- Dave Hooker, Reporter, RecruitingNation
Will Ulmer felt right at home in the midst of one of the most tradition-rich rivalries in college football.
"It's a significant rivalry," said Ulmer, referring to his visit to Ohio State last weekend when the Buckeyes beat Michigan 26-21. "I'm kind of used to rivalries. My high school, St. John's, our rivalry is Gonzaga. It was pretty similar. It was like being in the stands at one of my own games."
Perhaps a bit bigger. Ulmer certainly took notice of that, as well as the Buckeyes, who finished the season undefeated.
"It was amazing," the dual-threat quarterback from Washington (D.C.) St. John's said. "I liked it a lot They went 12-0. They impressed me. I just liked the way they played. I just like what they're doing."
For a dual-threat quarterback like Ulmer, Ohio State's offense was understandably alluring. Ulmer is looking for a school that will showcase his passing and running ability. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound prospect ran for 1,300 yards, threw for 1,100 yards and scored 23 touchdowns.
"I had a breakout season," Ulmer said. "I did very well. I was very proud of myself."
Ohio State recruiters have taken notice by showing strong interest. Moreover, timing could work in Ulmer's favor. His first season in college will be in 2014, which would be quarterback Braxton Miller's last season, unless the sophomore heads to the NFL a year early.
"They said I could be the next Braxton Miller," Ulmer said. "That's a pretty good comparison. We run the same offense."
Ulmer walked off the field with Miller after the Buckeyes win. Miller had a clear message for the recruit who could one day be his understudy.
"It's a great place to be and that I would love it there," Ulmer said, recalling what Miller told him.
The next step in the Buckeyes' recruitment of Ulmer is to offer him a scholarship. The school seems close, but hasn't done so yet. The subject certainly came up last weekend.
"They're going to evaluate my highlight tape," Ulmer said. "I spoke to [head coach] Urban Meyer after the game and [receivers coach] Zach Smith. They said they're going to check on my highlight tape and go from there."
Four schools have already offered Ulmer a scholarship: Maryland, Syracuse, North Carolina and Boston College. All are recruiting him to play quarterback, even though Ulmer entered his recruitment open minded about playing another position.
"I want to player quarterback in college," Ulmer said. "That's the first thing I want to do but if it takes me to play wide receiver and be an all-purpose kind of guy, I don't mind that. I'm just trying to make my way to the next level."
Maryland has placed a high priority on Ulmer. That's no surprise. The Terrapins have been intent on recruiting top local prospects.
"I'm definitely a top prospect," Ulmer said. "I talked to Coach [Randy] Edsall. He's the one that's really, really after me. He came to my school the other day to talk to my coach one-on-one about me. They talked for about an hour. They're pretty high on me. They really want me."
As for the other schools that have offered him a scholarship, there are plenty of things that Ulmer likes. He said he was impressed that Syracuse went 7-5 to become bowl eligible. He also took note of North Carolina's 8-4 record, aggressive style and first-year head coach Larry Fedora. Boston College suddenly turned into an unknown when head coach Frank Spaziani was recently fired.
There are schools that clearly have a head start, but it appears the Buckeyes might soon be chasing in earnest.