There has been much speculation for the last day or so about the status of Cleveland Glenville wide receiver/defensive back Cordale Scott. But his hometown newspaper, The Plain Dealer, brought some clarity to the situation today as it reported that Scott had verbaled to Illinois over Ohio State.
Since arriving at Ohio State in 2001, Jim Tressel has been able to build quite a pipeline of talent from Cleveland Glenville to OSU.
But that pipeline has apparently sprung a leak.
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported today that Glenville senior wide receiver/safety Cordale Scott has issued a verbal commitment to Illinois.
The 6-4, 200-pound Scott becomes the first Glenville player since defensive end Pierre Woods in 2001 to spurn an OSU offer and sign with another school. Woods verbaled to Michigan prior to Tressel’s hiring at OSU in January 2001.
Bucknuts made repeated attempts to reach Scott on Wednesday. However, he was quoted today on the PD web site and discussed the verbal to Illinois.
“It was a very tough decision,” Scott told the PD. “I liked both campuses and the coaching staff at both schools, but my mom and I sat down and decided Illinois is the best place for me.”
Scott, rated as the No. 3 player in Ohio by Ohio High magazine, made visits to OSU and Illinois the last two weeks.
Bucknuts recruiting analyst Bill Kurelic spoke with Scott earlier this week after his Illinois visit.
“It went great,” Scott said. “I liked everything. I liked the people and the coaching staff. Everything impressed me. I liked how their players get along. I like their chemistry.”
Asked to rate the visit on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, Scott said, “It was a 10.”
Scott missed one game and played at less than 100 percent in a couple others due to a mild seperation of his right shoulder early in the season. But he still caught 27 passes for 431 yards and five touchdowns. Scott also rushed for 67 yards and a score and returned three kickoffs for touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball Scott made 51 tackles including 17 solo's from his strong safety position. He intercepted five passes and returned two for touchdowns while also breaking-up seven passes.
“I’m going to play wide receiver at Illinois, but that wasn’t a deciding factor because Ohio State was also going to play me there,” Scott told the PD. “Neither school promised me that I’ll be a starter … but both said if I come in and work hard, I could earn some playing time.”
Earlier this week, Ohio State received a commitment from Glenville defensive lineman Shawntel Rowell. That gave OSU 16 commitments in a class that was already tight for space with just 15 available scholarships. The coaching staff is almost certainly preparing for one or more current players to leave early for the NFL or transfer.
The Buckeyes continue to track, in particular, Pennsylvania quarterback Terrelle Pryor and West Virginia offensive lineman Josh Jenkins.
Ohio High recruiting editor Duane Long commented on the Scott-to-Illinois report.
“I think everyone is excited about the depth right now on Ohio State’s roster,” Long said. “Kids won’t normally say it, but early playing time is usually right at the top of their list. I guess I am not surprised by this. He wants to play early and he wants to play right now. He was probably going to redshirt at Ohio State.”
After Illinois and coach Ron Zook were able to upset then-No. 1 Ohio State 28-21 on Nov. 9, the Illini have also now made some major advances on the recruiting front.
“This is a big deal for Illinois,” Long said. “They come in here where there are power programs like Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Notre Dame and they’re doing well. Iowa and Wisconsin have also recruited Ohio well and also done well at Glenville.
“But Illinois, of all schools, is the first one to come in and break through and outfight Ohio State for a Glenville player. I think that is significant.
“I think Cordale is an outstanding player. He is one of the top players in the state and you always want to sign those type players. I don’t think Ohio State will feel that big of an impact on the field in the near future because they have depth. But for Illinois this is a huge impact to get that type of player out of Ohio.”
Long said it will be interesting to see if OSU continues to try and sway Scott or if the Buckeyes will target other key prospects in this class. Scott and other 2008 verbals will sign letters-of-intent for their college choices on Wed., Feb. 6.