In the world of college recruiting it is never too early to go after a potential prospect. Stories have come out of certain programs going after 11-year-olds–so the days of being surprised that some folks know far too much information about one kid are long gone. In its place is an era which glorifies college football signing day and barely blinks when a shoe company starts pandering to a tween. Even if you feel yucky about it all, I suppose we have to accept it, as it has become part of the culture of college sports.
Now, the Ohio State Buckeyes are not going after anyone that remotely resembles what I have just described. In fact, they have gone a much saner, moral route while recruiting the number one recruiting prospect for the 2014 class, Jahlil Okafor. In reality, it has seemed this has as much do with Ohio State keeping it classy as it does Okafor’s family making sure everything is on the up and up.
From everything be reported, Okafor and his family are playing this (literally) by the book. If a team wants to come for an in-home visit, they will grant it, but only if they go through the proper channels to be awarded some face time. This isn’t to say there is not a possibility of other things going on, but this seems like one of the cleaner, more under the radar recruiting processes of a player of Okafor’s stature in a long time.
Ohio State has already had an in-home visit with the recruit. There was no big to-do about it. It was as simple as the coaches visiting a recruit–talking shop–and moving on. Okafor has already stated that he is interested in what other schools have to say, although, he has not ruled out Ohio State as a leading candidate.
Okafor has been compared to some pretty elite all-time like centers for a few years now. The buzz around him is starting to become even louder. Let us just hope that it continues to feel as mundane as it currently does–the other option is not so pretty. Just ask kids who were thrown into the spotlight way too early.
I am not naive to not realize that Okafor has not been thrust into the spotlight, already. It just doesn’t have the feel of some other top-recruits of the recent past. Maybe the noise will pick up going into next year–I don’t know. Personally, I kind of like the way it has been going so far. The less noise the better.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosepNardone