Why Garrett Stover chose Ohio State: 'I’ve been wanting to be a Buckeye my whole life'

Colin Gay
The Columbus Dispatch

Lindsey Stover thought Garrett Stover was going to end his recruitment next June. 

But when her son knew that Ohio State was going to be the pick, she was not surprised that he wanted to end his recruitment as quickly as possible. 

“When he brought it up, he just said ‘I know I’m ready,’ ” Lindsey said. “He knew he wanted to be at Ohio State.” 

It’s something Garrett said Ohio State senior advisor and analyst Matt Guerrieri knew for “a while,” but “kept on the down-low.” And when the 2024 four-star athlete officially made the call to defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and coach Ryan Day, he said the “whole place was going crazy.” 

But for Stover, it's something that was inevitable. He always knew he wanted to be a Buckeye.

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“I’ve been wanting to be a Buckeye my whole life,” the Big Walnut safety/linebacker said. “I’ve kind of known for a little while now this is where I want to be. It was kind of one of those things where I wanted to get it out of the way and just kind of focus on myself, on getting healthy with my shoulder, focus on getting better every day so I can prepare for when I get to Ohio State.” 

Garrett Stover won't change his approach with recruitment complete

That’s been Stover’s approach all throughout his recruitment, never wavering from his focus on Big Walnut football and trusting that the recruiting process would take care of itself. 

Big Walnut's Garrett Stover carries the ball down field during a game against Hartley on Aug. 19 at Big Walnut High School in Sunbury.

To Big Walnut football coach Rob Page, that’s always been Stover’s approach. 

“It’s just the way he handles his business on a daily basis,” Page said. “(It’s) what makes him pretty special along with his God-given physical abilities of being able to run fast and hit people like a Mack truck.” 

Even as he joins Ohio State’s 2024 recruiting class with five-star quarterback Dylan Raiola and four-star offensive lineman Ian Moore, that mentality is not set to change. 

Instead of proving his worth on the recruiting trail, Stover said his focus turns inward, putting his head down and going to work to prepare for whatever Ohio State needs out of him on defense, whether its as a high safety or a hybrid safety and linebacker position.

“We’ll see when that comes,” Stover said of his potential role with Ohio State’s defense. “Whatever they want me to play on the defensive side of the ball, I’ll do it. I just would give anything to be on that field.”

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Stover, who's cousin Cade Stover is Ohio State's starting tight end, is also ready to inherit the recruiting role players like linebacker C.J. Hicks and offensive linemen Luke Montgomery have held in the past, being the face of Ohio State’s recruiting effort in 2024, already name-dropping cornerbacks Aaron Scott and Bryce West as his first targets. 

But Page knows Stover is not solely focused on what’s next. He knows that whatever the 2024 safety and linebacker gives his all to now, it will put him in a good position for that next step. 

“I think too many times, people are always looking at ‘What’s next? What’s next? What’s next?’ and not living in the moment,” Page said. “You miss some really good moments when you do that. And Garrett is definitely a live-in-the-moment guy.” 

Big Walnut 2024 Athlete Garrett Stover

To Lindsey Stover, that’s just part of Garrett’s maturity. 

Through the recruiting process, she said she’s seen her son keep his head on straight, remaining humble, never changing as a person and never wavering from what’s most important to him. 

Instead of continuing his recruitment into his senior season, she says Garrett Stover wants to use that time to enjoy his senior season and  “show what he’s worked for.” 

“He knows that he’s done enough to be at this next level,” Lindsey Stover said. 

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