For the last several months, Noah Spence's plan was to make an announcement at the Under Armour All-America Game. And up until three weeks ago, Ohio State wasn't going to be one of the hats on the table.
On Sunday, during an official visit to Ohio State, though, Spence, a five-star defensive end ranked No. 4 overall nationally, committed to the Buckeyes -- the program's third ESPNU 150 commit in just a week.
"It just felt right -- the family atmosphere, the great coaches," Spence said shortly after leaving the Ohio State campus. "The players want to win and the coaches want to win, and they're trying to build something that I want to be a part of. ...
"I wanted to get it out the way. It felt right, so, you know, why not?"
Before the season, Spence (Harrisburg, Pa./Bishop McDevitt) named a top seven, and Ohio State wasn't on the list. Penn State was the favorite to land him, but the child sex-abuse scandal at the university jumbled Spence's leaderboard as new teams began to enter the fold.
Still, Ohio State didn't become a factor until Urban Meyer was named coach on Nov. 28, and Meyer got in touch with Spence shortly after he was hired. Spence had never visited Ohio State before this weekend.
"I wasn't really into them a lot," Spence said. "As I got to learn about the staff and what they're trying to do and how close it is to my home, it felt like a fit."
Throughout his recruitment, Spence maintained whichever school he chose had to feel like a second home; Spence is one of nine sons to Greg and Helen Spence. During his official visit, Spence said it was the non-football discussions with the Buckeyes staff that sold him.
"Everyone was talking about their own families and everything like regular people," Spence said. "Everything wasn't about football. That made me feel comfortable. ...
"It wasn't so much what (the coaches) were saying. It was the players who pretty much matched with what the coaches were saying. It wasn't like it was fake or anything."
"We believe everything will work out fine," Greg Spence said. "There won't be any long-term repercussions."
From the beginning, Spence was never a fan of the recruiting process and routinely avoided calls from college coaches during his senior season, and he said he is relieved the process has come to a close as he doesn't believe he will make any other visits.
"I can see where I'm going to be at for the next four years," Spence said. "I'll always have my family at McDevitt, but now I'll be building a new family and help a new family out."
Spence is the Buckeyes' first five-star commitment and 19th overall. Since Nov. 17, the Buckeyes have landed four ESPNU 150 prospects, beginning with Adolphus Washington and ending this week with Pittman, Schutt and Spence.
Jared Shanker covers Midwest recruiting. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.