One of the main priorities of the Ohio State coaching staff is to keep the top players in the state of Ohio in the Buckeye state to play their college football for the Buckeyes.
They did an excellent job of just that in the 2014 recruiting class, as they landed signatures from seven of the top 11 players in the state, per the 247Sports Composite rankings. Only two of the players they failed to land offers from the Scarlet and Gray.
The staff hopes to continue their success in the state in the 2015 recruiting cycle, and have already handed out seven offers to in state recruits. One of the most recent ones went to Cleveland (OH) St. Ignatius defensive end Dre'Mont Jones, who is coming off a strong junior season.
"I think it was a really good season for me. I did all of the right things for my self and my team to help us win," Jones said. "I felt like I had a great season overall."
The 6'5, 250-pound defensive lineman already holds multiple scholarship offers and is hearing from many other top programs.
"I've received interest from Notre Dame, Tennessee, Georgia, Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State, and Pittsburgh," Jones told Land-Grant Holy Land. "Then the offers are from Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Cincinnati, and Ohio State."
When the scholarship offer came from the Buckeyes last week, he was very excited, as he grew up watching the Scarlet and Gray.
"I talked to the recruiting coach and they let me know on the phone when I was at school," Jones continued. "I was really excited to find out one of my childhood dream schools offered me, but I still don't know my final decision or when I'm going to know."
Jones still hasn't taken a visit to Columbus, but grew up watching the Buckeyes and is old enough to remember the national championship they won in 2002.
"I know it was a great school in the past and is a great school now. They're always in the top ten teams," he said. "Since I've been watching them, they've won a championship."
He admits that he was a big Buckeye fan when he was younger, but with a lot of colleges showing interest, he has taken a step back in his fandom and is open to all schools.
"In the early years of my childhood, I favored Ohio State," Jones stated. "When I got to high school I still watch Ohio State and still cheer for them, but not as much because I'm open to other schools."
There are definitely a lot of schools interested in the elite defensive end, but there are three schools standing out right now.
"The schools that stand out most to me are Iowa, Ohio State, and Michigan, he told Land-Grant Holy Land.
St. Ignatius sent a couple of players to division I schools in the 2014 class in offensive linemen Jimmy Byrne (Notre Dame) and linebacker Kyle Berger (Ohio State). Jones know both pretty well, but probably has the best relationship with Berger of the two.
"With Jimmy, we talk, not a lot, but understand each other and can talk ," he said. "Kyle and I talk a lot more. You could say he's one of my friends, one of my guys, and someone I can hang out with. I'm pretty close with Kyle."
When basketball season wraps up here in a couple of weeks, there are a few schools he would like to check out.
"Indiana, Ohio State, and the big one that's far away is Georgia. I really want to get out and check that school out," Jones said of the schools he would like to visit.
Right now, Jones' plan is to have his recruitment wrapped up sometime before his senior football season kicks off in the fall.
"Looking at things now, probably in the summer," Jones stated. "Probably in the middle or the end of summer, one of those times right before football season."
He's looking forward to finding out more about schools when he visits and will be looking for how the coaches and players interact while on the visits.
"Just finding out more about the school on my visits, that's really going to help me," he said. "Not really specific things, just like how the coaches approach me and how they treat the players as people."
Jones has the best relationships with coaches from Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan, and Tennessee right now.
"The best with Ohio State is Coach Pantoni, with Iowa coach Jim Reed, and Coach Mattison at Michigan," Jones continued. "Others schools, probably Coach Elder at Tennessee; I've gotten to know him pretty well."
I think the Buckeyes are in a very good spot with Jones right now and wouldn't be surprised if he was one of the next couple of players to commit. The main competition for his commitment will be Iowa and Michigan, if they offer as things currently stand.
If you haven't seen the Buckeye State standout in action, you can check out his highlights here.