Friday, December 21, 2012


Eli Apple, left, with father Tim
COLUMBUS — Before Ohio State football fans go into a panic wondering why their prized 2013 football recruit Eli Woodard's name is no longer on the Buckeyes' commitment list ... please calm down, take a breath, sip some herbal tea and mellow out.

The five-star cornerback changed his name.

The 6-foot, 185-pound star out of Voorhees, N.J. — and the sixth-rated player in the nation according to ESPN — announced in a statement on Friday that he will take the surname of his stepfather, Timothy Apple.

The US Army All-American Apple stated that his stepfather is the person that has molded him into the man he his today ...

"A wise man once stated, 'Fatherhood is not biology. Fatherhood is responsibility.' From the time I was two years old my dad, Timothy Apple, has been my father. He's nurtured, provided, and protected our family. I am the man I am today because of his tireless love, and commitment to our family. So it is with great pride and honor to carry his last name. I am truly blessed to be Eli Apple. Go Bucks!"

Apple is considered by many as the Buckeyes' top prospect for the class of 2013. The ultra-talented defender — who chose to play at OSU over the likes of Alabama, Notre Dame and Michigan, among others — just recently graduated from his New Jersey high school and will begin classes in Columbus when the new semester begins in January.

The early enrollment provides Apple with an opportunity to be part of the Buckeyes' rigorous off-season conditioning program headed by strength coach Mickey Marotti, as well as participating in the 15 spring football practices, including the Scarlet & Gray game this April.

With the graduation of starter Travis Howard — and the possibility of all-American Bradley Roby leaving for the NFL — Apple should be a candidate to see the field in the Buckeyes' secondary as a true freshman next fall.