Gannett will host a livestream of St. Joseph High School (Metuchen, N.J.) junior John Olmstead, one of the nation’s most coveted offensive linemen, announcing his college commitment.
Readers can bookmark this page and return to it on Friday at 3 p.m., at which time they can watch a streaming live video of Olmstead deciding officially between the five schools he has identified as finalists.
Olmstead, who is ranked among the Top 10 nationally at his position in the class of 2019, according to Rivals.com, will choose between Michigan, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ole Miss and Rutgers (listed alphabetically) during a talk-show style interview with a Gannett sportswriter.
The two-way tackle, who stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 305 pounds, holds 36 scholarship offers, the second most nationwide among uncommitted offensive linemen in the class of 2019, according to 247Sports.
An excellent student with an outstanding pedigree, Olmstead owns a 4.1 grade-point average. Olmstead’s parents, Pat and John, played college basketball and football, while his four sisters all played college lacrosse, two at the Division I level.
Almost all of Olmstead’s offers are from Power 5 schools including 10 that were ranked among the Top 25 in last season’s Associated Press final college football bowl.
With the NCAA evaluation period having commenced on Sunday, coaches from most, if not all of Olmstead’s finalists, are expected to visit St. Joseph this week.
While none of those coaches, under NCAA rules, is permitted to have face-to-face contact with Olmstead or his parents off a college campus during the evaluation period, St. Joseph head coach Rich Hilliard said he is certain coaches visiting his school will subtly make to Olmstead their presence known.
“It’s these five schools that are not sure right now who it (Olmstead’s choice) is going to be,” said Hilliard, noting Minnesota is scheduled to visit St. Joseph on Wednesday. “I’m sure by the end of the week we’ll have more (coaches on campus). My phone has been ringing with people wondering if I have any insight, and I really don’t. I can tell them they are in his top five. That’s all I know. Of course, John goes through this with his family. They talk every night about this.”
Olmstead is the top-ranked junior in New Jersey, according to Rivals.com, and holds the most scholarship offers of any junior from the fertile Garden State, which is a recruiting hotbed.
He is the most coveted player from Middlesex County (N.J.) since East Brunswick quarterback Bryan Fortay signed with Miami in 1989, and is the most highly touted offensive lineman from Middlesex County since J.P. Stevens’ Jeremy Zuttah (2003) and Piscataway’s Anthony Davis (2006) signed with Rutgers. Both went on to play in the NFL, which is where Hilliard expects Olmstead will eventually land.
“Every coach that comes into this building that wants him to play for his university says that John will probably be in the NFL, and they’ll be lucky to keep him (for four years),” Hilliard said. “They all have high hopes for him.”
Prior to Olmstead’s arrival, St. Joseph was renowned as a national basketball power with the school’s big men on campus being future first-round NBA Draft picks Karl-Anthony Towns, Jay Williams, Andrew Bynum and Wade Baldwin.
Olmstead has helped put his high school’s fledgling football program, which recently completed its second season, on the map. With him leading the way, the Falcons have compiled an 18-2 record over the past two years and last season amassed more than 3,400 yards from scrimmage while winning a second consecutive division championship.
“When I went to watch him play, it’s clear what his value is,” 247Sports national recruiting analyst Brian Dohn said. “Every time they needed a big play, they ran right over him. He plays with power. He just needs to work on his balance so he doesn’t reach as much, but you can’t teach his length and his size. He’s already very strong.
“He’s a kid that can play tackle or guard in college. He has the athleticism to be able to pull as an interior lineman, and also the strength to survive inside in college.”
Some of the other schools that offered Olmstead include Ohio State, Arkansas, Arizona State, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Mississippi State, Nebraska, N.C. State, Missouri, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech and UCLA.
“To have that many Power 5 schools come after him and pay attention to him” Dohn said, “is impressive.”
Alyssa Davis, director of communications at St. Joseph, said Olmstead has remained grounded throughout the recruiting process, and that those watching the livestream of his official commitment will “see a very humble yet confident individual.”
“He’s somebody who has the ability to take his academics and athletics seriously, yet at the same time can joke around and make light of certain situations,” Davis said.
“John is the complete package. He’s a well-rounded individual with personality and very respectful, which is a credit to his family.”