Last year, Pickerington (Ohio) Central High School sent three players to the Big Ten- Jamie Wood and Zach Boren to Ohio State, and Patrick White to Michigan State. 2010 prospect Willie Tatum could be next in line.
The 6-foot-3 linebacker has offers from Marshall and Bowling Green. Several more programs have visited Wood's school during the spring evaluation period, including Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Buffalo, and Kent State.
"They all like how I have long arms and play with great extension," Tatum said. "I am always in the backfield, and they like my physical play. They like me at either outside linebacker or safety. Versatility is a big part of my game. I played a bit of safety last year. I can play linebacker or safety."
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Tatum said that if more offers are coming his way, Michigan State may be the most likely.
"Michigan State and coach Mike Tressel (Special Teams and Linebacker coach) said if I just come to camp, I will get an offer. He wants to show the head coach (Mark Dantonio) that I have the size and ability to get the offer. They just want to see me in person."
Tatum also said that aside from the schools that visited Pickerington Central this spring, he would like to hear from Maryland.
"I like that they have had great linebackers over the last few years, and they have gone on to the NFL."
But until he lands more offers, his favorite schools are from within Ohio's borders.
"Right now, my number one school is Bowling Green," Tatum said. They are promising I will play my freshman year. My second school would be Ohio State. They have a big-time tradition, and they get a lot of people to the NFL.
Tatum said an offer from Ohio State would not automatically put them on top of his list. He said he will look carefully for the right fit. He wants to pursue a career in medicine or business. He said his mom is a nurse, and previously owned her own business.
"I want to graduate and help her get that business going again," Tatum said. "I am looking for a school with strong academics, somewhere I can get placed with a job in the medical field or in business. I also want to play my freshman year. That will be a big deciding factor."
Tatum has the advantage of watching three former teammates go through the recruiting process. Tatum said he learned a lot on and off the field from Wood, Boren, and White.
"I learned to play with their intensity. I also learned how to carry myself off the field, how to talk to people, and how to be approachable. Before they blew up nationally into big-time recruits, they were just superstars in Pickerington. People like their character, how they volunteered in the community, and helped others. They showed the good characteristics that rubbed off on others."