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 Matthew Burrell, Jr. to the Ohio State football program.
The Burrell File
- Class 2015
- Position OG
- Size 6-4/321
- School C.D. Hylton (Woodbridge, VA)
- Composite ★★★★
- Rank 7 (OG)
When an Ohio State coach says "this guy might be the most important player in our class and we need to land him" about an offensive guard, you listen. That's the conversation I had with roughly a year ago. That idea was reiterated in October in this year when the Buckeyes had missed out on 2016 prospect
The Buckeyes were making no bones about it: Matt Burrell was a "must get" and in order to "get" him they used a quadruple-pronged approach they rarely, if ever, employ. Buckeye assistant coaches Zach Smith, Larry Johnson, Sr. and Ed Warinner all joined Urban Meyer in their chase of Burrell, the country's 7th-ranked offensive guard and one of the most affable and well-liked players in the entire 2015 recruiting class. Burrell was important to Ohio State not just because of how he played the game, but because of who he is away from it.
The increased attention was necessary. Early in the process there seemed to be no way that Burrell would attend Ohio State, despite the Buckeyes being one of his earliest offers. Very close friends with Alabama freshman Da'Shawn Hand, Burrell actually favored Michigan early on, but the Wolverines decision to withhold an offer until April of 2014 gave schools like Ohio State, Penn State, LSU, Alabama, Florida State and others the chance to dominate where it matters; in the relationship game.
Burrell visited Ohio State in mid-April, and again in late May, and it was that combination of trips that really propelled the Buckeyes forward in his mind. Citing the family feel and relationships in Columbus, sources closed to Burrell confided that the Buckeyes were the favorites for the 6-foot-4, 321-pounder. The summer saw a southern swing where Clemson, Florida and Florida State — who earned a return trip for an official visit during the season — each had their shot at wooing Burrell.
At The Opening in Oregon, Burrell continued to forge friendships with Ohio State commitments Justin Hilliard and Jashon Cornell and upon returning to Virginia scheduled his official visit with the Buckeyes for September 6th, the Buckeyes' home opener against Virginia Tech.
"It was a very nice trip," Matt Burrell, Sr. shared with 11W. "It was one of the best places I've ever been to watch a game, win or lose. We have good relationships with the entire coaching staff at Ohio State. It's a fabulous university from what we've always seen and it's football royalty. (Ohio State coaches) always do a great job of focusing on the bigger picture. That's the most important part and that's why Ohio State remains in our top schools."
Tennessee, Florida State, LSU and Penn State received the final four official visits for Burrell, but it was a late October trip to Happy Valley and the Nittany Lions that seemed to turn the dial away from the Buckeyes the most.
"Penn State definitely helped themselves," a source shared with Eleven Warriors. "But, I don't think they've moved into the 'lead' or anything. Matt's really thinking his choices through. It's hard not to get caught up in the emotions every place you visit, though."
Crystal Balls flipped and flopped, but when Burrell decided on a whim to commit three weeks later, it was the Buckeyes — and those relationships — that came out on top.
I will be recieving my degree and competing for a national championship @ The Ohio State University #Buckeyes !!
— Matthew Burrll Jr! (@HeaftyLefty) November 18, 2014
Although he ended his recruitment suddenly, Burrell's decision was hardly a spur of the moment thing. It was the result of two years of non-stop recruiting.
"Urban Meyer, Urban Meyer, and Urban Meyer," Burrell said about what Ohio State had that other opportunities didn't offer. "He's a great leader, a great father and a great man. Zach Smith has never changed, and even when Larry Johnson, Sr. became my lead recruiter, he never changed. Coach Johnson is the same as he was when recruited me for Penn State."
"Ohio State has been there since the beginning, they offered me my sophomore year, and they've never changed.