It had been nearly two months since the Buckeyes last received a verbal commitment but the drought ended late on Thursday afternoon with the commitment of Tarboro (N.C.) defensive end/outside linebacker Tyquan Lewis. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound prospect ended his recruitment at a ceremony at his high school and picked Ohio State over his two other finalists, LSU and North Carolina, as well as the dozen other offers that he held at the time of his pledge.
"It was just everything overall and when I went there I loved it a lot," Lewis said during his announcement press conference. "Coach Mike Vrabel was more than a coach, he was always there and I talked to him on Twitter and Facebook and he always kept in touch with me. He was more than a coach, he was a mentor and like a father figure to me. He told me if I went there that he could always be by my side."
Relationships are important to Lewis and even going to school nine or ten hours away will not affect the bond he has with his mother and his three brothers.
"Even though the fact that Ohio State is ten hours away, I still have a feeling that my family and I have a connection that nobody can break," Lewis said. "It is just us together and we will always have that bond."
Lewis is Ohio State's 17th commitment for the 2013 recruiting class and confirmed the speculation that the Buckeyes had made a major push over the summer after Lewis made two visits to Columbus. It was the second visit in late July that put the Buckeyes over the edge as Lewis was able to make the trip with his mother and get the blessing from his family that Ohio State would be a viable choice for his commitment.
"The 'Shoe is amazing and it is so huge, playing in front of like 105-thousand is amazing," Lewis said. "You don't get opportunities like that every day."
The addition of Lewis fills an area of need for Ohio State as they continue to look for players with speed on the outside and the ability to rush the passer. Lewis could fit that bill either as a weak side defensive end or as a strong side linebacker. With Lewis' commitment, Ohio State has now landed a player out of the state of North Carolina in two consecutive cycles, a clear indication of the impact of new safeties coach/co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers who along with coach Vrabel took the lead in Lewis' recruitment.
Lewis added that as a recruit that you had to do your homework when checking out teams. While Lewis knew what the Buckeyes had on the depth chart moving forward, he was well aware of what the past defenses at Ohio State looked like and that if he picked Ohio State that he would have a chance to be mentioned in an elite group of players.
"Joining the Silver Bullets, I can't even explain it," Lewis said. "There are so many great people and now with Coach Vrabel being my coach, it is going to be like heaven."
Lewis is rated a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, the No. 11 weak side defensive end in the nation, and the No. 8 player in the state of North Carolina. Lewis plans to enroll early at Ohio State and will start classes in January. He reports a 3.5 grade-point average in the classroom.