Achievement Unlocked: Cupp Realizes Lifelong Dream

By Jeremy Birmingham on August 28, 2015 at 12:00 pm
Gavin Cupp at The Opening regional camp in late May.
Gavin Cupp

On July 30, four days after a difficult decision that was almost a devastating mistake, Gavin Cupp received some of the biggest news of his young life. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive lineman from Leipsic received a scholarship offer from Ohio State after taking a leap of faith and camping with the Buckeyes at Friday Night Lights. A week later, he was committed to the Buckeyes.

The decision to audition for Ohio State led to Michigan State, where Cupp had been committed since May, deciding to pull his scholarship offer, a stunning and aggressive decision by Mark Dantonio's staff.

Cupp, who has remained relatively silent about the week that followed FNL, shared his thoughts with Eleven Warriors.

"It was a very big shock," Cupp said of the Spartans' decision. "I never thought any of that would be happening. I didn't really understand at first, and I still don't at times, but it's the way they operate their program and it is what it is. Everything happens for a reason and this must be what was supposed to happen."

Since then, what's happened for Cupp has been almost exclusively good. An Ohio native, the Vikings' offensive lineman has been taking the changes to his life in stride and is preparing for his senior season at Leipsic.

"I grew up a huge Buckeye fan and I'm named after Woody Hayes – Gavin Hayes Cupp – so it's almost destiny."

"Since I committed, things have been going well," Cupp told 11W. "I'm very glad everything has slowed down. It was pretty crazy there for a while and I never thought what happened with me would receive national attention. Life, though, has been pretty fun. I have a lot of people asking for photographs and autographs.

"My high school, and my hometown," Cupp said. "Are very important to me. If I enrolled early, during my first workout there I could suffer a career-ending injury and I could have wasted the last half of my senior year. It feels great to have this over with before my senior year started up. Now all my focus can be on this upcoming school year and the season ahead, and we've been looking pretty sharp. Our goal as a team is to improve day after day and week after week; if we can do that we will be a tough team to beat."

One aspect of being a Buckeye commitment, from Ohio, is understanding the pressure of expectations. For Cupp, the offer from Ohio State was as much as relief as it was a cause of excitement. His decision to camp that Friday night could have left him looking all over the country; instead it found him where he wanted to be all along.

"It was Coach (Tim) Hinton who offered me, and I called (Ed) Warinner right after," Cupp said, recalling that Thursday morning.  "He didn't want an answer right away so later that night I called (Tim) Hinton and committed. I really didn't have any thoughts (about the offer) other than relief that my family and I could finally sleep and breathe again (laughs). I was glad I did enough at the camp to get the offer, because I felt I had more to prove to everyone and I did that. I couldn't be happier to be a Buckeye, I grew up a huge Buckeye fan and I'm named after Woody Hayes – Gavin Hayes Cupp – so it's almost destiny."

Now a Buckeye, Cupp has started to become familiar with his future teammates.

"(Getting to know the guys in the class) is going good," Cupp continued. "We have a group chat so that's how I've had a chance to talk to most of them. I have talked with all the other offensive lineman in person before, I got to know Jack (Wohlabaugh) a little bit at the spring game, Tyler (Gerald) during last year's Rutgers game and Michael (Jordan) at several camps and visits. I also talked to Luke Farrell and Jake Hausmann at The Opening in Columbus, so I'm familiar with most of them."

The fourth Buckeye offensive line commit in the 2016 class isn't thinking about enrolling early and he's not spending too much thinking about his future at Ohio State. Right now, he's thinking about representing the place that's always been most important to him: home.

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