From the day he arrived in Columbus, one of Urban Meyer's top goals has been to keep the state of Ohio's top high school talent home to play their college football for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State has done an excellent job of doing this in the 2014 class as they have secured commitments from six of the seven highest rated players in the Buckeye state, according to the 247Composite rankings. The only one they didn't land is Michigan commit Michael Ferns.
They will look to maintain this success in the 2015 class. One of the players who will get a hard look from the staff and has a pretty good shot at landing a scholarship offer somewhere down the road is Dublin (OH) Scioto linebacker Nick Conner, who already boasts offers from the likes of Illinois, Kentucky, and Pittsburgh, while also getting looks from many other top schools.
"I talk with Illinois every week and am supposed to be visiting Kentucky in a couple of weeks," he told Land-Grant Holy Land. "I stay in touch with Indiana, Nebraska, and Ohio State on Facebook a lot and am also getting close to Penn State. Their new staff is supposed to visit me now that the dead period is over. USC is another school that has contacted me."
The 6'3, 215 pound linebacker lives right down the road from Ohio State's Columbus campus and there is a lot of mutual interest, though he has yet to receive an offer from the Scarlet and Gray.
"I've talked to Mark Pantoni a couple of times on Facebook. We spoke around Christmas and stuff," he continued. "I'm going to go to a basketball game once the dead period is over."
He was able to attend two Ohio State practices during the 2013 football season. The first was in October and the second was a couple of weeks ago when the Bucks were getting ready to play the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl.
"The first practice was on a Tuesday and was really intense, so I didn't really get to talk with the coaches," he said. "I had a lot of fun at the second one as well and was able to talk to pretty much all of the coaches because it was a little more laid back than the first."
The standout linebacker enjoyed the opportunity to chat with the Ohio State coaches during and after the practice. He had good chats with everyone.
"It was really great getting to talk to all of them," he continued. "They all knew who I was because I'm from the area, which was pretty cool."
Conner even got the chance to spend a couple of minutes with Ohio State head coach and fellow Dublin resident Urban Meyer.
"It was a good conversation. He told me we're pretty much neighbors since with both live in Dublin," he said. "It was really cool getting to talk with him for a few minutes."
While he's not sure when and where he'll be taking all of his visits, he does have a couple of schools in mind when he does set out on his visits. He's likely to take his officials visits to schools further away and could take some un-official visits to schools that are a little closer to his home in Columbus.
"I should hopefully get to take some visits to some closer schools over the next few months, then I'll take my officials to schools that are further away," he told Land-Grant Holy Land. "A few schools I want to visit are Duke, USC, Arizona State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Kentucky, and other schools that show interest."
Like most people who grow up in Columbus, he rooted on the Scarlet and Gray as a kid and says an offer from Ohio State would mean a lot.
"I grew up rooting for the Buckeyes and so did my family," he continued. "It would mean a lot to get that offer, people I grew up with would say, "he played for Ohio State" and it was always a dream as a kid."
While he's considering every school who offers and shows interest, he admits an offer from the Buckeyes would probably land OSU in the driver's seat for his recruitment, though he really hasn't seen too many schools outside of Ohio State.
"As of right now, if they offered, they'd probably be in the lead," he said. "Part of it's because I've really only seen Ohio State and need to look at some other schools before making any kind of decision."
"I want to go to a school that fits for me. Ohio State is not the only school I'd like to go to," he told Land-Grant Holy Land. "I really want to check out some other schools."
When he takes his visits in the next year or so, there are a couple of things he'll be watching for on the college campus he's on.
"I want to see the atmosphere of the place and make sure it feels right for me," he continued. "I also want to make sure it's a place I'd want to be for 4-5 years, spend time with the coaches, and see the tradition of the program."
There is currently no timetable for a decision, but he would like to get to a bunch of camps in the spring and summer in order to add some offers and attract more colleges.
"I want to go to a bunch of camps like Nike SPARQ, the Rivals Under Armour Camp, and some others," he said. "As long as I perform well, I'm hoping to get some more offers and get some interest from more schools."
Conner has a lot of strengths on the football field and there are also a couple of areas he'd like to improve in between now and the start of his senior season.
"Things that I'm good at are making a tackle wherever I'm at, being instinctive as a linebacker, and playing harder than most linebackers do," he told Land-Grant Holy Land. "Getting stronger is something I'd like to improve because I'm considered a little skinny for a linebacker, so I'd like to add a little weight to get ready for college. I've been doing a lot of early morning workouts in the weight room."
If Ohio State offers Conner (which I think will eventually happen) they will be very tough to beat. Though he does want to visit a lot of schools in between now and his decision, so OSU would by no means be a "lock" to land him.
You can watch the standout linebacker in action here.
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