‘No thanks, coach’ is a phrase that seven-time national champion and University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban does not hear very often.
However, four-star Lambert receiver Kojo Antwi said no to Saban and almost every other Power 5 college on Monday when he announced his commitment to Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State University.
“It’s been a great run of getting recruited since sophomore year,” Antwi said. “I feel like the weight has been lifted off my shoulders now all of this is coming to an end.”
Antwi narrowed his top five schools down to Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, Southern California and Texas A&M. He said he was unsure of where to go after finishing three of his five visits, but after arriving in Columbus, Ohio, on June 18, he knew Ohio State was the place for him.
“The whole receiving room is pretty awesome,” Antwi said. “There’s a family environment there. Getting coached by arguably the best wide receivers coach in the country. I just want to get developed by the best and play with the best. Competing for natties is always important, too.”
Former NFL wide receiver and Ohio State standout Brian Hartline was the main contributor in recruiting Antwi. Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day and several of his assistants have spoken to Antwi as well.
“[Hartline] has always been preaching to me that he’s got all the tools to make me a great receiver,” Antwi said. “He said I haven’t even touched the surface as a receiver yet and he can mold me into the best I can be.”
Antwi joins the top-rated Ohio State recruiting class for the graduating class of 2022. Antwi has yet to meet potential starting quarterback Quinn Ewers, the top recruit in the country, but said he has met plenty of other future Ohio State football players at camps.
“[Ewers] is obviously the best quarterback in the country,” Antwi said. “There’s no doubt about it from the videos. It’s gonna be great finally meeting him and learning what he’s about. It’s always cool meeting other guys from other states that are as good as you or even better.”
The facilities at every school were “incredible” everywhere he visited, according to Antwi. He said he had the most fun visiting Los Angeles as the USC coaches drove them all throughout the city. Antwi added that he was truly clueless on where to become a student-athlete until he visited the receivers room at Ohio State.
“Hanging out with the receiving room and how they were preaching that everything is such a family,” Antwi said. “The competition is also elite, so it makes you better. Hartline and I have talked about it a lot. I want to learn the game to the best of my abilities so that future me is the best player possible.”
On top of the “perfect social fit” that Antwi found, his parents were amazed with the computer science program at Ohio State. They preached to Antwi how important academics were during this process and he agreed.
Though it was hard saying no to coaches such as Saban, Jimbo Fisher and Kirby Smart, Antwi said that he is grateful for every conversation he had with every coach that recruited him.
As the pressure of recruiting lightens Antwi’s shoulders, his summer work is nowhere close to over. In his senior season at Lambert, Antwi will play defense for the first time on top of playing receiver.
After his summer practices, Antwi has been meeting with his personal trainer to get his fitness levels up for the upcoming football season.
In his last season, Antwi said his goal is an undefeated season for the Longhorns with a state championship trophy, but he “definitely would not complain” about gaining his fifth star to further boost Ohio State’s recruiting class.