committed to Meyer at midfield at the onset of competition – and ended with a kick(er): 2017 standout Blake Haubeil chose the Buckeyes late in the evening. The trip to Columbus was one leg of a family trip through the Midwest, but Haubeil – true to his tweet prior to his commitment – felt one segment of the trip stood out.
Ohio state is the best college in the nation— Blake Haubeil (@BlakeHaubeil) July 24, 2015
"The (entire trip) was fun," Haubeil told Eleven Warriors. "But Ohio State was by the far the best part. It sort of caught me off-guard how much I enjoyed it there, but I was so excited to be a part of Friday Night Lights. It was a very fun day."
The majority of that day was spent with players who would be eventual teammates and mentors, guys like Cam Johnston, Sean Nuernberger, Liam McCullough and 2016 commitment Drue Chrisman. He also got to spend significant time with the Ohio State coaches.
"They were awesome, Liam, Drue, and Sean spent the entire night with me on Friday," the Buffalo kicker said. "It was nice to get some advice from them. I also created some good relationships with the coaches. I admired how dedicated they were to their players."
Ohio State prides itself on the people, the tradition, and the excellence and each facet of the program's slogan rung true to Haubeil.
"I looked at a few schools, I've visited a few others," he said, trying to compare the trip to Ohio State with others. "The campus was terrific. My parents and I were amazed with the variety of options for education; but what separates Ohio State was the atmosphere of the campus; from the training facilities to the stadium and the history behind it. As soon as the Buckeyes offered me, I was positive I wanted to go."
For Haubeil, the country's top-ranked 2017 kicker, it was a commitment to the kicking game by Urban Meyer and his staff that stood out and helped him know his future would be in good hands. It was his size – he's 6-foot-3 and 200-pounds already – and his ability that helped him stand out to the Buckeyes.
"I think it was the time and seriousness they put forth there special teams. Ohio State truly treats special teams as a third of the game," Haubeil explained when asked why he felt the need to commit on the spot. "I think what they liked about me was my size and they were interested in my consistency."
It may have also been the strength of his leg: here's Haubeil laying into 55-yard field goals with relative ease.
Now that he's home in New York with two years of high school football left before embarking on his Buckeye career. He hopes to get back to Columbus at least once or twice this fall to check out his future squad. The life of a Big Ten football player may be glamorous at times, but for now, it's back to real life.
"It has definitely sunk in," Haubeil said of the euphoria waning around his decision. "Not a lot of people go Division One for football around here; so it's special to get some attention from people. My thoughts now are to training hard and preparing for camp in a week. I plan on catching a game or two at Ohio State this fall."