August 3, 2011

McDonald still weighing options

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The wide receiver position has been a major focus for the Ohio State coaching staff this recruiting cycle. The Buckeyes have one verbal pledge at the position but are likely looking to land at least two more in the class. One of the top remaining targets at the position is Minnetonka (Minn.) Hopkins product Andre McDonald. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound prospect committed to Minnesota early in the process but has since opened things up.

"I guess I would be de-committed," said McDonald, when asked to classify his current status. "I'm still looking around but Minnesota is still in the mix. I'm looking at Ohio State, Iowa, and Vanderbilt (in addition to Minnesota)."

The Buckeyes have been making a big push for McDonald lately, led by assistant coach Stan Drayton.

"My contact level (with Ohio State) has been through facebook and a couple of phone calls," McDonald explained. "I haven't been down there or anything but I really like them. I like coach (Stan) Drayton the receiver's coach."

McDonald grew up with a soft spot for Ohio State and while he still follows them closely, he maintains that all of the schools that he's considering have an equal chance right now.

"Ohio State has always been my favorite school since I was a kid," he said. "As far as the programs right now and everything, I don't really favor anyone."

With Ohio State's NCAA hearing quickly approaching, McDonald says he hasn't paid too much attention to the situation but that a lengthy bowl ban would likely end Ohio State's chances to land the talented pass-catcher.

"To be completely honest, I haven't really followed it that much," he said. "With any recruit it's kind of tough to think about going somewhere where you won't be eligible to play in certain games so I'm not going to want to go somewhere where I'm not going to be able to play in big bowl games."

Other than Minnesota and Ohio State, McDonald says both Iowa and Vanderbilt have been making a push to land his services and he took the time to provide his thoughts on both schools.

On Iowa - "I talk with Eric Johnson a lot on the phone," he said. "I talk to coach (Kirk) Ferentz a lot and I talk to coach (Erik) Campbell a lot. I visited there during the school year in like February."

On Vanderbilt - "I know a recruit that they brought in, Joshua Grady," he said. "They've been on me a lot lately and even the players that they have already recruited are trying to get me to come there."

Much of McDonald's focus right now is towards his senior season but he's hoping to sit down with his family and schedule a couple of official visits before making his decision.

"I think maybe during the season," McDonald said of his time table for making a decision. "I just want to have some time to be able to check everything out. I want to take officials to Ohio State and Vanderbilt. I don't really think I'll need to take one to Iowa or Minnesota. I'm always down (at Minnesota) talking to the coaches and everything so I don't think I need to take one there."

Ultimately, the relationships he develops with the coaching staffs will be the biggest factor in his decision.

"The most important thing to me is like a support base," he said. "I just want to have a good relationship with the coaches, that's definitely the most important thing to me. I want to play for a program where the coaches are more for bettering the players as people than football players."


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