- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
From the moment Urban Meyer was named the Buckeyes’ coach on Nov. 28, just about every Ohio prospect committed to a BCS program outside of Ohio State was rumored to be revisiting his commitment.
For more than a month, it stayed a rumor regarding three-star offensive tackle Taylor Decker (Vandalia, Ohio/Butler), committed to Notre Dame since March.
As assistants began leaving Notre Dame -- two of whom went to Ohio State, including offensive line coach Ed Warriner -- Decker was forced to take Ohio State’s advances a little more seriously.
“Initially I did speak with [Ohio State] but I stood by my [Notre Dame] commitment,” Decker said. “Things started to shake up once I heard coach [Tim] Hinton and coach Warriner were leaving. On top of that, the offensive coordinator got the job at UMass. A lot of the switching around made me really curious. ... There was apprehension, because a lot of the coaches I had the most contact with left the school.”
During a press conference last week, Meyer said he specifically hired assistant coaches with Ohio roots because he knows how much pride Ohioans have in their home state and football program. Hinton, Warriner and Decker know that well, too.
“Ohio State is an hour from where I live. It’s close to my family and everything,” said Decker, who committed during an official visit to Columbus this past weekend. “I got a lot of young nieces and nephews, and I’d love for them to see me play and be around. Our family is tight and everything.
“I’ve been an Ohio State fan my entire life. Being from Ohio, I’ve always been a real big fan.”
Decker’s decision was not just about football, though. Academics and the career Decker plans to pursue outside of football factored into the switch. At Notre Dame, Decker did not have the opportunity to major in what he wanted.
“Notre Dame is a very good school, but they don’t have what I want to study,” Decker said. “I want to work in sports medicine and exercise science, and they don’t offer that. It’s a prestigious university, but it wasn’t what I wanted to study.”
Overall, Decker says it was a tough decision but one he does not regret.
“It was stressful trying to figure everything out,” Decker said. “I made my decision knowing what was best for me.”
513dTom Luginbill and Craig Haubert