Ohio State had to work hard to convince Springfield’s Aaron Scott Jr. to be a Buckeye

Aaron Scott Jr. is going to be a Buckeye.

That was no sure thing until Sunday.

The standout Springfield cornerback said he was still mulling the decision between Ohio State, Michigan and Oregon the day of his announcement at the Kay M. Glaesner Community Center in Hustead.

With family and friends packed into the little white building on W. Jackson Rd., he kept the suspense up until the last second by tossing aside gear from Oregon and Ohio State.

That left only a Michigan bag on the table in front of him, but when Scott pulled out a white Ohio State jersey with his No. 5 on it, the room erupted in cheers.

“That was the plan just to throw ‘em off a little bit,” he said with a smile afterward.

Scott is ranked the No. 1 prospect not just in the area but all of Ohio by 247Sports. He is 34th nationally and the No. 3 cornerback prospect.

Michigan made a strong push for him, but ultimately Ohio State couldn’t be topped.

“I feel like my family loves it, I love it — makes sense to go there,” he said.

Michigan secondary coach Steve Clinkscale made a strong impression on Scott, as did Oregon counterpart Demetrice Martin.

On top of that, Scott seemed to bristle at the idea he would be a Buckeye simply because he’s from Ohio, so he went through the process, sifting through 30 scholarship offers over the past year.

Ultimately, the choice all came down to his official visit to Columbus in late June when Ohio State’s full-court press turned him over from Michigan blue to Buckeye scarlet and gray.

Head coach Ryan Day, cornerbacks coach Tim Walton, current Buckeyes and future Buckeyes all had an impression on Scott that weekend.

“Really just being from Ohio, and there were a lot of players who were on me for real,” Scott said. “Coach Day told me he got me. He’ll get me right. He let me know he’s not just having me come here for no reason. He feels like I can make a change and everything, but just letting me know I’m from Ohio and the opportunities here are endless.

“I feel like the older players were talking to me, letting me know it’s all love. And it’s just there, family is close. They can come whenever, and how much love they show, the alums and all that. It’s just so much love.”

Scott’s ultimate choice certainly was not taken for granted by those who follow recruiting closely.

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

His proximity to Columbus and interest in Michigan garnered attention on both sides of the rivalry (not to mention at least one national college football podcast), something he admitted was “crazy” in the spring as seemingly anything he posted on social media became fodder for arguments between fans of the Buckeyes and Wolverines.

On top of that, at least one Michigan recruiting analyst identified Springfield coach Maurice Douglass as an asset for the Wolverines’ efforts to make the steal, something that was not lost on fans with a long memory, either.

When Douglass coached at Trotwood-Madison from 2011-13, he sent cornerback Cam Burrows to Ohio State but had a handful of players sign with Michigan, most notably All-Big Ten receiver Roy Roundtree and linebacker/captain Mike McCray II (the son of a former Buckeye himself).

Douglass also had a prior connection to Clinkscale, who recruited his son, Moses, when Clinkscale worked at Kentucky.

But in the end, Douglass not only supported Scott’s choice but indicated he agreed with it.

“I think the best decision is his decision, and at the end of the day, I gotta support him. I love Michigan, but Columbus is 30 minutes away,” Douglass said. “I think for him and his household, it’s gonna be the best thing.

“I think he’s a great decision-maker. He makes good decisions off the field, meaning that people that he’s involved with, those are good people. And so I think just with the connections that they have in Columbus and all those things, he’ll be positive off the field as well as on.”

Since he became head coach at Springfield in 2014, Douglass has had players sign with Kentucky, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Cincinnati — among others — but Scott is set to be the first Buckeye from a Springfield high school since South star Dee Miller, who wore Scarlet and Gray from 1994-98.

“I think it’s gonna be huge for the community,” said Douglass, who has Springfield to back-to-back state championship game appearances. “It’ll be also huge for them for what his family has got going on with them, and it’s a special time for the city. We’ve been close and knocking at the door. Hopefully this year we’ll kick it in at the state championship.”

Scott is set to be the first player from a Clark County high school to play for Ohio State since 2002 when John Adams (Northeastern) and Steve Pavelka (Shawnee) were both on the roster as walk-ons.

Braxton Miller is the last scholarship player from Springfield to play for the Buckeyes, but he went to Wayne High School from 2007-11.

Scott said he has connected with both Millers already.

“We been choppin’ it up,” he said of Dee. “He’s been lettin’ me know he’s got me and come be a Buckeye and we can turn this up.

“He said why not be the kid from Springfield, li’l old city, to go big and make it to the NFL from there.”

That sounded like something that resonated with him.

“I know there are kids coming up to me telling me they play corner because of me, so to know that I’m from here and they can do the same thing, let them know it’s not easy to do this right here and for me to do it, anyone else can do it,” Scott said.

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