The story of how Cormontae Hamilton earned his Ohio State offer will be told over and over whenever the program’s newest commitment is mentioned.
It’s already become part of the legend of his recruitment.
Hamilton took a Greyhound Bus on an 18-hour, round-trip visit from Memphis to Columbus in late June to show up and perform at Ohio State’s Friday Night Lights camp. That’s how he proved to the Buckeyes and their coaching staff, namely tight ends coach Kevin Wilson, that he would go to any length necessary to earn what he wanted.
Why did Ohio State, Alabama offer Cormontae Hamilton?
“One reason they offered me was that I showed that I wanted it,” he told Lettermen Row. “I came up there on a Greyhound just to be there and camp. I went there with a sprung AC joint in my right shoulder and didn’t give up not one bit. I gave it my all.”
The dedication to make that trip is one of the reasons why the country’s 36th-best tight end prospect earned offers from the Buckeyes and the Alabama Crimson Tide this summer. Yes, he’s fast and physical, but that’s not what stands out the most according to Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven head coach Rodney Saulsberry.
“He’s a physical specimen, and he has a frame that is conducive to growth,” Saulsberry told Lettermen Row. “You can see the raw potential for what he can be in the future. But most importantly? He’s a great kid. The kid is humble. The kid works super hard.”
Ohio State doesn’t offer every great kid that walks through the doors of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, of course. Wilson first saw the 6-foot-2, 254-pound Hamilton in early 2018 and kept tabs on a player he believed was a top-10 player at his position from the beginning.
“Coach Wilson came early in the process, I think January, and let him know that ‘Hey, I’ve scoured the country for tight ends. You’re one of the top-10 guys in the country, no matter what anyone else tells you,'” Saulsberry said.”He told him that early, and told he’d be coming back to see him. It’s come to fruition and Cormontae showed his talent on the camp circuit. He’s blown up, and that’s because of his work-ethic and his dedication.”
What will Cormontae Hamilton bring to Ohio State?
Ohio State’s current crop of tight ends all look like NFL-type talents. Jeremy Ruckert, the country’s top-ranked prospect at the position in the Class of 2018, stands in at almost 6-foot-6. So does Luke Farrell, who will start at the position this fall for the Buckeyes. Jake Hausmann and Rashod Berry are each 6-foot-4 and 250-plus pounds.
Hamilton isn’t that guy. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have big talent. In fact, according to his coach, he’s got next-next-level potential.
“Cormontae Hamilton is strong enough physically, though he may not be as tall, but he’s strong enough to be an in-line guy,” Saulsberry said. “His flexibility though, to be an H-back or in the slot or even line up outside, gives versatility to their offense that maybe they’ve not had.
“That’s a problem for the defense when you’ve got a guy with that versatility. He’s got potential to be an NFL guy. He’s too big for a defensive back to cover and too fast and too elusive for a linebacker to cover. Ohio State sees him as that ‘move’ type of guy. He can play all over.”
Though he will need to refine his frame to get college-ready, Hamilton is a pure pass-catcher right now.
“He is dynamic and has some of the best hands in the country,” Saulsberry said. “He’s a wide receiver trapped in a big, old body. He makes plays on the daily that are now normal to see him make. One-handed catches across his body, catches in traffic, in double and triple coverage. He’s strong enough to play the tight end position, to block and do all those things, but he’s very, very elusive and a good guy in space too. He’s got awesome potential.”
As for the bus story? That even amazed the coach Hamilton amazes every day in practice.
“I didn’t even know at the time, until that day,” he said. “I thought his mom was still taking him. He told me ‘I want to make sure I get picked up from the bus station.’ I was like ‘The bus?’
“In this day and age, it’s amazing to find a kid willing to do that.”