COLUMBUS — The Ohio State recruiting pitch wasn’t meant for Micah Potter.
He was already enrolled on campus. A center on the basketball team, he didn’t even play football. And he was trying his best to avoid influencing the recruitment of his brother.
But listening to Urban Meyer work his magic convinced him all the same.
“I mean, Coach Meyer, shoot, he had me ready to commit to play football,” Potter said with a laugh. “The way the guy can recruit, he makes you want to go there.
“No. 1, Ohio State football is like the best in the country, everyone knows that. But No. 2, the way he cares about his players, there are a ton of people on the football team, but he cares about every single one of them and wants the best for every single one of them. His motivation and the way he makes you feel, his charisma with people — I don’t even know how to describe it. He makes you want to play for him.”
The Buckeyes weren’t necessarily trying to win over Micah, even though it didn’t hurt to have his support as they pursued his younger brother, Noah. But the message resonated just as well with the four-star defensive end, who publicly committed to the program in April after hearing another of those powerful messages from Meyer with some family in tow for a visit.
The older brother has taken no credit for his role in the successful recruitment for the football program, even though he admits to teasing Noah about joining him in Columbus and occasionally passing along some helpful information about the caliber of the school. Not that Noah didn’t already know that, since he grew up dreaming about playing for the Buckeyes before eventually taking his time to make sure it was really the right fit for him.
Meyer and defensive line coach Larry Johnson took it from there.
“A lot of people were expecting me to go to Ohio State because of Micah and me being from Ohio, but I didn’t want to go there just because of that,” Noah said. “I wanted to make sure that I was going there because of Coach Johnson and everything that goes into Ohio State, and not just because it’s in Ohio.
“Micah was telling to go where I needed to go. He wasn’t pressuring me at all. He would give me stuff to show me that Ohio State was the best, but he wasn’t going to tell me to go there just because he was there. He wanted me to do what was best for me. And I wanted Micah to go on as many visits as possible because he’s been in the shoes before and I wanted him to see the coaches were being real and honest and stuff like that.”
Obviously, one of those coaches in particular made an impression that had Micah ready to change sports.
That might have been a problem for basketball coach Chris Holtmann, who will likely be leaning on the versatile big man for a larger role this season. The Buckeyes have a lot of production to replace, and Micah is already grinding through offseason drills to add to his career averages of 4 points and 3 rebounds coming mainly off the bench.
And now he doesn’t even have to worry about paying attention to or staying out of the recruitment of his brother.
“The biggest thing for him was he didn’t want the pressure from everyone else,” Micah said. “He wanted it to be his decision, and really that was always my intent. I was going to love him regardless of where he went, and he could have gone anywhere in the country and been super successful.
“The deal with Noah, he’s wanted to be a Buckeye his entire life. Ever since he was 5 years old, he had a paper up on his wall that said: Five-star recruit, Ohio State, NFL, Hall of Fame. That has been his lifelong goal. Once he started to get into the recruiting process and started to develop in his ability, he kind of started to really enjoy the recruiting process and getting the attention from all the coaches — especially being the third born and being behind two Division I athletes. He kind of was like the one that was left behind in a sense, so he really enjoyed it.”
In the end, that process produced a commitment to the same school for both brothers.
Of course, the sports are still going to be separate, no matter how much Micah might have wanted to play for Meyer.
“I think it’s the confidence [Meyer] has in the program,” Noah said. “He knows this is the place that anybody would want to go to. His resume speaks for itself, winning national championships, going to the College Football Playoff, winning the Big Ten and getting a job for players if the NFL doesn’t work out, the amount of players that have been drafted.
“I would say his No. 1 selling point is he’s so confident in everything.”
Clearly, the Potter family has bought in completely.