S / OHIO STATE
If Rutgers ever figured out a way to keep the best of the New Jersey-grown talent home to play for the state school, Jordan Fuller knows what it would be like.
“It’d be scary,” said the Westwood, New Jersey, native who played at Old Tappan High School, just 50 miles north of Rutgers. “We all talked about it. We were thinking about a ‘30 for 30’ (ESPN documentary) and all that. But it didn’t pan out. I’m here now and I’m happy with my decision.”
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Now a sophomore at Ohio State, he has risen to become one of the two starting safeties for the Buckeyes. That’s particularly relevant Saturday night as the Buckeyes prepare to play at Rutgers, his first trip to his home state to play a game.
Fuller said he had no second thoughts on his decision to head west when he signed on as part of the Buckeyes’ 2016 recruiting class. The four-star recruit had a final three of OSU, Notre Dame and Michigan.
“I just came here and I was like, ‘I want to come here,’ ” Fuller said of Ohio State. “I didn’t have to stay close to home. It was just the best feeling. That was here.”
His older brother, Devin, had made a similar move in 2012, going to UCLA before stepping up to the NFL in 2016 where, so far, injuries have kept him on the sideline in Atlanta. But the coach at Rutgers back then, Greg Schiano, was among those who tried to talk Devin Fuller into staying in the home state.
As Jordan Fuller remembered, Schiano even made a visit to their home.
“My brother was really close to going there,” Jordan Fuller said. “So I went to, like, five Rutgers games in my lifetime,” either with his brother or on his own.
Schiano now is in his second year at Ohio State, where he is defensive coordinator and safeties coach.
“That is funny,” Jordan Fuller said. “We’re both Jersey guys and we talk about Jersey all the time. It’s really cool.”