July 7, 2009

Linder cuts his list

Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) offensive lineman Brandon Linder may be ready to cut down his list of potential schools but that doesn't mean that the Rivals250 member is ready to go out and announce a favorite school. The St. Thomas Aquinas star racked up nearly 30 offers throughout the process and now has cut his list down to a much more manageable number to work with.

"I have narrowed it down to four schools," Linder said. "Miami (Fla.), Florida, Notre Dame and Ohio State."

The inclusion of the Hurricanes should not be a shock to anyone with Linder rooting for Miami in his younger years. The addition of Florida should be no surprise either with the way that the Gators lock down on top Southeastern talent. Notre Dame has always been near the top of the list as well with Linder stating many times that he wanted to visit South Bend officially. But how did Ohio State make the cut?

"I have always been strong on the three schools and then Ohio State has just been a great school and the coaches… it has always been a winning program and it just seems like a place where I fit in," Linder said.

The 6-foot-6, 290-pounder has heard plenty about the Buckeyes with former teammate Duron Carter now in Columbus and big time teammate Lamarcus Joyner hearing plenty from Ohio State as well. But Linder came to his own conclusions for Ohio State and it had nothing really to do with what anyone else has said to him about the program.

"I give coach (Jim) Bollman a call and talk to him and I talk to coach (Jim) Tressel a lot too," Linder said. "I am probably going to be going up there in late-July and be able to hit Ohio State and Notre Dame. Then I will come down here and hit Florida and Miami."

But Linder knows that he will ride the high after each visit and that it will take a cooler head to really be able to digest anything that he learns on any given visit.

"(It seems) that every school I come back from is where I want to go so it has been kind of difficult and I want to make the right decision," Linder said. "I will probably wait until the end of my season but I just want to take my time and it won't be national signing day or anything like that but more like November or December."

Linder will make a return trip to central Ohio for game action as his high school takes on Upper Arlington (Ohio) at the Horseshoe as part of the Ohio vs. USA challenge (the branding on the series continually changes names). Even though it will still be sweltering warm in Columbus at that point of the year the talented lineman joked about not being afraid to play in the cold if that is what is called of him.

Ultimately the four programs left on Linder's list all possess many of the same attributes and will make a decision difficult when the time comes.

"All of these programs have great coaches and facilities," Linder said.

But Buckeye fans have to see an opportunity opening with a chance to get the big time lineman up on home turf two times in the span of six weeks.

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