We have written several stories in the past about how impactful fathers have been in the lives of the recruits we cover – how they gain motivation or advice about their careers and how to handle their recruitment from their dads.
But mothers are so often the backbone of the athletes we write about – making sacrifices and offering support while time and again being one they can lean on when the weight of expectations (or even the exhausting recruiting process) are too much. There's a reason they are so often the first or second person a player thanks when they announce their commitments, or after they are drafted to the NFL.
So on Mother’s Day, we wanted to do something a little different with tonight’s Hurry-Up. We reached out to as many Ohio State commits as we could to give them a platform to tell us how impactful their mothers have been in their lives and throughout their athletic careers.
We start off, actually, with some comments made from Gee Scott Jr., an Ohio State signee from the 2020 class, during an interview with Eleven Warriors in January about his mother, Tara:
“In my life, she’s just always been someone that’s been so supportive of me no matter the circumstance,” Scott said. “There were times when I would do something wrong, and my dad would just rip on me. But my mom was always so solid. She was always the supportive one. Like, right now, if all of hell burned out and let loose, I know I could go to my mom right now, and she would still be positive. She would find a way to cheer me up. To have that type of person in my life is important to me.
“I could walk out of here right now, quit football and never play football again, and my mom would be like, it’s OK. What are we gonna do? Come on. Let’s do something better. There’s no question. … My dad would rip on me a little bit. He’d be like, ‘huh? What? What are you doing that for?’ That’s OK, though. It made me who I am. I like that balance.”
About his mother, Lakeesha Hayes:
“Just seeing my mom struggle and make sacrifices to make sure we’re straight makes me go harder on the field,” Henderson said. “And knowing I can’t do much to help her brings me a lot of pain, and I just take all that pain out on the field and go hard each and every play.”
“Really, it’s just knowing she would spend her last dollar to get us whatever we want and see us happy. She’s been very helpful. She took me to a lot of my (recruiting) visits, even though she didn’t have much, but she always makes a way.”
About his mother, Melanie:
“My mother is an actual superhero in my life,” Jackson said. “She’s made an impact in my life in countless ways, but the most important lesson she told me was Jacksons don’t quit. We just find another way to our goals.
“After a bad loss (this past season), I was really emotional, but my mom calmed me down easily. And in the recruiting process, she was there every step of the way.”
About his mother, Shelley:
“My mom has made a huge impact,” Carrico said. “Sometimes I forget how helpful she has been. When I was little and playing ball, she was always the one who would wash my practice stuff and game stuff. She was always the one who took me to practice and games. She was always there. When I played AAU basketball, she was the one who always traveled with me.”
“I can remember when I played baseball, and I always thought that if my pants were dirty then I didn’t play hard enough. So me being me, I got dirty every game. And she always scrubbed my brother and I’s baseball pants, and she used to ask us if we were trying to see how dirty we could get our pants. We always said, ‘No, not really.’ But we definitely were. Sorry ‘bout that mom, if you read this.”
About his mother, Karen:
“My mom is one of, if not, the most influential people in my life,” Christman said. “I can’t even count how many times she’s helped with anything, and I truly appreciate everything she does for me and my family.
“As far as how the recruiting process went, having her behind my back when things were ever stressful for me, she helped me feel comfortable with the process, and she just told me to follow my dream and find what’s best for me wherever I wanted to go.”
About his mother, Stacy:
“She has made an impact on my career over these past years by just her dropping all her time to make sure I’m going to the field to work out (at the) weight room (and making sure) I’m just getting extra stuff done so I can be prepared for whatever’s thrown at me,” Smith said. “Also, just the love and support she shows toward me only makes me want to go harder for her and the family, and I appreciate that from her.
“All I can say is it was plenty of early mornings and late nights with only her being in my corner. Driving me to practice is a big one. I can’t count at all how many days, weeks, months she has done that. I’m forever grateful. Making sure my diet is right every night – preparing a meal that’s good for the body is also time-consuming, and it costs.”
Smith added: “She’s been really helpful in my recruiting process by just making sure I’m staying focused and really listening to who’s real and who could better me as a man best, on and off the field. Sometimes I used to get into deep thought about where I’d go for college, but she always was there to calm me down and make sure I made the right decision.”
About his mother, Michelle:
“She’s always been there to make sure I’m at practice on time and makes sure I’m eating before and after practice,” Sawyer said. “Since she was a Division I basketball player, she knows a lot about sports and has been able to teach me things and help me out in a lot of different ways. She’s been a huge part of what I am today, and I’m forever thankful for her.”
Mike Hall, Sam Hart, C.J. Hicks, Jyaire Brown
Happy Mothers Day to the woman whos been sacrificing for me and my siblings since day 1 and been making it happen every step of the way I love you mom... 10V3 pic.twitter.com/Ngg3jGlHxA— tr p (@MichaelHallJr_) May 10, 2020
Happy mothers day to the greatest mom! I love you pic.twitter.com/SeAMDoOxcv— Sam Hart (@sam_hart82) May 10, 2020
Cant thank you enough for filling those shoes Happy Mothers Day! pic.twitter.com/Ym4NWG11vm— Jyaire Hollywood Brown (@jyairebrown13) May 10, 2020
Hall is a four-star defensive tackle out of Streetsboro (Ohio) High School who committed to the Buckeyes on February 1, becoming the 10th commit in the 2021 class.
Hart is a three-star tight end out of Cherokee Trail (Colorado) High School who committed to the Buckeyes on December 30, becoming the seventh commit in the 2021 class.
Hicks is a four-star athlete likely to play outside linebacker out of Archbishop Alter (Ohio) High School who committed to the Buckeyes on May 1, becoming the third commit in the 2022 class.
Brown is a four-star cornerback out of Warren Easton (La.) High School who committed to the Buckeyes on April 22, becoming the first commit in the 2022 class.