“After 5 or 10 minutes on campus, I definitely knew it was the right place. I had a feeling. »

When it comes to making an important decision, sometimes you just have to follow your instincts. This is what Maxence LeBlanc did by opting for the Ohio State University Buckeyes among the thirty largest American universities that were courting him.

Several months after announcing his commitment, he finally put his stamp at the bottom of his contract on Wednesday, at the start of the first day of signings. “I signed as soon as I got up,” he said on the line, Thursday evening, a few hours before his evening of celebrations with his relatives and friends in Saint-Bruno.

What you need to know is that the prestigious Ohio State has been the Quebec pass catcher’s “dream school” since he started playing football, when he was in high school. Two or three years ago, he visited Columbus and attended a Buckeyes game at Ohio Stadium. The city, the atmosphere, the fans… His experience had “really touched” him.

LeBlanc nevertheless took his decision-making process seriously and wanted to explore all the options presented to him. “During my recruitment, I really tried not to put that in my head, to look at all my options and visit other schools first,” he said.

He visited the campuses of North Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan… And, lastly, that of Ohio State.

It was love at first sight.

“I felt that I was really important to them and that they really wanted me,” he continues. That was really a big plus. »

Player development was also part of his selection criteria, as he aims for the NFL. “Ohio State is the best school” for that, he notes.

The 18-year-old took a few weeks to make his final decision. “It felt like too perfect and I really wanted to make sure, keep talking to the coach, see if he was really interested. After talking with my family and my coaches, after three or four weeks, I decided that this is where I was going. »

Maxence LeBlanc finished his final season a few weeks ago with the Baylor Red Raiders, a private high school in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The team lost 34-28 to McCallie’s Blue Tornado, the team of his good friend Jérémy St-Hilaire, in the state final. “He makes jokes from time to time! », exclaims LeBlanc in what we guess, on the other end of the line, is a smile.

The Buckeyes’ newest member injured his ankle during the game; he came off the field in the third quarter. “It was a pretty intense strain, but now it’s better and I’m already walking. I’m going to start running soon. I should be ready in a few weeks,” he says.

Otherwise, LeBlanc had a good final season at Baylor, catching 49 passes for 884 yards and 10 touchdowns. “I had a good season, better than last year. That was my goal. »

In the not too distant future, it will be time to prepare for the pass catcher, who will head to Columbus at the end of his school year in Tennessee. Until then, he will receive a specific training program prepared for him by Ohio State.

“It’s mainly about gaining mass, being more explosive, things like that,” he lists. My coach at Ohio State made me a plan. »

There, LeBlanc will probably study kinesiology, for whom studies remain “really important”. And on the field, he hopes to contribute in his first season.

“In my opinion, if I stay focused on what I have to do between now and the end of June and I arrive 100% ready, there is no reason why I should not see the field. Tight end is definitely a position you have to learn; each team uses it differently. It takes time to get used to the team’s offense, but I’m going to arrive as ready as possible to have as many chances as possible. »

“I try to stay as relaxed as possible, take things one day at a time and not think too much about June, but think about tomorrow and today. »

Precisely, today – and why not tomorrow too – is the time to celebrate your contract.