“You guys had no idea, did you?”
That’s what Columbus Beechcroft head coach Tom Dunlap asked me after
introducing myself over the phone this morning. My answer?
“No, we didn’t.”
SirJoseph Welch was a name we had indeed heard before, but it was admittedly
a surprise to learn of his commitment to OSU. Welch’s stock has risen so fast
though that maybe it was only a matter of time before the defensive back got
that Buckeye offer. Coach Dunlap said things really picked up once schools got
their hands on SirJoseph’s highlight tape.
“SirJoseph’s Tape just caught people’s eye,” Coach Dunlap said.
The offers came flying fast and furious. Coach Dunlap said Iowa was the first
to offer as they came forward in March, and since then, most of the Big Ten as
well as several schools from outside the conference extended offers as well.
“The film really put it over the top,” Coach Dunlap said. “”It’s
what they (the coaches) were looking for.”
So what was on that tape that impressed college coaches so much? Coach Dunlap
said that SirJoseph has a tremendous knack of getting to the ball.
“He made his skills known by getting to the football,” Coach Dunlap said.
“He was like a shot to the ball… it’s almost like hitting a baseball –
it’s like something he’s got. Some of his interceptions – it’s like a
swoop out of nowhere.”
In addition to his cover skills and ability to get to the ball, Coach Dunlap
said SirJoseph also showed the hitting ability that coaches wanted to see. It
wasn’t uncommon to see him in the middle of a play or pile-up, and sometimes,
it was the Beechcroft defenders that got the worst of it.
“Some of our own guys took the biggest hits from him,” Coach Dunlap said.
“He plays like he’s truly having a great time.”
SirJoseph (6-0, 180) was one of the leaders on a Beechcroft defense that
allowed just over seven points a game last year and was one of the best in
central Ohio. He had five INTs - two of them returned for touchdowns - and was
one of the leading tacklers in assists. He played safety for Beechcroft (it was
his first year playing varsity), but Coach Dunlap says that he’ll wind up
wherever the OSU coaches feel he fits best.
“They recruited him as a secondary back,” the coach said. “He’ll play
where he fits in.”
SirJoseph has also excelled on the basketball court as a point guard, and
Coach Dunlap said that has played a role in his football success.
“His ability as a tremendous point guard crosses over to the football
field,” Coach Dunlap said.
Coach Dunlap said SirJoseph has always wanted to be a Buckeye, and a recent
meeting with Coach Tressel went a long way in helping to firm up the decision.
“His parents were very pleased with what the program had to offer,” Coach
In addition, two players who attended Beechcroft that are currently on the
Buckeyes had a role as well. WR Jamal Luke and CB Antonio Smith have made the
coach proud in what they have achieved and have represented OSU very well. They
made a stop last year at a banquet and cast a very good impression.
“It was hard for anyone not to be impressed,” the coach said.
Coach Dunlap said SirJoseph is a guy who is always into athletics, and that
focus doesn’t give him time for much else off the field.
“He is dedicated to his two sports,” Coach Dunlap said. “When he’s
not playing football, he’s playing basketball.”
The early decision will work in Welch’s favor as Coach Dunlap said that
SirJoseph had hoped to take some of the decision-making pressure off.
“This will allow him to concentrate on school and prepare for college,”
Coach Dunlap said.
The story of SirJoseph Welch is still developing, and we hope to have him on
an upcoming Bucknuts Radio Hour to find out more. Stay tuned to Bucknuts for
more on the latest Buckeye!