Shawntel Rowell, the 6-foot-4, 305-pound three-star defensive tackle from Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio, has helped his team reach the third round of the playoffs and a 10-2 record. "Shaq," as Rowell is known, has 24 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks and two fumbles caused.
"I was weighing about 340 pounds this summer," Rowell said. "So I've lost a bunch of weight. I'm pretty much where I want to be at around 300 pounds. I'm actually pretty quick and have good moves for my size. I have a lot of power and can close the gap fast. I'm just a team player and do what I need to do."
Rowell, ranked the No. 53 defensive tackle in the country by Scout.com, says he has 19 scholarship offers - but his favorite and the school he grew up watching, Ohio State, hasn't offered yet.
He favors the Buckeyes slightly over West Virginia, Boston College, North Carolina, Oklahoma State and Illinois.
"I love the tradition at Ohio State," he said. "I grew up a Buckeyes fan and my whole family would always watch them play. They are about two hours away and distance is gonna be a factor. It'll be good to stay close and I'd like to be within about five hours driving. I know that Oklahoma State is pretty far, but I want to visit them and see what it's like."
He hasn't scheduled any official visits yet and doesn't plan to do so until after his playoffs end.
Despite not having an offer from Ohio State, he says the Buckeyes are interested. "I hear from them regularly," he said. "We just talk about my season and school. They make sure I'm keeping my grades up and we don't really get into talking about scholarships and all that."
Rowell's brother, Chris Rowell, is a sophomore defensive back at Iowa. "Iowa's not really recruiting me, but West Virginia is a school that Chris really liked and they are recruiting me hard," he said. "He was close to going to West Virginia. He says that it's a great school and he really liked the coaches. They seem to be doing really good and are a top team."
Another school that Rowell says is showing him a lot of interest is Boston College. "They are up-and-coming and they've got new coaches over there so they should be getting better," he said. "At one point they were ranked No. 2 this year and that's really good. I think they'll be a top team for a while."
The team that has impressed Rowell the most this season is Illinois. "I can't say I was surprised that they beat Ohio State last week because of everything that happened this season, but I was pretty shocked," he said. "They are having a great year and are still pretty young. I think I'd fit in well there because they play young players and coach Ron Zook seems like a great person to play for."
Rowell says he plans to take his time before making a decision. "I'm gonna see how many players they are recruiting in my position and what their depth chart is because I'd like to play early."
He reports a 2.7 core GPA and a 15 ACT. He retook the test on Oct. 27 and is awaiting his results.