July 9, 2009

Buckeyes still interested in Hagerup

When it comes to players on special teams, particularly those who specialize in place kicking and punting, it isn't rare to see an uneventful recruiting process. In the case of Whitefish Bay (Wisc.) Whitefish Bay punter Will Hagerup, that couldn't be further from the reality.

Thus far in his recruitment process Hagerup has already built an offer list that can go toe-to-toe with just about any recruit, especially because it boasts offers from schools such as Ohio State, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and plenty more.

While many feel that the 6-foot-4, 215-pound punter that carries over a 40-yard average should have a scholarship list that extends that long, the modest Hagerup feels that it is simply a case of good timing.

"I think the timing with everything has just worked out really well for me," Hagerup said. "Some years you will have very few colleges offering punters because they had a coupe good punters on the team already.

The timing with me has worked out very well so it has been really exciting for my family and me and I have really enjoyed the process and meeting a lot of great coaches and players. I have been really lucky to go through the process."

Despite already receiving a commitment from a kicker/punter in the 2010 class from Chillicothe (Ohio) Chillicothe's Drew Basil, Hagerup has said the Ohio State coaching staff has stressed to him that the kicker and punter position are different and the scholarship is still available if Hagerup chooses he wants to be a Buckeye.

"My first visit there when they did offer me they said they didn't know if a kicker was going to be offered but that there was for sure a scholarship offer for me," Hagerup said. "Reading some articles I figured out that they did offer a kicker but I was talking to Coach (Jim Tressel) yesterday and he told me that they were talking about me in a meeting and that they think that I would be a great next commitment for them.

"The offer is definitely still there," Hagerup added. "They are looking to get a great punter and kicker. Kicking and punting can seem like the same thing sometimes to the general public, but they say at Ohio State that a player doing both would be too much to expect. They said they would really like to get players that can focus on one aspect."

While already having a committed kicking specialist could seem like a downer for a punter when looking at his options at different schools, the fact that Ohio State is committed to their kicking game and solidifying specialists at both kicker and punter was something Hagerup really liked about the Buckeyes.

"There are definitely places you go where they don't really think there is a difference," Hagerup said of the punting and kicking game. "I think there is definitely huge differences to both. I think that it is a good sign that the staff at Ohio State can see the difference and the importance of both."

Hagerup has made it a priority to keep in contact with coaches at Ohio State on at least a weekly basis and the punter got in touch with Tressel yesterday and had a positive talk with him.

"I took a break at work to talk to him and I told him that I was very interested in Ohio State and he basically expressed his interest and asked how I was doing," Hagerup said of his talk with Tressel. "He asked how I was doing and what my schedule looked like and I was just hoping to talk to him every week so I can build up a relationship. He did make it clear that they still wanted me on the team."

With as many colleges on Hagerup's list, it is surely going to be a tough to narrow down the schools that could provide a better future for him. Even so, Hagerup said having a lot of great options is a good problem to have.

"I think the thing I have been looking at lately is that I have been lucky enough to have all the schools on my list be good situations for me," Hagerup said. "I don't think there is a school there that I wouldn't enjoy going to, but I think the decision is about finding the best choice out of them and that's obviously the tough part. I do know that I am lucky to be able to chose from so many great places."

With as many schools to sort through, Hagerup did admit that he hasn't quite narrowed it down to a top five just yet. Despite admitting that certain schools may be leading the way, he was firm in not releasing them just yet in case he changes his mind.

"There are definitely a couple teams that I am more interested in than others but I am not ready to decide that yet and I am also not ready to say anything yet because if I change my mind that wouldn't be good," Hagerup said.

Despite not yet revealing a list of leaders, Hagerup said he did want to make a decision before his senior season begins. Even so, Hagerup had no issues saying some of the things that he admires about Ohio State.

"Ohio State is first and foremost a great school academically and Big Ten schools have that reputation," Hagerup said. "I think secondly it was just how the coaching staff is like a family there and they all get along so well. They obviously know what they are doing and they know how to win.

"How well the team has done in the past years, you know if you go there you are going to win and you are going to compete for a Big Ten championship or even the national championship."

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