Marcus Baugh said at the recent New Level Athletics Elite 7on7 in Las Vegas that his new offer from Ohio State intrigued him and that he had talked with coach Urban Meyer a few times.
Those conversations went a long way as the four-star tight end from Riverside (Calif.) J.W. North decided to make his commitment to the Buckeyes on Tuesday.
A source close to Baugh said Meyer has been talking extensively with the Southern California prospect recently and that played a factor in his decision-making process.
Baugh admitted Tuesday that he did not expect to make his commitment this early but after talking with Meyer multiple times that he's comfortable with the pick.
During his time at Florida, Meyer coached Aaron Hernandez, now with the New England Patriots, and Baugh envisions himself playing a similar role for the Buckeyes.
"I've always loved OSU," Baugh said in a text message. "Urban Meyer and how he uses his tight ends really influenced me. I want to be the next hybrid tight end like Aaron Hernandez.
"I didn't expect to make my decision this early but I talked it over with my coaches and parents and decided Ohio State was the best place for me."
Baugh, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound prospect, is the fifth-best tight end and No. 114 recruit in the 2013 class by Rivals.com.
No other tight end in the West is rated higher and he becomes the seventh four-star player in Ohio State's recruiting class. The Buckeyes have also landed a pledge from five-star defensive back Cameron Burrows.
Arizona State had been considered the favorite for Baugh, who spoke highly of the Sun Devils especially after his junior day visit. He also had offers from Cal, Florida, Hawaii, Miami, Ole Miss, Oregon State, Tennessee, UCLA and Washington. But Ohio State's pitch in the last few weeks played a key role.
In recent weeks, Baugh had intended to play the recruiting process out and not make a decision until after his senior season.
The four-star tight end said he has an aunt and some cousins that live relatively close to Ohio State and his intentions were to take an official visit after his senior season to check out the program but things changed Tuesday when he made his choice.