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Thursday, May 2, 2013
Ohio State offers two more QBs

By Brad Bournival

Ohio State took 291 days between first and second scholarship offers to quarterbacks in the Class of 2014.

The Buckeyes didn’t even wait 24 hours to offer out a third and fourth.

Offensive coordinator Tom Herman watched Brandon Harris (Bossier City, La./Parkway) work out on Monday and saw Zack Darlington  (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) do the same on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, Ohio State offered the 6-foot-2, 186-pound Harris a scholarship. In the afternoon, the 6-2, 208-pound Darlington got his.

In picking up the offers, Harris and Darlington join ESPN 150 quarterbacks Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville) and Kyle Allen (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) with such a distinction.

Harris was told he’d know by Friday whether he got the offer. The Buckeyes didn’t wait that long for the budding star, who is ranked the fifth-best quarterback in the nation and the No. 12 junior in Louisiana.

It’s an offer Harris holds in high regard.

“Ohio State nation is like no other,” Harris said. “I absolutely love the fan base. I want to make my decision by July 5, but I’ll tell you one thing, Coach Herman made a very big impression on me today.

“Coach Herman is a smart guy. He’s very, very smart. Not just from the football standpoint, but he’s intelligent. He knows so much. Any type of question you pop on him, he knows the answer.”

Apparently so does Harris as he turned the attention of the Buckeyes early.

Harris also has offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Indiana, Louisiana Tech, LSU, McNeese State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Texas A&M.

He’s also garnering interest from Alabama, Mississippi State and TCU.

Harris has a pretty strong resume, making him very attractive to the Buckeyes. Of course, Ohio State is just as attractive to Harris should he choose the Buckeyes.

“When you talk about Ohio State, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida, Alabama, Michigan, USC, these are major football programs,” Harris said. “This is where football started. Any time you get an opportunity to put your name on a letter of intent, it means a lot, because that’s major football.”

The Panthers advanced to the quarterfinals last season for the first time since 1994 in Harris’ first year as a starter. He threw for 2,673 yards and 26 touchdowns and ran for 677 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Those numbers are strong enough to get looks, but so is the fact he has lost just one game as a starter and has run a laser-timed 40-yard dash in 4.5.

On the other had, Darlington wasn't sure if an offer would come to him after his workout, but felt strongly about how he performed in front of Herman. He even said he was ready to come to Columbus, Ohio, to prove his worth if need be.

“I feel blessed,” Darlington said. “It’s something I’ve wanted since the success that they’ve had. The national championships they have won and the national championships they will win.

“For them to fire back so fast really got me excited. In talking on the phone, Coach [Urban] Meyer said I reminded him a lot of Tim Tebow in my will to win and be the best. To have Coach Meyer tell you that after he coached a Heisman quarterback and national championships, that’s a really big confidence booster.”

As a junior, Darlington threw for 1,725 yards and 19 touchdowns. He rushed for 708 yard and 10 more scores.

Darlington has offers from Arizona, Boston College, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

With 4.43 40-yard dash speed, Darlington is a perfect fit for the Buckeyes as well. Last season, he led the Blue Darters to a Class 8A state title.

As for the offers, the Buckeyes might have just bumped into the lead for Darlington.

“I’d probably say that,” Darlington said. “It’s a big thing. Everyone is pretty much on even playing ground because I haven’t taken a visit, but I’m still really excited because it’s Ohio State. It’s a big deal. I’ve just got to keep working for it. I’m hoping to come up for a visit. You have no clue how excited I am.”

GigEmNation writer Sam Khan contributed to this report.