Ohio State may have opened up a new pipeline to talent-rich Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minn., after they landed the commitment of four-star defensive end Jashon Cornell on Wednesday.
"The choice (is) Ohio State," Cornell reported. "I believe it is the right choice because I have family that lives 30 minutes from Ohio State, so I will never get homesick. Then, just the relationship I had with (assistant) coach Larry Johnson. He's been recruiting me since my freshman year and I felt he was the right coach for me."
Cornell coordinated the announcement of his commitment to Ohio State with friend and fellow four-star Justin Hilliard, but it was the relationship with the Buckeyes' coaching staff, particularly Johnson, that prompted the Rivals100 prospect's decision.
"He's sent seven draft picks to the NFL," Cornell said of Johnson. "I know going to him, I'm going to work and he's going to make me a better player.
"Then, you have Urban Meyer, who is one of the top coaches in college football right now. He knows how to teach the game, he knows how to win the game and he knows how to teach his players to be respectful young men."
Ohio State has told the 6-foot-2, 261-pound Cornell that they will bring him in to play a defensive end role.
"I love that defense," Cornell said. "They run a 4-3, so it's one-on-one: me and the offensive tackle."
Despite holding an offer from Ohio State for more than a year, Cornell did not make his first visit to Columbus until the end of May. Seeing the campus in-person further confirmed his impressions of the school.
"One thing about Ohio State, they are a state school but they are one of the top (academic) schools in the country," he said. "Then, football-wise, they are a great football team too. You can't go wrong with that, then I have my aunt that lives 30 minutes away with my cousin and I am real close with them."
Cornell still plans to take visits to Penn State and Michigan State in mid-July, but does not foresee any school swaying his decision.
"It will be really tough. I think I have my mind set," Cornell said. "I am taking those two visits out of respect to those coaches and telling them why I am going to Ohio State."
In Cornell and Hilliard, Ohio State has landed their first Rivals100 prospects of the 2015 class. Besides being the top-rated prospect in Minnesota, Cornell ranks as the nation's No. 76 overall player.
Josh Helmholdt is a Midwest Region football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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