Former Liberty County High School standout and current Ohio State freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan made a strong first impression during the Buckeyes’ first week of spring football practice.
McMillan told the Courier that college life took a little adjusting, but he was thrilled to be on campus in Columbus, Ohio.
“It was great to finally be out there doing what I love to do around great people,” he said.
He said it’s been rough waking up every morning at 5 a.m. to be dressed and ready for weigh-in before the team’s 5:45 a.m. workout.
As for his course work, the high-school honor student said things are going well.
“The school aspect has been an easy transition, but the getting in shape part has been the hardest,” he said. “I’ve lost 10-plus pounds since I left (Liberty County). The biggest adjustment I had to make was waking up early in the morning and going to sleep late. Some days, you only get 5-6 hours of sleep and you have to catch up on the weekends.”
McMillan was among seven early enrollees who participated in spring ball at OSU. But the former Panther definitely was the most talked-about recruit as the Buckeyes look to strengthen what is considered by many to be a weak area of their defense — the linebackers.
With Ryan Shazier departing early to declare for the NFL draft and Curtis Grant recovering from injuries and two lackluster seasons, eyes turned to the five-star incoming recruit to help in the linebacker corps. Based on recent reports, McMillan did not disappoint. “I was really impressed with Raekwon McMillan today,” Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer said to cleveland.com after the first day of spring training. “He moved around, very mature, he did enough where I felt very positive about what I saw.”
Co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell told cleveland.com that he would rather see a senior keep his spot as starting middle linebacker, referring to Grant, but added, “Can a freshman do it? Yeah, he can,” when asked by reporters if McMillan could start the season should Grant fail to perform.
Grant, a former five-star recruit, said he had a hard time adjusting to the mental aspect of the college game.
When he finally mastered the learning curve and the starting job, he sustained an injury, which cut short his season.
Grant said he has advised McMillan to forget about his five-star status and concentrate on the game.
McMillan told reporters he has wiped the slate clean and is busy learning the game and competing for a spot.
“I’m in college now. I threw that five-star ranking in the trash,” he said.