Print and Go Back Penn State Nittany Lions [Print without images]

Friday, March 8, 2013
Bookser surprised to hear from Buckeyes

By Jared Shanker

Alex Bookser (Pittsburgh/Mt. Lebanon) was wandering the halls when his high school coach told him he had a phone call to make and to head to the athletics office. Ohio State wanted to get in touch with him.

The 6-foot-6, 295-pound two-way lineman was a little surprised. Not that the Buckeyes were interested but that his coach Mike Melnyk, a former Michigan placekicker, was telling him about it.

“I didn’t think he’d tell me if they wanted to talk. I thought I’d have to find out for myself,” Bookser joked.

The Buckeyes are one of a handful of programs to recently offer Bookser, who is being recruited mostly as an offensive tackle, although Maryland and Northwestern envision him as a defensive lineman. He has 14 total offers.

Melnyk did make a few cracks at the Buckeyes’ expense, but he is not getting in the way of Ohio State’s pursuit of Bookser. The offer was an exciting one for Bookser because of Urban Meyer’s history of success, which includes two national titles and a 12-0 record in his first season at Ohio State.

“I want to go down to talk to Coach Meyer because I thought he was a really good coach,” he said. “They don’t jump out as a frontrunner automatically but it’s cool the program is interested.”

Bookser’s brother is a Florida fan, so he was excited to hear the former Gators coach offered. Bookser kept his brother in the dark about the Buckeyes offer for a little bit, however, somewhat unintentionally.

“It’s funny because I told my mom and dad figuring my brother would find out,” Bookser said, “and a few days ago I told him Northwestern offered and he asked if I was up to seven. I said ‘How many have I told you?’ and started rattling and he said ‘Wait, you have Ohio State?’ ”

The Buckeyes asked Bookser to visit the weekend of Apr. 5, and he is planning to get up to Columbus that weekend. The last weekend in March he will be at Rutgers, and he also wants to make it to Northwestern. He is looking to visit Penn State for a spring practice with teammate Troy Apke, who was offered in February.

Penn State was supposed to host Bookser that same weekend Apke was offered, but Bookser opted to visit Maryland and Virginia that weekend. The visit to Virginia was an eye opener.

“I really liked the Virginia visit,” he said. “I really like the campus and Coach [Mike] London, he’s crazy but a funny guy. He’s somebody I could play for.”

The Cavaliers and Terrapins join Pittsburgh in Bookser’s top three, but he calls that a top three by default. Those are the only schools he has visited.

Pitt is also a program Bookser is very familiar with as he lives only a few miles from the campus.

“Pitt I have to put near the top because I’m so close to them and I know everybody there,” he said.

“But I really don’t know a lot of these schools because I haven’t been there.”