When Jaelen Gill announced his commitment to Ohio State Wednesday afternoon, most recruiting onlookers were fairly unsurprised. After all, he’s a lifelong Ohio State fan from Ohio who had long been in close contact with the Ohio State coaching staff. What could go wrong?
Well, unbeknownst to those who weren’t in the audience at his announcement, his ceremony was a bit more involved … and included an incredible troll job against UCLA.
In a recorded video lead-in to his announcement played on a huge drop-down screen, Gill walked through a lineup of friends hugging each of them wearing a t-shirt depicting one of the schools he was considering. There was a compadre in a USC shirt, a friend wearing a Michigan top, another repping Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Michigan State and one supporting Oregon. Then, the surprise came with the embrace of a friend donning an Ohio State shirt.
The implication was clear: Gill was heading somewhere else, in this case UCLA, the final school on his primary list who hadn’t already made an appearance in his walk through. That’s how the video ended, with Gill celebrating while throwing up “4s” and walking across a field wearing a UCLA t-shirt.
And then, he walked up on stage, tore off the UCLA shirt — on the video and in person — to show an Ohio State top and made the “O” from “O-H-I-O” above his head.
It was a thickly melodramatic moment, and the crowd at Westerville South ate it up. In fact, it was probably fun for everyone except UCLA coaches and fans, who for a brief moment must have felt they had truly stolen one of the nation’s top running back prospects from under the nose of a fellow national power.