Incoming Freshman Offensive Lineman Gabe VanSickle Looks to “Get 1% Better Every Day” As He Begins His Ohio State Career

By Dan Hope on May 28, 2024 at 10:10 am
Gabe VanSickle

Gabe VanSickle is starting his Ohio State career with a simple goal.

“I want to just keep getting stronger and better every day because if you get 1% better every day, that adds up after a while,” VanSickle told Eleven Warriors this week.

VanSickle will arrive at Ohio State next weekend as one of seven summer enrollees in Ohio State’s 2024 recruiting class. The four-star offensive lineman joins wide receiver Mylan Graham, defensive end Dominic Kirks, tight ends Max LeBlanc and Damarion Witten, safety Leroy Roker and punter Nick McLarty in the second wave of freshmen joining the Buckeyes for the upcoming season.

Although VanSickle wasn’t on campus for spring practices, he’s been putting in plenty of work to get ready to start his Ohio State career.

He’s had two Zoom meetings a week with offensive line coach Justin Frye and graduate assistant Mike Sollenne, who have helped him learn OSU’s offensive playbook and the techniques he will need to know as an offensive lineman in the Buckeyes’ offense.

“The reads on where the linebackers are, where the D-tackles and where the D-ends are, and how much depth you should have on a set, how vertical you should be on an inside run play and stuff like that,” VanSickle said of what he’s learned from those meetings.

VanSickle has also been doing lifting and agility drills as part of a workout plan devised for him by Ohio State. He knows from talking to the players already on campus that he needs to be ready for intense summer workouts once he arrives at Ohio State.

“You need to get ready for them, because they come and hit you hard if you're not ready for them,” VanSickle says he’s been told. “So yeah, I'm just trying to get ready for them every day I work out.”

While many freshman offensive linemen start their college careers needing to get bigger, VanSickle already has the size Ohio State wants from him at 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, though he’ll be looking to convert more of that weight into lean muscle mass with the guidance of Ohio State’s strength and conditioning staff.

He’ll also be learning to play guard – with the potential to also play center later in his career – after lining up at left tackle for Coopersville (Michigan) High School, but he expects that to be a smooth transition.

“Honestly, I think I'm a better guard, because I’ve got like a more of a guard build,” VanSickle said.

VanSickle considers his run blocking to be the strength of his game as well as his footwork while his pass sets are the biggest area he feels he needs to work on as he starts his OSU career.

As a freshman offensive lineman, VanSickle likely won’t be called on to play much if at all in 2024, but he knows practicing against the Buckeyes’ defense will help him get better quickly.

“You want to go against the best to be the best,” VanSickle said. “Obviously that's the main goal at Ohio State is to be the best, and they have the best defense in the nation. So if you want to be the best, you've got to go against the best.”

That desire to compete with and against the best players in the country, as well as the brotherhood among Ohio State’s players, is why VanSickle flipped to Ohio State after initially committing to Northwestern. And he’s hungry to help the Buckeyes achieve their goal of winning a title this upcoming season.

“They're going for something big, and that's the national championship,” VanSickle said. “That's what you want to do. You always want to get that ring. That's on every college football player's bucket list, and that's a good goal for Ohio State to have.”

As the only scholarship player from the state of Michigan on Ohio State’s 2024 roster, VanSickle is also hungry to help the Buckeyes regain bragging rights in The Game, having heard plenty about Michigan’s three-game winning streak from his friends back home.

“It's nonstop,” said VanSickle, who was a Michigan State fan growing up. “Whenever it gets talking to them about it, they're just, ‘I'll cheer for him every game except when they play Michigan.’ I was just like, ‘Oh, all right, that doesn't really mean much,’ but it's whatever.”

VanSickle, who will compete in the shot put and discus at the Michigan state track and field meet this weekend before making the trip south to Columbus, is motivated to help Ohio State’s offensive line get back to where it should be after a disappointing 2023 season.

“Obviously if you don't have a good year, you want a better year the next year,” VanSickle said. “So just trying to get better every single day and trying to do something successful in the end.”

“If you want to be the best, you've got to go against the best.”– Gabe VanSickle on practicing against Ohio State’s defense

VanSickle has high expectations for the future of his recruiting class, which was ranked as the No. 5 class in the country for 2024. If they all take the same approach he’s bringing to Ohio State – just get better every day – he thinks they’ll be excited about the results they achieve in the end.

“I mean, obviously we've got a really good wide receiver, Jeremiah Smith, who's obviously a freak. And then everybody else is insane,” VanSickle said. “It's pretty cool to see. If you just get better every single day, it'll add up when we're junior and senior year.”

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