These are good times if you are Alex Boone
Boone, the mammoth prep All-American offensive lineman set to enroll at Ohio State, graduated from Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward May 22. That followed a brief stint at OSU this spring, where he shadowed OSU offensive coordinator Jim Bollman as part of a senior project.
He is now gearing up for next Saturday's Ohio All-Star Classic (7 p.m., Columbus Crew Stadium) and will then enroll at OSU for summer classes, allowing him to join the team for its summer conditioning program.
Boone raised some eyebrows during the winter when he discussed his plan to graduate early and join fellow freshman lineman Jimmy Cordle at OSU for spring drills. But administrators at St. Ed's took a dim view of that plan. As a compromise, Boone spent some time this spring shadowing Bollman and watching the Buckeyes practice.
"I would have liked to have been in there," Boone said. "But I understand the decision not to do it. My principal and those people wanted me to enjoy my last year. It's 50-50, I guess. I wanted to play, but I see where they were coming from, too."
So Boone made the best of the situation and immersed himself as much as he could with what the Buckeyes were doing this spring.
"At our school, as seniors, we get two weeks to shadow someone," said Boone, who graduated with a 3.0 GPA. "I shadowed Coach Bollman."
Boone said the arrangement helped him build a relationship with his future position coach.
"We've always been really close," he said. "But I think this helped us become even closer. I learned how to watch film. As a high school player, you watch film. But now I understand more of what I need to look for from that standpoint. We went over that.
"I spent a lot of time with (graduate assistant Joe) Rudolph. I was able to learn a lot about my footwork. I also spent time with the players. It was a lot of fun."
As a highly acclaimed high school player, Boone was wary about how he would be received in the OSU camp – particularly since he could not fully participate.
"Going down there, I was kind of nervous because I'm not really one of them," Boone said. "But then you get down there and they already know who you are and they're all cool with you. You meet one guy and then another and pretty soon everybody knows you. No one had an attitude about it or anything. Everybody was like, `Hey, what's going on. How are you doing?'
"I loved it. That made me feel pretty good."
Boone, who measures 6-8 and is currently in the 325- to 330-pound range, said he has kept busy by working out at Speed Strength locations in Avon and Euclid.
He returns to Columbus this weekend to begin preparations for the Ohio All-Star Classic.
"The game is exciting," said Boone, one of eight future Buckeyes tapped for the game. "I was talking to guys down there at Ohio State and they're like, `You better not lose to the South.' It will be exciting playing with kids who are going to Ohio State. It will also be the last time I get to play with my friend (St. Ed's standout) Joe Kleinsmith."
The following Monday, Boone will enroll at Ohio State and begin taking classes and working out with the team.
"I can't wait," he said. "It will be neat to see what it's like to wake up and go to class. It will be a lot different than high school, where you have your parents there or your friends to go to school with you. You have to get there on your own. I think it will be important just to get down there and learn the campus."
OSU returns its starting tackles with senior Rob Sims on the left side and sophomore Kirk Barton on the right. But there has been talk that Sims, perhaps, could move to guard to accommodate Boone or another tackle in the lineup. Boone said he will come into preseason camp and do the best he can to earn early playing time.
"Obviously, my expectations are the highest," Boone said. "I want to start and, if not start, I want to play. I don't want to redshirt. I'm not the kind of kid who likes to sit around and watch things. But if I can't start, wherever I can participate will be fine with me."
Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward prep All-American offensive lineman Alex Boone covers all the bases, including shadowing OSU offensive coordinator Jim Bollman this spring, playing in next Saturday's Ohio All-Star Classic and enrolling at OSU this summer. Click here for more.
But first he will participate in next Saturday's Ohio All-Star Classic.