Inked: Four-Star Defensive End Jashon Cornell from St. Paul, Minnesota, is Officially a Buckeye

By Jeremy Birmingham on February 3, 2015 at 2:15 pm
Jashon Cornell is a Buckeye

The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their Buckeye careers today as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent. Signing Day is here.

Eleven Warriors would like to officially welcome Jashon Cornell to the Ohio State football program. 

In the summer of 2013, there were no high school recruits in the country as sought-after as Cornell, the St. Paul, Minnesota native.

At Cretin Derham Hall, one of the most recognizable and elite breeding grounds for big-time athletic talent, Cornell was tabbed as the top overall prospect in the 2015 recruiting class by That designation carries with it a lot of weight, especially for a high school football player. Cornell did his best to put that on his 6-foot-4, 260-pound shoulders.

The Cornell File

  • Size: 6-4/260
  • Position: DL
  • School: Cretin Derham Hall (St. Paul, MN)
  • 247 Composite Rating: ★★★★
  • 247 Composite Rank: 7th (SS-DE)

"You're guaranteed nothing," Cornell told ESPN. "I believe you have to earn everything in life. I've learned it's not all about being No. 1. You can come from anywhere, any position and go to any school. You've still got to work to get places."

Those places, when you're so highly-esteemed, are the country's top college football programs. Cornell made his way to many of them, but one of the biggest schools in America — Ohio State — wasn't one of them. Cornell scheduled many trips to Columbus, but at every turn the schedule changed. The Buckeyes' recruiting efforts were spearheaded by then defensive line coach Mike Vrabel, and despite an excellent developing connecting between the two, Cornell's path appeared to be taking him anywhere but Ohio State. He visited Notre Dame, Michigan, Northwestern, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Arkansas, and Wisconsin, a couple of them multiple times and couldn't seem to arrange a Buckeye visit. As his junior season wound down, Cornell had nearly 40 offers and his pick of the college football litter. 

Mike Vrabel abruptly left Ohio State for the Houston Texans and shortly thereafter the Buckeyes brought Larry Johnson, Sr. on board as the new defensive line coach. Johnson, who had recruited Cornell while serving as an assistant coach for Penn State, brought the Buckeyes back into the mix. After months of rebuilding their relationship, the Buckeyes and Cornell finally came together on May 31st, 2014 in Columbus as the defensive end prepared to participate in a Nike Football Training Camp on Ohio State's campus the next day. That visit brought Cornell and Justin Hilliard, who had gotten to become close friends on visits to other colleges, back into contact and it immediately transformed the nature of Cornell's recruitment.

"I loved it," Cornell said of his May visit to Ohio State. "It was one of my favorite visits of the year. I have a very good connection with both of them. When I was there, it felt like family. It was love there. I like the facilities here and the academics are a high point."

After earning an invitation to The Openingthe defensive line MVP at the NFTC returned back to Minnesota and the Buckeyes zoomed into the fore of his recruitment, become the frontrunners almost over night. 

With a month to The Opening Cornell and Hilliard began plotting their future and agreed on one thing: it was going to be at Ohio State. Cornell cancelled June visits to Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Penn State and set an announcement date: July 2nd. Not coincidentally, Cornell's decision was scheduled the same day as Hilliard's. It appeared all the discussion about a package deal was real.

The pair announced in Ohio State's favor as expected, but it was Cornell's admission that he was the driving force in the pair's decision that surprised many.

"Justin and I made the decision to choose Ohio State together. I actually kind of believe it was me pushing him towards Ohio State more than him pushing me towards the Buckeyes," Cornell said in his 11W Community Interview. "If made my decision to choose Ohio State a week him. He made his decision the day he committed because he was still thinking about Notre Dame. I was a bigger influence on his commitment than he was on mine, which people might not know."

Cornell and Hilliard went to The Opening and began their next task: finding future Buckeyes. The pair were instrumental in Ohio State's recruiting success as the summer went on. What drew Cornell to Ohio State despite all the options out there? Larry Johnson's impact can not be ignored.

"I love coach Johnson. He was one of my favorite coaches in the recruiting process, even when he was at Penn State," Cornell shared. "I think one thing I'm looking forward from him is just picking his brain, trying to learn everything that he knows. He's been a coach in the NCAA for almost 20 years, so there's a ton I can gain from his insight and his leadership. I'm looking forward to the chance to work with him every day."

Cornell knew in August he was going to enroll early and was no stranger to Ohio State during the fall. He made three unofficial visits to Columbus during the football season and his official visit on December 12th and enrolled the first week of January. Cornell saw early enrollment as a key step in his quest to play early for the Buckeyes.

"I want to get as much of a head start as I can when it comes to learning Ohio State's defense and adjusting to college life," Cornell shared. "I know it's a huge help for guys that have done that. I want to play early and I need to get there sooner rather than later to give myself the best chance to do that."

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