February 26, 2010
Spencer grew up with the Bucks
Vernon Hills (Ill.) wide receiver Evan Spencer knows what it is like to be a Buckeye, or at least has a very good idea after growing up in the house of a Buckeye legend.
Evan's father, Tim Spencer, had quite the career in Columbus rushing for 3,553 career yards before an eight-year professional career between the USFL and the NFL.
But that was before Evan's time and most of his first football memories came when his father was the running backs coach with his alma mater for ten years. Living in the shadow of The Horseshoe and seeing your father spend countless hours in the thick of things leaves quite an impression on a kid who was football crazy.
"Growing up my memories were that every Saturday we would go to the game and usually I would end up taking a friend and they would sleep over," Spencer joked.
Now before anyone rushes out to the attic retrieve their old Tim Spencer jerseys don't expect Spencer to be a shoe-in to automatically follow in his father's footsteps. The younger Spencer holds offers from other big name programs including Notre Dame, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Iowa just to name a few of the schools on his offer list.
Regardless of where Spencer ends up, however, he will always remember what it was like as a youth to grow up idolizing Buckeye greats from the past.
"From a football standpoint I remember pretty much everybody like David Boston and all of those guys," Spencer said. "I used to be the kid who could name every single player and their number and if they got drafted what team they were on and such."
The Ohio State coaching staff is working hard to have the Spencers to join the names like the Griffins (Archie & Adam), Grahams (Kent & Taylor), Carters (Cris & Duron), Smiths (Joe & Connor) and the Schwartzs (Brian & Grant) as current second generations Buckeyes. The first step toward that end came when Ohio State offered the younger Griffin. What were his memories of the day he received the good news?
"Initially I was kind of shocked at the time that they did it," Spencer said. "I came home from school and usually my mom tells me to go get the mail so I went to get it and usually I was used to seeing (computer labeled letters) but this one was hand written so I was like, 'Let me open this up and see what it is.'"
And upon opening the letter there was an offer that as a child he always dreamt of receiving.
"When I was growing up I always used to wish about playing there so it kind of felt good a little bit for my childhood dreams," Spencer said. "Now I am still in my decision making process so I am not sure what I really want to do and who is my No. 1, No.2 or No. 3."
Other schools are not just going to concede the wide receiver and member of the Rivals250 watch list to the Buckeyes because of family past. For every son that follow his father to school there are countless others that don't, so the coaching staff knows they will have to treat Spencer's recruitment just the same as any other player who has very little knowledge of the Buckeyes.
The elder Spencer has been an assistant coach with the Chicago Bears since leaving the employ of Ohio State and there is no doubt that the Spencer family is a football family.
But the elder Spencer was undoubtedly happy for his son.
"He was excited for me and really happy to," Spencer said. "I guess he just felt that the year that I had that I kind of deserved it."
But that doesn't mean that Spencer feels that he is even close to being a finished product and having a coach for a father the younger Spencer knows how to break down film and what to look for.
"I can still get better and I could sit down with you and watch the film and tell you 100 things that I did wrong on one play," Spencer said. "(Dad) thought I deserved and it and he is extremely happy as is my mom. She was working on a conference call and she told them that she would have to call them back (laugh)."
The question has to be asked though of how does a son with a record setting running back as a father end up playing wide receiver?
"When I was growing up I was always playing running back because I was the fastest kid of the team so they would have me play running back," Spencer said. "I wouldn't play receiver when I was little because nobody could throw the ball yet."
If an offense consists of pitch the ball right or pitch the ball left then it would have been a waste to put a star out at wide out. But come junior high school, Spencer's football path would take a slight detour as a position change was at hand.
"In the 8th grade the quarterback (that was on my team) started to be able to throw it and could put a little bit of juice on it so then I talked to my coach and told him that I really would like to move out to receiver," Spencer said. "He told me that he was thinking the same thing but he wanted to wait and see if his arm had developed."
I have a lot of memories from there and I probably always will.
Evan Spencer, WR
On his time around OSU
Have there ever been any second thoughts or desire to see time at running back?
'Ever since when I switched to receiver I have loved it and I have never wanted to go back." Spencer said.
Spencer spent a lot of time on the Ohio State campus growing up but likely will not recognize it anymore with improvements made to the stadium, the facilities at the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex and just around campus in general. Evan will have a chance to get reacquainted when he visits in the upcoming two months.
"I know for sure that I will be down at the spring game and I was going to try and be at the practice the day before and kind of watch what they were doing and get to spend an extra day with the coaches but I have a track meet that Friday," Spencer said. "We will probably just fly down after that
go to the spring game and spend the day there and either leave that night or the next day but I am not sure yet."
Regardless of if the Buckeyes are able to land Spencer or not there is one thing that is for certain however.
"I have a lot of memories from there and I probably always will," Spencer said.
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