It’s the offseason of Ohio State football folks. It’s a little depressing, but it also means we get to do other neat things like project ahead to next year, make some zany predictions, and talk to recruits and personalities involved with Ohio State.
The latest in those efforts comes from a recent Ohio State commitment to the 2022 recruiting class, 4-star offensive lineman Carson Hinzman out of Hammond, Wisconsin. His decision to back the U-Haul up to the banks of the Olentangy is a big one, especially when you consider that not many offensive linemen from Wisconsin make it too far from Madison.
Hinzman verbally committed to OSU on January 4, and we caught up with him after the All-American Bowl this past weekend to touch on the process by which he made his decision, his thoughts on Michigan, and much, much more — including the impact he’d like to make both on and off the field.
Let’s get to it.
On the hard decision to choose Ohio State over the home state team, Wisconsin Badgers
Buckeyes Wire (BW): Let’s just let’s dive right in here real quick and just talk about your decision because I think that’s the big thing here. You obviously were wrestling with the decision between Wisconsin and Ohio State. I know it was tough for you and you delayed your commitment for a little bit. Can you just talk to me about that decision-making process and maybe what put Ohio State over the top?
Carson Hinzman: Yeah, it was tough. I mean I was a Wisconsin fan growing up and just always thought that my dream was to play for Wisconsin eventually. I really had to go through it and kind of look at it from the outside the best I could. I went through pros and cons and talked it through with my parents. I had to think about what Ohio State can do for me even beyond football, and what Wisconsin can do. Honestly, just looking at the stuff, Ohio State came out on top. I hate to say it was a selfish decision, but I just had to do what was best for me, and in the end, that was Ohio State for what they offer.
On whether there was any point in which he was ready to commit to Wisconsin
BW: So then was there any point in time when you were like, “you know what, I’m gonna I’m gonna go ahead and commit to Wisconsin” because — I’m assuming Wisconsin — like you said, was a team, you kind of rooted for growing up. And then so were you really close to pulling the trigger on Wisconsin at some point and then you kind of had a change of heart and were like, “let me just think about this a little bit more?” It sounds like you went through a pretty decent and mature decision-making process on that.
Hinzman: Yeah, sure. There were several times I just about committed to Wisconsin, but the more that I got to know Ohio State, the more I had to take a step back and really evaluate things and ask questions because you have to do that. I even made good and bad lists and all of that, and really, it became clear that Ohio State offered more opportunities and that was what really pushed them over the top.
On getting a feel for the “brotherhood” of Ohio State and how it played into his decision
BW: You always hear about the “brotherhood” of Ohio State, and it’s a real tangible thing when you talk to former players, recruits, and coaches. Did you get a feel for that when you visited, or just in talking to the players and coaches?
Hinzman: Yeah, you know when Ohio State came into the picture, I really wasn’t even thinking I was all that interested. I mean, I knew they were a great program and I really just took a visit because it was a good program, not really thinking anything too much about things. But the way the coaches and players interacted stood out immediately. Like you said, it was the brotherhood and closeness that stood out even while I was hanging out with guys or the coaches or whatever. It made an impression, and just liked what I saw.
On how often he interacted or talked to Ryan Day during his recruitment
BW: Yeah, the players seem to like Ryan Day too, and if anything he’s embraced that type of atmosphere even more. Can you touch on how much you spoke to Ryan Day through your recruiting process?
Hinzman: Yeah, sure. I talked to him through the process. He’s kind of a genuine, likable guy, but a kind of a no-nonsense guy as well … And you’re right, he just adds to that family atmosphere and the “brotherhood.” You can tell that it’s a big part of the culture and had really helped with all the success the program has had over the last few years.
On how the news of Greg Studrawa not being retained affected him
BW: I know you talked a lot with offensive line coach Greg Strudrawa, who kind of spearheaded your recruitment. When you heard the news about him no longer being with the program, how did that affect you? I know you came out and said that you’re still 100% committed and all of that, but did that news shake you up just a little?
Hinzman: Yeah, I mean I was fully committed. I completely understand that big-time college football is run like a big-time business and all of that, how there are a bunch of moving pieces, and how the landscape can change so quickly. Those types of things happen, but yeah, I was taken a little aback. It was like, “man, I just committed yesterday,” but again, I went through a process where I was 100% committed, and all of that once I made my decision. I didn’t commit to Ohio State because of a coach, but because of the people and the culture.
I mean Ohio State has been producing a winning culture and putting guys in the league for a long time. I can even say I’m fortunate enough to be in a place where I can fight for a national trophy while playing for the best fans in the land. Like I said though, I took my time making the decision for all the other reasons.
On how much his faith plays into everything
BW: I’m going to ask you something a little different here. I noticed that you have a bible verse on your Twitter profile, Phillipians 4:13. Can you maybe touch on how important your faith is and how it played into your decision-making process, and what it means to you — if you’re comfortable.
Hinzman: Yeah for sure. Everything I do is with HIM in mind. Through struggles and everything, it’s through the man above. Immediately after I made the decision I was just so at peace about it, going to Ohio State and Columbus. HE’s done such incredible things for me just with playing ball and other things this year, through the whole journey. I really couldn’t be any more blessed.
On his ability to understand the gravity of the Ohio State vs. Michigan rivalry being from Wisconsin
BW: OK, so I have to ask this because we ask almost every recruit or commit we talk to, and that’s mainly because Ohio State fans are going to want to know. Ohio State lost to Michigan for the first time in like a decade. You’re not an Ohio guy, and it seems more and more, OSU is becoming a national brand. Being from Wisconsin, did you get a feel for the Michigan rivalry and what it means. Just tell us a little about what you know about The Game.
Hinzman: Well, first off, I was a little surprised you said the word, I can’t say it — I mean it’s That School Up North.
BW: Oh no! That’s my bad. Well, at least you got the terminology down already — I like it!
Hinzman: That’s not happening again while I’m there. They can keep their one win in like however many that’s happened because they’re not taking another win, especially because of the culture we’re going to bring and the culture they have there (at Ohio State). We’re going to smash them up there — or I guess it’s at home this season. I’m just so excited to get out there and play those games — like I said — for the best fans in the land. We just want to go out and take them down, it’s just disgraceful (to lose).
On how invested he was in watching the Rose Bowl this year
BW: So, I know you hadn’t committed yet, but I assume you watched the Rose Bowl. Did you find yourself a little more invested?
Hinzman: Yeah, it was fun to watch. You know, that’s what I love about them (Ohio State). It doesn’t matter who they are. It doesn’t matter who’s on the field. It doesn’t matter what venue they are playing in. You know, they are going to go out and earn it and that’s exactly what they did and what I’m so excited to be a part of.
On if there’s any chance of an early enrollment
BW: So, I think it may already be past time, but were you trying to put things together at all to early enroll, or are you just going to enjoy the rest of your senior year of high school?
Hinzman: No, I don’t even think I can do that anymore with my commitment coming just recently. So, I’m going to come in the summer and look to get to work and push hard with the other guys coming in at the same time.
On how him working on a farm helped with his developing as an offensive lineman
BW: So, it’s well known that you work on a farm. How do you think that has prepared you? Clearly, there’s a lot of strength and work and everything that goes into it. I’m sure that translates over to your muscle memory and all that you can use as an offensive lineman. So, how do you think that helped you?
Hinzman: Yeah, there’s such a huge physical component to it. I mean, I’ve been doing it ever since I was young, and I never really thought about how much work it was, it just was what I did as a way of life. But yeah, you’re using so many muscles and getting stronger just by nature of what you do on a daily basis. Getting up really early, and then through until the night. It’s not trying to be cliché, but that’s just what it is, we work hard and don’t think anything of it. So for sure, I think it helps and that’s just what we did, we weren’t — and still aren’t — afraid of hard work.
On what he wants Ohio State fans to know about him
BW: Leave us with one more thing. What do you want Ohio State fans to know about Carson Hinzman.
Hinzman: Man, I’m going to work hard but it’s going to be more than about football. I can’t wait to get to work and try to get some of those trophies in the case there. The ones that are gold and have a football on top. I can’t wait to work with all the guys and become a part of the family and do community stuff together there and support Columbus. I just look forward to getting everyone together. I read something somewhere where your success is not based on accomplishments but the mark you leave, and that’s what I want to do. But honestly, if we can, we’re going to play for four trophies in that case. I just want us to get on that field and they see the scarlet and gray and say, “oh man, here we go for sixty minutes.” I just can’t wait to be a part of the excitement and the fans going crazy.
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