The first commitment in Ohio State’s 2019 recruiting class, Huntington (W.Va.) Spring Valley 4-star offensive lineman Doug Nester, will sign his National Letter of Intent with Virginia Tech, bringing an end to a long — and often confusing — recruitment.
The news was officially reported by Grant Taylor of the Herald-Dispatch.com, the paper of record in Nester’s hometown of Huntington.
“Ohio State is always the best of the best and they continue to get great talent and great guys,” Nester told Taylor. “But it’s a big city and I don’t know if I would fit in well there.”
The country’s eighth-ranked guard committed to the Buckeyes in August of 2017 and for more than a year seemed content to deal only with Ohio State, visiting the school on double-digit occasions throughout the 2017 season and in the early part of the 2018 calendar year.
After the troubles with former receivers coach Zach Smith and Urban Meyer’s forced administrative leave in August, however, things started to feel a little uneasy for the Buckeyes. Nester took in-season visits to Virginia Tech and Penn State, though both trips were written off as nothing more than perfunctory visits made to accompany teammates.
Despite suggesting there was not any reason to worry in September, Ohio State appeared to more concerned toward the season’s conclusion as rumors of Meyer’s retirement became louder and louder. After Meyer officially stepped down on Dec. 4, Nester made an official visit to Ohio State the following weekend and got an up-close-and-personal look at Ryan Day as the Buckeyes coach, but the departure of Meyer seemed to give the 6-foot-6, 310-pound All-American a reason to look more seriously at other schools. He announced he’d no long enroll early or sign with the Buckeyes in December and from that point, all bets were officially off in Nester’s recruitment. He told the Herald-Dispatch that Meyer’s retirement played a significant role in his final decision.
“It’s very stressful because with a new head coach, things are going to be a little bit different,” Nester said. “It was very stressful to see that happen as soon as you are about to sign on the dotted line. All of the sudden, you have to hold up for a second and re-evaluate everything.”
Ohio State went above and beyond to make Nester a priority following the early signing period but never seemed to get a good read on what his concerns were about. He visited the school again in mid-January and followed that up with trips to Penn State and Virginia Tech, the latter coming the weekend prior to the second signing period. Now, Nester is officially out of the Buckeyes class and heading to Blacksburg.
Nester is the fifth 2019 player to decommit from Ohio State’s recruiting class and the second to change his mind primarily as a result of Meyer’s retirement, joining Alabama signee Jordan Battle, who flipped to the Crimson Tide on Dec. 19.