The first full week of June has arrived, and for the freshman football class at Ohio State, the gang’s almost all here.
There could be a couple of stragglers, such as linebacker Teradja Mitchell. He said he’ll be on his way from Virginia Beach, Virginia, after graduation at Bishop Sullivan High School on Monday night.
Eight members enrolled early from the class — ranked second nationally behind Georgia in the 247Sports composite — and the other 18 will begin orientation and workouts this week under the direction of football performance coordinator Mickey Marotti.
“Exciting is the word,” Mitchell said. “This is something I’ve been working for my whole life. I’ve always wanted to play college football for a big-time program, and what better place to do it than Ohio State.
“So I’m excited to come in and get to working with the guys, getting ready to chase the Big Ten championship ring, national championship ring. I’m just going to do the right things off the field and hopefully by the time I leave we’ll be the best program in college football.”
Fellow linebacker K’Vaughan Pope of Dinwiddie, Virginia, seconded that notion and said he has been working hard to prepare.
“I’ve been getting after it every day of the week, working with a personal trainer twice a week,” Pope said. “I’ve been grinding and doing a lot of running because that’s the thing — the killer.”
While the 18 are eager to get started, coach Urban Meyer and his staff surely are interested in seeing them, too.
Among the notables in the class are Nicholas Petit-Frere of Tampa, Florida (Berkeley), ranked No. 1 among offensive tackle prospects nationally; Taron Vincent of Bradenton, Florida (IMG), No. 1 defensive tackle; Jaelen Gill of Westerville South, No. 2 all-purpose back; Jeremy Ruckert of Lindenhurst, New York, No. 2 tight end; and Josh Proctor of Owasso, Oklahoma, No. 7 safety.
Mitchell, the No. 2 inside linebacker, said the class can handle the expectations and that some leaders already have emerged.
“I really like this whole class because it seems like we all think alike, we’ve all got our heads on straight, we’re all ready to work,” Mitchell said. “But if I had to name somebody — Taron Vincent, Jeremy Ruckert, Alex Williams (of Pickerington North). I feel like those guys are definitely going to be like alpha dogs as far as leading the team. Along with me, I feel like these guys, there’s just something about them.”
Pope expects to be in that leadership mix, too.
“I’ve been doing that really through my four years of high school football,” Pope said. “Everybody looked up to me, not to be cocky or anything … but I wouldn’t have a problem keeping on increasing that and being that guy.”