Monday, January 24, 2011

OSU COMMIT EVAN SPENCER SAYS BEING A BUCKEYE IS A FAMILY AFFAIR

Ohio State class of 2011 commit Evan Spencer. (Daily Herald/Gilbert R. Boucher II)
VERNON HILLS, Ill. — When most high school football recruits decide on a college to attend most provide you with some cliche answer when asked why they chose a certain school.

That's certainly not the case for Vernon Hills (IL) star wide receiver Evan Spencer.

No, the Buckeye class of 2011 commit said choosing to play at Ohio State was simply a family affair.

"My family," Spencer told The Buckeye Times, when asked his biggest reason for choosing to play at Ohio State back in June. "When it came down to it they showed me that I needed to go home.

"I needed to be a Buckeye."

Tim Spencer
Some may be wondering why a young man from the Chicago area would be talking about going "home" to Columbus. For those who don't know, Evan's father is former Ohio State tailback Tim Spencer (1979-82), the third leading rusher in school history (3,553 yards).

Yeah, Evan has been a Buckeye since birth.

But it wasn't his father's name that garnered the younger Spencer an opportunity to play at Ohio State, it was his all-around game that had Buckeye coaches salivating for his services.

Spencer not only excelled at the receiver position at Vernon Hills — where he snagged 23 receptions for 410 yards and six touchdowns as a senior — he also ran the football for 266 yards and eight touchdowns as a tailback, and returned two interceptions for scores while playing in the defensive backfield.

If that isn't impressive enough for you, Mr. Spencer also returned punts and kicks for Vernon Hills, where he added another three touchdowns in 2010.

His great size (6-1, 185), superior athleticism and speed makes him a dangerous weapon no matter where he's playing on the field.

"(Spencer) scored every way you could," Vernon Hills head coach Tony Monken told the Chicago Daily Herald in December. "It's hard to bring him down and he got faster and faster with each stride.

"Ohio State is going to love Evan," Monken added.

The Illinois all-state selection is expected to be a wide receiver at Ohio State, and with team MVP Dane Sanzenbacher graduated and senior-to-be DeVier Posey suspended by the NCAA for the first five games of the 2011 season, Spencer may get his chance to shine early as a freshman.

"I feel I have a good opportunity," Spencer said. "But I know I'll have to work hard to get on the field. My expectations in the fall are to get on the field in any way I can."

Spencer, also being a lifelong fan of Ohio State admitted he was a little nervous watching the Buckeyes play against Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl last month. Especially at the very end when the Razorbacks blocked Ben Buchanan's punt to put themselves in position to win.

"I was glued to the TV watching the Sugar Bowl," Spencer said. "Then when the punt was blocked I swear my heart stopped."

Of course, the Buckeyes would go on to win the game after defensive end Solomon Thomas picked off an Arkansas pass deep in OSU territory, sealing the deal for Ohio State and snapping its 0-9 bowl game slide against the mighty Southeastern Conference.

"I was very excited," Spencer said about the thrilling win.

Now, the young receiver hopes he and his class can continue where the Buckeyes left off in New Orleans. Spencer said he's excited about the opportunity of growing with his class of 2011 teammates, most notably star quarterback Braxton Miller.

"I am so pumped," Spencer said. "It is going to be a fun year with Braxton and everyone else.

"I believe that we have the best recruiting class in the country, hands down."

So how does the younger Spencer plan to carve out his own name at Ohio State? How does the son of a Buckeyes legend plan on being remembered?

Just like his reason for coming to Ohio State, his answer was simple and to the point.

"I would like to be remembered as someone who put it all on the field every week," Spencer said.

Huh, kind of sounds like his father, doesn't he?