ARLINGTON, Texas — It’s no secret Ohio State has recruited an extremely high level under the leadership of Urban Meyer. However, Ohio’s top offensive lineman aren’t going to Ohio State and leaving the state entirely.
Notre Dame’s Tommy Kraemer (5-star) and Liam Eichenberg (4-star) along with Clemson’s Matt Bockhorst (4-star) and Jackson Carman (5-star) all left the state of Ohio for college.
Matt Freeman/Irish Sports Daily
Bockhorst, Carman and Kraemer all hail from Cincinnati and it’s not a huge surprise to see Clemson coming into the Buckeyes backyard with the success the Tigers have had in recent years.
“The high school football in the area is special,” stated Bockhorst. “There is a lot of pride high school football in Cincinnati. I think Clemson has taken notice. The last guy to sign from Ohio was Cole Stoudt, who was a quarterback. They haven’t really had Ohio lineman or even the Midwest much.
“I think they took notice of the brand of football in Ohio and the hard-nosed nature of the players.”
There is always state pride from prospects, but all three are incredibly proud to keep Cincinnati’s tradition of producing successful offensive linemen.
“Cincinnati has always been a pipeline for linemen,” stated Kraemer. “The leagues we play in, you’re taught to be tough and hard-nosed. You play against great competition every week. I think that builds linemen.
“There’s a ton there now and there will be for years.”
Bockhorst, a sophomore at Clemson, echoed Kraemer’s statements but also took pride in being able to play a physical brand of football which is sometimes lost with the popularity of the spread.
“It’s a brand of football and style of play,” explained Bockhorst. “You never want to group all players into one category, but a lot of people called me an old school type of player in high school I definitely take pride in being a physical and aggressive player.”
Carman, a freshman, believes Cincinnati has a secret no one in the country can claim and it’s all in the food.
“I would say Ohio linemen are built different, specifically Southwest Ohio linemen and I would attribute that to Skyline Chili,” joked Carman. “We eat so many cheese coneys. It’s a Cincinnati thing.”
It’s also not easy to turn down the hometown school, which Carman, Eichenberg and Kraemer all did as they said no to Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.
Bockhorst didn’t get an offer from Ohio State, but the Buckeyes hosted him several times throughout his recruitment, but if he did receive an offer, it’s not likely the former St. Xavier star would have accepted.
“I didn’t have an offer from Ohio State, so it was a little different than Jackson,” Bockhorst stated. “For me and my recruitment, I was looking for a school that fit. Ohio State wasn’t it. That’s just how it was for me and it may have been different for Jackson, but I didn’t get the feeling I was looking for from Ohio State.
“It’s nothing against the program because they’ve been very successful. It was all about Clemson and the feeling I got from Clemson.”
Carman had the offer from Ohio State and was heavily recruited by the Buckeyes. It wasn’t an easy decision for the 6-foot-5, 345-pounder, but it was about experiencing something new.
“There was a lot of pressure from different areas pressuring me to go to Ohio State,” explained Carman. “It would have been easier for people to come see me. I didn’t really feel like the vibe from Ohio State was there like it was from other schools who recruited me.”
The other aspect for Carman was the fact he was more than interested in getting out of Ohio for school.
“I wasn’t really trying to stay in Ohio,” stated Carman. “If you had opportunities to go elsewhere that are greater than staying home, why would you not step through that door. I didn’t want to be that guy who reverted back to what I knew because I was afraid of going elsewhere.”
Kraemer left the state as he found what he was looking for at Notre Dame early in his recruitment and that was something similar to the culture at Elder High School.
“I think you look at the different schools we went to and each person has their interests and what they like,” said Kraemer. “Notre Dame is a perfect fit for Liam and I and Clemson is a great fit for those two.
“It’s just different than Ohio State and we were able to get out of Ohio to do our own thing. I think that’s special for all of us.”