There is no question that Michael Brewster has become the poster child for the 2008 Ohio State recruiting class. Brewster has been the leader of a group of young men that have taken the recruiting world by storm. A lot is known about how talented a player Brewster is. What isn’t well known is how he led the charge to form the “Brew Crew.”
“I have a family friend that told me about Ohio State in the spring of my freshman year,” Brewster began. “What I didn’t know was that Ohio State was told about me by the same person. I played varsity as an 8th grader and did pretty well. I was offered a scholarship to Northwestern before my freshman season. Then I started getting letters from Darrell Hazell from Ohio State. I really knew nothing about Ohio State. They got my film and liked it and then Coach Hazell came to Florida to visit. I really didn’t have a team I rooted for growing up, so we watched everybody. Then I started talking with offensive line coach Jim Bollman and we hit it off really well. I started calling him a couple times a month. Pretty soon I was calling him every week. That’s continued to today. Florida came in later, but it was hard to catch up to the relationship I had already developed with Coach Bollman.”
It wasn’t until his sophomore year that Mike Brewster began to seriously consider choosing Ohio State as the place he would attend college. A visit from Buckeye head coach Jim Tressel had a profound effect on that decision.
“I had just transferred high schools when I tore my knee up in the spring of my sophomore season,” Brewster continued. “The day it happened I received a call telling me that Jim Tressel was coming to my school the very next day. I was really upset. I was on crutches and facing surgery in 48 hours. Coach Tressel came in the next day and told me it was no big deal and that it happens in football. He said they loved my film and they were still going to recruit me. That made me work harder on my rehabilitation. It was one of the hardest things in my life. I rode the bike an hour a day, sometimes two. I didn’t miss a day. I would ride it at 3 in the morning sometimes. I rode that thing until the gears wore out and we had to get a new one. Coach Bollman helped me through the transfer. He gave me some good advice and convinced me that playing against the best competition would help me get better.”
That summer Brewster made the decision to attend the Ohio State football camp. It was a decision that would change his life. That summer at Ohio State he met a player who would end up being one of his best friends in the world. Together, they formed the beginning of what became known as the “Brew Crew.”
“I was in the line for offensive linemen when I saw a kid who was just huge,” Brewster explained with a laugh. “He was a freaking monster. It was Mike Adams. Coach Bollman introduced us and we just hit it off right off the bat. I met Mike on the first day of camp and we hung out the rest of the time. We started talking on MySpace after camp ended, and kept in contact throughout the summer before my junior year. The next week after the Ohio State camp I went to a Michigan camp for one day. I ran into J.B. Shugarts, who I knew from talking on the internet. I told him that he really needed to check out Ohio State. At the time he was really into Michigan a lot. He was tight with Ryan Mallett. We exchanged numbers and we stayed in contact after that. He visited Ohio State after leaving camp and he saw what I was telling him about the coaching staff and the facilities. At that point Ohio State told Big Mike, Shugarts, Kyle Long and me that they were counting on us being Buckeyes. I was getting ready for my junior year at Edgewater and started thinking seriously about all of us being together and winning rings at the next level. I never really thought it would happen, but I was going to try to make it work out because I was so tight with those guys.”
On September 1st Brewster added a lot of scholarship offers and had his decision down to 3 choices. His friendships with the other offensive linemen had continued to grow. He went to two Ohio State games that year and Mike Adams told him that he had a wide receiver with him at Dublin Coffman that was a great player. Brewster was unconvinced….. until he finally saw Jake Stoneburner in action.
“I had a nice junior season and had a lot offers,” Brewster said. “I really had it narrowed down to USC, Florida and Ohio State. I went to two Ohio State games that year and we all got together for the Michigan game. We all had a great time and Big Mike kept telling me how good the big, white wide receiver was. I liked Jake Stoneburner as a person, but wasn’t sure he was a baller or not. Then we all went to San Antonio for the junior combine in January. When I saw Jake tearing everybody up, I knew he was a stud. The Stoneburner family got along real well with my family. I just clicked real well with him as a friend. That was Jake’s coming out party. He really blew up for real. Shugarts was there with us and we all really bonded as friends even more. That was when we really talked about being together in college. We kept in contact every day until we all got together again for the Ohio State spring game. That’s when things went off the charts, trust me.”
Nobody could have predicted the bombshells that exploded in Columbus the weekend of the spring game. Ohio State was able to secure commitments from two of the top offensive line prospects in the country, within 12 hours of each other. Brewster recalled the events of that special weekend.
“The week before Ohio State, I went up to Florida for their spring game,” Brewster explained. “This was where I met Andrew Sweat. We had talked on the computer, but this was our first meeting in person. We hooked up and hung out together and became really good friends. Going into this we were kind of still considering Florida. He was going back and forth and so was I. WE went to the game but the Florida coaches barely spoke to us. We talked about how the Ohio State staff really is so much more impressive. When we left Florida, I knew that was the end for them. The next week I went to Ohio State and people were asking us for autographs and it was awesome. I never planned on committing at all that weekend. I had 5 official visits already set up. I called all the head coaches and had the dates set in stone. That Saturday at Ohio State changed my life.”
That weekend also changed the lives of the Ohio State staff also. They had targeted some great offensive linemen in the off-season. Getting Mike Adams was a huge boost. Landing the two horses that followed on the same weekend was an almost unheard of accomplishment. It was one that drove a certain Ohio State assistant coach to tears of happiness.
“We all went to dinner that Saturday night,” Brewster explained. “All the Ohio State coaches were there. All our families were there. Everything was just so perfect that day. The campus was so beautiful and I couldn’t stop thinking about being a Buckeye. I love this staff and I realized it that night. I was with people who were more than friends. Shugarts, Adams and Jake are my brothers and we’re going to all be together for the next few years. It all just hit me at once. That evening I told J.B. that I was going to do it. I told him I expected him to follow me into the Buckeye family and we laughed. I told my parents before we went out to dinner and they were thrilled to death. My mom really wanted me to come to Ohio State. I wanted my family to be happy with my choice too.’
“We were all sitting around a big table and everyone was there. I just stood up and watched everyone looking up at me. I just told everybody that “everything was great today and I know I want to be a Buckeye and right now I’m committing to Ohio State University.” Coach Tressel ran over to me and gave me a big bear hug. Everyone was going nuts. I looked over and saw Jim Bollman crying and right then I knew I made the right choice. Coach Bollman and I have such a great relationship. I can’t tell you how close we are. I knew how important landing a bunch of linemen was to this program. It just meant so much to the staff. Seeing him getting all choked up and teary-eyed meant a lot to me. That was a great night and then the next morning J.B. went ahead and did the same thing. We all went nuts again at breakfast. I know the coaching staff felt really relieved at landing all the linemen. After committing I just knew it was time to get to work and try to build this class. It became an obsession for me and it still is. When I went back to Florida I just went crazy texting and calling great players from all across the country. I want to win rings before I leave Ohio State and that’s what drove me to do this recruiting stuff.”
In Part 3-B of the Making of the Brew Crew we will continue to look at Mike Brewster and his recruitment. He continues to recruit for this class today and the next installment will look into his relationships with other top high school players from across the country.