Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier class of 2015 linebacker Justin Hilliard not only took in Ohio State's season-opener this past Saturday, he partook in the entire pre-game with the Buckeyes as well.
"They had us up there to do the walk with them and everything," Hilliard said. "Also, I talked to Coach [Urban] Meyer probably 30 minutes before the game started and during warm-ups. He says they need linebackers."
Hilliard has made several visits to Columbus over the last year, including a camp appearance in June where he earned his offer from the Buckeyes. The game day experience was slightly different, though.
"The atmosphere was so crazy for a day game playing Buffalo," he said. "It was definitely a good game to go to."
Ohio State is one of 29 schools that have offered Hilliard a scholarship, but after Saturday's visit his interest in the Buckeyes continues to grow.
"I would say they are pretty strong right now," Hilliard said. "I'd put them up there right now."
Hilliard has already laid out an ambitious college game visit schedule for the fall. His next trip will be this weekend to Ann Arbor to see Michigan host Notre Dame.
"It's a night game and College Gameday - I think I might be going up [early] for that," Hilliard said. "It should be real fun. Those are definitely two schools I am considering."
A trip to Kentucky for their rivalry game with Louisville will follow the weekend after his visit to Michigan.
In the meantime, Hilliard has been actively keeping up with those college coaches whose campuses he may not be able to visit this fall.
"I probably called about six or seven coaches the last few days," Hilliard said. "I talked to Alabama, Coach [Mark] Stoops [from Kentucky] and Al Golden from Miami."
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Hilliard kicked off his junior season last Friday night by tallying an interception, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in St. Xavier's win.