The recruiting game is not a battle, but rather a war. Few can say that they're battle tested more than Urban Meyer. One of the many fogs of war is in-state recruiting.
In-state recruiting is arguably the most important aspect to a program like Ohio State when it comes to securing the best overall class of athletes to commit to your institution. The state of Ohio is filled with talented young players, waiting for their shots to fulfill their dreams of playing major college football. One of many jobs that Urban is tasked with is making sure Ohio State puts a fence around the state.
Unfortunately, no matter what level of program or coach you have, you can't ever land every single prospect that you want. This means that not every star athlete receives an offer, and certainly not right away.
With that in mind, Ohio State may want to investigate further what an in-state 2014 athlete by the name of Dareian Watkins brings to the table. Watkins is a 6'2" 184-pounds and hails from Galion, Ohio. According to 247Sports' Top 247, Watkins ranks as the 6th best prospect in Ohio and 96th overall in the nation. His versatility makes him even more likely to receive an offer, as he's more than capable of playing multiple positions on the field.
Last season, as a sophomore quarterback, Watkins led the Galion Tigers to an 8-2 record. Watkins finished the year completing 71/104 throws (good for a 68% completion percentage) for 1,254 yards with 16 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions. A dual-threat quarterback, Dareian also rushed for 559 yards on 100 carries with 10 touchdowns to go along with his spoils through the air.
As far as his college recruitment process has gone, I spoke with Watkins to ask him about the chances of Ohio State offering and where he thinks he projects at the next level.
Who is recruiting you from Ohio State? What's your take on them?
Greg Gillum had been working with me since my freshman year in high school. He knew my dad from when he coached at Galion High School. My area recruiter now is Coach Hinton and I have spoken with Coach Herman. I'm just getting to know both them and they seem like great guys. I'm looking forward to getting to know them better.
What position is Ohio State recruiting you for?
OSU is recruiting me as an "athlete" but I think my performance at camp has moved me up their board as a QB. I will probably play some WR at FNL.
Do you think Ohio State will offer you in the near future?
I have not received an offer from OSU, as you said, but the coaches have been impressed with my accuracy and how much my arm strength has improved.
Which schools have offered you to this point?
So far my offers are from Illinois, Ohio U, Bowling Green, Akron, and Toledo. I have other schools that say they are close and that I just have to be patient.
Of all the schools currently recruiting you, who is recruiting you the hardest?
I would say that Illinois, Georgia Tech, and Akron are recruiting me the hardest right now.
What is the biggest factor for you in making a decision?
I want to choose a school that my whole family is comfortable with. I think recruiting is mostly about relationships, so it's going to come down to who I feel most comfortable with.
What are your greatest strengths?
I think my best strength is versatility. I can play QB, WR, CB, S, or even Punter.
What would you like to improve the most on?
I would like to become a better student of the game. I am new to the process of film study and I have a *lot* to learn.
Do you have any goals for next season?
My only goal is to be 15-0 and win a state championship.
Do you have any favorites as of right now? Which school(s)?
It's too early to have a clear favorite but I feel I have a strong relationship with all the coaches at Illinois. I really enjoyed my trip there.
What do you think of Ohio State and Urban Meyer?
Ohio State is going to be a national powerhouse under Coach Meyer. They were under Coach Tressel, too. The Buckeyes will always be one of the elite programs in college football.
You're attending Friday Night Lights. What are you most looking forward to there?
I'm looking forward to playing multiple positions at FNL against some of the best athletes of 2013 and 2014.
Are you planning on making a visit to Ohio State other than FNL?
I'm sure I will attend a game at OSU this fall. I want to be front and center for the Ohio State/Michigan game.
Is there anything else you would like to say to everyone out there in Buckeye Nation?
I'd like to let Buckeye Nation know that I appreciate their support and I know how important the Buckeyes are to the entire state of Ohio. Buckeye fans are what make Ohio State a special place.