January 20, 2012

Start of a pipeline?

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Throughout the years, the Ohio State football program has had numerous high schools that have been used as pipeline schools to funnel talent into the program. At the moment, Trotwood-Madison High School in Dayton is one of the hottest schools in the Midwest when it comes to producing high level Division I talent so it comes as no surprise that the Buckeyes are paying extra close attention to the Rams' program these days.

On Thursday evening, the Buckeyes laid the foundation to starting that pipeline when they landed five-star junior defensive back Cameron Burrows. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound prospect is the No. 1 ranked junior in the state of Ohio. BuckeyeGrove.com caught up with Trotwood head coach Maurice Douglass shortly after Burrows' commitment to Ohio State.

"I think that the pipeline (to Ohio State) has begun," said Douglass. "I'm excited for Cameron and his family but I'm also excited for Ohio State because I know that they're going to get a kid that's going to be able to come in and give them everything that they need at the cornerback position."

Douglass and Burrows have formed a close relationship over the last few years, a relationship that goes beyond the football field.

"I'm excited, I'm really proud of him," Douglass said. "He's one of those kids that every father would want as a son-in-law. He makes great decisions off the field. Just in life he's making good decisions with the people he hangs with, where he doesn't go and the things that he doesn't allow himself to get caught up in, those are some of the reasons why I love him so much. My kids want him to babysit them."

Burrows' commitment marks the first recruit that Douglass has sent to Ohio State during his tenure at the school. In the past, Trotwood had sent prospects o a variety of Division I programs around the nation, including many in the Big Ten. Clearly not a program that lacked in talent, the lack of Trotwood players being offered by Ohio State raised some concerns that there was a rift between Douglass and the Ohio State program. On Thursday, Douglass cleared up that myth.

"The status between me and Ohio State has always been that I'm going to root for schools that make offers to my kids," he said. "In the past we just didn't have a kid or a player at that time that was able to get to Ohio State for whatever reason. Whether they missed a camp, or (Ohio State) didn't get to see them or they didn't have the physical ability to play at Ohio State, it had never been anything that I held against Ohio State."

"I just always felt that wherever my kids were going to get (scholarships) from, that's who I was going to root for," he continued. "Now that we've got a kid that's going to Ohio State, I'll be rooting for Ohio State. My son loves Ohio State and he's going to be a big old DB too."

Ironically, the first prospect that Ohio State has been able to pluck out of the talent-rich program is also the first five-star prospect that the school has produced. Douglass commented on what makes his star pupil such a special talent.

"They're going to get one of the most polished young cornerbacks that's out there," Douglass said. "He plays off-man great, he plays press-man, whatever you want in a corner, he's going to be able to do those things. He's fast, he's got good hips, he's not afraid to stick his nose in there, he's got great ball skills, and he's just a tremendous overall athlete."

Douglass, a former NFL defensive back in his own right, sees Burrows making an early impact when he gets to Columbus.

"He's going to be able to contribute early because he's going to try to graduate early," Douglass said. "He's going to try and graduate mid-year so he can get to campus and get with the guys in the off-season program. They're going to get a college ready player. The only thing that he will have to adjust to is the speed of the game, and once he goes into spring practices, those practices will help him get adjusted to the speed of the game."

With a full year until National Signing Day for the 2013 class, there will almost surely be attempts made by other schools to try and change Burrows' mind but one spot those talks won't take place in, is inside the walls of Trotwood-Madison High School.

"I'm going to tell everybody that he's off limits," Douglass said. "He's (Ohio State's) until they show that they don't want him. They don't have to worry about another guy coming in and sneaking in and trying to back door them."

Douglass, Burrows, and the rest of the Rams squad will be out to defend their Division II state championship this fall. The Rams finished the 2011 campaign a perfect 15-0, recording the school's first ever state championship in football.


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