As an up and coming prospect, Pickerington Central's Lorenzo Styles Jr. took his first visit to Ohio Stadium on Oct. 6 when the Buckeyes hosted Indiana. But his scarlet and grey roots are planted much deeper than that.
Styles Jr.'s father, Lorenzo, was an Ohio State linebacker for three seasons under John Cooper in the mid-1990s. And while the elder Lorenzo suited up for the Buckeyes, Ohio State was 27-8-2 overall but just 1-1-1 against Michigan — a 13-13 tie in 1992, a 28-0 loss in 1993 and a 22-6 win in 1994.
Lorenzo Sr. knows all about the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. He played in it, he sweat in it, he bled in it. But Lorenzo Jr. will get his first taste this weekend, watching live while taking his second visit to Columbus in the past two months ... and he'll get to do so with his dad.
"My dad and younger brother Alex plan to come with me," Styles Jr. said. "I'm excited to have both of them attend because this will be my brother's first Ohio State game, so this will be a great experience for him. For my dad, I'm sure this rivalry game brings back a lot of memories. So it will be fun for us to be in the stadium together on Saturday."
Styles Jr., a 2021 wide receiver, has yet to receive an offer from Ohio State. Of course, this weekend, that could change. He does have offers from Notre Dame, Indiana, Boston College, Pittsburgh and Vanderbilt.
But even without a standing offer from the Buckeyes, the 6-foot-1, 170-pound wideout has continued to develop a relationship with the coaching staff. And, even if Saturday's visit doesn't yield exemplary time spent with coaches, Styles Jr. says that's OK. He'd rather the Buckeyes focus on beating Michigan.
"Last visit, I spoke with coach [Alex] Grinch, coach [Tim] Hinton, and also had an opportunity to talk with coach [Urban] Meyer before the game," he said. "Not sure who I will meet with this visit. With this being a big game, their focus is preparing for the game. So if we don't have a chance to touch base during my visit, I'm not concerned. I've been keeping in touch regularly this season with the coaching staff."
As he's kept in contact with Ohio State, he's also helped Pickerington Central go 11-2 ... and the Tigers are still very much alive in the OHSSA playoffs. They'll take on Cincinnati Colerain in a Division I state semifinal.
Through its playoff run, Pickerington Central has beaten Hilliard Bradley (14-13), Northmont (33-7) and Hilliard Davidson (20-13). That, of course, comes after last year's Division I state championship run. As you can see, Styles Jr. is no stranger to pressure-filled atmospheres.
"For my dad, I'm sure this rivalry game brings back a lot of memories. So it will be fun for us to be in the stadium together on Saturday."– Lorenzo Styles Jr.
And Saturday, there's no pressure to make any type of decision. He's there to continue building rapport, to take in the sights and to spend the day with his family.
"With this being my second visit, I’ve already had the opportunity to see the great facilities that Ohio State has to offer," Styles Jr. said. "This visit will be more about continuing to build a relationship with the program and coaching staff, and enjoying the atmosphere."
And just like every other player, coach and college football fan, Styles Jr. is excited to experience one of the best, if not the best, rivalries in all of sports.
"I'm sure the atmosphere is going to be exciting, and intense at times," he said. "But man it's going to be great to be in the stadium on Saturday when it all goes down."