SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Clemson and Ohio State are set to play each other Saturday night in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl, their second meeting on the field in the last four years.
The Tigers and Buckeyes have also competed on the recruiting trail quite often in recent memory, with each school winning their share of the battles.
On Thursday during the Fiesta Bowl media day, The Clemson Insider spoke with several Ohio State players who considered Clemson during the recruiting process and asked them to reflect on their interest in the Tigers and what appealed to them about the program.
Harry Miller, freshman OL, Buford, Ga.: “I liked Clemson a lot. I had a really good relationship with all the coaches. Clemson was a fantastic school and I loved the coaches, I loved the program, I loved the school, I loved all the visits I had. But when it comes down to it, I just couldn’t see myself not going to Ohio State. I could see myself going to a lot of places, but Ohio State was just the place that I ended up revealing a lot of ties and a lot of things that I liked about it, and I just couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.”
Teradja Mitchell, sophomore LB, Virginia Beach, Va.: “I think Clemson and Ohio State are similar schools – great schools academically, great coaching staffs, definitely a family environment in both environments. I feel like they both prepare players well for the NFL and life after football. So, it was a school I was very interested in during the recruiting process.”
Tyreke Johnson, redshirt freshman cornerback, Jacksonville, Fla.: “First of all, I’m glad to be a Buckeye. I feel like I made the right choice. But I was close to going to Clemson. Everything about Clemson was amazing – the facilities, the players, the coaching staffs and the city – everything just was perfect. But at the end of the day, I came to Ohio State and I just felt more at home. I had (Ohio State cornerback) Shaun Wade, which is my cousin, and it made me also feel more at home, and that’s just what gave Ohio State the edge over Clemson.”
Steele Chambers, freshman running back, Roswell, Ga.: “I took a visit a couple times. It was a pretty great program, great coaches and pretty good environment. But whenever I came here to Ohio State, it was just kind of a different feeling.”
K’Vaughan Pope, sophomore linebacker, Dinwiddie, Va.: “I would say yeah, a school I kind of considered. What really appealed to me was kind of running down that hill. Great coaching staff, but I felt in my heart and my head that Ohio State was really the place for me.”
Master Teague, redshirt freshman running back, Murfreesboro, Tenn.: “They didn’t necessarily recruit me too hard, but I enjoyed it. They had a great coaching staff, of course, and it was a great program, great culture and I think they’re a great team. So, there was a lot to like. But at the end of the day, I just feel like I belonged at Ohio State.”
Nicholas Petit-Frere, redshirt freshman OL, Tampa, Fla.: “I considered them a little bit, but I was happy with the five schools I chose in the long run. They had a really good coaching staff. I think Coach (Tony) Elliott was one of the recruiting guys that had me there, so he was a really great man. My mom loved him, I loved him, so overall it was a good recruiting process.”
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