Datish getting down to business
Doug Datish likes to read about war history. He wants to be a pharmacist or a doctor. His leadership is administered by example.
But that's not everything.
"I like burying people on a run-block pancake," he said.
A 6-foot-5, 295-pound lineman at Howland High, Datish is the latest area athlete attracting national attention.
His verbal commitment to play football at Ohio State capped his first three years as a starter for coach Dick Angle's Tigers.
One season remains for Datish before he heads south to don the scarlet and gray of Ohio State and play for coach Jim Tressel.
Center of attention: "Now, there's going to be a lot more pressure on me," said Datish, the fourth offensive lineman recruited in the 2002 class by the Buckeyes. "People are going to say, 'This kid's going to Ohio State. Let's watch him.'
"I have to take it to another level," he said. "I know there are going to be a lot of eyes on me. I can't take plays off."
Not that Datish ever does anyway.
"It doesn't matter what the score is, I'm hardworking," he said, after being asked to describe himself. "I'm kind of vicious on the field; off the field I'm mellow and easygoing."
Datish comes from a family of football. His father, Mike, was a center for Ohio State teams of 1973-76. Datish plans to continue wearing his father's jersey number (50) at Ohio State.
"He's been following Ohio State since he was 5, 6 years old," Angle said. "It's been his dream."
Career takes off: Schools all over the country began recruiting Datish when he was a freshman at Howland adjusting to the speed of the varsity game.
"From eighth grade to varsity is a huge jump. The speed was amazing," he said.
Angle said, "When I saw him as a freshman, his size caught my eye. Once I saw him work in the off-season program, you had a feeling he was going to have the potential to be a great one."
Over the past two seasons, Datish learned what it took to dominate at the varsity level. He began to get noticed by recruiting "experts," who proclaimed him one of the best lineman in the country.
"It's really nice for someone to think that," Datish said, "but until you line me up with other kids, no one can really tell. There are some big dudes out there."
The schools that Datish targeted in the end, in addition to Ohio State, were Colorado, Michigan and Tennessee.
He was ready to become a Buffalo -- Angle has ties with Colorado coach Gary Barnett from their days at Missouri -- but the distance from Howland proved to be too great for Datish's liking. Tressel's hiring at Ohio State then solidified the decision.
"I think the coaching change [Tressel replacing John Cooper] probably helped him make his decision to go there," Angle said. "The chaos that went on last year [with Cooper] got him a little disgruntled. Tressel probably settled things for him."
Angle said he didn't sway Datish a certain way. He only offered the advice of limiting the player's search to five schools that had his desired characteristics.
Peace and quiet: Datish admitted the recruiting process was hectic. Now, he can enjoy the peacefulness in his home, the lack of telephones ringing constantly.
"It's nice for it to be over," Datish said. "It's nice to know where I'm going and that school is paid for."
Angle said, "Any time you have a big-time player who makes a decision to go to your state university, it's big for the community and positive for your program. It shows the younger kids that hard work does pay off."
Datish becomes the second area athlete to join the Buckeyes' 2002 recruiting class. The other is Warren Harding running back Maurice Clarett.
The fall season just got sprinkled with a bit more spice.
XBrian Richesson covers high school sports for The Vindicator. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.