He is in San Antonio this week with eight fellow Ohio State commits as a member of the East squad in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl and Matt Natali caught up with him for more.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Dublin Coffman wide receiver Jake Stoneburner became the fifth commitment in Ohio State’s 2008 recruiting class when he pledged his allegiance to the Buckeyes last March.
He is in San Antonio this week with eight fellow Ohio State commits as a member of the East squad in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
“It has been a pretty good week so far,” Stoneburner said. “We’ve had a few practices and I feel like I have done pretty well so far. It is a great experience being here with all these great players all week and you can compare yourself to the rest of the guys.”
Stoneburner (6-5, 225) had 71 catches for 1,242 yards (17.4 average) and 16 touchdowns this season for state semifinalist Coffman (13-1) earning Division I first team All-Ohio honors in addition to his All-American honors.
He played receiver at Coffman but he is playing tight end in the All-American Bowl and there has been a lot of speculation as to whether or not Ohio State will keep him at receiver once he is on campus or move him to tight end.
“I am just trying to do what they ask me to do,” Stoneburner said about playing tight end in the Bowl game. “I will block and catch the ball but I know in my heart I will be playing wide receiver at Ohio State. I am just doing what they say and there aren’t a lot of tight ends here so if it gets me on the field faster, I am down with that.”
The other tight end on the East team is fellow Ohioan and Notre Dame recruit Kyle Rudolph.
“I knew (Rudolph) before from a couple of college visits and we’ve gotten to know each other a little bit better this week,” said Stoneburner. “We’re with each other all the time out there on the practice field since we are the only two tight ends. So, we have built a pretty good relationship.”
Stoneburner was recruited by Ohio State wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell and has had steady contact with him and head coach Jim Tressel since the end of the football season.
“He’s a great guy and you can’t get a better coach – just look at the wide receivers that have gone in the first round in the NFL draft,” Stoneburner said of Hazell. “His guys that don’t even start are getting drafted in the NFL. He knows what he is doing and I am really looking forward to working with him.
“That is definitely my ultimate goal – to be able to play on Sundays. It is a long time off but if you’re going to play college football, I think that is anybody’s dream and Ohio State is the way to do it.”
With eight future Buckeyes playing the All-American Bowl, including DeVier Posey, Lamaar Thomas, Ben Buchanan, J.B. Shugarts, Coffman teammate Mike Adams, Mike Brewster and Etienne Sabino, Stoneburner feels it says a lot about the Ohio State program.
“It just shows how good our class is supposed to be. It is awesome just to be here and being able to play with my future teammates,” he said. “We have been comparing our school and telling everybody how much better we are than everybody jokingly. Most guys here are saying they are jealous and wish they were going to Ohio State but Ohio State came in on them too late but most people want to be where their at. People are saying if (Ohio State) offered them they would be there in a second.”
And with several blue chip prospects on still on the board that are participating in the All-American Bowl and entertaining Ohio State offers, Stoneburner and his future teammates are putting in a good word for the Buckeyes.
“They know we want them to go to Ohio State but we’re not really trying to talk to them about going to Ohio State,” he said. “We’re just trying to make them feel like they are one of us. And they know if they come to Ohio State this is what it is going to be like because we are all the same back home. Most of the guys here are getting the feel of what it is going to be like and it is really helping I think.”
Stoneburner is planning on enrolling at Ohio State in March and is anxious about getting his college career underway.
“I have just been working out a little bit and did a lot of running for (the All-American Bowl) to make sure my legs are in shape. Once I get back (from San Antonio) I will probably take another week off and kick it right back into full gear to get ready for OSU in March.
“I am looking forward to starting football again. I already missed it after a month. Knowing that I am going to be playing football again in a few months at OSU and getting that started up, I’m getting excited.”
And Stoneburner is looking at this opportunity in the All-American Bowl to get him prepared for college football.
“The practices – I didn’t think they would be as tough as they are actually pretty tough and we are working pretty tough here,” he said. “It seems like everything we are doing is a lot faster because the guys here are the best of the best. All of us will be playing at the next level so we are just getting ready for the college level.
“I have been urging to play football, especially against some good talent and it can’t get any better than this so it is a good feeling.
Once on campus, Stoneburner is hoping to make an instant impact.
“I definitely want to be a contributor. Not a lot of freshmen get to play but I am going to try to get in on some plays and get in a good amount in some games. I think that is a realistic goal.”