Ohio State was the first football team Homestead (Pa.) Steel Valley defensive tackle Tyrone Ezell ever saw play. His reaction?
"I thought their colors were nice," Ezell said. "Actually, if you want to know the truth, Ohio State is the first team I ever saw and when I saw their helmets, I was like 'ooo, I'd like to wear one of them helmets.'"
The fact of the matter is, that wasn't too long ago. Ezell admittedly has been a big wrestling buff his entire life, so he isn't exactly up to par with his college football knowledge.
Ironically enough, however, with an Ohio State offer put on the table just a few weeks ago, his admiration for the Buckeyes' classic uniforms may in fact one day be the helmet and jersey he dons every Saturday in the fall.
Despite his lack of thorough enlightenment in terms of his college football knowledge, Ezell did recognize that Ohio State is one of the nation's powerhouses, thus putting the Buckeyes atop of his list.
"I've got Ohio State at the top, Pitt at the top, and Colorado," Ezell said, "and that's really it so far right now."
Ezell was particularly excited about the Buckeyes' offer.
"It is pretty exciting (getting an offer from Ohio State)," Ezell said. "They make me look at my future and it seems brighter now. Just knowing from their history that my future is that much brighter because of their winning tradition and the NFL and they are definitely known."
Other schools that have offered Ezell are Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Rutgers, Virginia, and Connecticut.
The 6-foot-5, 255-pound defense lineman has been mainly recruited by defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Jim Heacock, and he also had the chance to meet head coach Jim Tressel as well. The coaches had visited Ezell at his school over the course of the past month or so.
During the recruiting process, Ezell said his conversations with Heacock have been productive.
"He pretty much just tells me that he likes the way I play and that they want me," Ezell said. "They like my character and everything. They just like me overall."
Ezell said despite it being an honor to converse with Tressel, he refrained from getting star-struck in the process.
"I am not too big on football. I mean, I knew Ohio State was big, but I'm not to acquainted with my football history like that," Ezell said, "so it was basically like talking to another person, really."
Though Ezell has visited Pitt, he has yet to see Ohio State. He said that he has a desire to get out and see all that Ohio State has to offer. Ezell did add that he isn't worried about making his commitment before his senior season.
"I actually talked to the coaches and I am setting up an official visit to Ohio State sometime during my senior season," Ezell said.
Ezell's true passion is wrestling. This may have worked out to his advantage in the long run, given his vested interest in the sport may have supplied him with a competitive edge in football in terms of his capabilities in the defensive trenches.
"Wrestling has helped me on the football field," Ezell said. "It helps me with staying low, my hand work, and having explosiveness.
"Professional wrestling was my passion," Ezell added. "I really wanted to be a wrestler and I still do, but football just happened for me. Football is happening, so I am just going to have to roll with that. I watch football when I get a chance, but I have been watching wrestling since I was little and I really didn't know anything about football. I am (becoming a fan) now."
Ezell said he hasn't thought about pursuing both the wresting team and the football team at the collegiate level.
"I am just going to do football in college," Ezell said. "I don't think I am going to do both."
Ezell has a few things he is looking for in terms of what his perfect school would be.
"I kind of want to find a place that is in a secluded area and not a huge city, so it is like your own little world, but it isn't too far from the cities," Ezell said. "I want a nice place to live and is real livable and sociable and everything."
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