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9/2/2008 10:28 AM
 
Article published Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Nation's top-rated RB commits to Ohio State

COLUMBUS - The Ohio State running game, in a state of flux over the injury to Heisman Trophy candidate Chris "Beanie" Wells, might have received a solid boost to its future stock on Saturday when the nation's top high school running back indicated that he plans to play for the Buckeyes.
Floridian Jamaal Berry, a senior at Miami's Palmetto High, reportedly was in attendance at Ohio State's season-opening rout over Youngstown State, along with his mother and several close friends.
Berry (5-11, 195) told the OSU fan site Bucknuts.com that he gave Ohio State an oral commitment last weekend to accept a scholarship offer. Players cannot make a formal, written commitment until February, and NCAA rules prohibit Ohio State's coaches from commenting on any prospect until that commitment becomes official.
"I think he is a guy who could come in and contend for time right away," said Bucknuts managing editor Steve Helwagen. "And again, Ohio State has gotten one of the top players in Florida. It just shows again how OSU is taking advantage of Miami and Florida State being down."
Berry, who had 1,033 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns last season after rushing for 522 yards and five scores as a sophomore, told Bucknuts that he had offers from Florida, Mississippi, LSU and Michigan, and he might still visit several of those schools to fulfill promises he made to recruiters. He indicated that those trips should not be an indication that his commitment to Ohio State is less than firm.
"I made my decision for a reason," Berry said. "I feel at home at Ohio State. I like everything about Ohio State. I'm good with my decision."
Berry is the 25th high school player to commit to Ohio State for the 2009 season, according to Bucknuts.
- Matt Markey
 
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9/2/2008 10:29 AM
 

ROUNDUP

Palmetto RB Berry commits to Ohio State

Miami Herald Writer

Palmetto running back Jaamal Berry orally committed to attend Ohio State after an unofficial visit to the school.
JOSHUA PREZANT / FOR THE MIAMI HERALD
Palmetto running back Jaamal Berry orally committed to attend Ohio State after an unofficial visit to the school.

Palmetto's Jaamal Berry, the top-ranked running back according to ESPN, says he committed to Ohio State on Sunday after an unofficial visit to Columbus, Ohio.

Berry chose the Buckeyes over LSU, Ole Miss, Florida, Florida State, Michigan and others, but he said his comfort level in Columbus, Ohio, set the Buckeyes apart from the rest.

''They've been my leader all along,'' Berry said. ``I went up with my mom this weekend. She liked it a lot. I loved it and had a great time and committed to coach [Jim] Tressel before I left.''

As a junior, Berry rushed for 1,033 yards and 14 touchdowns, but his stock rose after competing in numerous camps across the country.

As a sophomore, he had been clocked at 4.6 in the 40-yard dash, but in the February Sparq Camp in Davie, he was laser timed at 4.43 in the 40. He also later clocked at 4.31 in a hand-timed 40.

His combination of size and speed intrigues college coaches. In addition to his 40 times, Berry (5-11, 190) bench presses 340 pounds and squats 430 pounds.

In Palmetto's preseason exhibition against Miami Springs, Berry rushed for 155 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries, including a 79-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that put the game away.

Berry said he still plans on visiting Ole Miss sometime this fall, and will also take an official visit to Ohio State when the Buckeyes play host to Michigan.

''I wanted to get this taken care of so I could just start focusing completely on the football season and school,'' Berry said.

Berry said he has a 2.5 grade point average, but he will take the SAT in October for the first time.

 
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9/2/2008 10:31 AM
 

Jaamal Berry is a Buckeye

We're still waiting for news on Beanie's injury, but there's good news regarding the future of Ohio State's rushing attack. Jaamal Berry has committed to Ohio State. Berry is one of the top running backs in the country, rated five stars by Scout and four stars by Rivals. Scout cites his power and toughness as strengths, while noting speed as an area for improvement. Considering Berry turned in a 4.31 forty at a camp over the summer, I don't think speed is an issue.

Berry is the 25th member of this recruiting class. That's technically a full class, but early enrollments provide some wiggle room, and potential early departures to the NFL would allow for a few more commits. Glenville OL Marcus Hall still lists the Buckeyes among his leaders, and the Buckeyes still appear to be in the picture for Tennessee WR Marlon Brown. Hurry up and commit, guys; this class looks like it'll be full come Halloween.

 
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9/2/2008 10:32 AM
 

Recruiting update (edit: Jaamal Berry’s verbal)

Posted by Vico in Recruiting |

So while we anxiously await news on Beanie’s status — news which should come tomorrow and should, hopefully, be somewhat positive — I thought I would take a look into what’s been going on with future Buckeyes in the class of 2009.

Jaamal Berry
First, in a news update that absolutely floored me, Jaamal Berry was on hand for the Youngstown State game, with his mother.  If you remember, Jaamal Berry had hoped to make it to Columbus earlier this month, but had to cancel that arrangement given the cost and the inability to squeeze in a family friend on the trip for a reasonable price.  I just kind of assumed he would wait until the Michigan game, when he’s scheduled for his official visit, to take his mom with him to see the campus for herself.  Apparently, the Berrys couldn’t even wait that long.  Along with his mom Eartha, one of his teammates and a family friend, the Miami, FL prospect flew to Atlanta and then drove from Atlanta to Columbus in time for the game. How about that? The group will be in Columbus until tomorrow, with Eartha Berry meeting Jim Tressel today.  I’m not saying Berry is ready to pull the trigger for the Buckeyes, but I’m certainly thinking it very loudly…

UPDATE: In an exclusive interview with Scout.com, Jaamal Berry confirmed that he gave his commitment to Ohio State, becoming the 25th verbal in the class.  Berry, like just about everyone who commits to Ohio State, fell in love with the family atmosphere around the program.  The love affair started in the spring when Berry took a trip up to Columbus for the Spring Game and never stopped.  Berry said later that he committed today in part because it’s his mom’s birthday and that he will still take his official to Ole Miss, though, because he told them that he would.

Second, the other big story for me is the repeated inability of college football programs to leave Jordan Whiting alone.  Jordan Whiting, if you remember, was the first commitment in the 2009 class, committing the very day he received his written offer on September 1, 2007.  However, notwithstanding repeated confirmations of his verbal to Ohio State, many programs around the South won’t let the issue die.  The biggest offenders here are the instate schools (Kentucky and Louisville), Tennessee and, curiously enough, Alabama.  In fact, Jordan just volunteered this little tidbit about how Saban’s approaching Jordan Whiting about playing for Alabama.

Alabama, for example, has sent pictures of coach (Nick) Saban with writing on them, ‘We want you,’ ” Whiting said.

A little creepy, right? Especially considering that Whiting has been committed to Ohio State for almost a year now.

I used what little connections I have to the program down here and actually got a copy of the exact pic Saban uses.  It’s actually worse than I would have imagined.

Saban wants u

Don’t get too upset.  I could’ve used Burt Reynolds’ Playgirl spread instead.

Elsewhere:

  • Justin Green was at the game with Jaamal Berry.  He’s confirmed his commitment to Ohio State in spite of Clemson’s best wishes.  I can’t imagine Clemson helped themselves yesterday either.
  • John Simon was in action against Covington Catholic, though did not see a lot of action.  Cardinal Mooney rolled over Covington Catholic 57-0 in a Herbstreit Challenge game in Canton.
  • Duron Carter had 4 catches for 131 yards and a TD in a 35-24 victory over Cincinnati Elder.  The game was part of the Herbstreit Challenge and was played in Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati).
  • Jack Mewhort suffered a right leg injury before halftime in a game against St Francis DeSales.
  • CJ Barnett had a bad day against St Ignatius in a 23-3 loss for the Thunderbolts.

Back to furiously looking for Beanie updates.

 
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