Growing up in the shadows of Ohio Stadium, it can be difficult to say no when the Buckeyes come calling.


Growing up in the shadows of Ohio Stadium, it can be difficult to say no when the Buckeyes come calling.

Bradley McDougald, a safety on the Dublin Scioto High School football team, was offered a scholarship a while back, but it took a visit last week to Ohio State's football camp to convince him that he would be a member of the 2009 recruiting class.

Last Monday, McDougald became Ohio State's 22nd commitment not long after cornerback Corey Brown of Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway grabbed the 21st spot.

"It just solidified it," McDougald said. "I was impressed with them and they were impressed with me. When you live around here, it's everyone's dream to play for Ohio State. I remember when I was a little kid and I went down (to Ohio Stadium) on picture day."

Eighteen Division I schools offered the 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back a scholarship, but McDougald said the Buckeyes never gave him an ultimatum. He wanted to make a decision before beginning his final season at Scioto.

As a junior, McDougald rushed for 1,008 yards on 173 carries. He totaled a team-best 1,650 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns. Five times last season he rushed for more than 100 yards, including 182 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-14 victory over Olentangy in the opener.

Scioto finished 6-4 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Capital Division, tied with New Albany behind Big Walnut (4-1) and Olentangy Liberty (4-1) and ahead of Watkins Memorial (2-2) and Franklin Heights (0-5).

"He's obviously a playmaker for us and he's going to be counted on as a leader this year," Irish coach Karl Johnson said. "He's got real good size and could be 6-2 before it's all over with. He's being recruited as a safety, but he's certainly a kid who could be looked at on the offensive side of the ball."

Scout.com ranks McDougald as the nation's 47th-best safety, but some recruiting experts have him at No. 10.

Bill Conley, a former recruiting coordinator at Ohio State who now is ESPN.com's national recruiting analyst, has paid close attention to McDougald.

"He's a tall, lean slashing running back," Conley said. "On defense, he's an impressive hitter who has great balance and great change of direction. He's an aggressive tackler and a reliable tackler in the open field, which is very important. He should also be an excellent special teams player."

Three former Scioto players -- Nick Goings, Roland Steele and Jay Richardson -- accepted scholarship offers at Ohio State, but only Richardson finished his college career with the Buckeyes.

Richardson is now with the Oakland Raiders. Goings has been with the Carolina Panthers since 2001 when he was signed as a free agent. He had to sit out much of the 2007 season after suffering the third concussion of his career.

Scioto teammate Taylor Rice hopes to join McDougald at Ohio State as a walk-on.

"I'm going to give my best effort going against some of the best players in the nation," McDougald said. "But getting the decision out of the way definitely puts the focus right back on my team. It should be a fun season. Now I can just go out and give it all I've got."