It’s not that Southwest Ohio isn’t a hotbed for top college football talent for Ohio State – think current starting quarterback Braxton Miller, a graduate of Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne.
Trotwood (Ohio) Madison, however, just hasn’t been in the picture as a source for that talent, at least for the Buckeyes. It was 1994 the last time Ohio State added a Rams football player to its roster.
But when Cameron Burrows announced his intentions Jan. 18 to be a Buckeye from his high school auditorium, the junior four-star cornerback couldn’t help but be excited about bucking the trend.
If Burrows eventually accomplishes what he envisioned when committing to Ohio State even before ever playing a down in his senior season, tight end John Lumpkin – the last Buckeye to hail from that high school – will no longer be the anomaly.
“I hope my commitment gets the Trotwood pipeline to Ohio State started,” Burrows told BSB. “It means a lot for this town. Not a lot of people in this town go D-I and then to go to Ohio State. That’s just a big deal. It is a big way to get things going. Trotwood is going to be the pipeline, so I am going to start it.”
Already considered to be one of the premier cornerback prospects in the nation, Burrows didn’t have enough time to describe the reasons Ohio State was the right destination for him. Burrows’ actions were proof enough, as he was able with relative ease to make a decision typically regarded as the toughest choice in a young man’s life.
“I wasn't expecting him to pull the trigger,” said Andre Burrows, the cornerback’s father. “I was a bit surprised. I was pleasantly surprised, but surprised nonetheless because I didn’t think he was that close to make a decision this early. Once he knows what he wants, he is pretty straightforward with it.”
The significance of Burrows coming to the early decision could be even bigger for Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer than simply landing another commitment, something the Buckeyes’ new leader has made look rather routine in recent weeks.
The 6-2, 195-pound cornerback not only became the first verbal pledge for the 2013 class – the first complete class Meyer will recruit at Ohio State – but Burrows could be the first of many prospects from his high school to move on and play under Meyer in the years to come.
“It looks bright for Trotwood-Madison and Ohio State,” Rams head coach Maurice Douglass said. “(Meyer has) already stated that he wants to make this a hot spot for him and his coaching staff. They’re recruiting us hard. For the next five or six years, we’ve got a player in each one of those classes who will have the ability talent-wise to play football at Ohio State.”
Still with a number of spots to fill in this year’s class, Meyer obviously hopes Burrows’ commitment will help the pipeline develop a year early. The Buckeyes currently have an offer out to Trotwood-Madison senior safety Bam Bradley, who is considering the Buckeyes along with Pittsburgh and Stanford.
“It would be great if my decision (has an influence on him) because he and I have been playing together for a long time and there’s nothing like having your teammate there with you and having a familiar face,” Burrows said of Bradley. “To have him there with me (at Ohio State) would just be great.”
What’s developing at Trotwood is something former Ohio State safety Will Allen, now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, never thought he’d see transpire. Allen, who spent his first three years of high school playing at Trotwood before transferring to Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne for his senior season, remembers Burrows’ high school was vastly different not too long ago.
Though Allen, who was a part of Ohio State’s 2000 recruiting class, received his offer during his junior season at Trotwood, he referred to the situation at the high school before his transfer to Wayne as dysfunctional.
“There wasn’t a lot of support when I was coming up,” Allen told BSB when describing the Trotwood he remembers. “There was a lot of dysfunction, to be honest. I wanted to win, I wanted to be successful and that was there at Wayne to do it. But now Trotwood has the support with great coaches, great principles and great teachers. It’s great to see the turnaround.”
Allen said Burrows – who helped his high school to a Division II state title last year – is just the player that could help Trotwood-Madison become the latest high school program to consistently funnel talent to Ohio State, much like Cleveland Glenville has done for much of the past decade.
“He is a pioneer,” Allen said of Burrows. “He is a trailblazer, he’s a good person and a really good-hearted person. He’s going to be great at Ohio State.”
Burrows is certainly proud to have laid the groundwork for his high school to continue its resurgence under Douglass, but perhaps it is another trend the cornerback is now most concerned about – getting top prospects to join him in Ohio State’s 2013 class.
That could start as soon as the next few weeks. Quarterback Jalin Marshall of Middletown, Ohio – a five-star quarterback widely regarded as one of the most electrifying offensive weapons in his class – is set to announce his college decision Jan. 31 and Ohio State is viewed as the team to beat.
With Ohio’s 2013 prep talent considered to be as deep as it has been in years, combined with Meyer’s ability to recruit nationally, many already expect the Buckeyes to put together the best class in the nation a year from now.
And it all started with Burrows.
“He wants to be a major part of that class up there, so actually he got the ball rolling on other recruits,” Andre Burrows said. “He wanted to be the one to get the class started. Like Urban Meyer said, with (Cameron) being one of the top kids in the class, other kids are going to want to be a part of that with him.
“I have a feeling this class is going to be pretty special. Looking at the defensive linemen they got this year and seeing the potential in the secondary, it is going to be scary up there. I wouldn’t want to try and play that defense. I think a lot of people are about to be surprised about what’s about to happen.”
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