January 29, 2012

Buckeyes offer 2014 OL

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While most of the focus is on finishing the 2012 class and starting strong in 2013, Urban Meyer is already identifying the top Ohio talent in the class of 2014. On Friday, Meyer extend his first verbal offer to an in-state prospect and it's Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius offensive tackle Jimmy Byrne. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound prospect is the teammate of Ohio State commit Blake Thomas.

"Basically coach Meyer was down at Ignatius on Friday for Blake Thomas," explained Byrne. "I was in class so I couldn't meet him or anything but after the meeting (St. Ignatius head coach Chuck Kyle) came up to me and said that coach Meyer wanted me to give him a call after school. I gave him a call and he just said he's been long time friends with coach Kyle and he's heard good things about me and he asked me if I wanted to be a Buckeye."

"I explained to him how I've always wanted to be a Buckeye," he continued. "I grew up watching them and he was explaining how he grew up in Ohio. After the phone call, I kind of confirmed with coach Kyle that it was a verbal offer when he was asking me if I wanted to be a Buckeye."

The offer is Byrne's first but will certainly not be his last. For a player that played both on the JV and Varsity levels during his sophomore season, the young lineman was caught a little off guard by the early offer.

"It was very exciting and definitely surprising," he said. "I thought this stuff would start like next year but for it to happen now, was very surprising."

As one of the top high school football programs in America, St. Ignatius always has division I talent and Byrne is hoping to continue that legacy of winning.

"At St. Ignatius they always talk about the tradition and I want to carry that out," he said. "State championships are something that we really pride ourselves on and I've got two more years of high school so hopefully I'll get two more state championships."

Byrne was a contributor on Ignatius' state championship team this past fall and was excited to join the ranks of the great teams of the past.

"That was awesome," he said. "As we talked before about the tradition at St. Ignatius, being a part of one of those state championship teams is very special to me."

Getting on the field at St. Ignatius as a sophomore is never an easy thing to do and Byrne is hoping to take his game to the next level as a junior.

"I think my size helped and I think my pass protection is going pretty well," he said. "There's definitely a lot of things that I can improve on. I'm going to get back into the weight room this off-season and work on my footwork and strength and I think I'll be ready for next year."


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