To be a Buckeye or not to be a Buckeye.
For fans of Ohio State football, that seems like a slam-dunk choice.
Not many get the opportunity, so anyone who does would be crazy not to jump at it as soon as it comes.
A pair of local prospects in the class of 2024 are learning it’s not quite that simple, though.
“It was good because that’s been my dream school and it’s meant a lot to me and my family,” said Reggie Powers III, a safety from Centerville who received his Ohio State offer from head coach Ryan Day on March 25. “It was a great experience hearing that from coach Day and going up there and building relationships is cool. I can’t wait to get up there for my official.”
Powers is not set to take that visit until June 23, and he plans to see other schools before doing so.
One of those will be Pittsburgh during the first weekend of June while others are still to be determined, but he does not plan to make a final decision until after making those trips.
In Springfield, the story is similar for Aaron Scott Jr.
The four-star cornerback received an Ohio State offer last summer, and like Powers has more than two dozen schools to choose from at this point.
Scott narrowed his list to 12 last month, but he is not that close to making a final decision either.
“Things are going great,” he said. “I’m just now starting to break my list down. Been getting to some spring practices, just trying to figure out where I want to go. Really just learning new things, seeing the things coaches could teach me for real.”
Scott’s story has generated more buzz online among the subset of fans who obsess over recruiting, too, because his recruitment appears to be centering on two teams: Ohio State and Michigan.
In an interview Monday, Scott described having positive relationships with recruiters from both sides of CFB’s biggest rivalry.
He visited both during spring football, and he set off waves of reaction on social media by posting pictures from visits to schools across the country, including not just Columbus and Ann Arbor but also Pittsburgh, Oregon and Penn State.
He also acknowledged hearing from people who assume he will be a Buckeye when all is said and done but indicated he tries to block that out while he goes about gathering information to make his final decision, likely sometime in July after making his official visits.
“I really don’t care,” Scott said. “I understand what they’re saying. I come from Ohio and I grew up watching Ohio State all the time, so it just makes sense if I was to go there, but I feel like just because I grew up watchin’ ‘em doesn’t mean I’m gonna go there. I could possibly go there, but I’m not really sure right now.”
While Scott is going through the recruiting process for the first time, his coach is a veteran of many such battles.
Maurice Douglass had players sign with Ohio State and Michigan when he was head coach at Trotwood-Madison, and he has sent players to schools across the country and at multiple levels of college football since becoming the head coach of the Wildcats in 2014.
The former Kentucky and NFL defensive back knows the complexity of any college decision and said Scott is handling his well.
“I don’t have a preference over either one,” Douglass said of Ohio State and Michigan. “All I care about is does that kid get his degree. You know what I mean? If you don’t play in the league, at least you got your paper and you’ll have an opportunity to have success in life.
“In today’s game you got to do research to find the best fit for you.”
Ultimately, being a recruit and being a fan are quite different — even for recruits who started out as fans — and Powers and Scott are just two of the latest players to find that out.
“Basically it’s about fit and me,” Powers said late Monday morning. “Can I see myself playing in that defense? And then next the coaches and their core values, their brand and how they want you to play. How the coaches are, their character and stuff like that, and then the teammates. Do I see myself fitting in the locker room with the guys?”
A couple of hours later and about 30 miles away, Scott said much the same thing when asked what he would be looking for on his official visits.
“Really getting to spend time with all the coaches and getting to interact with the other commits and other recruits, talk to them about some things,” Scott said. “But really just see how everybody interacts with people, see who I get along with, see who I feel I can win a natty with for real.”