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Published: Tuesday, 6/27/2006

Central's Sanzenbacher about to realize dream at OSU

Dane Sanzenbacher is pretty much committed to playing football for Ohio State in 2007.

It would appear to be a perfect marriage.

The only thing missing is Sanzenbacher's vow.

But that may come faster than you can say his last name.

Central's Dane Sanzenbacher turned a trick play into a touchdown against Canfield last December in the Division II state finals. The 5-11, 180-pounder is only a junior. Central's Dane Sanzenbacher turned a trick play into a touchdown against Canfield last December in the Division II state finals. The 5-11, 180-pounder is only a junior.
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The Central Catholic star received a text message from Ohio State coach Jim Tressel last Friday night, a half-hour after concluding his workout for the Buckeyes' coaches in Columbus.

"Great job at camp today," Tressel wrote. "We have a scholarship offer for you. Take a good look at the Buckeyes. Go Bucks!"

Sanzenbacher couldn't believe what he was reading.

Adrenaline rushed through his body.

He doesn't remember ever being that excited.

The trip from Columbus to Toledo normally takes a little more than two hours. Sanzenbacher made it home much quicker - at least it seemed that way.

Even so, he wanted to wait another day or two before spreading the news of Tressel's offer.

He wanted to make sure it was true and that he wasn't dreaming.

That confirmation finally came Sunday afternoon when Sanzenbacher, a 5-11, 180-pound receiver/defensive back, called Tressel on the phone.

"I had the text message from coach Tressel offering me a scholarship, but I wanted to hear it from him directly," Sanzenbacher said yesterday. "He said there was no pressure to make a decision, but he wanted me to know that he had a scholarship waiting for me. He told me he hoped I'd seriously consider Ohio State."

Only an act of God would probably keep Sanzenbacher, who will be a senior this fall, from giving an oral commitment to the Buckeyes.

"I'm trying to think of any school that would be above Ohio State, and I can't come up with one," said Sanzenbacher, who also participated in the Nike camp at Ohio State in early May. "I've always been a huge Notre Dame fan, but I haven't heard much from them.

"Obviously, being an Ohio guy, I've always wanted to play for Ohio State. And everybody in my family loves Ohio State. They are as fired up as I am about the news of me getting a scholarship offer. My mom and dad have called all of our relatives to tell them.

"You can't beat Ohio State. You get to play in front of more than 100,000 people every game.

"You get to play for a national championship every year. And you get to play Michigan every year. It's pretty mind-boggling."

A month ago, Sanzenbacher could count his scholarship offers on one hand. All four were from Mid-American Conference schools - Toledo, Ball State, Kent State and Ohio.

But then he was lucky enough to hook up with Ted Ginn Sr., whose 12-day bus tour of Midwest schools included more than 40 players.

Ginn, of course, is the father of Ohio State speedster Ted Ginn Jr., and the head coach at Glenville High School in Cleveland.

Sanzenbacher worked out for several schools at their respective camps and landed four more scholarship offers, including Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Iowa and Ohio State.

"The last week has really opened my eyes," he said. "I hardly had heard anything from Ohio State - I got a few letters and talked to a few coaches - but in just a couple of days, my whole life changed. I'm pretty lucky.

"Now that Ohio State has offered me, I'm sure things are going to pick up with other schools. I don't have a preference over playing offense or defense, but so far, all the schools are recruiting me as a receiver."

Sanzenbacher doesn't have blazing speed - he has been consistently clocked at 4.6 in the 40-yard dash - and he's not real big.

All he does is make plays.

Sanzenbacher made a bushel-full in leading the Irish to the Division II state championship last season, a 31-29 victory over Canfield.

He finished with a state record four catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns. He also intercepted a Hail Mary pass on the game's final play.

Sanzenbacher was baseball's equivalent of Reggie Jackson in the playoffs for the Irish, registering nine touchdowns and six interceptions in five games.

A first-team all-state pick, Sanzenbacher finished with 65 receptions for more than 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns. He added 60 tackles and 11 interceptions.

Sanzenbacher can't officially sign a binding letter of intent until February.

But don't worry Ohio State fans.

You're not likely to get jilted.



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