November 20, 2011

Ohio St. making up ground on Odenigbo?

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One of the most high-profile visitors at Ohio State on Saturday was Centerville (Ohio) defensive end/linebacker Ifeadi Odenigbo. The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder is rated a four-star prospect by Odenigbo is one of the top undecided recruits in the Midwest and Saturday provided him with his first opportunity to take in an Ohio State game.

"It was good and everything, it was just too bad they lost," explained Odenigbo. "This is my third college football game and every team that I've been there to see has lost. I've come to realize that I'm bad luck."

Odenigbo has been building a strong relationship with the coaches at Ohio State, particularly on the defensive side of the football. He caught up with many of those coaches before the game on Saturday afternoon.

"I got to speak to coach (Mike) Vrabel (before the game)," Odenigbo explained. "He was talking about the Penn State game and what they were looking for and how I fit into their program. I didn't really get to talk to them afterwards because we had to leave but I'm going to give coach (Jim) Heacock a call this week."

The word over the last several weeks was that Ohio State was slipping on Odenigbo's list but the visit this weekend may have given the Buckeyes some momentum moving forward.

"It helped (Ohio State) a lot," he said. "This is the first time ever going to a game (at Ohio State) so I got to see the atmosphere and I got to see 109,000 people so that was the biggest stadium I've ever seen so far. It was just really cool and I felt like I had the best seats in the house, I was in the second row 50 yard line and it was just an awesome game. It was great to see Michael Bennett too."

Odenigbo was also excited to see his close friend and former teammate out there on the field. While many may be surprised by Bennett's early impact, Odenigbo certainly is not.

"Easily," Odenigbo said, when asked if he expected to see Bennett play so well as a freshman. "One thing about Mike is that he's a very intelligent kid. Even though he didn't play a lot of defensive line last year at my school, he's just such an intelligent and has such a great work ethic that he can easily adapt."

While the visit was pretty much all positive for Odenigbo, the swirling rumors of a potential coaching change at Ohio State could hurt any momentum the Buckeyes have gained in his recruitment.

"That would have a huge impact on me," he said. "I don't have a relationship with coach (Urban) Meyer. I had a relationship with coach (Jim) Tressel and then he left and I'm building a relationship with coach Heacock and coach (Luke) Fickell so I don't know. It's just a really weird time (at Ohio State) and it's just unfortunate that I am kind of part of it. I'll probably see what happens; I'd probably have to talk to them and (a possible new coach) and go from there. I don't really like getting into 'what if's'."

With official visits to Notre Dame and Stanford out of the way, Odenigbo has one more official visit scheduled and that is December 3rd to Northwestern. Odenigbo's trip to Columbus was an unofficial visit as he debates whether or not he will use one of his two remaining visits on the Buckeyes.

"I'm still debating whether or not I'm going to schedule an official visit to Ohio State because I can go there whenever I want to," he said. "With the schools on the west coast it is obviously more difficult to get to. I'm looking at USC, Cal, UCLA, and Ohio State (for the two remaining official visits)."

Odenigbo has been adamant that all of the schools on his list have an equal chance of landing him and he continued with that stance on Sunday afternoon.

"If there was a school that was standing out right now, I would be committed to that school right now," he said. "When there is a school that is clearly leading, I'll commit. Right now there are pro's and con's to each school and really when it comes down to it, there is no perfect school."

So does Odenigbo have a time frame in mind for a decision?

"I wanted to have this over with before the season started," he joked. "Whenever the time is right and I wake up and think 'that's my school', that's when I'll make the decision. I guess my time line is that I have to do it before February."


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