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Conspiracy Corner: Did Aaron Scott just pull off the longest troll job in recruiting history?

Andy Kaufman — who is obviously not really dead — is probably very impressed with Scott’s performance.

Masters of the long con Aaron Scott and Andy Kaufman
Left image: Aaron Scott’s Instagram | Right image: Images Press/IMAGES/Getty Images

Look, I am not a natural conspiracy theorist. I believe that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. I believe that the Earth is round. I believe Elvis has been dead since 1977 and Tupac was murdered in 1996. I do not believe that the Holy Grail is actually the sacred bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. I do not believe that we are all actually living in a simulation. And I believe that the Denver International Airport is just an airport and not a secret bunker for the highest-ranking members of the New World Order to retreat to when they begin to rain down a fiery apocalypse on an unsuspecting global population.

But nonetheless, here I am, sitting at home on a late-July Sunday evening contemplating the fact that a newly committed Ohio State football prospect might have just pulled off the biggest long-term con job in the history of recruiting. As you almost certainly know by now, Springfield, Ohio native Aaron Scott chose the Buckeyes over Michigan and Oregon on Sunday. The No. 52 player in the country, No. 5 cornerback, and No. 2 player from Ohio according to 247Sports’ Composite Ratings, all of the crystal balls and recruiting prediction machines had Scott going to Ohio State, but the vibe around his recruitment was a fraught one for Buckeye fans.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, even though the experts were all focused on OSU as the destination for the talented corner (although no one felt super confident about it), his words and actions made everyone in Buckeye Nation understandably anxious. Earlier this month, when announcing his commitment day, Scott tweeted “shock da world,” and what would be more shocking for a top prospect from 45 minutes outside of Columbus than committing to Michigan? Then, two days later, he was spotted wearing Wolverine cleats at a 7-on-7 event in Dayton, adding more fuel to the fandom’s fears.

Scott was one of the toughest prospects in recent memory to get a bead on because other than narrowing down his finalists to the Buckeyes, Wolverines, and Oregon Ducks, he gave precious few indications about where he was leaning, even up until the week of his commitment (more on that in a second).

However, one of the first signs that Scott was bound to be a Buckeye was the choice of commitment day. You could assume that the rising senior just wanted to make his pledge on July 30 so that he could focus his attention on his last season as a high school football player, and that would be completely valid. But, July 30 also happens to be his father’s birthday, and his father is a huge Ohio State fan.

If Scott was seriously going to commit to Michigan, would he do it on his Buckeye-loving dad’s birthday? While I am sure that Mr. Scott would have eventually accepted the Wolverines into his heart if Aaron decided to go there — at least for as long as he was on the team — it would be a pretty brutal birthday gift to make your dad sit at the table next to you while you chose to play for his hated rival.

To be fair, we here at LGHL have been secretly suspecting a troll job for well over a month. Our recruiting analyst (and Michigan state-champion high school football coach) Caleb Houser raised the possibility in our Slack channel before Scott’s June 23 official visit to Columbus.

Following his commitment, Scott said that it was that visit and being on hand when Ohio’s No. 1 prospect, fellow cornerback Bryce West, committed to the Buckeyes that moved OSU ahead of TTUN. And while that might be true, Scott’s comments to reporters don’t always line up, even after his decision was revealed.

In the same media availability Sunday night, the cornerback said that he didn’t make his decision until Sunday morning, backing up tweets from earlier in the week that indicated that he wasn’t yet ready to make a decision, and yet, on Friday — two days before his announcement — he sat down with Rival’s Jeremy Birmingham to detail his decision to become a Buckeye.

Was he just trying to keep the secret under wraps or was it part of a months-long troll job against Michigan? Why would he tell reporters that he made the decision on Sunday if days earlier he gave an interview explaining why he made the decision? The only thing I can think is that either he is so caught up in the con that he forgot that he could now drop the act, or he just wanted to twist the knife into Michigan one more time.

In fairness, we weren’t the only people who thought that Scott could be trolling the Wolverine fans and coaches. Last week, a Michigan YouTuber rightly said that there was nearly no chance that Aaron picked the Maize and Blue, saying it was 98% for Ohio State and just 2% for Michigan.

He even asked his viewers to provide any explanation for Scott’s actions other than the fact that he was trolling, and nobody could do it. So, while it is against my nature to give credit to any Michigan Man, it does seem like Mark Rogers got this one exactly right. Even a blind muskrat finds a nut every once in a while.

But, if his months of misdirects, misleading comments, and mind games aren’t enough for you to believe that Scott has been trolling Michigan this whole time, I give you my final piece of inculpatory evidence: Aaron Scott’s actual commitment event.

Scott, flanked by his parents, sat at the center of a table with an Oregon hat and bookbag on his right, a Michigan hat and bag in front of him, and an OSU hat and bag to his left. Now, if you are a disciple of Hat Science™️, you know that the hat in the middle is never chosen, meaning that Buckeye fans should have felt pretty good about their options on Sunday evening.

Nevertheless, Scott went through with his pre-planned charade. First, he eliminated the Oregon gear — despite the fact that he said this week that he grew up a Ducks fan — then, he picked up the Ohio State stuff and went to don the hat, only to discard that as well, leaving only the Michigan merch. But friends, if you have watched these commitment announcements over the years, surely you knew this was not the end. In fact, as soon as the props were placed on the table, you should have been asking yourself, “Self, why does Aaron Scott have bookbags on the table in addition to hats?”

That would have been a very good question, because — with only the maize and blue hat and bag remaining on the table — instead of putting on the Block M hat and declaring his intention to play for the next three or four years in Ann Arbor, Scott picked up the Michigan bag, opened the pocket, and pulled out an Ohio State jersey that he promptly put it on to complete his commitment and the trolling of his new team’s biggest rival.

Look, I am not one to question a 17-year-old’s honesty, so if Scott says that he was truly considering Michigan throughout this process even up until Sunday morning, who am I to call him a liar (even if his public statements about when he made his decision were demonstrably false)? But, if Kyrie Irving, RFK Jr., or Ye asked me for my honest opinion, I would tell them that I think this was nothing more than a lifelong Buckeye fan sticking it to his favorite team’s bitter rivals.

”Ohio State showed me a whole lot of love,” Scott told Bucknuts’ Bill Kurelic. “Ryan Day reminded me how I love Ohio State. It’s family there, it’s all love.”

Could the OSU head coach have reminded Scott of that love during his official visit last month? Last week? Sunday morning? Perhaps, but look at the prospect’s recruitment graphic. In addition to the recruiting images wearing official Buckeye team gear, there are photos of a young Aaron Scott decked out in scarlet and gray.

Growing up less than an hour away from Ohio Stadium with a dad who loves the Buckeyes, in retrospect, it’s hard to imagine Aaron Scott going anywhere else, but for a good long while, he had a lot of people convinced — or at least concerned — that he was bound for Ann Arbor.

In fairness, in the video above, Scott told Birm that he did — in fact — make his decision at some point last week and that it was his late-June visit to Columbus that flipped him from the Dark Side to the light. In the super-secret Friday interview, Scott explained his thought process in coming to his ultimate conclusion, so perhaps Occam’s razor holds true here and if I take off the tinfoil hat and stop my own little bit of trolling, I can concede that Scott probably did have a really tough time picking between OSU and TTUN… but you never know, maybe he didn’t.

In the end, whether this was as difficult of a decision as Scott has said it was or it was all an elaborate Andy Kaufman-style ruse designed to embarrass the Michigan program, frustrate their fans, and force them to waste time and resources on a prospect they never had a real chance at landing, we might never know, but either way, it’s nice to finally be able to officially welcome Aaron Scott into the 2024 Ohio State recruiting class.