The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their Buckeye careers as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent.
The Buckeyes offered New Jersey four-star Jordan Fuller in 2014, but, despite an obvious affinity for the Buckeyes–Fuller called them his leader multiple times–there was never any rush on his part to make a college decision.
The Fuller File
- Class: 2016
- Size: 6'2/196
- Pos: ATH
- School: Old Tappan (Westwood, NJ)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: 6 (ATH)
The race for the versatile Fuller began in earnest for Ohio State last April after a spring visit to Columbus. With a father who played college football at TCU and his older brother Devin at UCLA, Fuller went into the recruiting process with eyes a bit more open than most folks. Still, his trip to Ohio State in April caught his attention.
I loved my visit there," he said. "All the coaches were cool. I wasn't able to spend the night with a player there, but the players seemed cool. And practice was very intense even though they were only in helmets and shoulder pads, so I liked that. Pretty much from top to bottom, it was really awesome at Ohio State."
Despite the praise, Fuller knew that he had to take his time.
"Ultimately, it will always come down to comfort," Fuller said when asked what would be a deciding factor for him. "I'm hoping to get to Notre Dame in the summer, as well as some SEC schools and then hopefully back to Ohio State in the fall. I have no time table, I'm just going to take some visits and then I'll think about a decision."
Fuller spent his summer on the camp tour, making a big splash at The Opening in Oregon but also making sure to see a few of the other schools he'd had high on his list. He made trips to Penn State, Notre Dame, TCU and Rutgers before his senior season began, giving himself a look at a few of the contenders for his official visits. The Buckeyes were regularly discussed for an official visit, but there were no plans being made for any trips as the Westwood star focused on his senior year.
His lack of apparently concern for the recruiting process itself was confused by some as apathy for Ohio State, but that was never the case. He simply didn't want to hurry into a choice and wanted to take his official visits after his season was over. That commitment to his team paid off: Fuller was selected as a US Army All-American and named the Gatorade Player of the Year in New Jersey.
He took his first official, to Notre Dame, in December and entered the recruiting dead period still silent about his future plans. He had begun hearing from Greg Schiano, newly hired at Ohio State, and was familiar with the former Rutgers' head coach from his time recruiting Devin.
"I've spoken with (Schiano), a few days ago," Fuller told 11W. "My family knows him better than I do because of devin's recruitment. I don't know him very well."
After a senior season that included over 1600 all-purpose yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions, Fuller–who was nominated for the Lockheed Martin Air Defender of the Year, presented to the nation's best defensive back–enjoyed the downtime. He continued to play coy about where his next round of visits may take him, even after Notre Dame.
"I'm not sure what other trips I might make," the four-star added.
A month later, his friendships with a number of Buckeye commits blooming after the Army All-American Bowl, Fuller was heading to Ohio State for what would prove to be a pivotal trip in his recruitment.
"I just want to get around the players and get a refresher on everything, I want to know their exact plan for me as a player and person. I also want to chill with the players," he said. "Also my mom will be there for the first time so that's big."
The visit was big, especially in helping Fuller get the green-light from his parents.
"I've got no real concerns or worries," Fuller said of Ohio State. "My parents (feel the same way) too. We just want honesty. (That's what stood out) I know they keep it 100 with everybody. That's what the players told me and I liked the players a lot."
Following his trip to Ohio State, the momentum in Fuller's recruitment swung heavily in the Buckeyes' direction, but there would be one more big test to pass: an official visit to Michigan the following week. The Wolverines had made New Jersey a major priority and it was something that the four-star said he had to pay at least a little attention.
"I have a sense of pride for Jersey," Fuller told Eleven Warriors. "The fact that they believe in it is really cool. It does mean something but I wouldn't say (it means) a lot."
Because he In Ann Arbor at the same time a major winter storm crippled the East Coast, Fuller's trip to Michigan was extended for a day longer than expected. To make matters worse and to the chagrin of many worriers, Fuller announced his decision date as soon as he arrived home from visiting Jim Harbaugh's program.
A week ago today, the Buckeyes, Wolverines–and finalist Notre Dame–each presented their final pitch to Fuller, visiting him and his family at home. From there everyone went into decision mode and two nights ago, the 6-foot-2, 196-pounder picked the Buckeyes, his longtime leader.
Big, fast and physical, Fuller's complete game and well-rounded personality on, and off, the field, made him an ideal fit for the Buckeyes.
"He's got length that's tough to find and proved he had corner ability at the US Army All-American Bowl too, even though he played safety in high school. That's a rare combo to find a 6-foot-1, almost 200-pound kid that has skills like that," a source told 11W. "He was the Player of the Year in a loaded state. He's a leader. He's a winner."
Fuller told Scout.com why he picked Ohio State over two fellow powerhouse programs.
“I chose Ohio State because I truly believe they push their players, for sure, but I also know they take care of them on and off the field,” Fuller said. “I know I will be developed. I will get stronger, I will get faster and I will improve my smarts for the game, and also I will be able to network with some very powerful people and set myself up for life after football. Really, it is the whole package.”