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Your reminder that Ohio State fans can impact recruiting
This post is kind of being an annual tradition, and every time I write it, I know that doing so only encourages the folks that I am writing it for to double down on the problem, but so be it.
So, here it is, the day following a Buckeyes football loss, an occurrence that is one of the rarest things in college sports: Stop freaking out. You’re embarrassing yourself and hurting the team you so adamantly claim to love.
Frustration is acceptable. It’s clear that there are issues within the Buckeyes program right now and yes, each and every one of you reading this column on a nightly basis feels a personal investment in it and wants badly to see them fixed. Ohio State fans are a passionate and loyal group that demands perfection at every turn despite knowing full well how hard it is for a college football team to go undefeated.
There is a fine line between passionate fan and over-the-edge fanatic, though, and the combination of frustration, social media anonymity and — in a lot of cases, I suspect — too much liquid courage can lead truly embarrassing displays of fanaticism.
To be clear, this is not how Buckeyes fans should react to a loss, ever.
Sorry for the profane nature of that message, but it’s important to show people what is and what is not acceptable in life, let alone sports.
I know that we talk often about how college football isn’t really amateur sports anymore. The nature of the NCAA and the business of college football is so big, so colossal, that people often assume the kids who represent your favorite program aren’t kids anymore but they are.
If you, as a Buckeyes fan, want to know why some kids may decide they’d rather play elsewhere. This a football team that has lost nine games in the last seven years and every time they struggle there is a large segment of the fan base demanding that a three-time national champion head coach be fired or that a record-setting quarterback be benched despite being the only player keeping the team in a game, etc.
There are so many times when I’m asked how much fans truly impact recruiting and in truth, there aren’t many ways that they do. The biggest way? How you support the team you love and how you support the young men who are actually putting in the work, day in and day out, to represent that team on your behalf. It’s not always going to be perfect, and there are some days it’s going to be out and out bad, but these kids work themselves ragged for you, the fans, and they deserve better.
I know that there are many more great fans than there are terrible ones, but the terrible ones are the ones that go viral. They’re the ones that put your favorite program in a negative light. They’re the ones that give players from all over the country a skewed image of the program and what has been built throughout the long, storied history of Ohio State football.
If you, as a fan, want to really impact how the Buckeyes fare on the recruiting trail? Show up on Nov. 3 and cheer louder than you ever have before. That’s how you help the program you love.
…and never tweet recruits.
Another Ohio State commit Ronnie Hickman out for year
Ohio State has had its fair share of injury issues on the field in the 2018 season but the bad string of injuries the Buckeyes are facing now has been a regular theme among recruits for the last few seasons.
You can now add defensive back commit Ronnie Hickman to the list. The 4-star prospect from Wayne (N.J.) Depaul Catholic suffered a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of his senior season.
Bad news for @dpfootball: Two-way star and @OhioStateFB commit Ronnie Hickman's senior season is over after tearing his ACL #NJFootball @Buckeye_Nation @Buckeyes @OhioStateRivals https://t.co/mqysGk5Ko3
— Andrew Koob (@AndrewKoobHS) October 21, 2018
From Andrew Koob of NJ.com:
Hickman, who was presented with his All-American Game jersey before DePaul’s game against Don Bosco Friday, was sporting a large brace on his right knee throughout the day and was in street clothes in the Spartans’ 59-28 loss. [Depaul head coach John] McKenna also confirmed that Hickman will not participate in the All-American game.
In recent years, Nick Bosa, Jamel Dean, Kamryn Babb, Dre’Mont Jones, Malik Barrow, Jonathon Cooper, Austin Mack, Tyler Gerald, Trevon Grimes, J.K. Dobbins and Jaelen Gill have all missed a majority or the entirety of their senior seasons. Current Ohio State 2020 commit Lejond Cavazos will miss the rest of his junior season and quarterback commit Jack Miller is out indefinitely and still on crutches as well.
As noted, the injury will bring to an end Hickman’s brilliant prep career. Again, from NJ.com.
He finishes his scholastic career with 1,418 receiving yards and 22 total touchdowns (19 receiving) on 70 catches over the course of two seasons on offense. Defensively Hickman totaled 71 tackles, two interceptions and 15 pass breakups in 19 games in three seasons as a defensive back.
Hickman is the country’s 124th-ranked 2019 prospect and New Jersey’s third-ranked player.
Ohio State coaches will hit the road for the first time this season
Certainly the Buckeyes would prefer to send their assistant coaches out on the recruiting trail in a better mood, but regardless, it’s time for Ohio State to get busy on the recruiting trail.
With the off week ahead, you’ll start to see news about where coaches have visited and who they’ve visited, helping clarify exactly who the real targets and priorities are in 2019 and beyond.
Stay tuned throughout the week to see where the Buckeyes are putting their attention.
Need more Ohio State recruiting #Stuff? Check out the Lettermen Row forums and let us know what’s on your mind. Don’t forget to sign up for the tri-weekly recruiting newsletter, just in case there’s anything you’ve missed during the week.
Birm is Lettermen Row's Director of Recruiting and the site's primary Ohio State sports photographer. A Toledo, Ohio native, Jeremy has been in similar roles for elevenwarriors.com and Landof10.com and has been covering the Buckeyes for seven years.