- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
For a while, it didn’t seem as if things were going to work out for ESPNU 150 defensive tackle Tommy Schutt (Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West).
He tried to commit to Notre Dame, but the Irish had no more room for him. Michigan didn't have any room either. So he picked Penn State only to have Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno dismissed in the midst of a child sex-abuse scandal.
His favorite at the beginning was Ohio State, though, and on Monday that is where Schutt eventually ended up after flipping his commitment to the Buckeyes after a weekend visit, making him Urban Meyer’s first commit since taking over in late November.
Schutt, a four-star prospect ranked 130th in the ESPNU 150, decommitted from Penn State on Monday morning and committed to the Buckeyes in the afternoon, Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet said.
“He was sold to begin with on Ohio State but then they had their issues in the offseason so he backed off a little bit,” Hetlet said. “They were the front-runner initially before that went down.”
Schutt is Meyer's first commitment since officially accepting the head-coaching position in Columbus.
Even after committing to Penn State in August, the Buckeyes staff never gave up on Schutt, even after the ESPNChicago.com Defensive Player of the Year committed to Penn State in August. Interim coach Luke Fickell and assistant Dick Tressel kept in contact with Schutt throughout the season, and then Schutt was one of Meyer’s first calls after taking the job.
“Ohio State did a nice job as a staff of hanging in there, and coach Fickell did a nice job of staying in communication with him. He told him everything will work out,” Hetlet said. “When coach Meyer got the job, they got in contact with Tommy immediately. From that point, he went on to take an official visit and was blown away by everything."
What blew Schutt away the most?
“Urban Meyer,” Hetlet said. "He was just blown away by him.
“Tommy isn’t one to be super-excited about a whole lot of stuff about recruiting, but he was really impressed with coach Meyer and the vision he had and what he saw with Tommy fitting into the program. I think coach Meyer did a good job of getting him to jump in with both feet.”
Hetlet said Schutt must have felt comfortable enough with the NCAA black cloud hanging over Ohio State to make the switch since it was the reason he moved on from the Buckeyes during the summer.
“There was a lot of things uncertain at that time,” Hetlet said. “Coach Dick Tressel, who recruits our area, was honest and upfront about not being sure what was going to happen.
“I don’t know if anyone knows what the future will have and I don’t know if they have any insight as to what is going on, but whatever answer they gave him [on his official visit] he felt comfortable with.”
Ohio State, which recently entered ESPNU's top 25 class rankings at No. 18, now has 17 commitments and two ESPNU commits – both along the defensive line.
And Ohio State might not be done grabbing a few more ESPNU 150 defensive lineman. Michigan State commit Se’Von Pittman was on campus this weekend, and Noah Spence, the No. 4 player in the country, will officially visit this weekend.
546dTom Luginbill and Craig Haubert