College football recruiting is a very complex endeavor, and the bigger and better school does not always win out. In the case of 4-star wideout James Quick, the bigger and better school, Ohio State, should not win out over Louisville.
According to Josh Helmholdt of Rivals.com, Quick isn't focusing on recruiting right now, but when he does pick it back up, Louisville and Ohio State appear to have the lead:
Game visits are on hold for the time being, but talking with Quick's father this week, he expects the four-star receiver to start looking at unofficial game visits again in October, with Louisville and Ohio State mentioned as likely destinations. Those two schools plus Oregon will be the first three official visit destinations set.
I've been adamant about the fact that winning and winning on the big stage is what attracts most elite level recruits to college football programs, and that's why you see many SEC teams getting the best players—as well as programs like Michigan, Ohio State, USC and other big brand schools.
The problem with that theory though, and the problem with many theories, is that there are always wild cards.
Sometimes winning doesn't play the biggest role in a decision (Gasp).
Academics, distance from home, comfort and friends often can be just as big of a factor, and therein lies the wild card.
I believe that could be the wild card for Quick.
Looking at his interest and offer list, he has Louisville listed as the favorite, followed by Ohio State.
To the average college football recruiting fan this would seem counter-intuitive, and it did to me at first. With Urban Meyer as the head coach, OSU is quickly rebuilding and should be a national power once again. Louisville shouldn't hold a candle to Ohio State according to conventional wisdom, but that's where the formula is thrown out the window.
Quick is from Louisville, Kentucky, so playing for his hometown school has to be a huge factor. He'll be closer to friends and family and he'll be able to represent his hometown, and his home state.
Let's not forget how big of a factor all of that can be.
Not only that, but there's the fact that Louisville isn't a half-bad football program. The school may be known most for basketball, but don't forget that it is currently ranked No. 19 in the AP poll and has an easy Big East schedule that should lead to a lot of wins.
Sure, perhaps the Cardinals won't be a national power anytime soon, but they are a ranked program, and they will win football games.
In sports, winning is everything, but it's easy to forget that choosing a college to play at is much more than sports.
Ohio State would seem like the natural favorite for Quick on paper, but I can see why Louisville tops his list.
The mind says go, but the heart says stay. Quick should forget about Ohio State and stay home with the Cardinals.