Ohio State got a “BOOM” on Friday afternoon, as Englewood (CO) Cherry Creek four-star offensive lineman George Fitzpatrick committed to the Buckeyes over other finalists Oregon, Oklahoma, and Michigan.
Most fans don’t know a ton about Fitzpatrick other than he is the 17th member of OSU’s 2022 recruiting class, the 2nd offensive lineman in the group (joining Tegra Tshabola), and is currently ranked as the No. 292 overall player and 27th best offensive tackle in America per the Composite Ranking.
To understand a little better about what Greg Studrawa is getting in the latest pledge, we spoke to Fitzpatrick’s high school coach, Dave Logan. Logan is entering his 29th year as a high school head coach and shared more about the talented lineman in this edition of “Coach Speak”, including his move from tight end to tackle, what he is good at on the field, where he needs work, and more.
The move from tight end to offensive tackle: “The summer before his sophomore year we had our eight-week camp to get ready for the season and he was a tight end. He was a hard worker, but I thought his best chance to get on the field and have an impact that year would be at tackle, so I talked to him about that. There were a lot of times in the past when you see players and see a different position for them, I always talk to them, and they’re not always that keen on switching positions and then I have to make the decision on what’s best for the team. But George, he was great. When I asked him about moving to tackle he said if it got him on the field and it was good for the team, he was all-in. I thought that was really a mature answer from a kid going into his sophomore season. He’s started every single game at tackle since then. We’ve had 23 games since then and we’ve won all of them. He’s been a real big part of that. He was 220-pounds at the time we had that conversation and now he’s probably about 285. He’s about 6-foot-6 and looks very trim, there’s not an ounce of fat on him. He’s played right tackle, but will be playing left tackle for us this year.”
What he does well: “As a former tight end, he’s got really good feet for a big kid. He’s very athletic. He’s got a high motor and plays exceptionally hard. He’s all about the team and he has been a real privilege to coach. He’s made of the right stuff and I have absolutely no question he is going to be a great player in college.”
What he needs to work on: “It’s a big step (going to college). I don’t care how good you are in high school, that’s a big step up. There are a lot of great high school players that get to play in college and never play in the NFL, because that’s another big step. So it’s just getting a handle on the little things and getting adjusted to what he needs to do at that next level which is a step up.
On his potential: “What I’m excited about is that he’s had just two years of learning how to play tackle. He’s really young when it comes to the learning curve of an offensive lineman. I can guarantee his best football is in front of him. When you get a kid that has that size, that power, and that quick of feet, and loves the game and plays hard all the time, and is great in the locker room and great around his teammates, those guys don’t fall out of trees. I’m so excited about him having a good, strong year in his senior season at Cherry Creek and then getting to watch him play in college. Barring some sort of injury, I just know what type of player he’s going to be.”
If he’s an immediate impact player: “There’s no way to really answer that. It depends on the situation he’s in, the staff, the offensive line coach, the coordinators, what they ask him to, all that. I can say this. They’ll get full effort every single snap. They’ll get a kid that’s accountable. They’ll get a kid that loves football. So, it would not surprise me if he played early. Again, that’s a big step to that level, but what excites me about him from a college standpoint is his overall frame and his athletic ability. When you have those feet as a tackle, even if your hand placement is a little off or your technique needs a little work, because he’s such a terrific athlete for a tackle, he’s going to be able to overcome that stuff until he can figure out some of the nuances of the game. I would not put a ceiling on this kid or say he won’t play until he’s a redshirt junior or anything like that. I’m just anxious to see what he can do as his upside is so significant at that next level. Again, I stress to you, he’s just trying to figure out being an offensive tackle. He’s had 23 games in his lifetime of playing offensive tackle. I’m really encouraged about not only how good he is now, but also what type of player he’ll turn in to. I think he’s going to be a heckuva player.”
On Fitzpatrick off the field: “He’s everything you want. He’s an excellent player. He’s great in the locker room. He’s first in every sprint. When your best lineman is your hardest working lineman, that’s something you always want as a coach–you want the best players to be the hardest working bunch on your team and he’s in that category. He’s a great teammate and has a lot of friends off the field. He’s excellent in the classroom. He’s never been in any sort of trouble whatsoever and I don’t think ever will be. He’s a rare kid. He’s one of those guys that has the complete and total package.”
Ohio State’s efforts in recruiting Fitzpatrick: “I’ve known Tony Alford for a long, long time. Tony is a really good coach and he’s a quality person. He just does an excellent job. He can relate to players. He can make players feel comfortable and loved. I think that’s a credit to Tony and the staff there. He’s the caliber of player that every program in America has an interest in, but ultimately, when you have players like this, programs don’t sell themselves–the coaches do and it’s the experience a player has when he goes there on a visit. I know in talking to George when he got back, he loved everything about Ohio State. George is a pretty quiet guy by nature, he’s not overly gregarious or talkative, he’s a yes sir or no sir. But he was very fired up about what he experienced in his visit to Columbus.”
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