It was really only a matter of time before Garrett Stover committed to Ohio State.
The four-star 2024 Ohio safety had dreamt of playing for the Buckeyes his entire life, and his recruitment may as well have been decided on June 1 when he received his OSU offer from Ryan Day. The Big Walnut standout has also visited OSU five times this fall and is close with his cousin, OSU tight end Cade Stover.
In late October, Stover said he was targeting a commitment between late November and early December. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound prospect officially pulled the trigger and gave his verbal commitment to the Buckeyes Monday evening.
Eleven Warriors caught up with Stover to get his thoughts on his commitment, his fit in Ohio State’s defensive scheme, his relationship with his cousin and more.
This interview has been slightly edited for length and clarity.
Q: Starting with the obvious one, what made you feel comfortable enough to pull the trigger and commit this early in your junior season?
Garrett Stover: I grew up watching the Buckeyes. It was my dream to play there and be a Buckeye. As the recruiting process was dying down and college teams were in season, I just thought I was ready. I knew what I wanted, and Ohio State had everything that I wanted. The most important thing was I wanted to be close to home too. I love Ohio State, everything about it, and I knew I was ready now, so let’s do it and get the thing done. I’m really excited.”
After a lot of thought Ive decided to commit to The Ohio State University! Id like to thank everyone that has supported me throughout this process and all of the programs that recruited me! #gobucks #BOOM pic.twitter.com/BRBwXn7ODF— Garrett Stover (@GarrettStover2) November 22, 2022
Q: When did you tell Ohio State that you were in?
Stover: On (Monday night). I called coach (Matt) Guerrieri, and he put coach Knowles and coach Day on the phone. It was great. The whole place went crazy. It was an unbelievable moment for me and my family. It made me feel so good because being an Ohio kid, picking up an offer in June at the camp and being to almost every home game this season, they probably wondered when I was pulling the trigger. It was great to tell them and see that they were happy because it tells you that they want you and they’re serious about you. They’re excited to get things rolling.
Q: It seemed like you needed to visit Notre Dame in November before you were fully ready to commit. At what point after the visit did you have a moment of ‘I’ve seen what I needed to see. I’m ready?’
Stover: I would say I’ve always wanted to go to Ohio State. But Notre Dame is always a school that I really liked too. So I went back and forth between those schools for a while. I just wanted to get up there and really see the coaches again and see a great game. Then really get a feel for the gameday experience there and what it would be like. Either way, I couldn’t have made a wrong choice, but I’m really happy to be a Buckeye.
Q: When did you tell Cade that you were in?
Stover: Well, I actually told him about a month or so ago. I just kind of told him what my plan was and why I wanted to go there and everything. From the jump, he was all in. Then Sunday, I talked to him and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to make the decision tomorrow.’ He said, ‘Ohio State?’ I told him yes, and he was really excited and everything.
Q: I know Cade won’t be there when you arrive on campus, but what will it be like for you to have him as a resource to lean on him and ask him about his experiences when certain situations come up?
Stover: I think that’ll be very beneficial having him, somebody who has gone through everything there. I think anything I have questions about, I can call on him. But really, I just got to go in there, put my head down and put in the work. Everything else will take care of itself if I’m prepared. I think I’m ready to be in a big program like that. But having Cade as a resource will definitely be very helpful.
Q: We’ve talked before that Jim Knowles has envisioned you possibly playing a hybrid role in his defense at safety and linebacker, similar to Ronnie Hickman now. You’ve played both safety and linebacker in high school, so how excited would you be to play a role that fits both of your skillsets?
Stover: I think it just comes down to a mindset of ‘Just put me anywhere on defense.’ Being a hybrid player that can do multiple things would be beneficial for me in the future, and I think that it could help me out a lot down the road. But whether they want me at safety or linebacker, I’ll give that 100 percent. So from here on out, I’ll focus on touching those up if I need to and working hard. If they need me to play that role, I’m certainly capable of doing that.
Can hear this hit from Garrett Stover: pic.twitter.com/FmBfrW8CTo— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 15, 2022
Q: You’re one of the first recruits to commit in the 2024 class. You’re the first defensive player and the first player from Ohio in the cycle. So how much do you envision peer recruiting to help convince other players to join you at OSU?
Stover: Ohio State obviously does a great job of selling itself and everything. Everybody can see that. But maybe I can tell recruits my experiences and build relationships with them to see what kind of players and people Ohio State is bringing in. You can mention some things Ohio State can offer that they haven’t already experienced. Definitely, the season that Ohio State is having it’s going to help out getting guys in even more. Overall, just building relationships with them, especially guys like Aaron Scott and Bryce West. I want to make sure I’m recruiting them the hardest.
Q: I was about to ask if there were any specific players you were primarily targeting. So, Bryce and Aaron are the guys you’ll push for the most?
Stover: Well, I’ve been to quite a few camps and visits with them. We’ve kind’ve built up a relationship as this whole process began. I think those guys would be the ones that I’m looking forward to recruiting.
Q: You’ve been to five home games already this season, and you’re going to be at your sixth one Saturday against Michigan. Obviously, this one is a little different than all the others. How excited are you to take in the experience of The Game?
Stover: I’m extremely excited because I’ve never been to a Michigan game before. My dad always goes with my mom. They just say the environment is unreal. I really thought that the first game against Notre Dame was an unbelievable environment, and my dad told me to just wait until I go to the Michigan game. Ever since then, I’ve been really excited and looking forward to the atmosphere and everything.
Q: Well, how’s the game going to go? Who’s going to win?
Stover: Oh, man. Let’s see, a score prediction … Actually, no. Buckeyes will just blow them out. I don’t have a score prediction, but they’re gonna get after them. Everyone in Columbus will be happy. It’ll be a good outcome.
Q: Last one, I know this is something you don’t have to decide right now, but have you decided whether or not you plan to enroll early next winter or in the following summer?
Stover: Well, that is something I’ve been thinking about. It’s been brought up between me and the coaches and everything. But I probably don’t have an answer right now. When I do, I’ll let you know.