In major college sports, the scholarship athletes might get the glory, but behind scenes, the walk-on players are the glue that holds the team together. After bringing in 2014 recruits Sam York, Mike Maduko, Isaiah Williams, and others, the Buckeyes are back on trail searching for under-the-radar class of 2015 gems to bring into the fold to help the squad out on and off the field next season.
Already holding verbal commitments from five of the top lineman in the country, the staff isn't done trying to add big bodies to the roster. Cincinnati Oak Hills offensive lineman Mason Garrison was one of the recent in-state prospects to receive a chance to walk-on with the Big Ten champion Buckeyes after recently striking up a relationship with the OSU coaches.
"I was first contacted by Mark Pantoni via Facebook. I was then invited to the OSU vs. Indiana game to speak more in depth. The day we went up a normal two hour drive turned into a five hour drive so I missed the beginning of the game, and a chance to speak with Mr. Pantoni or any of the other coaches. After the Big Ten Championship I was invited back up to observe a bowl practice and speak to coaches. I met Mr. Pantoni and Coach Sean Fisher. I was shown the facilities, and then watched practice," Garrison told Land-Grant Holy Land.
"The practice was a great experience. It was high energy and fast paced. Our practices in high school are similar in style so it was fun to watch, but also a very good learning experience by being able to watch some of the best players in the country play and some of the best coaches in the country coach."
Holding scholarship offers from Gannon, Malone, Mercyhurst, and preferred walk-on spots from the Buckeyes and the University of Cincinnati, Mason is about to make the biggest decision of his life in the coming weeks. Before he makes his college choice, he is trying to pin point the right overall program that fits all his requirements.
"I am looking for a place that has good coach/player relationships, meaning that I am more to the team than just a scout player, but someone who is able to compete for a spot as well as make the team better, and is given a chance," Garrison added. "At this point, I am really not sure yet of where I want to go to school and play."
Though there is a chance he won't end up donning the scarlet and gray next season, the 6'5, 280-pound Garrison is nothing but excited to even have Ohio State as an option.
"The opportunity is on the table. All I have to do is get accepted into the university and if I want to join the team I can. The opportunity to suit up as a Buckeye is a chance that very few are given, and to say I have given the idea some thought is an understatement. I would love to earn a spot on the team, but I still have a lot to think about before I can fully decide. When it comes to OSU football there are so many things that come to mind. Tradition most definitely, but above all, loyalty. It's hard to imagine that there is another program with as much pride, and loyalty in a university as there is at Ohio State. It is a winning program that constantly carries that winning tradition with class. It's an honor to have the opportunity that I have."
Want to see Mason Garrison in action? Take a few moments to check out his high school highlights courtesy of Hudl: