- Brad Bournival, RecruitingNation
Jimmy Byrne (Cleveland/St. Ignatius) said Notre Dame set the bar after going on an unofficial visit back in September when he saw the Fighting Irish take on Michigan.
The ESPN Watch List junior now sees an even playing field after taking in Ohio State’s 26-21 win over the Wolverines on Saturday.
As things stand now, Byrne expects to make a choice somewhere close to February and has the Buckeyes and Notre Dame in a two-school race for his services.
While he admitted the Fighting Irish have somewhat of an advantage because they played Michigan in a night game, the 6-foot-4, 275-pound offensive tackle put things back at even after watching the Buckeyes finish the 2012 season undefeated in front of a raucous crowd.
“This one had the atmosphere because it was a rivalry,” Byrne said. “You could sense it in the stands. On third down -- when the crowd gets into it -- you can feel it. It was pretty close to the same.”
But Byrne, who has already played on one state championship team, isn’t easily swayed by crowd noise. Instead, he prefers to be a student of the game and was on hand at The Horseshoe to see how the Buckeyes’ offensive line would fare.
He came out impressed there as well.
“I went into both games looking at my position, looking at the O-line,” Byrne said. “I don’t think one had an advantage of the other.
“The coaching styles are pretty equal right now. They were moving the ball really well. They were very aggressive. They maybe could have given Braxton [Miller] a little more time, but they were solid.”
Byrne will get more insight with the Buckeyes in a few weeks when Ohio State position coach Ed Warinner heads to St. Ignatius to check in on the budding lineman.