Ohio State's rebuilt coaching staff has given the Buckeyes the early, inside track to land Kirk Garner.
The Buckeyes have two coaching aces up their sleeve, starting with newly-hired coach Urban Meyer.
“Urban Meyer joining Ohio State, that really uplifted my spirits,” said Garner, an ESPN Watch List cornerback from Olney (Md.) Good Counsel. “I really liked Ohio State when I was little.”
Garner's past fandom is on display when he describes the Buckeyes' future under Meyer.
“I literally think in about two years that Ohio State will be in the top five,” Garner said. “A lot of people will follow him after what he did in Florida. He's going to bring a lot of things to Ohio State for sure.”
Meyer isn't the only coach with an office in Columbus that can help the Buckeyes land Garner. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder is already familiar with coach Luke Fickell, who was the interim coach this season and retained on Meyer's staff after leading Ohio State through the 2011 season following Jim Tressel's firing amidst widespread NCAA allegations.
“I believe it's a good decision,” Garner said of keeping Fickell. “I'm definitely going to be in contact with them soon.”
Garner already receives mail from Ohio State – and more schools than he can count. And he's far from picking a leader or any favorites. He's just letting the information pour in.
“It's a full list of colleges,” Garner said. “I go into the football office and get a bundle of mail from different colleges, all conferences – SEC, ACC, Pac-12, everything.”
Even with all the interest, Garner, understandably, wants more. That's why he's assembling his top plays from his junior season and posting them on the internet in the coming days.
“Hopefully after I get my junior highlight tape together, I'll be hearing a lot more from a lot of difference colleges,” he said.
Garner couldn't remember all the scholarship offers he's received but he's sure it's more than 10. He was able to recall Florida State, West Virginia, Maryland, Vanderbilt, North Carolina State, Ohio, Virginia and Purdue.
Forgive Garner if he can't recall all the schools that have extended official invites. He's been focused on helping Good Counsel to its first undefeated, championship season. Now that that's done, it's time to bear down on his recruitment.
“Recruiting has definetely been the first thing on my mind now that football season is over,” Garner said.
If Garner has the same impact on his chosen college as he did for Good Counsel, he'll prove to be a household name in some yet-to-be determined college town.
Garner had four interceptions, the same amount as five-star teammate Stefon Diggs, despite often being pulled from blowout games. Garner also was fourth on the team in tackles even though he played from the defensive backfield.
He even chipped in at receiver, offering a glimpse of the athlete fans may see during his senior season and in college.
“I was waiting for the opportunity to get on the offensive side and do something for the offense also,” Garner said. “Catching a couple of passes was a plus to my junior season. I want to improve on that next year so you might see me on the offensive side a little more.”
Garner, however, isn't petitioning for offensive snaps. He prefers defense.
Coming from a school like Good Counsel, Garner has former teammates all over college football that can help guide him through the recruiting process and give him insight into various programs. Good Counsel has former players at West Virginia, Virginia, and Florida
Garner can also go to Diggs, a close friend, for advice. In fact, Garner may have more in common with Diggs than he knows. He's on track to be a prospect with a similar, lofty recruiting stature. Diggs is No. 10 in the ESPNU 150.
Garner is hoping the same. That's why he's assembling those highlights.
Are you listening Buckeyes?