As he put it, Jamie Wood has been sold on Ohio State for a while now. He also has been outspoken for months now in his belief in everything Buckeye, an enthusiasm he was able to display this weekend around a handful of uncommitted recruits during his official visit to the university.
As he put it, Jamie Wood has been sold on Ohio State for a while now.
A 6-2, 185-pound defensive back and wide receiver at nearby Pickerington (Ohio) Central, Wood became commitment No. 8 for the 2009 OSU football recruiting class when he accepted a scholarship offer from head coach Jim Tressel back in February. Since then he has confirmed why he is considered one of the top athlete prospects in the state.
He also has been outspoken for months now in his belief in everything Buckeye, an enthusiasm he was able to display this weekend around a handful of uncommitted recruits during his official visit to the university.
Wood was one of roughly 20 recruits who were on hand over the weekend. Only three visitors – offensive lineman Marcus Hall of Cleveland Glenville, wide receiver Marlon Brown of Memphis (Tenn.) Harding and quarterback Tajh Boyd of Hampton (Va.) Phoebus – arrived still undecided about their college future. Hall and Boyd made officials visits while Brown came north for an unofficial visit.
Enter the affable Wood, a natural-born salesman.
“I talked to all of them and I talked to their parents,” he told Bucknuts.com. “We had some good conversations. I know Tajh really liked it there a lot and his mom had good things to say. Everything seemed like it went well with Marlon. I talked to Marcus some.
“I think the visit was a chance to bond with my future teammates but also get to know those guys and show them why Ohio State is a great place. I think the key to that is to treat them just like you treat the other guys and let them see the family atmosphere. I think we have a real strong class talent-wise and in terms of closeness, so it was a great visit.”
And what kind of effect did it have on the three uncommitted players, if any?
“I think we are in good shape with all three, to be honest with you,” Wood said.
That, of course, is music to the ears of the OSU coaches and Buckeye fans. Meanwhile, Wood’s commitment is already rock-solid. He enjoyed everything about his visit from his one-on-one time with host Nate Oliver to watching bowl practice to hanging out with the other prep players.
“Friday we had lunch together and went out and watched bowl practice,” Wood said. “After that we checked into the Blackwell and went out to dinner. We had a tour of the Woody Hayes facility. It was all good.”
Wood even found his meetings with academic counselors productive as they looked over his records and assured him that he was on pace to graduate early from Central.
Wood, who was a two-way star for the Tigers and a teammate of fellow OSU commitment Zach Boren, scored a 21 on the ACT and owns a grade-point average of 3.4. He said he has completed all of his required core courses in subjects such as math and social studies and is now loaded up on electives. He also is taking an English course online for his final core credits and should be able to graduate Jan. 15 with an eye on enrolling at Ohio State for spring quarter. That, of course, would enable Wood to join the Buckeyes on the practice field for the 15-practice session that dominates April.
“High school has been a good experience for me but I’m ready to move on,” he said. “It’s getting old. I don’t need to stick around just to run track now that football is over. It’s going to be an adjustment (going early to college), but I look at it like this: I can get out there and start early and see what I’m working with. I feel I’m ready for the challenge and I can’t wait, really.”
Wood’s next few weeks will be busy, even with the upcoming winter break. He leaves for San Antonio, Texas, on Dec. 28 to participate in the prestigious U.S. Army All-America Bowl, which will be held on Jan. 3.
“I’m really excited about that,” he said. “God has really blessed me to be healthy and to have the athleticism I do to be able to go there and compete with the best. It’s a great opportunity for me.”
Wood runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, bench presses 300 pounds and has a 33-inch vertical jump. He started at wide receiver during his sophomore season and played receiver, strong safety and cornerback his junior season. That season he logged 65 tackles, intercepted one pass and broke up 15 others. He also caught 25 passes and scored eight touchdowns.
After committing to OSU, Wood also put in a stellar senior season, most notably on defense, where he recorded 83 tackles and a pair of interceptions for a 13-1 team. Pickerington Central advanced all the way to the state semifinals in Division I before losing 24-10 to Cincinnati Elder.
He said the Buckeyes recruited him as a safety but he’s open to playing wherever is needed in college. While watching practice over the weekend he set his eyes mostly on the DBs but did make sure to check out players at other positions.
“I watched as much as I could so I could get acquainted with the system and how practice is conducted,” he said. “They didn’t really do as much as they normally would, but the coaches are all business and make sure everyone is working. In high school, we have a DB coach. There you see several coaches talking to the DBs. So that’s definitely different.
“I watched some other players, too, like Terrelle Pryor and Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline. It was a chance to see how guys like that work and to see them on a more personal level, so it was cool.”
Not surprisingly, Wood takes an analytical approach to football and cherishes his experience in the sport. Because of that, he now wishes he had expanded his outlook just a bit during the recruiting process.
“I never even took any other (official visits) and I kind of regret that now,” he said. “I wouldn’t have minded to go to a couple other places just to see what they were like and to have fun. But I’m totally sold on Ohio State, don’t misunderstand me at all when I say that. I have no regrets at all about being a Buckeye.
Scouts, Inc./ESPN.com labeled Wood as the No. 81 prospect overall in the 2009 class and as the nation’s No. 10 safety. He had scholarship offers from Ohio State, Illinois, Penn State, Kentucky, Indiana, Cincinnati, Northwestern, Stanford, Akron and Miami of Ohio before selecting OSU.
“I didn’t visit a lot of other schools,” Wood told Bucknuts.com after his commitment. “I knew this is what I wanted. It’s like a family at Ohio State. Coach Tressel is like a father figure. I feel honored for him to be my coach.”