On Monday, Land of 10 broke the news that Pine-Richland (Pa.) tackle Andrew Kristofic, one of the Buckeyes’ top targets in the 2019 class, was down to a final 4 and rapidly approaching a decision. Hours later, Kristofic scheduled a surprise unofficial visit to Columbus. The Pittsburgh-area prospect took his entire immediate family — mother, father and younger sister — with him to Ohio State on Wednesday and they spent some quality time with coach Urban Meyer.
“It was awesome,” he told Land of 10. “We spent almost the whole trip with Coach Meyer. That part was awesome. Last time we were there, me and my dad went in late January and [Meyer] wasn’t there, so it was nice. It was almost like a second half of the earlier trip. … It was more about spending time around Coach Meyer and getting to show my mom and younger sister the facilities.
“It was definitely nice to go back and see everything for the second time so you’re not caught up in what you initially see. You can kind of look deeper into things and have more in-depth conversations with people and everything like that.”
The 1-on-1 time with Meyer was perhaps the most important element of the trip for Kristofic and his family.
“For any coach to spend that much time with you, it’s a big deal. They have so much going on and they’re so busy – any coach, let alone a coach of Coach Meyer’s stature with being so popular and everything,” Kristofic said. “I know they had a coaching clinic coming in the next day too and were busy preparing for that. It’s awesome for them to still make the time for us.”
Kristofic comes from a close-knit family, and he wanted to show the entire crew the ins and outs of Ohio State, one of the four possible landing spots in his recruitment. His mother and sister had visited the school during the Buckeyes’ game against Penn State in October, but not spent much time around the facilities or with coaches. Meyer has spoken openly about how much he prioritizes a recruit’s family in his evaluation of players, and it appears there’s a mutual admiration between the Buckeyes and the Kristofics.
“My family thinks it’s amazing. What they’re able to do, football-wise, is incredible with the success they’ve had since Coach Meyer has been there and all of the coaches and guys they’ve had in recent years. They’ve always been a team that’s in the Big Ten championship or fighting for it and likewise with the College Football Playoff. They have the chances to go play in the big-time bowl games,” Kristofic said. “Everything they offer off of the field is great, with Coach Meyer’s Real Life Wednesdays and all the opportunities they can help provide you with because of such a powerful name that Coach Meyer has and The Ohio State University’s name.”
The Buckeyes are in a close competition with Notre Dame, Clemson and Wisconsin to land Kristofic, a 6-foot-5, 275-pound tackle whose length, footwork and athleticism have captivated college coaches. Convincing Kristofic to return to Ohio State for the first time since January, and at the last minute no less, was a strong effort from the coaching staff and gave them another at-bat in this recruitment. It appears they hit a home run.
Did the visit improve the chances of Kristofic committing to the Buckeyes?
“Absolutely. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every visit I’ve ever taken to Ohio State. Coach Meyer, along with the rest of the staff, did a great job yet again presenting everything that The Ohio State University has to offer you,” Kristofic said. “This time more than last time they walked me more specifically through how they develop their guys into the great players and great people that they are. They’re very big on the phrase ‘Developed Here’ and they went into great detail into how they carry that out and how they go about developing their guys.”
He cited the coaching staff’s ability to develop recruits into NFL prospects and the opportunities after football as being particularly impressive at Ohio State.
“It’s everywhere from the weight room with Coach Mick – who’s an unbelievable strength and conditioning coach, you can make the argument that what he’s been able to produce and get from his guys in there is the best in the entire country – to on the field stuff with Coach Stud – who’s one of the best, if not the best, offensive line coaches in the entire country. Then, there’s everything that they can do off the field. These big-time football players have multiple job opportunities and offers once they graduate, on top of the chance to go play in the NFL. And that’s on top of the personal growth and the leadership growth that they expose their guys to on Real Life Wednesdays.”
From here, Kristofic is entering crunch time for his decision. He wants to commit sooner rather than later, and that decision seems likely to come before his junior year ends. Taking his entire family to Ohio State was one of the final items to check off on his recruiting to-do list.
The Kristofics collectively visited Wisconsin twice and just wrapped up a visit to Clemson. Both programs impressed him, but it seems unlikely that he’ll return to either before announcing a decision.
He’s visited Notre Dame multiple times, most recently in late March, but the whole Kristofic clan has not made the trek. He said the family could “more than likely” join him on an unofficial visit to South Bend, Ind., for the spring game on April 21, or in the next couple weeks.
“If that’s something that ends up working and we end up taking another trip up to Notre Dame as a whole family, more than likely the next trip I would take after that is the one that I would commit on,” Kristofic detailed. “That’s where I would stand – the only other new trip would be to Notre Dame with my whole family at some point if we decide to do that and then I’ll go somewhere to commit. I’ll commit in person.”
He said he plans to take just one official visit later this year: to the school of his choice. It could, he said, “be more of a celebration of committing and the next however many years spent there, rather than taking it to a school to help make a decision.”
The 247Sports composite ranks Kristofic as the No. 50 tackle and No. 520 player overall in the 2019 class. He has a number of offers from top-notch programs, ranging from Florida to Michigan. He has nine Crystal Ball predictions, all of which favor Notre Dame.