The spotlight of the college football world will shine Saturday on Ohio Stadium when the Texas Longhorns battle the Ohio State Buckeyes in an early season contest that pits two of the nation's top teams.
While the Horns and Bucks almost always put a great product on the field, they also are two of the nation's elite recruiting programs. Simply put, if you're a blue-chip recruit, Columbus is the place to be this weekend.
It appears that Ohio State will play host to a good handful of official visitors this weekend with three Rivals100 players, one five-star prospect and four four-star players scheduled as of early this week to be in. And you can also count on numerous blue-chip prospects from all over the Midwest and Atlantic East regions to be there for unofficial visits.
The highest-ranked blue-chip prospect scheduled to be in Columbus this weekend is five-star athlete Jamar Hornsby of Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood. The 6-foot-3, 193-pound Hornsby could project at a number of different positions, but most schools see him at safety or receiver.
The Buckeyes have had success in the past at Sandalwood.
Just last year, OSU landed four-star running back Maurice Wells, who is now third on the Buckeye's depth chart as a true freshman. Having Wells at Ohio State is something that has really made the Buckeyes appealing to Hornsby.
"Maurice told me to keep them in mind," Hornsby said. "He told me that it is a much different game on the college level. He told me that I would just love my time at Ohio State when you get up there for a game. He said it's like a totally different experience than anything I've ever seen before. I can't wait to see it."
Florida and Michigan also are heavily recruiting Hornsby and the Gators appear to be the team to beat, but that could change with an impressive visit to OSU this weekend.
Rivals100 selection A.J. Wallace of Pomfret (Md.) McDonough is also slated to be in C-Bus this weekend. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound cornerback has Ohio State slated as his first official visit and he's excited about what he'll see.
"I'm anxious to get over there," Wallace said. "It's exciting that it's getting close. I can't wait to be there to see what the game atmosphere is like. That's one of the things I'm really looking at closely, how the game days are. I had fun when I was there before, but I'm really interested to see how crazy it is for a game."
Wallace is also slated to visit Florida State and Nebraska at this point and others like Florida, LSU, Miami, Oklahoma and Michigan, but Ohio State could make a very good first impression on him this weekend.
Offensive tackle Aaron Brown has listed Ohio State as one of his top teams for quite some time and many insiders seem to think he's a virtual lock for the Buckeyes. After visiting Auburn last weekend, he is scheduled to be on campus this weekend for his official visit.
Brown has three more official visits scheduled Louisville on Sept. 16, Virginia Tech on Sept. 23 and Miami on Sept. 30. He will announce his decision on Oct. 6 during a press conference at his high school.
Ranked as the No. 4 player in Ohio and the No. 8 offensive tackle in the nation, Brown is the type of in-state player that Jim Tressel has not allowed to get away from him since he's arrived in Columbus.
Los Angeles Dorsey four-star linebacker Mark Johnson was scheduled to be in Columbus this weekend, but had been having some trouble hooking up with his recruiting coach, Luke Fickell, to confirm the visit. If he makes it in, it could give the Buckeyes an early shot at landing the gem from the Golden State.
"They put out good linebackers," he said. "It's one of the top programs in the nation as far as football. That stands out to me. A former Dorsey player went there and they compare him to me. He went to Ohio State, and he's in the league right now."
Johnson lists his favorites as Ohio State, LSU, Michigan, Florida, Miami, Cal and USC. Florida and LSU are also expected to get an official visit.
Buckeye commitment Kurt Coleman is expected to be in this weekend also, though it will not be an official. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound four-star cornerback committed to Ohio State back in late June, picking the Bucks ahead of Georgia Tech, Iowa, Kansas State, Michigan, Purdue, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
He still is proud to be a Buckeye.
"I'm definitely still solid with Ohio State," Coleman said. "When I made my decision it took a lot of weight off my shoulders. Now I can focus on the season and improving myself. Plus, I started to get a bunch of notoriety after I got the label of Ohio State Buckeye, so that's not bad, either."
A pair of southern three-stars is also on the docket to visit – Florida defensive end Steven Wesley and North Carolina running back Norman Whitley. Wesley (6-2, 235 pounds) is scheduled to also visit Alabama, Maryland, Ole Miss and Florida. Whitley (5-8, 177 pounds) doesn't have an Ohio State offer but is very interested in the Bucks and is also looking hard at North Carolina, Virginia, N.C. State and East Carolina.
There's also a chance that OSU quarterback commitment Antonio Henton could make it to OSU for an official visit this weekend, but he does have a big game on Friday night against Warner Robins (Ga.) Houston County.
Unofficial visitors are hard to track, but you can count on several of the area's big-time prospects from Ohio and throughout the Midwest to be at Saturday's game. Cincinnati Colerain teammates Connor Smith and Tyler Moeller are two of those players that have been confirmed to be in Saturday. Colerain will be in town on Friday when they play a big-time game against East Texas power Tyler (Texas) Lee.