Ben Buchanan was the first commit of the 2008 Ohio State recruiting class. He is known as one of the top kickers in the country. He should also be known as one of the classiest kids in the country. If there is a nicer kid than Ben Buchanan, then I'd sure like to meet him. Buchanan is the kid you want your son to hang out with, or your daughter to date. Or both. Buchanan committed to Ohio State shortly after receiving his Buckeye offer.
"Obviously I was blessed to receive a scholarship from Ohio State," Buchanan began. "I received my offer last February and I committed a few days later. Being able to start this recruiting class off is such a great honor. Having guys like Mike Adams, Jake Stoneburner, Devier Posey and Michael Brewster follow me is just tremendous. Watching the other great names continue to roll in is a great thrill for me also. Most of us were together this past weekend for the Northwestern game and to see this group come together and meet all their families was special. It's easy to see how special this group is and I'm honored to be a member. We're already becoming like a family."
Buchanan didn't hesitate in becoming a Buckeye after Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel extended a scholarship offer. Being a Buckeye was his lifelong dream, so there was no reason to wait.
"I accepted pretty soon after they offered me," he said. "I was offered on the 28th of February after receiving a phone call from Coach [John] Peterson. I committed a few days later to Jim Tressel. I called him on a Friday morning and told him I wanted to be a Buckeye. It was special being the first member of the class. Of course I had no idea what was coming in behind me, but it didn't take long for the stars to start to commit."
Buchanan didn't have a relationship with fellow commits Jake Stoneburner and Mike Adams, of nearby Dublin Coffman, but their decisions to join him at Ohio State made him want to develop a friendship with his future teammates.
"It's kind of funny that I'm not really a big internet guy and I really didn't follow recruiting on Scout.com at all," Buchanan admitted. "Seeing Adams and Stoneburner commit changed things for me though. I really became interested in seeing who I would be playing college football with and I started seeking them out. It was neat seeing one commit after the other and trying to follow along and see who would be next, but I'm not really a guy who went out and tried to recruit others, like Jake and Brewster were doing."
"That's really not my style," Buchanan said with a laugh. "I'm not like Brewster with his Blackberry or anything like that. Nobody could do what he does. Mike's personality allows him to do an excellent job in attracting kids to Ohio State. He's kind of the ringleader, but I surely want to my part in bringing in a great class. I kind of follow Jake and Mike's lead and they know they can count on me to help out where I'm needed."
When the "Brew Crew" decided that they needed to show up in full force last weekend for Lamaar Thomas, it was no surprise to find Ben Buchanan at the game doing his part for his team. Buchanan takes his responsibility as a teammate very seriously.
"I was there last weekend to help make Lamaar Thomas feel at home," Buchanan said of last week's visit. "He seemed like a great kid and after talking with Brewster and the rest of the guys, I knew I wanted to help out any way I could. It was important for all of us to show up to make Lamaar feel good about Ohio State and the people he might be playing with. I think we've seen that actively helping out with recruiting will only help bring the best players to Ohio State. That's what we want ultimately, to build the best team we can. My job is to help out any way I can, but I think I'll leave the big stuff to Brewster, Adams and Stoneburner."
It's evident that Buchanan has a very close relationship with his fellow commits. He is enjoying seeing this class come together as friends.
"I met Michael Brewster last March at Ohio State during Pro Day," he explained about his friendship with the Florida star. "It was great meeting Michael and his parents, Bill and Cathy. We've all become close friends and we were all able to go out to dinner again after the Northwestern game. That is a big commitment, getting Mike Brewster out of Florida, so we want to make him feel as welcome as we can and keep encouraging him about building this class. You always want to add great athletes, but the Brewster's are great people also. That's what makes the difference between winning and losing, because everybody has great athletes, but chemistry and teamwork will win out.
Buchanan saw Mike Adams and Jake Stoneburner as opponents earlier in the season. He would much rather have them on his team, than play against them.
"Obviously, first off, they're physically imposing athletes," Buchanan explained. "Their great size and speed set them apart from everyone else. They can run, block and do everything on the football field. More than great players though, I count them as close friends. It's been great to go to all the Ohio State games with them and to see how close we all are getting. We're going to be teammates next year and both of them will probably play right away."
At some schools the players don't always treat kickers as equals. In the NFL, it seems the specialists are looked upon as outsiders. Buchanan discussed the fact that none of his future teammates have treated him in that manner. It seems even the incoming freshmen know the value that Buckeye head coach Jim Tressel places in his special teams.
"I know that goes on at other places, but those guys absolutely have been great to me," Buchanan admitted. "Look, they know what my role will be at Ohio State and I think they know I'm fully capable of succeeding. I want to be put in the position of having to decide a game in the end with a field goal. I need to be able to put points on the board, kick kickoffs to the end zone and punt the ball deep. My role is crucial to the success of this football team. I need to do things that put our team in great position, and these guys know I can do that. That's why it's so great to be surrounded by these guys. Everybody is coming to Ohio State to help win championships, nothing else. That's why this class is coming together and is so special. We're all like brothers and we look out for each other."
Buchanan is obviously excited to be a "Brew Crew" member. He is amused that the nickname has taken off and he fully believes this class is named after the right person.
"I love the "Brew Crew" name," he said with a chuckle. "I think that's the perfect name for our class to be honest. Right now, Mike Brewster is the crown jewel of the class. He's the big five star recruit and everyone knows all about him across the country. He is the leader of this recruiting effort and nobody would be jealous about the attention he's getting. He gets those accolades for a reason, because he's a great player and he's the master recruiter, so it all makes perfect sense to me. He's the guy that brings us all together and we're all his guys. I like that name, and will take that as our slogan any day."
Ben Buchanan is a person who knows his place in the world, both as a football player and as a human being. He is a very mature person for his age and has a wonderful grasp on what he needs to do to be successful.
"Off the field, I want to use my position to glorify Jesus Christ," Buchanan exclaimed. "I'm a very spiritual person and I make no excuse for that. I'm looking forward to speaking at Athletes in Action or Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and if my position as a football player opens those doors, then I'm all for it. I want people to see the type of person I am, and to represent this university in a positive manner. I want to be a leader in the classroom, as my academic career means so much to me. I want to get a degree from Ohio State and I'm very much interested in things other than football in my life. I'm ready to make contributions in the community and be a valuable team player on this football team. That's a big reason why I chose to play for a man like Jim Tressel. Out value systems are so similar and that means a lot to me, having a head coach that I respect so much. I always want to be a person who does the right thing. My parents taught me that from the beginning and I owe them everything."
Ben Buchanan is just another example of why this recruiting class is so special. There are 11 guys from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but they have come together as one unit. Tomorrow we will continue to look at the "Making of the Brew Crew" as we profile linebacker Andrew Sweat, of Washington, Pennsylvania's Trinity High School.